I had an abortion during COVID-19.

by Ashley

July 27, 2020


With words burned into your memory “I don’t support you”, I pull up to the clinic. There’s protesters in masks holding up “pro life” signs. I swallow the lump in my throat. I was once fully prepared to throw up two middle fingers to these people, but decide to not give them that sort of attention. Instead, I let out a few tears just before going inside. This wouldn’t be the only time that tears slide down my cheeks today. This doesn’t mean that you’re not brave, sometimes being brave can mean crying.

Volunteers in pink striped vests motion you to the entrance, making sure that you get in safely. I’m safe and secure. The volunteers are the clinic’s protectors. They know why you’re here and they support you. They have a clear bag filled with surgical masks for those who are entering the building.

I walked inside and stood at the blue X on the floor. Remember, “6ft”. You hear people being called back to their appointment “one person at a time, please.” They go in alone, with a loving nurses gloved hand to hold. My nurse says that she wants to hug you, but 6ft. I have been feeling so alone with everything that I’ve gone through in life, especially this. I reminded myself that I’m not alone, as isolating as this feels. So many people in this building are going through the same thing.

I move up in line and say my name, but it comes out muffled behind your mask. I’m so nervous that when I filled out the paperwork, I forgot little things.

“How old am I again?”

With a shaky hand, I put down the pen and look over my not legible hand writing. Good enough.

As the room fills, I move into a different waiting area for space and privacy. Finally, I end up outside. It’s the only place where I feel less anxious and can take my mask off for a moment (with no one around). It’s funny, because I swore that I would have multiple panic attacks during this wait. I even swore that I would leave. However, time is moving quickly. I’m nervous, like a normal person, rather than how I imagined myself to be. Despite this pandemic, life still goes on and so was I. I’m moving forward the best way that I know how. I haven’t ran away from this appointment yet and I take pride.

Labs are taken, my blood pressure written down. Finally, it’s the ultrasound. A bittersweet moment for someone who wants a child but simply cannot have one at this moment.

“Do you want to see?” You say “Yes” and sure enough, you’re pregnant. The 3 pregnancy tests and month long of sickness didn’t convince me enough. I swallow the lump in your throat, but also remind yourself that it’s alright to feel sad.

I’m taken into a cozy dim room where everyone is given their medicine, pre procedure. I don’t want to take any medicine. I’m just afraid to be up in the clouds and not in reality. There are many fears that I had, that I didn’t even realize I was facing. My name is called “This is it, my last moments being pregnant. I’m really doing this. No running away like I usually do. I’m facing it.”

Two nurses take me into the procedure room. They tell me to strip down below to nothing. I have my shirt and favorite hoodie still on and my comfy socks, hiding my talon like toe nails. Everything happens so fast and it wasn’t what I expected.

I prepared for pinches, burning, and pain, but understood that this feels different for everyone. The nurse reminds me that she’s there for me. She places her gloved hand on mine. Once the machine is turned on, a tear rolls down my cheek. I look at the nurse and squeeze her hand with my other one. She’s done this before, she did this not even 15 minutes before. There’s something in her eyes that let me know that no matter how many hands that she’s held, she genuinely cares. She cares for everyone that she meets.

“It’s over” is announced and I didn’t feel anything but a release. The worst part was when the numbing shot that was injected into my cervix made my ears ring and feel blocked. This was only 4-5 minutes, if that. The nurse asks me to stay laying down, she cleans me up. I try to get back up and help but realize that she is doing this. It’s okay to need help and I accept it. I’m also a little woozy from all that just happened. She places a large pad under me and dresses my bottom half, removing the old pad from my underwear. She even pulls my underwear up, puts my legs into my leggings, and helps me lace my shoes. They give me sips of ginger ale, where my mask is pulled down for a brief moment, and lead me to a recovery room.

The nurse with all of the love in her eyes leans my chair back in recovery. She grabs a soft blanket and tucks me in everywhere.

“You rest. A nurse will check your blood pressure, feed you, and check your bleeding. Take your time and then you’re free to go.” Before the nurse goes I nervously thank her.

“Thank you for being so kind to me. I really appreciate how I’ve been treated.”

I don’t know if that’s a weird thing to say, but I don’t care.

“I’m just doing what I do”, she says. I knew that it was more than that, though.

Once she leaves, I fill out paper work and see the nurse that checks my vitals. I just want to get home to my kids, so I go ahead and ask the nurse to check my bleeding. I’m good to go and on the way.

As I leave the building, I think…I’ll always remember how everyone treated me that day – with nothing but kindness. Every nurse, the receptionist, and even the doctor that counted my tattoos and sang to you. I wonder, “Why do they care so much? Why are they so kind?” I ponder this as I reflect on the support of abortion doulas and all that they do, as well. Something that I was told, “We want to help you in whatever way that might look for you.”

My experience wasn’t traumatic, not like I thought it would be. It wasn’t painful, I prepared for labor pains and intense contractions. I cried, but allowed myself to feel. My feelings are valid and for once,  I didn’t push them away and panic. I faced fears just by stepping into the building. Now, I’m leaving with nothing but an experience and a heavy heart. This abortion was not an easy decision to make, there’s guilt but no regrets. I’m gone and wonder what life would have been like without this option. I feel grateful and about 100 other emotions at once. There are so many what ifs, I’ve been grieving. If I had to make this decision again, I wouldn’t change anything.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!