I was surprised by how relieved I felt

by H

September 14, 2020

I’m almost a month out from my surgical abortion and I hope my words can give someone else comfort because from this experience I’ve come to understand that I’m capable of so much more that I realized.

I found out I was pregnant on a Sunday and had my abortion a few days later on a Wednesday. In the days leading up to taking the test I was in complete denial, I convinced myself my period was just late because of the insane amount of stress I was under. But as soon as I woke up the morning my boyfriend and I went to buy the test, I knew, and sure enough both tests we bought came up positive almost immediately.

I knew from the time I started having sex that an abortion would be the best option for me if I wasn’t ready to have a child. There was no question about that. But I was still so nervous and shocked. I never thought I would be in that position until I was. I had been feeling so run down by 2020. Earlier in the year I had ended an emotionally abusive relationship that I finally had the courage and the safety to leave, due to COVID I was put in the position to lay off 12 of my employees with no say in the matter as it was a decision made by my company’s head office, my hours were reduced so I was short on rent each month, as a person who suffers with anxiety, my mental health had suffered so much to the point where I couldn’t drive down the street with out having to pull over and wait out a panic attack. And now I was pregnant.

The morning I found out, I found myself diving into articles and stories about medical vs. surgical abortions and decided surgical would be the best route for me and my anxiety. The idea of being safe at a clinic with professionals surrounding me brought me a lot of comfort.

The morning of the abortion my boyfriend drove me to the clinic, I remember sitting in the car before we pulled out of my apartment complex and I just quietly cried because I didn’t know what to expect. I was so afraid of the unknown. As soon as we pulled up there was a few protesters but fortunately they were far enough away from the entrance we could barely hear them from the parking lot.

And then I checked in with the woman at the front door and immediately every ounce of fear or anxiety I had melted away. This was a safe place. I was welcomed with a smile, this was just another day at work for her, that normalcy meant so much to me. Due to COVID restrictions my boyfriend couldn’t go in with me, so I sat in the waiting room alone with 3 other people who seemed to be there for the same reason I was. I remember watching boyfriends and husbands come in to pick up their wives and girlfriends. I remember them coming out behind the door and each one of them showing different emotions. Some crying, some just looking tired, and some coming out with a small smile. This is a different experience for each and every person. There’s no script to follow, you’re allowed to process this and react however you need to.

I was called back for an ultrasound, the tech asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound and I said no, I was afraid to deal with any emotions that might come up. But as it printed out I caught a glimpse of it and felt nothing and I knew I was doing the right thing. She said “wow you really knew right away? You’re only 5 weeks and 6 days. Super early”

I waited around a little longer and they took me in for prep. I was given 800mg of ibuprofen and an antibiotic. A nurse walked me through what the procedure would feel like, asked about my support system, and was there to answer any questions. I remember looking at her tattoos and listening to her voice, the way she described what was going to happen really solidified for me that this is a normal, safe, common procedure.

Once it was time for the procedure I undressed and the doctor came in and explained what everything would feel like. Since I was so early I opted out of sedation, she just administered something to numb my cervix. There was also a nurse there to stand next to me and talk me through my breathing and explain what was happening as it happened. I remember a lot of pressure and a lot of heavy cramps very quickly, but nothing unbearable. It was just a sensation I’d never felt before which is the only thing that freaked me out, but I just kept telling myself “this will be over in 4 minutes” the doctor and then nurse were amazing, they made it as easy of a process as possible. It was over before I knew it. I remember sitting up with the help of the nurse and having the strangest head rush of my life. She let me know it was just from all the adrenaline and that it would pass soon, I remember saying thank you to the doctor over and over again. It was almost like the relief was immediate.

I sat in the recovery room for about 15 minutes talking with a nurse in there who ran me through what my symptoms might look like. They asked me how I felt and checked my bleeding. I remember just wanting to see my boyfriend and being starving, I barely ate beforehand from nerves and nausea, it almost surprised me that all I could think about was how hungry I was. After being monitored for about 20 minutes they called my boyfriend to meet me in the waiting room. As I walked out and saw him waiting for me, I thought of all the people I saw leaving before me a few hours ago and how they looked, and here I was. I did it and I was ok. I was relieved, I did it and it’s over. I felt so proud of myself. I was so afraid the whole experience would make my anxiety worse but it almost proved to me that I’m much stronger than I thought.

We left planned parenthood and immediately grabbed burgers and fries and just relaxed the rest of the day. I am so lucky that I had the support of my boyfriend, I could not have done this as easily without him. He made me feel safe, he listened to me, he took care of me, he was next to me as I went through so many different emotions. I know one day we are going to be amazing parents together. It’s just not the time right now and that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with planning the future you know you want.

Like I said, I have the privilege of living in California so this was a fairly easy process for me. I have to say the people who work for Planned Parenthood are quite literally heroes. I will never forget the faces of each person who helped me that day, who comforted me, held my hand, there was not a single second in that building where I felt judged or unsafe.

Remember you are stronger than you think. Let yourself feel anything you need to feel. The waiting is the hardest part, but find comfort in knowing that you are making a choice for yourself and your health and future and there is NOTHING wrong with that. Lean on the people you trust, and remember this is a normal and safe medical procedure (:


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