‘Have you decided where you will deliver?’

by Rae

October 31, 2022

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I had been together for just under a year and I was on the pill. A congested nose and a sudden strong aversion to red wine made me take a test 2 days before my period was due. I can still remember sitting on the closed toilet seat, trying to hide the positive test up my jumper so my housemates wouldn’t see it as I stepped out. I immediately rang my boyfriend, ‘…it’ll be easy to sort out. It’s just one pill.’

We went to my GP Surgery the next day. It’s a bit of a blur now, but the memory of the Dr shrugging his shoulders – ‘pregnancy is a consequence of sex’ – remains vivid. He said I’d have to see another Dr for the ‘two Dr approval’. Any autonomy I thought I had was rapidly diminishing.

A week later, I was referred to a service coordinating abortions for the county. They took my details and called me two weeks later – I was booked in for the end of the month. Three weeks away.

In the meantime, I was asked to have bloods taken. As I turned up at the phlebotomy office the person on the desk looked at my notes, ‘have you decided where you are going to deliver?’. I could hear my heart in my ears and mumbled something about ‘not yet’ and sat down, numb. They lost my bloods in the end, and delayed the abortion by another two weeks.

By the time I was sat in the clinic waiting room, I had spent 7 more weeks growing this human. I’d borrowed my boyfriend’s t-shirts to cover my stomach at work and bought cheap trousers I could throw away ‘afterwards’. I will never know if it was the hormones or just me, but gently stroking my stomach, I weighed up my options. I didn’t know if I wanted to go through with it. Realistically, however, there were no other options – our financial and housing situation was far from ideal. Abortion was the only choice.

I still remember the cold floor on my bare feet as I said my name and date of birth after walking into the operating room for my surgical abortion. After that, I remember the rush of cold anesthetic burrowing into my arm, then nothing. I woke up sat in a chair in a bright room, disorientated and groggy. There was a woman in front of me eating a biscuit. I asked the nurse if I was OK. I think she gave me some water as I remembered where I was and realised what had happened. A warm relief swept over me, a sudden return of autonomy – something that was intangible to me before – felt immediately intense and vibrant.

I don’t regret my abortion, but I am sad about it, and I think that’s OK. Sometimes I catch myself recalling the blurry image on the sonogram, or the feeling of cold tiles underfoot, or the heavy feeling in my stomach. I’m angry that my first experience of being pregnant was so difficult, and so much longer than it should have been. But, I learnt a huge amount about myself and my partner, and I’m excited to become a mother on my terms. I will always shout my abortion, and will support others to do the same.

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