Submitted by Susan Ponce
When I found out I was pregnant, it was the best night with the love of my life. We were incredibly happy and he was the happiest man alive. We’re 24 and having a baby, YAY!
However, the reason we found out I was pregnant is that I was so incredibly sick! Stomach pain, no energy, no appetite, no desire, irritable, a whole lot of throwing up, and many trips to urgent care… hyperemesis gravidarum was the diagnosis.
The doctors I followed up with at Kaiser did not believe medication was safe, so they prescribed IV fluids, B6, and sleep. That was not true. Everything, literally everything, would make me throw up. Every 10-15 minutes, heavier and heavier nausea. My plea for anti-nausea medication was dismissed. I would receive Zofran and an IV for the next hour in urgent care or ER, and back at it again as soon as we walked out. I constantly felt bad for how much stress I was causing my partner.
Following 2 months I lost 50lbs, dehydrated and attached to an IV pole, bedridden and solely depended on my partner. I couldn’t hold my bowels anymore and needed support to walk to the restroom. I was in so much pain and believed I was going crazy for how desperate I was for water, food, sleep, and relief. My partner seemed to be at a loss for what to do, and with my doctors denying treatment because of “potential 1st-trimester risks”, we turned to abortion.
The Kaiser Doctor told me that I have “no right”. He gave me an very hard time and refused to make a referral. After a couple days and phone calls, we found a nurse who had the same experience and gave me a referral.
When we summed up the strength to take action, I was turned away by FPA women’s health center in SB (my referral provider) because I was too complicated and HG gave me an even greater risk. I never actually saw the doctor but they demanded a co-pay anyway. Heartbroken, infuriated, rejected, still chronically nasueated.
Without insurance, I sought help from Planned Parenthood. The service was incredible, nurses so supportive, all my questions were answered, and very clean facility.
With no hesitation, I was given immediate medication for HG; I finally felt some semblance of normal and was able to drink about 3 oz of water. It felt like a miracle.
4 hours after pre-operative medication; my name was called. It was my turn. The doctor was kind, respectful, informative, and answered all my questions clearly. I was ready.
During the procedure after being medicated, I could feel a moment of cloudy disbelief of what I was doing to my baby. Heartbreak started to sink in and then I completely blanked out.
When I woke up, I felt ok. I ignored what had just happened and wanted to make it all go away as if it never took place. My Partner seemed indifferent, which secretly hurt. He grew irritable, yet took me to my absolute favorite taco place 2 hours away as an icebreaker between us. I wanted nothing.
The next day I woke up as if I were a normal with no cares in the world — a sunny day! Shock settled in when I made it to the toilet on my own withut collapsing. I was so happy inside!
My health improved over the next few days. I ate a single taco and held it down! A cup of water and no barf bucket! I felt my physical relief, but still, we didn’t talk about it, everything just seemed to go back to normal.
Now, here I am a month later and everything reminds me of my baby. I regret everything. I don’t want anything. I don’t feel like I deserve any affection. I destroyed my relationship with my love because I cannot handle being reminded of our baby and I don’t feel worthy of his affection. I feel heartbroken all the time and guilty for desiring relief. All my anger is because of it, all my sorrow is because of it, I feel crazy. I feel SO MAD that I pretended like my abortion never happened because what people might think of me (my partner, Super religious parents, co-workers) and I have no one to talk to about it. I need my partner to understand me, but he can’t, and I don’t know how to change that.
I came across Exhale today for the first time. I talked and cried for the first time to a complete stranger.
People need to talk about their abortion experience because there are people in situations like mine, digging themselves in a dark hole in the middle of the night because there is no one to talk to without judgment. Reserve judgment and offer simple relief.