Protesters, anxiety, grief, and relief

by Liv

February 9, 2021

Yesterday, I had a surgical abortion. I cried the entire drive there. I was running late because I had forgotten my consent papers so I was just stressed and so nervous about what the day held. When I arrived at the clinic, there were protesters at the entrance of the parking lot, some of them dressed in neon vests to seem like they worked in the parking lot. The ones in vests asked me to roll my window down, and I almost did, thinking they were going to direct me to park, but I saw the pamphlet in her hand. As my boyfriend and I walked into the clinic, there were people from all directions begging me not to ‘kill my baby’. I wondered how they thought that helped. As they shouted at me, I sobbed and told my boyfriend to please just ignore them.

When I got inside, I was shaking throughout my entire body and my voice was shaking too. I was so nervous. The ladies at the desk didn’t seem to notice, and if they did, they didn’t say anything about it, which I appreciated. She handed me some paperwork while my boyfriend paid. After he paid, he had to leave the building because of covid restrictions, which really broke my heart. I wish he could have stayed, but I knew I could do it.

They first called me in for an ultrasound. The nurse asked me if I wanted to see, and I said no, but I did want a picture to take home. She told me that I was eight weeks and two days and the baby did have a heartbeat. I got dressed and went back to the waiting room to wait for my counseling session. I think it’s important to note that while I was in the waiting room, you could hear the protesters and the cars honking in support as they drove down the road. I thought it was so strange; they had no idea why these women were here. There was a range of women from teenage years to late thirties. One teenage girl was crying the entire time. I later found out that my boyfriend had talked to her boyfriend in the parking lot, and she had a one-year-old, just like me. I wish I would have talked to her.

During the counseling session, we went over why I wanted to have an abortion. When I told her I’m in college, I already have a baby, and I struggled with postpartum depression, she completely understood. She told me those were all valid reasons to want to do this.

Finally, they called me down to the surgical floor and I waited for about an hour. Lots of girls were in recovery and said that it was much easier than they thought it would be, and I was really glad to hear that. They took my coat, shoes, phone, and purse and put them in a locker for after I was done. Then, I went to the operating room and took my pants and underwear off, and waited for the nurse. They had some trouble inserting the IV, which was honestly the worst part, and that wasn’t even that bad. After the IV was inserted, the doctor did a pelvic exam and the nurse inserted pain medication and an anti-anxiety medication into my IV. This was the most relaxing experience of my life. I think I slept through the whole thing, and I had the best dreams. Being a stay at home mom, I don’t really get time to myself, and this felt like self-care. I no longer felt the anxiety I had felt in the morning and I couldn’t hear the protesters anymore. I did not feel any pain while they were performing the procedure, and I barely remember it, which I am thankful for.

I had 45 minutes to sit in recovery and make sure everything went smoothly. This was incredibly relaxing. I drank sprite and rested my eyes as I waited for the nurse to get some vitals. The nurse had me check my pad before I left to see if there was any abnormal bleeding, and there was not.

When my boyfriend arrived at the clinic again, I got to go home. We picked up my antibiotics on the way home along with some cupcakes and other snacks since I hadn’t eaten all day.

I can honestly say that this was the most liberation I have felt in a long time. I do want more kids when I am older, but right now was horrible timing, and I do grieve that. Mostly, I am proud of myself and all the other women in the clinic with me that day.

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