Doing the Right Thing

by Anonymous

November 15, 2018

I never wanted this to happen to me.


When I was a very small child, I was given a baby doll. I did like it very much, but I recall deciding that she was my sister. As I grew up, I wanted dolls that looked like me, my size, my age. That, or animal toys — mostly animal toys, actually.


When I was 7, I remember sitting in my best friend’s bedroom talking about growing up and the future, and saying, “I don’t want to have babies in the future, not ever. I want to have cats and dogs.”


That never changed. I’ve never wanted kids. As I grew up, this got even more nuanced: I learned about the environmental impact of reproducing. I learned about my own genes and disorders, the weaknesses and susceptibilities I carry around like a Russian roulette gun. I learned about the physical realities of pregnancy and childbirth and was (and continue to be) absolutely horrified. I analyzed the arguments for and against having children, and I came up on the “no” side again and again.


I don’t hate children, I just don’t think reproducing is the right thing for everyone to do, and it’s definitely not the right thing for me to do.


Some years ago, I got married. We moved to a country where the pill is pretty expensive and it’s not covered by insurance. I did the math – the IUD was possibly more effective and would cost me less per month, so even though it was a bit scary to get it inserted, I went for it.


Getting off hormones made my period weird – it’d be late one month, early the next, and I thought it’d settle in a few months but it never really did. I had some tests done but they never found why it was doing that and I just learned to live with it. I got pretty jaded about late periods, sometimes I didn’t even bother testing, sure enough it’d show up a few days or a week later.


I don’t know why I tested this time. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought “huh, it’s been awhile, I should do a test just to be sure.”


There it was, the nightmare line. I was 6 weeks pregnant.


Woke my husband up in the middle of the night, we panicked together, and in the morning, I went to my OBGYN, confirmed the pregnancy, and set up an abortion for a few days later, when it was convenient for me.


There was never any doubt. Neither my husband nor I want kids and neither of us feel like we’d be good parents. From the second that line showed up, my fate was sealed. I felt not a second of confusion, there was no decision to make — I was afraid of the physical realities of what was going to happen, but I was 100% confident in my course of action. It felt no different from having any other medical emergency that necessitates a surgery to repair.


For those few days, I was miserable thinking about it all the time, everything in my head was just static and screaming, I was living in the nightmare. I used to tell myself if I ever got pregnant I’d jump in front of a bus.


But I didn’t.


I went in for the laminaria insertion, which hurt like a bitch. I asked for some anti-nausea drugs for the next day, because like a gremlin I wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight and eating was the only thing that made the nausea stop. They gave me suppositories, which were awesome. The following morning, I went to the surgery center.


They put me in a hospital gown, which was a bit more comfortable than I’d have expected, and sat me on a bed. I got a shot of something – I don’t know what it was. Where I live, I don’t speak the language that well and doctors don’t really tell you much if you don’t ask. It made my muscles feel weak and shaky. They inserted my IV, and then after a little while of lying there on the bed, they came and led me into the operating room. I was pretty scared at this point, just of the physical reality.


I was positioned on the table, and then they connected the IV to the general anesthesia. There was a roaring in my ears, and suddenly my whole chest felt cold, and then I was out.


The previous time I’d had general anesthesia, for a different kind of surgery, they’d had a heavy hand and it was like blinking. This time was different – more like taking a really terrible nap – and when I woke up I wasn’t queasy and weepy like the previous time. I think they went a little easier on it, for which I’m grateful.


They left me on the bed in the recovery room for awhile, about an hour and a half, and I played music quietly on my phone and surfed the internet pretty happily. There was an AWFUL taste in my mouth though, and while I still wasn’t allowed to drink anything, the nurse let me sponge my mouth out, which was nice.


I was allowed to go home after they decided I was okay to drink some apple juice, and given some antibiotics and some somewhat mysterious pills that “make the uterus smaller” and turn out to be derived from ergot, which is interesting to me.


What was a bit funny was that when I got home, there was a small earthquake – not rare for where I live – and thought, “glad that didn’t happen while I was at the hospital” and then, joking to myself, “Guess I just aborted the chosen one or something.” I wish I could share these kinds of jokes with people, I wish it was okay to be silly about it.


As quick as everything went, I also felt (still feel, to an extent) a strange dissociation and almost denial — after I got home, I went to bed and I saw the pregnancy test that I’d forgotten on the floor just a couple days prior, and it was almost confusing… did all that just happen to me? I was pregnant? I didn’t dream it?


I keep going back over the last few weeks, thinking of the things I did after what I’m guessing was my date of conception, and every time I think of events within that time frame, I go “I was pregnant when I did that” and it just seems so strange.


I went back to work the next day, though I took a couple half days and was careful to take it easy at work.


I didn’t feel any guilt, shame, or sadness. If anything, I felt (and continue to feel) somewhat powerful, in a way, and in control of my life. I feel confident that I did right by that thing – I wouldn’t have wanted to bring it into the world, given the state of the world and the state of my life. Some people say abortion is killing a baby, if that is so, then I feel good about calling this euthanasia, an act of mercy. I feel now as though in doing this, I have stood by my principles.


There is no angle from which I don’t think I did the right thing – for myself, for my family, for the world, and even for the baby I didn’t have. I wish it hadn’t had to happen, simply due to the physical discomfort, schedule disruption, and expense, but it was unquestionably the right thing to do and I feel proud even, for having done it.


I’m also grateful to live in a place and a time when I can not only access these services, but where they’re convenient, quick, gentle and compassionate. I also know how lucky I am that we had a small emergency fund set aside that was able to cover the cost (about double what it costs in the USA) since it isn’t covered by insurance. I feel like I had the “ideal abortion” and I wish that same experience was available to more people.


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