I found out I was pregnant at about 5 weeks when my morning sickness started and I figured I needed to take a test. It was finals week of my last semester in college, my entire family was coming to see me walk that weekend, and then I was moving across the country to stay with my parents less than a week from when I found out. I immediately called my mom to tell her, and she encouraged me to not do anything rash and take a few days to think about it. She and my father were both supportive of me no matter my choice which I was and still am incredibly grateful for. I was prepared to run to Planned Parenthood for a hasty abortion that very week, but I decided to listen to my mom and wait because I wanted to be sure of my choice, and to be honest, I did not want to go through the stress of an abortion during my finals.

Unfortunately, the morning sickness continued to get worse and I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum at my first ER visit the next day after vomiting about 10 times the night I found out. Nausea medicine wasn’t helping and the dehydration was getting to a dangerous place. I waited until I was home with my family in my new state to make the final decision on whether I was prepared to go through with this pregnancy. If I had decided to go through with it, I would most likely have needed to be hospitalized. I’ve had several periods of chronic illness before in my life and the effects the pregnancy had on me were becoming traumatic. I felt like my body was dying. I was in and out of the emergency room for the next week. I knew in my heart that even if I could survive the pregnancy, there was no way I was going to get through it and be well enough to be a mother.

I called to make an appointment for an abortion at a local private clinic that I found through Planned Parenthood. The lady on the phone was very kind and recommended I opt for a surgical abortion when I asked what the quickest, easiest, and least painful option would be. I had my abortion this morning at 7 weeks pregnant. I was a little nervous going in, but the staff were very kind and made me feel at peace. There were no scary protesters outside or anything like that. I first went into the ultrasound room where they did an abdominal ultrasound (no transvaginal ultrasound like I’d gotten in the hospital!). It was super fast. Next, another incredibly kind nurse started an IV for me and gave me some Zofran to help my nausea. I had to sign some more papers to consent for sedation and pain medications, and then the doctor came to meet me. We spoke in his office where he explained the entire procedure to me, what everything was going to feel like, what to expect after the surgery, and that abortion was safer than childbirth and wouldn’t affect my fertility at all in the future. He also got me a new prescription for birth control, which I really appreciated since my old prescription was cancelled after Roe v. Wade was overturned. I used the bathroom one last time and then waited in the surgery room. They had me take my pants and underwear off and gave me a sheet to cover up with, but I didn’t have to get completely naked or change into a gown. The nurse came in first to help me lay down and get into position (no legs in the stirrups yet, I was still all covered). The doctor came in next and told me he was going to give me the sedative which was in my arm before I knew it! He told me to take a deep breath and that I might be able to feel the sedative or even taste it in the back of my mouth, to which I responded, “Yeah, I kind of can taste it!”. It sort of tasted cold, like I’d just eaten a mint.

Then I woke up in the recovery room. I remember absolutely nothing of the procedure which only took about 3 minutes. I had some cramps kind of like period pain, but it was only maybe a 3.5 out of 10. I was very woozy from the sedation, but I’ve been under general anesthesia enough times that I was prepared for this sensation. I did vomit once after waking up, but it was nothing intense and I felt much better after. They gave me some apple juice to help my blood pressure come up a little. After a few minutes I was feeling a lot less dizzy and the cramps were quickly fading. They brought my parents around (who were waiting for me in the lobby) to help me out to the car. I went home, slept for a couple hours, and immediately felt a million times better. The horribly sick feeling I’d been carrying around for the last two weeks was gone. Completely gone. I had an actual meal for the first time in weeks. I haven’t vomited since the recovery room. They prescribed me 800mg of ibuprofen which took away any remaining cramping (by the time I got home, they were barely a 1.5 out of 10 anyway). There’s enough for 6 days, but I doubt I’ll need any more.

I am so incredibly grateful that my experience was a positive one. My family and I agree that for my health, this choice was necessary. Regardless of that, I’m not ready to be a mom yet. And that’s okay. A lot of thinking and talking and praying went into this choice and I know in my heart of hearts that this was the right thing for me. I am so grateful to finally feel like myself again. I’m so grateful to the other women who shared their stories as they helped me understand what was right for me and advocate for that. All people deserve the same unconditional love and respect I was so fortunate to receive.

If you are deciding between medical (pills) and surgical abortion and are looking for the quickest and easiest option, I highly recommend surgical abortion if you can be sedated during it. Like I said, I remember nothing of the procedure and my pain levels were lower than if I was on my actual period.  At the clinic I went to, both options cost $600 and I was not charged any extra for my sedation or prescriptions (beyond about $2 at the pharmacy for the ibuprofen). I had a lot of anxiety about having a medically induced miscarriage at home and the pain I might experience, so the surgical option was the right one for me. If anyone is debating between the two options for a similar reason, I hope this helps inform your decision!