I ended my pregnancy for the same reason anyone does: to save my life. I think a lot of people assume when someone says this, that they’re speaking figuratively. But in my case, this endeavor turned literal very quickly. And I soon learned that ending a pregnancy even in the best conditions can be incredibly complicated.

I’m lucky to live in a state where abortion & reproductive care are incredibly protected. I had a plan in place because I have known for some time now that I do not want children & for me it was never a matter of “if I get pregnant” but “when”… my plan was always to end the pregnancy. Since I haven’t been on birth control for years, I’ve always used condoms but have been aware that while they are effective, there’s always margin for error.

And so without surprise, I scheduled an abortion with Planned Parenthood as soon as my period was late, as soon as an at home pregnancy test confirmed my condition. When I showed up for my appointment with my partner by my side, I was still surprised when during the ultrasound, nothing was visibly detected. My urine & blood tests both turned positive, but since I found out very early there were a few possible scenarios: the pregnancy was so small that it was too soon to see any products of conception in my uterus, or unfortunately, I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.

I chose to go through with a D&C and follow up in the next few days with blood tests to see how my hormones progressed. The procedure was uncomfortable, but I was supported by the medical team and with my partner hand in hand. In the coming days, I learned that my hcg levels continued to rise but at a rate that confirmed that what was happening was the pregnancy continued but was always happening outside my uterus. The pathology from my abortion confirmed only decidua was removed and I was encouraged to seek emergency medical care at the hospital to prevent a rupture & further complications.

I never thought that I’d experience a pregnancy loss in this way— I never knew that a pregnancy could continue without being found. When I arrived at the ER, despite not being in any pain or physical distress, mentioning the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy prioritized my need for immediate attention & intervention. My blood was drawn, a more extensive ultrasound was conducted, and soon I was rushed into a room to talk about my options.

Because the doctors were concerned by a cyst near my ovary, they encouraged me to opt for emergency surgery. I was scheduled and put under within hours of my diagnosis but even after they cut me open, the pregnancy was not found. I opted to have an IUD placed under a aesthetic since I had already been through more than I bargained for & am aware that the chance of an ectopic increases after you already have experienced one.

When I woke up, I was injected with Methotrexate— a chemo drug used to stop the growth & dissolve products of conception no matter where they are. I spent the following weeks recovering and going in to monitor my hcg levels to make sure the drug was working properly.

In those same weeks, the surgeon & doctors studied the pathology of samples they took from my body during surgery. The pregnancy remains a mystery, but thankfully my body worked with the drug & since yesterday I learned I am no longer pregnant.

While I could feel unfortunate in facing such a complicated pregnancy loss, of having a complicated body & experience— I have to say I am truly just grateful to have had the options I did to seek immediate and gentle care through this life threatening pregnancy. I learned that my great-grandmother actually died from an ectopic pregnancy in the early 1900s. I read devastating stories of women in other states who faced similar circumstances & hospitals/doctors had to spend hours writing up legal defenses before administering life saving healthcare. I was grateful for each step in this process that has shown me that ending a pregnancy might be a clear decision, but that does not make it easy. I have learned the value of being paid attention to, of knowing what was right for my body and being able to trust in healthcare workers despite all odds.

Going through this has only confirmed what I’ve believed for some time now: ending a pregnancy for any reason should be an option every human being makes for themselves & there should be no room for shame. I will aid & abet abortion for every person, whether their pregnancy is literally or figuratively life threatening. I will take my experience and what I’ve learned to advocate for my own body & for other peoples bodies because this decision is sacred and should be protected, given easily.