I thought I had the flu

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: Michaela

I thought I had the flu. I was a sophomore in college at the time and it was around the time that all the students were getting sick. My boyfriend insisted that I go to the health center on campus. I made an appointment and told them I either have the flu or I’m pregnant.

The lady reassured me over and over that she didn’t think I was pregnant. It was a relief. Then she walked out to retrieve the results and as she opened the door she said,  “Oops… I’m sorry, you are pregnant”.

I was beside myself. She couldn’t say anything about abortion since I attend a Catholic university. I immediately ran to my dorm and cried to my roommate. I ignored my boyfriend for hours who consistently texted and eventually figured it out since I don’t usually ignore him.

I called him and in between my tears I told him. He asked what I wanted to do. We had always discussed that I would get an abortion if this ever happened. You never really know when you see those two pink lines on that test how you’ll actually feel when it happens. He said our best decision was to have the abortion since we were two broke college students, I lived 8 hours away, and we were too young.

I thought it would save my relationship and my career.

I went home during a break and immediately booked an appointment. I didn’t realize it was on Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend picked me up at 6 a.m. and took me into the city to the center. I didn’t cry or even blink when I saw my baby on the ultrasound. I was eight weeks pregnant and took the abortion pill. I didn’t see my boyfriend for the rest of the week that I was there. He had begged me before to not tell my parents.

The day when I took the second pill and blood and tissue started to pour out of me, I knew I couldn’t stay in the house for another five days and not tell them. I was throwing up and consistently running to change my pads.

At the dinner table that night I said to my parents, “Last week, I found out I was pregnant. Yesterday, [my boyfriend] took me to a clinic and I took the abortion pill.”

My parents were silent. A month before, we had found out my older sister was pregnant. She had been happily married for two years with a loving husband and a stable situation. That baby was going to be unbelievably loved and financially supported.

My parents hugged me and cried with me, but told me they were happy with my decision. They didn’t think my boyfriend and I were a good match, and we’d broken up before.

When I went back to school, it was rocky with my boyfriend. We were both diagnosed with depression before this happened and it was one of the reasons we were together because we thought we helped each other. We were both self-harming.

Eight weeks later, I felt as if something was wrong. I called my mom and told her I wanted to come home and make sure everything was okay. I flew home that weekend thinking I was fine and I just wanted a trip to come back home.

I went back to the clinic for a follow-up. I had an ultrasound was informed that the pill didn’t work and I was sixteen weeks pregnant. My heart dropped. My poor father was the only one available to take me to the clinic, and when I went back to the reception, I fell into his arms. He was in shock that I was still pregnant, and heartbroken at my sadness.

He couldn’t take me home as he was already late for work and I had to wait for my mom to come to get me, so my dad dropped off at the airport. I waited two hours in an Auntie Anne’s for my mother to tell me to hop on the train to get somewhat near our house to pick me up. I cried over a cinnamon sugar pretzel for two hours.

The next day my boyfriend and mother drove me to the clinic at 6 a.m. I was the first one to get checked in yet I wasn’t taken into pre-op until 10:30 a.m. I had to say goodbye to them until after the procedure. I was in a room of other women who were sharing their abortion stories we were wearing thin, surgical garb.

They told me it was my turn to get the stirrups. All the women said, “it’s similar to a pap smear”, but I was only 19 and had never been to an OBGYN before.

I was escorted to the room and my legs were strapped up in the air. The doctor asked me if I had ever had a pap smear before. I told him no. He informed me that it might be painful. He was going to put a sort of expander in my cervix to help it dilate so he could do the procedure. He said it was like two matchsticks that would slowly get bigger.

As soon as he placed the specula, I started to wail crying. I was in so much pain. That feeling is burned into my brain even till this day. He stopped and decided to put me under. In a matter of moments, I was out. I woke up in post-op bleeding and uncomfortable because of the expander that the doctor used.

They told me my procedure would be in five hours because the toothpicks needed time to expand. I wasn’t allowed to drink, eat, or even pee. I sat for what ends up being six hours watching women come in and out of their procedure, the nurse packaging the prescriptions, and staring at the white wall in front of me. Time was so insanely slow I could barely take it.

Finally it was my turn and I jumped out of my seat. The nurses tried helping me, but all I wanted was to have this procedure, and never come back to this clinic again.

I was knocked out again and woke up terrified. I had read too many articles about people waking up under anesthesia, and was afraid that is what happened to me. I started to scream that I was awake and started to shake. I didn’t realize that the nurses were responding to me.

I waddled to the bathroom to change into my normal clothes and was bleeding like crazy. They gave me my prescriptions and 6 or 7 bags of saltines because I was so hungry.

I finally got to see my mom and boyfriend again. I looked like a mess and begged them to take me out of there immediately. I started to cry. Not because I was in pain even though I was, but because of the exhaustion and the trauma. I laid down on the couch and my boyfriend eventually went home. I didn’t see him much after that.

My parents were unbelievably supportive and my sister was as well. It was hard to speak to her though, as she was growing a healthy and happy baby and I had just killed mine.

That Monday night, I flew back to school. During the day, the pro-life club had an event on campus that featured a giant poster about how awful abortion is, and little pink and blue flags in the grass of our quad representing the number of abortions each day. I broke down when I had seen all the pictures. I stopped going to work because I needed to rest, and at the end of the semester while taking 18 credits and going through all this, I still managed to get the best GPA I had ever gotten in college.

I returned home to finally be with my boyfriend. We had only gotten back together six months before the pregnancy, and most of it was long distance. The next six months all I could think about was the abortion. I wanted to talk about it with my boyfriend and work on growing our future together, but he didn’t. He had continued to self-harm, and I stopped months before.

We weren’t spending as much time together as I thought we would. We weren’t even talking half of the time. It became obvious that we did better when we were long distance because we weren’t actually good together. We were getting into fights about things that happened when I was in high school, and things I did the year were broken up.

I was so unhappy. I had an abortion to save my relationship — to better our future and succeed in our careers. It didn’t even take a month of being home before we broke up. He wouldn’t see me in person or take my call. I had to end the relationship over a text.

I went to my sister’s baby shower alone. I watched her and her husband open all the presents, take belly pictures, and be showered with love for their baby. I ran to my room before they got to my present because I was still mourning my baby. My sister came to check on me. I feel horrible, but she was the last person I wanted to speak to. She wiped my tears away and sat on the floor with me.

July 17th came around which was my 20th birthday. My ex texted me for the first time since we broke up and wished me a Happy Birthday. We spoke for a bit and he wanted to get back together. We eventually decided that it would only bring sadness and regret.

It is now April of 2019. Next week will be one-year since my traumatic procedure that still wakes me up in a cold sweat. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety, and I attend therapy every week. Now my therapist believes I need medication. I no longer speak to my ex.

It pains me that I’m still reeling from my experience as it’s something that will forever be imprinted in my mind, soul, and body. He got to get up, walk away, and start fresh with someone else.

There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of my baby. I picture the life we would have had together. I loved my baby and it was the hardest decision of my life. Now, I just have a beautiful angel that’s looking down on me. Watching out for me.

I’m still searching for the answer if what I did was right. I’m still confused. I just pray for one day that I can forgive myself for what I did. I hope one day I no longer have panic attacks, and can look at my nephew without resentment.

I turn 21 in three months and I have my entire future ahead of me. This baby will always be my first child even though I never got to hold it, kiss it, or rock it. It was inside of me and I will love it till the day I die. It’s hard to believe that one day I’ll be in a happy relationship or married and ready to have children with someone else. February 14th and April 20th will always be painful and horrific days for me, but hopefully each year the pain will lessen.

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One response to “I thought I had the flu”

  1. Alexis

    I’m sorry you had to go through such a traumatizing experience. I had 3 really terrible procedures. I also have struggled with anxiety, depression and self harm most of my early adult life, and I was gifted PTSD from my ex. (he was an alcoholic) I’m doing so much better now, I left him for good after 10 years, and I went to therapy a good bit, but never got on medication, I’ve never believed that my mind couldn’t do what medication supposedly can. Not to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong, but pills scare me. I have had as many abortions as my sister has had children, each one of them around the same time which is freakishly upsetting and ironic. It’s very painful to see my nephew’s and niece but I think of them as my own, almost connected to my babies in a way and I couldn’t have more love for them even though it’s so painful. I hope that you can get to that place too. You’re so young, I thought I knew so many things for certain when I was 21 but I didn’t and still don’t now. In fact I can honestly say I know less now, but that’s a good place to be, questioning everything. It’s not all as it seems. I’m sorry if I’m rambling or maybe making you feel bad, I only hope this helps you. You’ll be ok I promise.

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