I had an abortion in the summer of 2013, after much debate. My boyfriend and I were not in a position for another child. A third child would have meant the necessity for a bigger apartment, a car…
I had an abortion in the summer of 2013, after much debate. My boyfriend and I were not in a position for another child. A third child would have meant the necessity for a bigger apartment, a car that could hold three car seats, money for baby essentials, and a budget that was much bigger than what we had. In order to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, termination was the best option.
After finally deciding abortion was for the best, I still dilly-dallied for a couple of weeks, hoping for something to drop into our lives to make everything peaches and cream. Eventually, I realized that my hesitating was an act of selfishness; I only waited, because I was afraid of the procedures and afraid of the stigma. The longer I waited, the more expensive it would be or, if I had kept putting it of, I could have passed the 20 week ban. I finally scheduled the appointment. Due to limited clinics in the area, I had to schedule three weeks out.
The day of the abortion, we had no one to watch the kids. I went alone while my boyfriend stayed home and watched our daughters.
The first step was getting an ultrasound. The nurse asked me if I wanted to see it, I said no. She also asked if I wanted a picture, I declined again. As she used the ultrasound, confusion dotted her face. She looked to the papers that contained my information and back to the ultrasound. I thought I was nine weeks along, but I was actually twelve weeks. (An easy enough mistake to make.)
I intended to get the pill, however the cut off for that is nine weeks. At twelve weeks, if I still wanted the abortion, I had to get an in-clinic procedure. This meant I would need to be dilated and have the fetus aspirated/vacuumed out of my uterus.
The thought of getting an invasive procedure frightened me, but I was firm in the knowledge that an abortion was the best for my circumstance. I agreed to the in-clinic procedure and the rest of my appointment continued.
After the ultrasound, I had to get some blood drawn from a fingertip. Then I was sent to watch a video, so I understood that I had more options available if I wanted them. After the video, I sat in the waiting area until I could talk to a counselor. She made sure my choice was my own, that I wasn’t being forced, and then asked if I’d like to get onto birth control, once I affirmed I wanted an abortion. There was some discussion on birth control and I decided to get on the pill.
Once my counseling session was complete, I was prepped for the procedure. Since I had no one to drive me home, I wasn’t allowed pain medication that had a drowsy side effect. The nurses still gave me a shot in the hip, which would help with the cramp-like pain from dilation, and an antibiotic, as a precaution for any possible infections.
Once in the procedure room, I had a nurse by my side the whole time. She was marvelous and kind. She told me what was going to happen, in detail, and confirmed that there would be intense cramping during dilation, but she made it clear I could hold her hand if needed. As soon as the doctor came in, he shook my hand and smiled and told me he’d try to make it quick and as painless as possible.
After that, he started his preparations. He did a pelvic exam on me then injected a shot into my cervix to numb it. Then he used dilators – which are metal rods of varying thickness – to open my cervix. This part caused the most discomfort/pain, but it wasn’t unbearable; I clung to my nurse’s hand and she wiped my tears away. It felt like very severe menstrual cramps. I focused on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth.
Again, due to being alone, I wasn’t able to get any pain medication that could make me drowsy on the drive home. If you are considering abortion, and you’re afraid of pain, Iurge you to have someone with you. It’s good for support and you’ll be allowed better pain medication.
When he inserted the suction to clean out my uterus, it was – again – uncomfortable, in the sense it felt odd. By this time, though, I knew I was in the home stretch.
The procedure took about eight minutes. After the it was over, I was given a pad for bleeding and my nurse helped me with my clothes before taking me to the recovery area. I sat down in an armchair and my nurse gave me a heating pad and placed a blanket over me. I was given crackers to eat, my pain medication to take home, and the contraceptives I requested. I was in recovery for thirty minutes, after which I reported how much bleeding I had – a small blot, smaller than a dime - and had one last blood pressure test. Once everything checked out, I was allowed to go home.
Along with my bag of goodies, there was a pamphlet detailing complications to be aware of and a 24/7 emergency number I could call.
The entire time, everyone smiled and was friendly. They genuinely made me feel cared for.
The realization of how much they helped me hit me once I got out to my car. Tears started to roll down my face as I clutched this little paper bag with pain meds and birth control. In other states, there would have been screaming masses outside the clinic, snarling and pointing crooked fingers my direction while calling me a “murderer.” In other places, the doctor and nurses who helped me would have been the target of vigilantes and harassment. That takes so much compassion, so much bravery, to do what is right, despite the dangers.
My tears weren’t a sign of sadness or regret. They stemmed from relief and surprise. I was, and am still, stunned. Everyone in that Planned Parenthood had so much compassion, so much kindness. None of them needed to know why I was there, just that I was there and they were going to help, whatever way I needed.
You never realize how badly you need a hand, until a stranger offers theirs for your comfort.
Now that I’m seven months later, I’d like to add that I’ve never felt regret for my abortion. I have felt sad, but that’s not the same as regret. It was a sad choice for me to make, but it was necessary and it was the best option for me and my family. I’m proud to have the experience and happy to share it with anyone who needs, or wants, a detailed account.