Third pregnancy, second abortion, and I am not ashamed

by IAS

October 18, 2021

Last week, I had my annual physical. While I was there, they took my blood and asked me the usual questions that they ask people who are assigned female at birth – when was your last period, and is there a possibility you could be pregnant? Last period was easy – September 9th. Was there a possibility I could be pregnant? Since no birth control is 100% effective, every month yes. I really didn’t think I was, but my period was running later than it should – I had been chalking it up to severe stress, but figured it couldn’t hurt to mention it to the doctor, who asked the nurse to tack on a test of my hCG levels to my bloodwork.

The doctor called me three days later, while I was sitting in my old childhood bedroom at my parents’ house, to tell me that the blood test came back positive. It was not a difficult decision – I knew immediately that I would have another abortion.

I had had a very early miscarriage that would have been an abortion in May 2017 (5w1d), and an abortion in November 2018 (5w2d), just shy of three years prior to this, so I was upset that I was in this situation again, but I was strangely very calm – probably because I had been in this situation before, I knew what to do and I knew that the situation would be resolved fairly quickly. I count myself very lucky that I live somewhere where abortion access is readily available and I have the financial resources available to me that make abortion care financially accessible to me.

I was able to make an appointment for the very next day. I wound up doing the medication abortion this time around – I had a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) procedure the first time, but they weren’t able to complete the procedure this time (I was so early that they were having trouble dilating my cervix), so they gave me the pills instead. I took 1 tablet of Mifeprex (mifepristone) at the doctor’s office, and they gave me the second set of pills (4 tablets of misoprostol) to take at home.

I’m honestly kicking myself a little for not doing the medication abortion the first time around – the reason I had done the MVA procedure the first time was because I had heard so many horror stories about how painful medication abortion can be, and I wanted to avoid that kind of prolonged agony if possible. However, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. In my experience, the medication abortion experience was infinitely less painful than the MVA procedure – it felt like nothing more than a bad period. In fact, I can think of periods I’ve had where I wasn’t pregnant that were way more painful than this was. I took the second set of pills at around 1:30am; the cramping and bleeding started about eight hours later, around 9:30am, and I passed the pregnancy at around 1:30pm.

I immediately felt a rush of relief once I felt the pregnancy pass – there was no shame. No guilt. No “what have I done.” Just pure, unadulterated relief.

We’re told to be ashamed if we need even one abortion, never mind more than one. The fact is, IT IS NORMAL TO NEED MORE THAN ONE ABORTION. You and I are not the first nor the last people who will need more than one abortion.

I have had two abortions, and I am not ashamed. I made the choices that were right for me and for my life, and I will do so all over again if I ever find myself pregnant again.


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