Seeking an abortion brought me love

by Natalie

February 21, 2019

It was the end of August, and I had just began the second year of my graduate school program two days before. I went to planned parenthood at the 6 week mark clearheaded, knowing exactly what I wanted to choose for myself. This was the consultation appointment, mandated in my state. It was the Friday before Labor Day. As I sat on the exam table, I looked over at my soon-to-be ex-husband, who flashed a quick smile at me as I nervously joked about the upcoming ultrasound.

Two months earlier, I had already moved out of our home, into a small apartment, and began to date a friend from work. It was a fast, intense relationship. We had talked about everything, it seemed, and over the weeks discussed how he would meet my four year old son, how we would one day move in together after my divorce was finalized, how we would have two more kids of our own in two years. And then one day… my period was three days late, and I jokingly took a pregnancy test with him. I remember hearing my heart pounding in my ears and repeatedly saying the words “no, there is no way, I can’t be…”

He was seven years older than me but still too immature to be a parent. He felt guilty for my pregnancy, and for putting this strain on our early relationship. I told him we could get through this, but he was too sad I had immediately chosen an abortion, and too sad that he wasn’t ready for kids. He broke up with me two days before the consultation.

I was strong for the most part, but that fucking hurt me bad. To be dumped while still pregnant. I called my soon-to-be ex-husband, who had our son that week, and unloaded my fear and pain on him. He kept me safe and cared for me. He drove me to the appointment and made sure the other guy didn’t try to show up in some heroic effort. And so my husband sat with me there, in that exam room, while I was pregnant with another man’s baby.

But then the doctors couldn’t find anything. It started with a resident physician awkwardly interrupting the attending to see if she was doing something wrong with the ultrasound wand. Time then froze and I couldn’t understand anything the doctors asked me. My husband advocated for me, asked for other ways to find the pregnancy, discussed the differential diagnoses with the attending. It was either ectopic, miscarried, or too soon to locate, but my husband and I knew it wasn’t the last option despite the doctors’ insistence. We drove home in traffic to get our son from preschool crying, reflecting on what it would feel like to both of us if I needed emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy that weekend. When he dropped me off, he held me and told me how sorry he was for how we had treated each other, and how much he loved me, and for the first time in many months I felt what he had said.

The next day I started bleeding because I must have miscarried the week before. It was a relief to not have an ectopic pregnancy, and I was grateful to have access to abortion services if I had needed them. My husband and I recently canceled our divorce and have been back together under one roof with our son since September. We go to couples counseling and are excited for our future. I would have never guessed that seeking an abortion would lead us to saving our marriage from divorce. We aren’t sure if we will have more kids, but we are sure of each other.

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