Submitted by: Jane
I was seventeen when my dad died. The weekend before his death my father told me something that should have stuck, but clearly didn’t. He said “My mother had 7 miscarriages and two healthy children, your mother got pregnant on the first two tries resulting in you and your brother. You are very fertile.”
That same day I asked him if he would help me get on birth control and he agreed. He died 5 days later. Little did I know that conversation would haunt me in the years to come. I was meant to hear that story, even if it took two unwanted pregnancies to really understand.
The Fall of 2019 was when I got my first wake up call. I was talking to a boy that I really liked at the time and we were having sex regularly. It was the first time in a while I had a consistent person in my life and consistent intercourse. I was on birth control pills but had forgotten to take them. In truth, they were making me very depressed and after I messed them up, I thought just a short break, my next period I would start them consistently again.
The next time I had sex, I got pregnant. A couple of weeks later, an at-home test confirmed my suspicions. The following weeks resulted in weight gain, gross fast food cravings, and extreme hormonal changes. I am not a crier, but I sure can ball when I’m pregnant. The week before I got my abortion I had 3 tests accompanied by morning sickness. I woke up nauseous, went to school, took a test, came home, and puked in the bushes. I rinsed and repeated that routine all week.
On December 7th I got my first pill in my two-step abortion. The next pill I took the following day evacuated the fetus. I just made that whole process seem simple, but it wasn’t. It was stressful. It made me angry at the world, and at the systems in place that make women go through even more turmoil than they need to. Let me elaborate.
The second I found out I was pregnant I knew I was getting an abortion. It was not the right time in my life. The guy had bigger aspirations in life than being a parent, and so did I. I wasn’t done living for myself yet. So I called Planned Parenthood, knowing that they would be one of the only places in the bible belt to give me correct information on the subject matter. What I learned is that in Missouri, there is only one place left that is allowed to give abortions. A planned parenthood clinic in St.Louis. At this clinic, you must come in 72 hours before any procedure and fill out forms (the legislators really want you to think about your decision). Then 72 hours later you can come back and get the procedure done. I did not have the time for all of that bull-shit.
Did you know you can’t get an abortion until you’re 6 weeks pregnant? At 10 weeks you have to get it sucked out, and at 16 you lose your right to choose. I knew at 2 weeks. Yet I had to wait. I had to have my body change, I had to experience the cravings and the cramps and the morning sickness. The system doesn’t love women, the system wants to hurt them. Men know nothing about the women’s experience, and I don’t think they ever will.
At 6 weeks I drove over the border to Illinois. In Illinois, you can do the paperwork and the procedure in one day. I brought my best friend Anna for moral support and to be my driver home. People outside Abortion clinics screaming about god and pro-life are real. They will try to convince you to keep it. But luckily there are people who escort you into the clinic and make you feel safe.
While waiting to be seen, I saw an entire bus full of people pull up. An entire bus full of people thinking they are spreading God’s love, but all they are doing is preaching into the abyss. Spreading hatred and shame culture. The world is truly on the women’s shoulders, not God’s.
They make you fill out the paperwork alone in a room where no one can influence your decisions. No one can force you to do it. It is finally your body and your choice. After I filled out the paperwork, I waited in line for an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. I named my unwanted friend Gary because no one in their right mind would name their kid Gary. There Gary was, 6 weeks to the dot.
After the ultrasound, they send you into a room with a doctor. Since I caught the pregnancy early, I chose to take the pill procedure. The first pill opens up your cervix. This makes it easier for the fetus to come out. The next pill I took in the safety of my own home. It induces contractions that push the fetus out of your body. I don’t think I will ever experience a worse pain than that. I laid in bed curled up in a ball for hours. When I woke up from a drowsy pain killer slumber, I went to the bathroom to pee. I am not kidding when I tell you fruit size blood clots fell out of my body. It sounded like rocks being thrown into a lake. I bled pretty heavily the next two weeks and then bled like having a heavy period for another 3.
The one thing I didn’t mention in all of this, was the relief I felt after it was all done. I finally felt like myself again. What I learned from my first pregnancy, is that safe sex is very important. I started using condoms. I went abroad in the spring like I planned and had no issues. When I returned home for the summer I went to my gynecologist and got an IUD. I was going to be smart from now on. I learned my lesson… or so I thought.
I am a young healthy 22 year old. I enjoy casual sex. There is nothing wrong with that or me. Like clockwork, it was the fall semester of the following year. I can be a very spontaneous person at times, and one drunken Friday night at a bar, I met a stranger who was in town for his high school friend’s wedding. I have never been to a wedding as an adult, and somehow convinced this stranger to let me crash his friend’s wedding as his date. I roped one of my roommates into going with us, and off we went the following night.
The wedding had an open bar and lots of dancing, followed by an even boozier after-party downtown. I ended up sleeping with my wedding-crashing date. A week later I felt funky down there and went to get tested at the gynecologist. Drunken sex resulted in me not using a condom and also me getting chlamydia. None of which is the end of the world. I took antibiotics and thought I was good to go. Unfortunately, I gave the wedding boy another chance and Invited him to a weekend at my friend’s lake house, where I was under the impression we were both clean from the STD.
We had sex multiple times that weekend then parted ways. The following Friday I received a text from the wedding boy that he was not clean and I had to take a second round of antibiotics to rid myself of chlamydia. The second round of antibiotics I took killed all my good bacteria in my body and resulted in me getting an infection. I had a UTI and Bacterial Vaginosis. Now during this time, I was also experiencing really bad sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. I thought that this pain was a direct result of all of the problems I had been having lately. Again Unfortunately that was not the case.
I started having a weird spotting around Christmas time, which turned into a heavy bleed. I tried to chalk it up to my period, but I could tell something was wrong. My breasts felt like they did when I was pregnant the first time, and I was in a lot of pain. Bleeding heavily confused my thought process, it clouded my judgment. I began researching my symptoms and found that I was having very similar symptoms to an ectopic pregnancy. I ran to dollar general and got the cheapest at-home pregnancy test I could find. It came back positive, but the line was so faint, I thought maybe I was seeing things. Nonetheless, I freaked out and called my gynecologist and they saw me right away.
They took my blood and gave me an ultrasound. I was told I had ovarian cysts and that everything was fine, but they would let me know about my blood work in a couple of days. Two days later I was woken up by a phone call telling me I was pregnant, most likely ectopic. Did you know that having an IUD increases your risks of an ectopic pregnancy, and so does chlamydia? Two things that I had at the time of conception. Always trust your gut.
Today I went back in for more blood work. My doctor tried to convince me that I might just be miscarrying, but I am trusting my gut this time. I think the cyst that he still insists I have is where my fertilized egg has implanted. My biggest fear is that I could burst at any moment. Either way tomorrow I will be getting a call to confirm or deny if I am truly pregnant and not just miscarrying. Two unwanted pregnancies in a year.