I was almost 5 months and didn’t know

by Laura

November 9, 2020

In December of 2014, a few days after my 25th birthday, I found out I was 2 weeks shy of turning 5 months pregnant. I had no symptoms and the only reason I went to the doctor was because I thought I might have a hernia. After learning I was not only pregnant, but almost five months, I sat in the doctor’s office in total state of shock. My gynecologist informed me that I had options but had to take immediate action within the next week. She handed me resources and sent me home. The decision to have an abortion was not hard for me. I knew I was in no emotional or financial position to care for a child and most importantly, I did not want to. I spoke with my partner and he was very supportive and encouraging in letting me have complete autonomy. Whatever I decided, he would support 100%.

Because of how far along my pregnancy was, I had to schedule a two-day surgical procedure at Planned Parenthood. Day one, I had 6 Laminaria sticks inserted in my cervix to induce labor followed by an injection in my abdomen to ensure fetal demise. For the rest of the day, I would be having intense contractions and start dilation. Day 2, I was scheduled to arrive at 5am before the picketers formed outside and was taken through all prep procedures. While lying in the operating room, the reality that I had been walking around with a lifeless fetus inside me sunk in and minutes before I was given general anesthesia, I had a panic attack and I cried uncontrollably while my legs shook uncontrollably in the stirrups. I vividly remember a nurse holding my hand and repeating “You’re okay. No one is going to touch you until you are fully asleep”. The anesthesiologist arrived, placed the mask over my nose and instructed me to count backwards from 10.

I woke up in a big comfy chair, after what felt like 1 minute of sleep, with an IV and a blanket. Once I was able to stand, I was taken to a “locker room” where I retrieved my belongings, changed back into my clothes, was given snacks and post-abortion care baggy with instructions and was escorted out the back door of the clinic to avoid picketers, where my partner was waiting for me with the car. We drove to my sister’s house to spend the day there where I was given the best care by my partner. While I slept, he went out and brought me new yoga pants, wipes, the biggest Kotex he could find and food. He would accompany me to the bathroom every single time, where he’d help me stand once I was finished and wipe the blood from my legs while I cried.

What I was not ready for was that because I was induced, my body would think I had actually given birth and the following days after the abortion, it would react accordingly. I lactated for about two weeks and because there was no release, the pain was excruciating. Because I was still living with my parents at the time, I would lock myself in the bathroom a few times a day, play very loud music to drown out the crying, and squeeze the milk out of my breast like Google instructed me to do.

Despite the trauma and the pain I felt, I do not regret it and choose to not feel ashamed. I am happy to have had safe access to an abortion- something every person who needs one should have access to. I am committed in continuing to tell my story to help eradicate the stigma of something so normal and necessary.

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