I choose me

Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: Anonymous Gal

I am 33 and have muscular dystrophy. I am happily married for 6 years now and we’ve always been afraid of pregnancy because of how debilitating it could be to my already weak muscles AND my baby has a 50% chance of inheriting the faulty gene.

I found out I was pregnant and the first thing I felt was terror. I was torn because I know a baby would bring so much joy but I couldn’t stop thinking about what could happen to my muscles. I was analyzing every possible outcome 24/7 and felt so overwhelmed that it wasn’t even normal. What if I lost the ability to walk properly? What if I got even weaker to the point of being in a wheelchair? What if my arms got worst? How would I care for my own baby?

I searched and searched for comforting stories and I found them here. I read about women in so many different situations and suddenly felt like I wasn’t alone. My husband fully supported my decision and is 100% on board with keeping my health in check.

I booked a termination at a private clinic and decided to go with a surgical abortion. I chose to have the procedure on a Friday so I could rest over the weekend after. My appointment was for 1.30pm and I was told I would be at the clinic for about 2-3 hours and couldn’t eat or drink anything 6 hours before.

My husband and I checked in at the clinic and the nurse took my weight and blood sample. She was so sweet explaining how everything was going to happen and I was told they were going to do a mild sedation (twilight) The doctor walks in and he performs an ultrasound to which I specified I didn’t want to see or hear. He said they don’t usually advise to do so given the circumstance. He let me know I was about 7 weeks 3 days pregnant (he said I conceived about 5 weeks ago and it was a very small early pregnancy)

We then start talking about my muscular dystrophy. After some deliberation he decides NOT to do the sedation due to complications it could cause to people with muscular dystrophies and he gave me a second option. I was petrified when he said I couldn’t have the sedation and I got so worried about pain that I almost decided to walk away. Almost…

He was very comforting and thorough in explaining the alternative. The alternative would be having the procedure with a shot for cervical block and a sort of higher dose ibuprofen given via IV. He would also numb my cervix so it could help me relax. I agreed and the nurses prepped me- they hooked me up to a heart rate monitor as well as pressure so they could check on me during the procedure. I was given the IV and then a shot on the thigh. I tried to relax and focus on my breathing as the doctor began the procedure. He was explaining every step of the way and would let me know before each cramp so I could breath and relax and not tense up. I felt some discomfort and cramping but no actual pain as I had been anticipating. The cramps were indeed stronger than a period cramp but felt more like tension combined with cramping and it lasted for about 20 seconds each time. I had around 3 strong cramps like these and he would guide me through each until done. The total time of the procedure was 6 minutes as I heard them say it when it was over. I felt a bit lightheaded right at the end and nurses said it was normal.

There were 2 nurses there the whole time and one of them grabbed my hand and helped me breath. My husband was not allowed in the room during the procedure and was waiting outside. They put my panties back on and put a pad on it for me. I remained on the chair and they covered me with a blanket and gave me a sweet cappuccino and some crackers so I could feel better after not eating for so many hours. At this point I just felt sore and a bit of cramping but was glad I didn’t feel any pain. My husband was called back in and he was so relieved to see me again! He told me he was worried sick and he cried for my well-being.. he got so worried I would make it through the pain unharmed. I told him I was glad I didn’t feel any pain and he felt better now that he was back with me.

I was kept in rest for 30 minutes so they could monitor me for a while. The nurse came back and explained the after care in detail. I was hungry and ready to go home to rest. I went to the bathroom before I left to check on my pad and noticed a bit of bright red spotting had happened. Everything normal they said.

I was given antibiotics for a week and high dose ibuprofen in case of cramping. I was not prescribed narcotics due to muscular dystrophy again just in case. Once I got home I was actually glad I didn’t get the sedation and avoided the “groggy” after feeling. We went for drive thru hamburgers and I relaxed for the rest of the day and weekend. We had comfort food and watched movies the whole time. I felt no pain, just very very mild cramping. I think resting is key and it helped a lot with getting better sooner.

I thought I HAD to share my experience too so you can see that there are many reasons for needing an abortion and it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. You are not alone in this! Please read through the many stories and find comfort in knowing that abortion is an option. Whatever the reason, it’s something you CAN get through with help and support of husband or family or friends and wonderful medical staff and nurses. Don’t believe in the stigma and negativism that surrounds abortions. Make the decision that is best for YOU and YOUR body and don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. Find the procedure and doctors that will be best for you and definitely pick a day and time where you will be able to rest and recover.

You deserve nonjudgmental
after-abortion support.

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