Ten years ago I had an abortion and I am thankful for it.

by Jamie

July 12, 2022

I had an abortion. 10 years ago this week I was thrust in to making a decision no one ever wants to face. I was 33 years old, happily married and overjoyed in the fact that I was pregnant and expecting our first baby. I was 14 weeks along going in for a routine ultrasound, usually these ultrasounds are performed at 12 to 13 weeks but like everything I do I was running late. At the time I was a medical assistant in an OB/GYN office. I had had simple in room scans from my ultrasound tech friends, those quick in room scans showed showed a viable heartbeat and a jellybean looking blob. We were elated.

I was doing everything by the book, taking my prenatals checking in with my doctor, exercising, eating well etc. etc. The day of the 14 week scan was like any other, go to work, then my spouse would meet me for the late afternoon appointment. Once we were in the US room the tech was performing an abdominal ultrasound but she looked a bit perplexed (I’m sure it’s pretty hard to disguise your face when you see something abnormal). She asked if she could perform a vaginal ultrasound, the pressure of a full bladder and the sense of unease in the room was palpable. I was laying on the the table and I began to stress sweat, the flimsy tissue paper was now soaked and was sticking to every part of my exposed skin, the tech was silent. Her brow furrowed. She commented she was having difficulty getting a view and said she was going to request help from the doctor. You know that’s never a good sign. What seemed like hours later my amazing doctor entered the room with tears in her eyes, the next part was a bit of a blur, there were words my brain was refusing to register.



She mentioned something about the heart growing outside of the chest, the lungs were not developed, something about multiple holes in the heart/lungs/chest/intestines. A non viable pregnancy. I was sobbing without making a sound. Appointments were made for early the next morning a specialist and a second ultrasound, to set up a plan for how to proceed. We walked to the car within that distance I think I vomited three times. Once the car door closed I screamed at the top of my lungs how could this be happening? I kept trying to justify it maybe the US was wrong maybe we would get to the appointment the next morning and it would show that things were fine, hopeless optimism?

We met with OB/GYN specialist and it was confirmed the chance of this baby making it to term were 0%. The words a non-viable birth were spoken. In order to prevent sepsis and preserve my fertility for future babies I would need to have a therapeutic abortion. I wanted this baby, abortion was the last thing on my mind. The doctor walked me to an exam room, explained the Laminaria procedure for cervical dilation, he wrote a prescription for five lorazepam tablets, antibiotics and a pain medication plus the details for the abortion clinic. This clinic was known for its wild alt right evangelical protesters, the kind of weirdos who follow you to your car, screaming and shaming you while holding the most grotesque signs you could imagine. The doctor warned us to arrive early to hopefully avoid their chaos. The next morning we arrived at the clinic with minimal fuss from the crazies. We sat in the waiting room both teary and avoiding eye contact with the other patients. I was ushered back to the surgical suite, alone, sterile and cold, I waited as the sedative started to take effect. I woke up in a pale green recovery room with sheer curtains dividing the narrow stiff beds. I remember hearing Tom Waits playing through the staticky overhead speakers. My spouse was there holding my hand. I remember asking if it was over, falling back asleep for a bit then a nurse waking me up to discuss birth control methods, that started a new wave of tears, in my groggy state tried to tell her I wanted this baby I didn’t need birth control.

In the 10 years since I have given birth to two amazing babies.

The thought of being denied medical care to receive a legal and safe procedure should scare anyone and everyone. Abortion is not just birth control. There are many valid reasons for terminating pregnancies, in this case a medical abortion saved my life

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