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Getting pregnant in a foreign country where abortion is illegal- twice.

by Anonymous

November 4, 2020

I’ve had two abortions- one surgical and one medical. My experiences with them are nearly polar opposites. The only part that was similar was that both times I got pregnant, I was in a foreign country where abortions are illegal.

Abortion #1

I was dating a man from Chile, we met while he was living in the US. He went back home and I went to visit him for a couple of months while I was on summer break from college. Our condom usage was about 50% and pullout method for the rest. I was expecting my period about half way through my trip. I was experiencing small cramps that lasted only 10-15 minutes a couple times a day. I thought this was unusual but convinced myself my body was off cycle due to travel. I found out I was pregnant about 3 days before my return to the US. When I saw the positive pregnancy test, we were staying in the Atacama Desert on the border of Chile and Bolivia. I was devastated, he was 10 years older than me and he was happy about it. Although he supported my decision, I believe he was ready for a family and wanted to settle down with me. I felt the complete opposite. As soon as I saw those 2 pink lines I knew I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I felt completely alone- other than the being inside of my uterus. I shut him out and ended our relationship a few months later. I never talked to him about the procedure, and never wanted to. He paid for it, and asked about it a lot. I think he was hurt more than I was. I had the procedure about a week after i got back home, on the first day of my sophomore year of college. It was a quick and nearly painless surgical abortion and I was only 3 weeks along.. I bled for nearly a day and that was it. A couple of months after the procedure he visited me in the US. During his visit, we were having sex (he was behind me) he stopped for a moment and said he was ‘fixing’ the condom. He actually was removing the condom and I didn’t find out until he finished. I was livid but didn’t know how to react. He pulled the “but it’s so uncomfortable” card. I started to get suspicious that he intentionally got me pregnant while we were in Chile. I never felt much remorse about the abortion and was relieved to be out of the relationship.

Abortion #2

I was living in Costa Rica for a semester of college as a foreign exchange student. The first weekend I was there, a group of friends and I went to a beach town for a night out and some nature adventures. One night we were at a bar and I met a guy (J).. he swept me off my feet to say the least. What easily could have been a one night stand ended up turning into a 6 month relationship and now- 3 years later we still keep in touch and are good friends. A night out to bars turned into the two of us dancing on the beach, we then both agreed to go back to his house. We used a condom and when we were done, it was split completely in half. I immediately panicked and told him I had been pregnant less than 6 months ago. We showered and he calmed me down, saying it was very unlikely that I would get pregnant. HA to that! The next day I went back to the town I was living in. My friend and I went to over 5 different farmacias y tiendas asking for plan B pills. At this point we had only been there for a week and our fluency of Spanish was not quite able to ask for plan b, it was so awkward trying to translate what I needed. We eventually found someone at a pharmacy who understood what we were asking for, and told us that plan B pills are illegal in Costa Rica (they have since legalized it). FUCK. I reached out to J and asked him what he thought I should do. His friend worked at a hospital and recommended a type of birth control to take that would act as Plan B. I went back to the pharmacy and showed the pharmacist what I was looking for. I opened the medicine when I got home and it was the depo-provera glass bottle that is meant to be injected. I was not about to inject myself with ANYTHING let alone a birth control that I don’t know anything about. So, I hoped for the best. But a month later I never got my period, I took a test one morning and flipped when those two lines showed up. I immediately hysterically cried of sadness. I was half way through college, living in Central America, not working & pregnant. If plan B was illegal, you bet that abortions are WAY illegal there. That same day in class I pretty much broke down in tears as I was leaving the room and my professor followed me to the bathroom and asked me what was wrong. I told her what I was going through. She told me that her sister also got pregnant at a young age and that she’s happy and successful now. She told me that I’d never regret keeping it, but I might regret getting an abortion. That shit fucked my head up. I thought about my options, which were; 1- to not graduate college, live in Costa Rica and attempt raising a child with someone I had only been dating for a month, or 2- to go back to the US to have the child and be a single parent while trying to finish 1 more year of school (J wouldn’t consider leaving CR and I understood). I talked to J- he was soo sweet and supportive about everything. We cried together and he told me that his doctors had told him he was infertile due to a surgery he had on his testicle when he was younger. So in the very least, he was happy to know that one day he would be able to have children. I went back and forth on my decision for a long time. I thought about the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test- I was terrified and sad, disappointed even that I had gotten pregnant so soon after having the first abortion. This shouldn’t be the way I bring a child into the world- scared, disappointed, sad and unprepared. That wouldnt be fair to a baby, me or J. I spent 1000 of my savings for a round trip ticket to LA. And another 800 on the abortion. J told me he would pay me back but he wasn’t in a situation to afford that, he helped his single mom pay rent and raise his little sister too.

My friend from home who had moved to LA picked me up from the airport and let me stay with her. She had an abortion when we were in high-school and I took her to that appointment and she stayed with me for a couple of nights (her dad was very religious and would have disowned her if he knew). She was so so good to me and I am forever grateful for her support. She set up 2 appointments for me. The first one was a free ultrasound and consultation to discuss my options. I was six weeks along. After the ultrasound, the woman started gettting pretty weird and was using patronizing language and shamed the option of having an abortion. She tried to talk me into keeping it no matter what my circumstances were (umm fuck that place!!). My friend didnt know that the appointment would be that way, and she felt really bad for taking me there. The second appointment was for the abortion the next day. I remember driving to the appointment and seeing a woman who was close to 7 months pregnant crossing the street in front of us. My stomach dropped and the guilt was already setting in. My friend saw my face and said, “you know you don’t have to do this.” But I made my decision when I booked the flight. The medical abortion was cheaper and I didn’t have money to spare to get the surgical procedure. The doctor I spoke with was very “LA” if you know what I mean. He was an asshole and made me feel really uncomfortable. I took the pills to stop my hormones in the office and signed a paper that said I was required to take the next dosage of pills a couple hours later. Not even 10 minutes after I took the pills I was over- heating and began throwing up. I felt like I had just poisoned myself. I passed out and my friend almost called an ambulance because she was scared of how my body was reacting. I was in some of the worst pain I have ever encountered and I now believe a lot of it was emotional pain. I took some pain killers and a few bong rips and fell asleep. I woke up and was chatting with my friend when I felt a huge rush of blood that felt like I peed myself. I ran to the bathroom and when I pulled down my pants, it fell out onto the floor. The fetal sac was there, on the ground, right in front of me. Blood was splattered all over the floor, blood was halfway down my thighs on my leggings and the pad I had on was completely saturated. That moment when I looked down at a 2 inch ball of blood clot- what could have been my child- was absolutely _______. I have no words. I was crushed.

We ordered pho soup delivery that night and smoked a lot of weed. I was in shock, for a while. I returned to costa rica and never left the airport, I had already booked a flight to Panama for that same day months before since that week was our Spring Break. It was a good distraction, but every time I saw a child I got a really strange and sad feeling. This time I bled for over a month. Heavy heavy bleeding and passing huge blood clots the size of quarters, reminding me daily of what I did. J was so supportive still and I poured a lot of my emotions into our relationship. We continued dating until I returned to the US. We tried long distance but things fell apart, though we still stay in touch a talked frequently. I had panick attacks and went into a depressed state for almost a year- about the relationship or the abortion or both- im still not really sure. I could still call him whenever I needed and he was always there, he would leave whatever he was doing to talk to me and calm me down and help me make sense of everything. I had so many nightmares about having a baby and forgetting to feed them, or not knowing how to breastfeed or care for them, or forgetting their names. I worked as a nanny for infants and sometimes when I would rock a baby to sleep I would silently cry as I held them against me. I felt empty. I isolated myself from any sort of romantic relationship until just a few months ago (this was 3 years ago). I am finally coming to my senses and realizing that I would have had a very difficult life, and so would my child. They wouldn’t have known their dad as I would hope my children in the future do. J and I were both too young and didn’t have steady jobs, it would have been so so hard to make it work. I didn’t want to be pregnant and in school and I didn’t have to. I’m so thankful I was able to even have the abortion. I thought about all of the people in costa rica and around the world who don’t have safe access to birth control and abortions and my heart hurts for them, it’s not fair that some people can have abortions and others can’t. I am privileged, and had a family to support my schooling so I was able to save money and provide myself with an abortion. It was hard spending $2000 on a flight and an abortion as a 21 year old, but I cant imagine how expensive a child would be. I want to be ready and plan for a child when I have one. And because I was able to have an abortion, that can be my reality.

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