Submitted by Jenna Onelove
It’s been one year since I had my abortion. I am about to go through a second one this weekend. I feel an overwhelming urge to speak about my experience as part of my healing process. I am still healing, and will be for a while. Will things be ok, yes. Some people just take longer to heal than others.
My boyfriend of 5 years and I accidently got pregnant from Plan B. It was right when we were about to make a long distance move, we had an contraceptive failure. I went to the local Planned Parenthood and got the Plan B, everything seemed to go as planned. I got my period a week after taking the Plan B, and we refrained from having sex for about 3 weeks. When we thought we were in the clear, not the case. Apparently it’s very easy to get pregnant after using Plan B. I wish I would have know, I would have done things differently.
I knew from experience that Plan B usually makes my periods kind of out of sync for the next couple months. It also said that I could be late in my next period. Most of May went by, no period, but I didn’t really feel different. I noticed that I was gaining weight though. I was a little confused, since I was eating light and exercising a lot. Suddenly, my breasts started to hurt and my bras felt a little tight. I have had a headache every day for a few weeks now, I wasn’t sure why, I was drinking a lot of water, why do I have these headaches? I did an Internet search and stumbled across a pregnancy calculator. I did the survey, popped up around 6 weeks pregnant?! I remember feeling like my heart sank to the floor, my adrenaline went through the roof and immediately started to doubt.
“How can this be?” I remember telling myself. “Surely the Internet is wrong…it’s not true…it’s the Internet, what does it know about this?!” That scared me though, scared me enough I stopped on my way home to buy a pregnancy test. I texted my partner to let him know that I thought I could be pregnant. He immediately texts back “Oh ***k”. My heart sank and fear set in.
I took the test, but I couldn’t determine if it was positive or not. I took the second test, same thing. I remember texting him back (my phone had a broke microphone at the time, so calling was difficult), and as I am texting, tears are streaming down my face, “I can’t tell what the test says!”
I immediately called the only place I knew to go, Planned Parenthood and it was such a struggle for them to hear me. After a 2 calls back “Can you hear me now?” – I was able to get an appointment for a pregnancy test. When my partner came home, I sat him down upstairs on our bed, and we talked about it. He already has a child from a previous relationship that he didn’t want. (It’s not that he doesn’t love his kid, he just didn’t want a child with the girl he was with at the time) He didn’t want to have a second child, I didn’t want to have a child. I knew his feelings about abortion, since he wanted one the first time. The girl up and left him to go have the baby far away. I didn’t want to be like her. I didn’t want to run away to deal with this alone. I didn’t want to have a child that I knew I couldn’t care for, nor bring a child up in the place that we moved to. I didn’t want to blame him for my lost youth from raising a child and live in resentment like so many of my friends before me. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.
The next day I went to Planned Parenthood alone. My partner was unable to leave work to go with me. It was scary being there alone. I did my urine test and anxiously awaited to be called in. Once I was called, I remember feeling cold and numb as I went to the back room. When the nurse told me my test came up positive, I lost it. I was bawling uncontrollably. I felt stupid for getting myself in this predicament, and felt shameful that I was going through this. I could hear my Grandma’s voice in the back of my head “Don’t get pregnant, don’t embarrass your family”. What she had burned into my psyche from a young age. I was pregnant and I was embarrassed. I felt like I let my Grandma down, which hurt more than finding out I was pregnant. To this day, my family has no idea that I was ever pregnant and got an abortion.
The nurse spoke to me about my choices on abortion. I chose to do the Misoprostol at home. I was afraid of being in the clinic and being poked and prodded, I just wanted the comfort of being at home with my beloved cat (whom sits next me to as I write this). Unfortunately for me, there was only one doctor in the area that administers the Misoprostol and they weren’t going to be back for at least a week. So I schedule my appointment, and they were able to do my Ultrasound the next day to see how far along I was. This was imperative at the time, since I was going to be too far along for the pills to work safely. I went back the next day for my Ultrasound, again, alone, but by choice. I needed to face this head on to deal with it. I was 8 weeks pregnant. The nurse asked me if I wanted to see the pregnancy, I said no. I was feeling tremendous guilt for what I was about to do, and I couldn’t bare to see it for fear that the guilt would worsen.
When I went back for my pills a week later, my partner did leave work that time. He wasn’t supposed to leave work, and did get written up for leaving early, but didn’t seem to care We went in, they checked my iron levels (which was low, I almost didn’t get the pills), then I took an antibiotic and the first Misoprostol l pill at the clinic. They sent me home with the 2 cheeks pills, a whole bunch of anti nausea medication and a prescription for Vicodin.
The next morning at 7:00 AM I ate some food, waited 30 minutes, and began to dissolve the pills in my cheeks. I remember being scared since I was going to be at home alone. But my partner was only a phone call away if I needed him. It felt like forever before the bleeding started. A few hours went by, then I started to lightly bleed. A few more hours went by, the bleeding slowly increased but never got very heavy. I could feel something inside me happening and I felt anxiety in my chest. I went up stairs to the bathroom, and passed the pregnancy. I felt a little pain and cramping, and took some Vicodin thinking that was the cramping they were talking about. I was in for a rude awakening.
I made it through the day and the night. The next day evening everything went very unexpected. About 9 PM I started cramping…I brushed it off, I expected this, right? Wrong. The cramps got worse, the bleeding got worse. I was in the most pain that I had ever been. I couldn’t talk it hurt so bad, I just remember sitting in the hot shower, rocking back and forth, as wave after wave of intense cramping overcame me. I felt helpless and terrified. I never experienced such pain, an 11 out of 10. My partner called Planned Parenthood’s 24 hour nurse hotline at 2 AM, he thought I was going to need to go to the ER. The nurse had me alternate 1 Benadryl, 2 Ibuprofens and 1 Vicodin every few hours. I remember my partner setting alarms on his phone and administering medications as time called for. It helped a lot, and I was thankful for his quick thinking that night.
A week later I went back for my follow up appointment, still bleeding. They asked me about the cramps I had the other night, and how it’s unusual for them to come so late. I remember feeling embarrassed since I was still bleeding while doing the ultrasound. The nurse was very sweet about it and didn’t think anything of it. She assured me that this was all part of the process and really helped me feel better. My ultrasound was positive, I did indeed pass the pregnancy and was no longer pregnant. A sense of relief rushed over my body like a cool breeze and I felt that my ordeal was finally over. Now it’s easy street.
I bled for what seemed like forever…about 4 weeks I bled. First it was light, but around week 5 or 6, the blood started to get heavy. I was going through a super heavy overnight pad every few hours. I bled through a number of my pants that day. I called Planned Parenthood that Monday and told them what was going on. They had me come in the next day, my bleeding was rather abnormal and caused concerns. Especially with being very low on iron.
I went in the next day to find out that my uterus wasn’t passing the clots. The nurse manually removed a few big ones, but told me that I would need to get aspiration to remove all the clots since my body wouldn’t pass them naturally. I wasn’t having any cramping, just a lot of bleeding, which also caused concerns with the nurse. I was floored when she told me that. The very thing I was trying to avoid is going to happen to me. I felt like I was going through the abortion all over again. I just wanted it to be over with! It has been 6 weeks since taking the pills, I felt like I was in a recurring nightmare. I felt like I was being punished by the universe for having this abortion.
Two days later I went in for my aspiration. They took my in fairly quickly, I got an antibiotic and an anxiety pill. I opted for pain pills instead on an IV, due to my fear of needles and pain, which I was trying to avoid by taking the pills. Bad idea, should have went for the IV. They took my iron again, took my vitals and I waited. I was sitting their with my partner, scared out of my mind. I kept thinking “what happens if this doesn’t stop the bleeding? What happens if they see something is not right while they’re in there?”
No amount of anti anxiety pills could help me, I was probably the worst patient they ever had. I squirmed and whined, asked all kinds of questions. The worst part for me was the cervix numbing. I felt it in my stomach, a sharp and sickening prick. 5 minutes of aspiration seemed like an eternity. I remember looking at my partner and seeing tears in his eyes and mouthing the words “I’m so sorry” to me as I shrieked in pain and fear. The other nurse was holding my hand and stroked my head as I cried. Once the procedure was over, I sat on the bed and just cried and cried and cried. So overwhelmed with fear, emotion, pain, and shock that this actually just happened to me. I was cramping, which was a good sign. I didn’t even put my panties on right away (why do they give you such a cinder block of a pad?!), I just needed to have a moment to process the last 14 weeks of my life.
As the cramping subsided and I got my aftercare instructions, I hugged the lady who did my aspiration and the nurse who held my hand and rubbed my head. I appreciated what they did for me, though painful, their confidence and willingness to help meant more than words could describe. A few short days and the bleeding pretty much disappeared. I got on the pill and thought everything was going to be easy from this point forward.
Now I am in the same situation due to failed birth control (again). I am going to do the clinical route this time. I am not going to live those 14 weeks over again. My partner and I agreed this was the best thing for me. He doesn’t want me to go through the pain of Misoprostol again. After 2 failed methods of birth control, we agreed that a vasectomy is our best bet for not getting pregnant again. It’s damaging to my self esteem doing this again. But I feel better prepared this time, and feel fairly confident in going through this clinically. I was fortunate enough to have my partner (now going on our 6th year and promises we will be engaged before 7 years comes around) by my side through all this now and had ensured me that he’ll never leave my side. That helps a lot.