Abortion In A Pandemic

by L.S.

February 4, 2021

I’m not really sure how to kick off my story/journey with my abortion, so I guess I’ll just jump in. I found out I was pregnant March 13 2020. I was in San Diego for a wedding. I found out the same day as the wedding as well as the same day they announced we were in a global pandemic… I took 9 pregnancy tests because I was in shock because I have been on birth control for 2 years. But it failed me. My then boyfriend who is now my husband was ready to do whatever I wanted to do. We struggled the rest of our trip with the uncertainty of me being pregnant as well as a huge global change. I also do not have insurance. We had no clue what the future looked like considering they just announced the whole world was about to shut down.

We flew home March 16, as soon as we landed we dropped off our bags and went straight to the grocery store. There was no food, nothing. It was like a scene from a War Of The Worlds and the grocery store was completely scavenged. I called my mom crying not knowing how I was going to handle this. Fast forward to the next day, I call Planned Parenthood to make an appointment to at least see how far along I was because I had no idea what I wanted to do. They told me the earliest appointment was at the end of March. So that was just added weeks to this pregnancy I wasn’t sure I wanted….

Every single day, I felt awful, terrified and numb to everything. Every day felt like a daze I was in. Here I was pregnant, stuck in my apartment, broke and in a world wide pandemic…. fast forward to the day of my appointment at Planned Parenthood, I was getting ready to leave my house and I get a call about 20 minutes before my appointment. They tell me they cannot take me because “non essential” surgeries were illegal for the time being. I hung up the phone and dropped to the ground. I started yelling and screaming. Crying the hardest I’ve ever cried because now I was faced with going through a pregnancy I wasn’t even sure I wanted. My boyfriend comforted me as much as he could. I was so angry. I was angry at my government that they would do this. It wasn’t fair. A few hours later I calmed down and picked up my phone to try to call any OBGYN to see if they could just take me in just so I can see I am fine and it could at least be a healthy pregnancy since I might just have to go through with it. (I’ve had two miscarriages and DIDN’T want something to go wrong again and it hurt ME) I called at least 50 places all over and no one was either 1.) taking new patients 2.) don’t take cash patients (with no insurance) 3.) were closed until further notice…..

I felt defeated. I felt completely alone, terrified and just emotionally dead. I rested a few days. I struggled with my thoughts constantly. I don’t know if I was having pre-postpartum, the fact I was stuck inside my house in a global pandemic or the fact I have no insurance to be able to get the care I wanted to have if I chose to go ahead with the pregnancy….

I finally found this place that was a Christian Planned Parenthood basically. I called to see how it all works. Of course they do not do abortions, they try to sway you towards keeping the baby or helping you with adoptions. I just needed to go somewhere just to get an ultrasound and see how far along I was at least. My first appointment I go to, I have to do their pregnancy test (at home). So I go pick up there test, do the test at home, then they schedule a call about scheduling another ultrasound appointment. Fast forward to my appointment, I wait in my car for the nurse to come grab me, she does all the covid checks they could do. (Take my temperature, asked me if I’ve traveled, or if I’ve been in contact with anyone with covid-19). After that they escort me inside the clinic, walk me to my room and have me go on the table. (All without having my husband with me, which wasn’t how we pictured our first pregnancy to go) They ask me if I’m thinking about termination. I said I am not sure what I want to do. But I am leaning towards termination. Which the word itself they made it seem terrible and inhuman. As we keep talking she asked me to pull down my pants and pull my shirt up, puts the jelly on my belly and talks me thru what I was looking at. She told me that I was between 6-7 weeks. I was relieved I wasn’t close to my second term and I knew in that moment I wanted an abortion…. but as soon as I reached that conclusion she played the heart beat…. it was an odd feeling… I heard something that was supposed to make me feel warmth, happiness and joy. I didn’t feel anything like that. I didn’t feel this maternal instinct kick in. I didn’t feel this connection people talk about when they hear the babies first heart beat. I felt nothing besides relief that I wasn’t that far along. Which also made me feel so guilty because people try so hard to have what I had. But this wasn’t about anyone else but me and MY future.

I got back into the car and look at my husband and tell him I’m 6-7 weeks and I handed him the sonogram pictures. He looked at them and asked me where I stood and how I felt. I thought about it for the whole drive home. I live in a southern state my whole life and most of everyone in my family would crucify me if they knew I had even THOUGHT about having an abortion. But when we got home I went to go take a bath. I can’t for the life of me remember why I thought about this, but while I was laying in the bath I called a Planned Parenthood in New Mexico to even see if I could drive there to get it done. They told me they were completely booked for the next month with people coming from states that made abortions non-essential…. but they told me that Denver, Colorado had openings NEXT week. I said ok, book it. I called my husband into the bathroom while I was taking a bath and told him I made an appointment at the Planned Parenthood in Denver and it’s next Tuesday. I asked him if he wanted to come and he told me “of course, you aren’t doing this by yourself”. We book our flights for Denver.

A week goes by and we fly to Denver, my appointment was an hour after we landed….luckily there was no one outside of PP, for that I felt grateful because I already had to go in by myself because they aren’t allowing spouses to come in during the appointment, due to the pandemic…. I go inside give them my information. I wait to be called. They call me back and I talk to the nurse. They do another ultrasound and at this point I’m 8-9 weeks. After that I go into a small office and wait for a phone call with the therapist to go over how I’m feeling and if I have a good support system at home. They go over what to expect with the type of abortion I’d be doing. I chose to do the medical abortion because our flight was literally the next morning, so I didn’t want to be sore or anything. Or still passing stuff. So after the meeting a nurse comes in with my first pill and a box of juice to wash it down… I take my first pill and wash it down with my grape juice. Immediately after I couldn’t help but smile. This nightmare was almost over. I cried and thanked everyone I came into contact with in the clinic. I call my husband to come pick me up. He comes to get me and we go back to the hotel and rest the rest of the night.

I had so much anxiety about if I did something wrong because I had to leave to another state to get a procedure done because my home state made it non-essential… I was also traveling in a pandemic which made it even scarier because it was still so new.

We finally get home after 9 hours of traveling. While we were traveling I started cramping extremely bad and spotting so I knew what was coming…..

The next day after we get home I take my second pill which basically forces a miscarriage. It was super painful. I cried and screamed because of how badly it hurt. But I knew it would be over soon. After the initial “peak” of it I finally was able to rest and sleep. The weeks after I had to wear giant pads because I was bleeding clots for a bit. Which they say that is to be expected. I felt gross all the time but I felt good about my decision. I didn’t have to do something I wasn’t ready for in a huge monumental time for humans. It was so much and still is. I still struggle with the “what if’s” but I think that stems from just seeing everyone I know starting to have babies. I would get mad at myself for not being able to be financially well off for the baby I could’ve had. Or that my government let me down so I now struggle with PTSD with everything I went through.. it was a super dark time for me. But all in all. I am so happy about my decision. I will have children one day. But it just wasn’t my time and that’s okay. I’m learning to be easy on myself and not beat myself up about my decisions and the way I handled it. I did what was right for myself and that’s all that matters.

Thank you for listening/ready my story. It feels good to just be able to write down and let it out.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!