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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: Emma

Monday, December 20th at 23 years old, I went in for an ultrasound to confirm 3 positive pregnancy tests. I’d gotten some because I was having intense cramps without bleeding and thought I had an ectopic pregnancy or uterine cyst, etc. No bleeding was normal for me off of birth control and I was skipping periods on the NuvaRing.

For history, I miscarried with my ex around 8 weeks at 21 years old. I had my first abortion in March this year at 22 years old, then got onto the ring + pulling out.

The nurse asked many questions, including if I wanted to “see it”. This time, I said yes because I felt confident enough to “face” my choice. Except when she started the monitor up & began, she did not show me the screen. She looked very concerned, and I was dealt the news that I was 24 weeks and 2 days. Over 6 months pregnant…nearly through the second trimester…with no belly. No belly. I knew right away something was wrong.

I’d thought about how my last 6 months were spent rapidly losing 50+ lbs, running an hour every day training for a 5K marathon, plus drinking merrily and smoking cigarettes and marijuana. I was devastated. I was in a better place financially and emotionally this time, with a new great partner. I felt horrible that I had already hurt an innocent thing, again.

I thought they’d send me home to birth a sad crippled baby on the minimum wage job I’d probably lose, but the kind nurses helped me find financial assistance, even though some of the better funds had just closed for the holidays that morning. My partner helped me pay for it too, and I think paying him back will make me feel a little better.

His mother has been wanting grandkids from him and knows he has a young girlfriend, so to be honest, I also feel guilty that I never want to be pregnant again, despite the loss I feel. I miscarried my first, the second made me horribly sick with hyperemesis, and with the medical bills I couldn’t afford it. The third one… the poor thing was supposed to be the size of a grown eggplant, and I was supposed to appear bursting at the seams, but nope, nobody had any idea I might’ve been pregnant.

I had lamicel sticks inserted and took antibiotics on Tuesday, December 21st (it hurts). Those dilated me so well that by Wednesday, the 22nd, when I went in for more sticks, the doc tried several times and even switched instruments (which HURTS). My cervix was pushing them out so they moved my procedure one day ahead of schedule, broke my water and inserted a catheter to catch the drip while I waited in recovery.

I took two rounds of two pills to cause dilation/cramping, except by this point my cramping was worsening suddenly (remember, I’d been having cramping for like two weeks at this point but this was escalating pains getting closer together). The ibuprofen they gave me wasn’t helping, or the extra strength stuff they gave me, because I’d gone into labor on the chair apparently. I started farting uncontrollably, apologized for farting and also begging for either pain relief that will ease the pain, or an answer as to when I’ll be seen and I also then threw up everywhere.

The nurse came by & realized I’d actually been laboring the whole time. I’d delivered the catheter out onto the floor, blood and amniotic fluid was everywhere, but luckily they finally took me back to the doc. My partner was terrified & of course had no idea what was going on inside my body. I was in untouchable pain, growling and crying because the contractions were back-to-back.

They gave me the actual sedative in my IV, but unfortunately It didn’t kick in until the procedure was already at the end of suctioning up the rest of the tissue. I did however black out at some point from the pain, and have no memory of the doctor taking it out. Apparently I was in a lot of pain, but was coherent enough to try not to scream, and managed to follow instructions.

I have no memory of being dressed or wheelchaired out, either. I was “dazed” and had to get the details from my partner later. I’m grieving, but writing it out did help. Thank you for reading this if you are also really sad and upset with yourself or the circumstances you were put in. I think maybe I ought to finally get another pet and allow myself to love something that needs me.

Now that I have such a deep hole in my heart being 23 with three different endings to three different pregnancies. I didn’t even want kids, but this has been a truly traumatizing journey and I don’t think I could handle grieving like this again.

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