Submitted by: Joy
I am writing my story to reassure others in my situation that this was way less painful of a process than I feared it was going to be! I had read so many stories on here (thank you brave women!) and had no idea how my experience was going to turn out, but it was so much more positive than I feared.
I found out I was pregnant 1 week after my missed period, via an at-home pregnancy test. I’d never taken one before but I had researched the fact that my sore (and larger) boobs and slight cramping that was off and on for a week could be symptoms of pregnancy. And my period is never late. As soon as I saw the line appear, I calmly thought about my options. I didn’t tell my boyfriend but called a local pregnancy center I knew of to set up an official appointment as they did free pregnancy testing and I wanted an official confirmation.
The next day I went in and while the ladies were very kind, there was definitely a sense of – oppression? unspoken projected guilt? – that pervaded the atmosphere and the “counselor” that spoke with me asked me how I felt about the options of adoption and raising a child versus abortion. All I wanted was info on the nearest abortion center as I have known and declared all my life I could not handle raising a child, or childbirth, or anything that went with it! I think I had always known that I would do something to abort it if I got pregnant, which was quite oppositional to how I was raised. But I always tried to be careful and while not on birth control of any kind, knew my cycle and made sure me and my boyfriend used condoms/pulled out over my fertile time. I think I never really thought that I would have to make this decision.
Anyway, she wouldn’t tell me where I could go, just told me the areas that didn’t have abortion centers. (Thanks, that’s super not helpful! I started to get highly irritated at this supposedly “unbiased” information.) She warned me that hiding a “big secret” like this could affect my relationships. The last question the “unbiased” counselor asked me was “How would you define abortion?” I just looked at her and said, “What do you mean – like do you want the dictionary definition?” She just kept staring at me and I couldn’t tell but it looked like tears were starting to pool in her eyes. I simply said, “Terminating a pregnancy.”
Then that ended our session and she called in the nurse, who confirmed that the test was positive. At one point the nurse shared her own story and said she had had an abortion, the child would have been 39 this year, and it was “a hole in her life that would never be filled.” She also frightened me by saying with a bit of a crazy person wide-eyed look that yes, abortion is painful – they’re forcing open your cervix which is trying to stay closed tight. They told me not to rush my decision and to come in for an ultrasound the following week.
I came away from that appointment rolling my eyes thinking “Geez, all these people in here need counseling.”
I waited til later that evening to tell my boyfriend, not sure how he would react. After some shock (although he had been worried bc my period was late), he just hugged me and said he would support whatever decision I made. I was so relieved that he was kind and calm and ended up crying out some of the tension on his shoulder.
I had started reading a bunch of stories on this site (SUPER helpful ya’ll!) and decided that surgical abortion was the way for me, because even if it was slightly painful, it was over with super quick and I wouldn’t have to deal with heavy cramps & bleeding for hours and hours. I called an abortion center an hour away that I’d found online, and they set me up an appointment for the next week. That was just for an ultrasound, and then they would set up the second appointment.
I did a lot of reading online and found that there are several Christian pro-choice groups, and became settled in my belief that this was something I should have control over, and that it wasn’t fair for my life to stop just because a sperm got somewhere it shouldn’t. Lol.
At this new center, everyone was kind, cheery, upbeat (no oppressive heavy atmosphere like the first place), and I felt huge relief at not being judged. The nurse found the tiny spec inside of me with the ultrasound and estimated I was 6 weeks 2 days along. That showed me I started ovulating way before I thought I did (around day 10 not day 14), and I needed to be extra careful in the future.
That was a Tuesday and I wanted the procedure to be scheduled that Thursday but a nurse was on vacation and they couldn’t do it til next Thursday.
My boyfriend was granted that day off work, and we went in at 12:15 p.m. I filled out some more paperwork and in a few minutes was taken back to a room where they took the payment and then gave me an antibiotic, 800 mg ibuprofen, and 2 anti-nausea pills. Thankfully at this clinic they encourage that you eat something and be hydrated beforehand, so I was not starving.
After about 5 minutes we were taken to a room where the nurse was going to start an IV as I had opted for IV sedation. I was super worried about the needle but she used the tiniest one on me and slid it in so gently I barely felt any discomfort – I’ve had papercuts that felt worse! She taped it on and then I sat in this recliner with a blanket and a heating pad to my back. We waited there about 40 minutes as the ibuprofen took effect and I started feeling calmer as a result.
Then they called my name and my boyfriend was allowed in the room with me; the nurse told me to take off the clothes on the bottom half of my body, put a pad in my underwear so she could help me slip it on later, and told me to cover myself with a paper blanket plus my other blanket and lay down on the table. The doctor came in; she was young and cheery and I felt I could trust her to be super gentle. I told her I was worried about the lidocaine needle being painful and she said , “Well, there are a lot fewer nerves down there than in your hands and arms, so it’s usually not something you feel.”
They put the sedation in my IV and I could feel brain fog like what it must feel to be tipsy from alcohol (even though I never drink lol). My boyfriend held my hand as I started chattering to them about various topics and what I do in my job, partially as a way of distracting myself. In 2 minutes the doctor said, “the needles are done!” and I went WHAT?! I literally had felt NOTHING AT ALL. When she started the suction, I could feel a bit of pulling and twice I interrupted myself to say “okay that kinda hurts” but it was never untolerable and those 2 worse parts lasted like 5 seconds each if that. Trust me I’ve had period cramps that were much worse esp because they lasted a lot longer. The ibuprofen definitely helped. I think she was done in 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe it when they told me it was over. I was also surprised that I was so coherent with the sedation, haha.
The nurse helped me put my clothes back on (I was mostly just dizzy when I stood up) and they helped me walk out to the room with the recliners. I had zero pain and zero nausea until I started drinking some tea and eating some crackers. I had a wave of nausea hit me but the nurse quickly put some anti-nausea meds in my IV and it was over instantly. I stopped eating because I didn’t want to make it worse. After about 20 minutes she asked me to go to the bathroom and check my amount of bleeding. I was surprised that I had almost zero bleeding, only a little bit that came out when I peed.
After another 15 minutes, as the brain fog was clearing more, she said I was good to go, took out my IV (zero pain with that), and we left.
When we got home I slept for about 3 hours because of the sedation, but still (and it’s midnight) have pretty much zero bleeding and feel 100% relief that all this is over. The 2nd clinic told me that 95% of women feel relief, as a matter of fact, and that it’s highly unusual for someone to deal with long-standing depression afterward.
I feel at peace with my decision and feel no internal condemnation or guilt. Some people are cut out to be moms and I know I’m not one of them, and it’s okay. I have a very fulfilling job and an active life that I would not want to give up for the sake of raising a child.
I hope my story has given hope to someone else searching, trying to make the right decision. I hate hospitals and had never had any type of medical procedure done for me before. I can say that getting 4 teeth extracted for braces when I was 13 was 100 times worse lol. YOU CAN DO THIS.
I feel fortunate to live in the US where women DO have the right to choose, so that we can have safe, sanitary procedures. I am forever grateful to the kindness shown me by the abortion clinic, and that they are committed to really helping women in whatever they decide.