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Grateful and relieved

by Haley

March 13, 2019

I was about to turn 21 when I had my abortion.

When I was younger, I had never really thought of abortion, so I ignorantly proclaimed it was “killing a baby”. Then when I was a teenager, I actually gave it thought and did some research. I came to the conclusion that it was a woman’s choice and a fetus did not have personhood or feel pain until the third trimester. I didn’t know I’d have an abortion myself.

I have been with my boyfriend for six years and I’m still deeply in love with him. We have lived together for four years now and have a strong relationship.

I have been using a birth control method called the Fertility Awareness Method (or FAM) for four years successfully. It connects to me my body, I don’t have to use barrier methods, or keep up with pills. It’s very different from the “rhythm method” which it’s sometimes compared too, and it’s very effective. However, I quit using it for two months when my life was getting stressful. I had quit my job and we moved back into my parents house, and we were preparing to move again. I wasn’t recording my morning temperatures, observing my cervix or cervical fluid, or charting my cycles, and no, I wasn’t using condoms either. I got pregnant a couple weeks before my 21st birthday.

I was shocked and scared. I was sitting on the toilet with a positive pregnancy test in hand and I instantly knew I did not want a child right now so I wanted an abortion. I told my boyfriend and he was super supportive. I’m thankful for him, because he also said that if I wanted to carry to term and have a baby now, he would support me then too. I’m lucky to have him. I’m really excited to be a mother one day.

The next day I made an appointment with one of the two abortion clinics near me, both two hours away. I was really anxious to wait for my appointment in two weeks. I couldn’t wait that long. I wanted to get it over with, just because I wanted to get back to my life. I also just FELT pregnant. I called them and the woman was very nice. I told her I was anxious and she gave me the number for the other clinic. I called them and they could get me in the next day. I cancelled the other appointment and was so grateful.

I had to tell my boss I had a doctor’s appointment. Thankfully it was that simple. I texted my sister what was happening because I wanted her love and support. I thought she’d quickly be supportive but she was really upset. Hearing her was worse than finding out I was pregnant and getting an abortion. I quickly convinced her what I was doing was right for me and her notions of what abortion is is wrong – that I wasn’t committing infanticide. She apologized.

I lived in Texas at the time and you have to go get a screening 24 hours before you get the procedure. My boyfriend and I drove the two hours to the clinic and walked past a single protestor. He was an old man holding a sign with a graphic image of a dead baby on it. I wasn’t nervous at all until I was yelled at by him. He wasn’t making me feel bad about my decision, it was just nerve-wracking to have someone yell at me like that. He was saying “Don’t do it! Don’t kill your baby! Your baby wants to live!”

I entered the building and the waiting room was full and I filled out a bunch of paperwork. The room was painted lavender and it smelled of lavender. The Office was playing on the tv. The whole place was very comforting. Every woman seemed fine except one, who was crying. Many women were alone and half of them seemed to be older women – maybe in their forties. Some had boyfriends or husbands with them.

I was there for six hours or so. I had to get my blood tested to see if I was RH- – which I was. And I had to get mandatory counseling, mandated by the state of Texas. I told her I was very sure of my decision and relieved to be there. Then the doctor was also mandated to tell me the risks. After he read out all of the scary risks, he told me verbatim, “As a medical professional, I can tell you all of this is false and it is generally a very safe procedure. The state of Texas has me tell all of my patients this falsified information.” I was relieved I wasn’t going to get breast cancer, or not be able to have children in the future.

I went to get an ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy. I was five weeks pregnant. The woman said it was a gestational sac. That is what I was expelling from my body – a fertilized egg surrounded by a sac of water, a millimeter in diameter. I took the first pill that stopped the pregnancy and came back the next day – per Texas law.

This time the old man protester had a younger man with him. He was more loud and vicious. It made me anxious again. He was yelling “MOMMY! Please don’t! Mommy!” An escort was there and entered me into the building. She had a calming presence.

We waited in the waiting room for a while when I was called into the back room. I quickly spoke to the doctor and he handed me a paper packet of four pills I was to put in my cheeks when I get home. We went into this small office and I paid them the $750.

I went home and took the four pills – each of them placed in my cheeks for 30 minutes so I don’t throw up. I had a thick pad in my underwear and I had blankets and movies to watch. My boyfriend catered to me. In a couple of hours I started bleeding. Then I bled some more. I had a little bit of cramping but it wasn’t too bad. It literally felt like I started my period. After that I HAD started my period and bled for a week or so.

I have never been more grateful. I was so relieved when it was over, I just had my period and went on with my life.

It also made me kind of sad. I was privileged enough to have a supportive boyfriend, to have a car, to take off from work, and to have the savings to pay for the procedure. I worry now for other women.

Abortion is healthcare. It should be free or affordable, and highly accessible.

Thanks for reading.

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