I was halfway through my gap semester, and for the first time since starting college, I felt like I finally had my mental health under control and my shit together.
I hadn’t been sexually active until this year, and though my first experience wasn’t great, my second was 100% better. He was kind, consensual, and caring. I genuinely enjoyed his company and we casually “dated” for several weeks, though I knew there was a timeline. I was traveling at the time and knew that this would never turn into a relationship–I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him–and that was a-okay because was feeling happy and healthy and more myself than I had in years. I wasn’t on birth control yet (since I wasn’t sexually active) and the nearest doctor that took my insurance was 4 hours away, so I decided to be extra careful with condoms and just wait until I went home in a few weeks to get an IUD.
We had one condom mishap and I took a Plan B pill the same day. I had already been having pre-period symptoms (sore boobs, chocolate cravings, mood swings) and when my period didn’t start within the next few days, I blamed the Plan B pill and thought nothing of it.
A few weeks later, I went to the doctor to get an IUD. I was pretty sure the Plan B just made me miss my period, but I was still skeptical, though not seriously. When the nurse came in with the pregnancy test results, she excitedly announced “its positive!” as fear took over my body and I could do nothing except blankly stare back with my mouth wide. And then I puked. Right there in the office.
I was about 6 weeks along, they said. I realized that it had happened long before the Plan B incident. I had used condoms every time. None had ever broken.
The doctor came in for about 2 minutes to talk about my options, and then I was hustled from room to room and nurse to nurse to get the correct references and appointments for an outside clinic.
There was a week between the news and the appointment, and every single possibility ran through my mind. My depression was back in full swing and for a while, I thought that this meant that I was making the wrong decision. Should I just have the baby and drop out of school? Should I tell my parents and ask them if they can help me raise it? Should I start applying for jobs so that I can save money for the next ~7 months? Can I finish this semester pregnant and THEN drop out? Should I ask my brother and his partner if they want my kid?
But I knew all along this was NOT the outcome I wanted. I wanted to get my degree and I only had a year and a half left. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids yet. I had no money. I had casually slept with someone, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life co-parenting with someone who I didn’t want to be in a relationship with, and who also didn’t want a child right now. Though the process was hard, and the guilt was hard, the decision was easy.
My sister took me to the clinic. It was small, nice, quiet. The nurses were all female and all wore pink. It was too casual. I appreciated that they didn’t make a huge deal out of my situation, but no one acknowledged that this was new and scary and a huge deal for me and my body. After an ultrasound and fingerpick, the N.P. came in, asked if I had any questions, and handed 1 pill to take now, a few packets of pills to take home, and sent me on my merry way.
I spend the entire next day on the floor of my sister’s apartment, then drove home and went to work. I went back for my follow-up the next week, everything was fine.
I got an IUD, I’m back in school, my mental health is still an issue, but that’s a process of course. My friends have been great and incredibly supportive. I see pregnant women and sometimes think about how different my life would be if I were 6 months pregnant right now, and I have no regrets.