Abortion Story: Pennsylvania
Submitted to Abort73 by a 30-year-old woman on February 11, 2013.
There were many reasons why I did it, but most of them seem trivial now—compared to the anger and grief and regret that I feel now. All of those reasons are so hauntingly trivial. Abortion was wrong for me, and I knew it before it was done. But nobody could make me feel that, as I was in the midst of a crisis. I was able to justify it to myself.
October 6, 2012: the day after my mom's birthday. For the past two years, I've been seeing a guy, Drew, who I will call my boyfriend—in my spare time. I say "spare time" because I live with someone else who I'm supposed to be engaged to, but we haven't had a romantic relationship for four years. We have a house together, and our lives are so intertwined that it's just not feasible to simply split. I've tried to break up with him several times, but it doesn't work since neither of us have anywhere to go. I'm cheating (another line I never thought I'd cross), and the time spent with Drew is the most amazing time of my life. He is married with four children, two who are in college, and two who are younger… Shortly after we started seeing each other, I went on birth control. I had a lapse in my prescription, and I had to go back to the doctor for my annual exam to get it refilled... I didn't get my prescription filled in time. I lied and told him I did, because I didn't think anything would happen…
October 21, 2012: I had a split shift at work to allow me to go to ice hockey practice in the middle of the day. In the past week however I hadn't been feeling well, and I decided that I wasn't going to practice, but my boyfriend was going to come over and spend time with me. I had just enough time to jet to Walmart to pickup a 2-pack of pregnancy test… so I took one of the tests. We were texting while he was on his way, and I watched the test as it developed into a plus sign. I didn't know what to think, and I panicked. I wept in my bathroom… I took a picture and sent it to a friend who knew what was going on with me, captioned: "does this look like a plus sign to you?" Her response was, "yes, congratulations." But I didn't know how I was going to tell him. When I stopped texting during my hysteria, he asked if everything was alright. I texted, "no." Five minutes later he was at my door, and I barely composed myself enough to open the door. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him right away that I took a test and I think I'm pregnant. I cried, and while he told me it was going to be alright, I asked him, "how?" We went out to lunch and let it sink in.
October 25, 2012: We made an appointment at the OB's office and had a consultation with the doctor, who explained the changes my body were going to go through, and things I can do about it. She sensed that we were not totally thrilled at the idea of the baby, and she said that while they do not do certain things in their office (abortions), she could recommend us to a place if we chose that. We hadn't made up our minds at that point, and we really just wanted to make sure that I was pregnant. She gave me prenatal vitamins, and I had a blood test, which confirmed the next day that my levels were way above what was required, and that I was indeed pregnant. Other than the previously mentioned physical discomforts, I didn't notice any other signs of the pregnancy. We made an appointment for November 8 for the first ultrasound, and I was shocked to know that I would be able to see something of the baby already!
Given the fact that I was cheating and he was cheating, I probably don't have to explain how termination would be beneficial to me. The person I live with really wants kids, so he would be heartbroken to know that I was having one with someone else, besides the knowledge of having cheated on him. I imagined his reaction, but I don't know what he would have done. I envisioned him destroying our house. I envisioned him punching me, trapping me, calling me names. I envisioned him falling into a puddle of tears and despair. My boyfriend's wife is controlling and vindictive, and after a divorce she would do everything in her power to screw him over, including not letting him see his two younger children. How could I have that guilt over me? Every time I tried to formulate the words I would say to the one I live with, nothing came. I could run it through my head a million times, but if it came down to it, I just could not bring myself to utter the words, "I'm pregnant," to him. Drew and I discussed what we should do. There were no definitive answers.
November 8, 2012: I had to get someone to cover my shift to go to the ultrasound appointment. It was amazing, but I didn't let myself feel it. I saw the little dot on the screen, and the nurse answered our unanswered question (well, probably just my question, since he had been through 4 pregnancies before) She pointed out the fetus and the yolk sac. And then we heard the heartbeat. It was hard to believe that whooshing noise was from the baby that was still so tiny in my uterus. I wanted to cry, but I tensed up like it didn't matter much to me. We didn't say anything, just tightly held hands. the nurse printed a picture for me and we made our next appointment for November 29. He had to pick up something for work at a warehouse, and I went with him. My live-in called while we were there, saying he called my job, but they told him I wasn't there, that I had gone to the doctor. I don't think he believed me but I said I had gotten an emergency appointment because I had a migraine. I then called off work for the rest of the day. before I went home, Drew and I called [an abortion] clinic and made an appointment for November 27. So we had a few weeks to decide what to do, and a plan either way. I was told that I would get a call from the clinic on a certain day for the pre-abortion counseling that they were required by law to do. So that day came, and I waited and waited all day. The doctor finally called around 3 to go over things with me very briefly. He had a foreign accent, and I didn't like the way he was talking to me. But I still had time. While the weeks passed, I had to pee more frequently, like every half hour and the cravings came, and the morning sickness started. I could detect men's cologne minutes after they had walked through an aisle at work. My bra was barely fitting. Tears could start at the snap of a finger. Her presence was becoming more real. We still discussed, made a pros and cons list. One of pros was that we would finally get to be together, and he would get to sleep on a real bed; he has slept on the floor for the past 10 years at home. One of the cons was that I would have to give up playing hockey until next season.
November 27, 2012: I lied to the live-in and told him I had training in another town for work, so he wouldn't call the store looking for me, and he wouldn't be concerned when I didn't get home until late. The (abortion) clinic was an hour away, and when we met at 8:00am it was snowing. The appointment was at 10:00. I thought that I would meet Drew and break down and say that I couldn't have an abortion. And then I thought that I would just entertain him by going in and acting like I tried to do it, but then leave. We solemnly drove there in the snow… We went to a drug store and picked up some Always pads and double-mint gum, both the same shades of green. Then we went to the parking lot of the clinic. We watched a few girls with their girlfriends walk in, and finally, we dragged ourselves from the vehicle. I know it wasn't his first choice, either. I know he was hurting. I know he wanted things to be different. I told myself that if there were protesters there was no way I would go into the building. But there were no protesters. I asked for a sign that I shouldn't do it, but none came. Why weren't my fears about doing it enough? I could have chosen the 29th. I could have gotten up and left at any moment. I asked him while we were in the waiting room if we could go and he said "yes," but neither of us moved, because the alternative seemed just as hard of a path to take.
The clinic seemed very professional. They had their procedures down pat, and they were confidential and efficient. I had to go to different rooms by myself while Drew waited. First was the pee test.Then the blood test. Then the ultrasound. I asked the girls doing the ultrasound what the point of no return was. They kind of laughed and said that they were only going to do an ultrasound in there. I asked to have a picture and they said to let the counselor know, and I did get one later. They said it was 9 weeks, 3 days, and it was exactly that. Only 2 cm big. Then we had the counseling, and I wanted someone to tell me it was going to be okay. I asked the counselor if she had ever had it done, but she wasn't allowed to disclose that kind of information. She said I still had time, if I didn't want to have it done that day. I lied and said that I was ready. My moral contradictions were the thing that was causing me the most grief. I knew it was wrong, but it seemed like the only solution. how would Drew and I tell the other people in our lives that we were having a baby? Work would change for me, along with living situations for both of us. how would we afford it? Money is the main reason that neither of us have split with the others. What would we do with a baby after it was born and we both had to work? How would we sleep with a crying infant? The counselor tried to comfort me by saying that god knew I would choose this, and then I felt angry that I was cornered into some kind of fated destiny by even being there that morning. She didn't know what kind of god I believed in. Heck, I don't even know anymore. I cried, and returned to the waiting room. Then the time came. I peed again before being led into the patient's waiting room. I asked for the extra medication to help me relax, and I sat in a corner.There were two women sitting across the room who had just had it done, with heating pads across their bellies. They didn't appear shaken at all. I was concerned about the physical pain then. The doctor came in, introduced himself, and asked how I was. I didn't really respond, because that seemed like an insensitive way to greet someone who was about to terminate a life. I wanted to scream that I was awful, but thanks for asking. How could I be? The girl that sat next to me answered his greeting cheerily, like it was just a checkup or something. I saw a girl go in and come back five minutes later, unaffected. The medication didn't work. My nerves were even worse. Then a nurse retrieved me at 1:25 pm and told me to take off the bottoms and take a seat under the paper sheet on the table. I did that and while I was waiting for them to come back, I started crying. There was an IV rack sitting in front of me (I was not being put under, it was just in the room), and I noticed a small drop of dried blood on it. Everything had seemed clean before, but then all I could think was that I didn't want part of me or my baby splashed onto medical equipment in the room. The nurse asked if I was ready, and I wanted to put my clothes back on, but again, I lied. I was too far into the process; I didn't want to look like a wuss. When I replay this in my head, THAT is the moment that I should have decided not to go through with it. I should have left. I should have asked for Drew. I should have said no. I should have shook my head no. but before I knew it, I was following instructions. Slide down here, a little further, further yet, place your legs here. The doctor did a physical exam with his hand. He asked me where I worked. I said I didn't want to talk. I was still crying, and they got another person to hold my hand, but I refused. I folded my hands across my stomach. he started doing things without telling me. I didn't want to have to talk, but I wanted to know what was going on. My uterus burned. Then more intensely. It was painful. I was paralyzed by physical pain, but more importantly by mental anguish of what was happening to me. Just a minute longer, then it was done, and the doctor was gone. I struggled to sit up on the table, and I got dizzy. I barely had enough time to tell the nurse I felt like I was going to throw up before I did. I felt like I could stand a few minutes later, and she helped me get dressed. She blotted away a small amount of blood from my leg before pulling my jeans up. I was still all tears, and throughout the waiting room I was the only one crying. Is it true that most women feel relief? How could no one else seem concerned about what was just lost? I instantly regretted it. Five minutes before, I still had a choice. I still had a baby. I remember thinking that I better do something great with my life to have given that up. I wasn't looking to get pregnant, but after it happened, I loved it.
Drew and I spent the rest of the afternoon together. I was instantly thrown into a depression that I'm only now starting to come out of. It's worse for me because I can't go through a grieving process. I can't talk to anyone about it. I confided in a few people but I told them I had a miscarriage; I hate myself for doing it. I see my coworkers and friends who are pregnant, all of them having girls (I think I was having a girl), as far along as I would have been. Everything is a reminder. Oh, I did forget to mention that the abortion was the day after my birthday. She was conceived the day after my mom's birthday, and aborted the day after my birthday. My mom knows nothing about it, nor will she ever. It would break her heart. I'm an only child, and I was conceived after a one-night stand, and she chose to keep me. I feel like a coward. I feel selfish. I feel like I made a sacrifice for people who can never know it. I feel like I can never go back to who I was before. I feel like I don't deserve happiness. In time, it will get better, and I will be able to forgive myself on some level. But abortion isn't the answer to the problem. It will never go away. I know that it was the wrong choice, and the funny thing is that I wish I could go back to before the abortion, not to before getting pregnant. This is the toughest lesson I could ever learn. When I was still unsure of what we were going to do, I looked at so many people's testimonials, but mostly I focused on the physical pain and complications, which were nothing to the suffering I now endure. I didn't really think it would affect me this much emotionally. But I couldn't have known without going through it. All I know now is that I would give anything to go back, to make a different choice, to get to know our daughter.
Date: February 11, 2013