Submitted by: Lena
I knew as soon as I found out that I was pregnant that I wanted to share my experience with others. I knew this because I couldn’t turn to anyone for help or support. I couldn’t find anyone. I’m sure there are people in my life who have had to experience abortions, but there is so much shame and stigma associated with getting one, I wasn’t surprised by the loneliness I felt and the isolation… and the silence.
I got an abortion yesterday. I had to wait a whole week before I could get one because the clinic closest to me only does abortions once a week. It felt like the longest week of my life. I had terrible stomach pains and nausea. Every day of that week, I looked for information on abortions, the pain levels, people’s experiences. Even at work I would seek out this information. It’s safe to say I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of information, but also I felt like it wasn’t enough.
I opted to get full sedation (twilight sleep), which means an IV as well instead of just pain medication. I was very worried about the procedure. I was worried I’d have a panic attack or something or my body would react to the medication in a weird way. I worried I’d get sick. I worried about the pain. I worried I wasn’t strong enough or brave enough to go through with it. I was worried I’d be too far along to get one, even though I only missed one period. Basically, I worried about everything…and then some.
The actual surgery experience was a very positive experience from start to finish. 3 nurses were in the room with me and they asked me questions, checked my blood pressure and oxygen level, did an ultrasound, checked if I was anemic, gave me medication (Ibuprofen, an antibiotic, and an anti-nausea medication), and gave me an IV. The worst part of the before-the-surgery was when they checked if I was anemic, which is just a finger prick. That was painful! I got a little faint, but also I was pretty anxious so I’m sure that played a role. After resting for 2 minutes with an ice pack, I felt much better.
Finally, a doctor came in with another woman who was going to help with the procedure. There were 5 women in the room with me and they were all incredibly kind and wonderful and made me feel very safe. The doctor checked my cervix, which was uncomfortable, but not that different from a pap smear A nurse administered some medication through the IV and the procedure began shortly after that.
To be honest, I don’t remember much. It was all very fast. I didn’t really feel any discomfort or pain. I know someone held my hand, but I’m not sure when that happened. It’s all kind of a blur, which I suppose is better than remembering too much.
When it was over, they helped me into my underwear and shorts and took me to the resting room. I had some cramping, but only about a 2, and I had very little bleeding. They let me go home shortly after.
I felt much more pain when I was actually home. The cramping afterwards is pretty gnarly. It feels like regular period cramps, but it’s very constant. Also there was pain in my back and butt area as well as my legs. But I rested a lot and pretty much just laid down and today I am feeling much better, though still cramping. What I am struggling with today is sadness, and perhaps some guilt and regret. Loneliness too. But I guess that will pass with time.
I promise you, you can do this. It’s only scary because no one talks about it at all and it is relatively unknown to us.
You are brave and you are strong. Maybe that’s a bit of a cliche, but oh well.
I am here for you. This community is here for you.