My abortion experience at 23w6d
posted 16th Sep '11
First let me start by saying that although I know there are many opinions on abortion, especially late term, and though I appreciate and respect all of them, I am not posting this to be reminded of those opinions. So please keep them to yourself.
I decided to write my personal experience for a few reasons. The main reason being that today I am currently 23w and 6d pregnant- the gestation I was when my abortion was performed. I have never had depression yearly on the anniversary of my abortion. But being here today, where I was then has brought back a lot of feelings that I have not been sure how to deal with. I also decided to share my experience because although I have seen many posts about womens abortion experiences, I have yet to see one about a late term abortion. Maybe because it's so rare, or maybe because women are not comfortable with sharing. Either way I thought I would.
Now, bare with me because this will be LONG.
I found out I was pregnant just after I turned 17, in February of 2008. Charlie and I had been together for not quite a year. My home life was spiraling out of control around me. My parents were both suffering from substance abuse and you could cut the tension with a knife. It was hardly an environment for me and my four siblings to be in, let alone to bring a child into. Not to mention the fact that I absolutely was not ready to be a parent. I did daydream about keeping my baby and how amazing it would be to have my own house with my child and my boyfriend, but deep down I knew that it would never happen for me. I struggled with the decision but deep down I thought abortion was what I wanted. Two months passed and then something happend that made me decide for sure that I was going to have an abortion. It was Charlie and my one year anniversary and we were out for dinner. My mom calls my cell phone freaking out at me because her and my step dad found a bunch of birth control pills in my underwear drawer. (I obviously stopped taking them because I was pregnant, should have flushed them but didn't- just didn't think they would go into my drawers) She told me during her screaming to stop at Walmart on the way home to buy a pregnancy test. Well, knowing that I was pregnant I had to think fast. I bought two pregnancy tests, had Charlie go to the bathroom in Walmart an pee on one, which I put in my shirt for later use. Went home, amidst all the yelling and screaming of my mom telling my "If you're pregnant I'm driving you to Toronto tomorrow to have an abortion and you're never going to see Charlie again, I'll send you away to live with your grandparents etc etc". I went into the bathroom with the test, peed on it, and switched it out for the negative one that was in my shirt. I was shaking so bad handing her the test and I remember her saying to me "I don't know why you're so scared, if you were pregnant that would be something to be scared about" Yes mom, I sure knew that.
So after this extremely close call, we did the only thing we thought we could do and went to my MIL. I worked part time, so did my SO, we made maybe three hundred dollars a week combined if we were lucky and didn't drive. I was at work when Charlie and his mom came to me. She was crying, he was crying and eventually I was crying. She told me it would be okay and she would help me figure everything out. Things went pretty fast from there. My MIL's bff worked for the local health unit so she was able to help me set up my appointment at the abortion clinic. At the time I estimated according to my last period that I was approx. 19 weeks pregnant, give or take a few days. My appt was booked. It was on a Monday so my MIL came up with the plan that we would ask my mom if I could go with them to visit family for a few days. My mom agreed and I thought everything was actually going to work out for me.
The drive to the clinic in Toronto took about two hours from my house. My MIL picked me up early in the morning, with Charlie. She then drove us to a convience store to meet up with her friend Tom, the ex-husband of her bff. I'd never met him before and was uncomfortable going with him but what was I going to do? The ride to Toronto to the abortion clinic from our home town took about two hours. The whole time this Tom fellow was telling Charlie (not me, he hardly spoke to me at all) how he wasn't doing this for him, he was doing this for his mom and blah blah blah. I just couldn't wait to get there and have this whole experiene behind me.
We got to the clinic and because no men were allowed inside, I had to go in by myself. I gave the secretary my health card and was sent to a waiting room. In this waiting room there were a bunch of chairs facing a TV playing a church show. I'm not quite sure what the point of this is and during that time I didn't think much about it. It's only now looking back that I really don't think that was right of them at all. Finally the nurse comes into the waiting room and tells me the dr. will see me. She leads me into a very cold and dark doctors office and tells me to lay down on the exam table. The doctor comes in and without saying anything to me, turns on the ultrasound machine and starts examining me. It's taking him a while and then finally he says to me "Why did you wait so long to come to me?" I didn't really have much of an answer, mostly that I was just too scared and didn't know what to do. "Why, how far along am I?" "You're 23 weeks and three days pregnant." My first response was to freak out. What? What do you mean I'm 23 weeks? Oh my god, what am I going to do? What are you going to do? I didn't think he could do it because of how far along I was. I was a mess. I guess because of my reaction he thought twice. Because he told me that yes, he could still perform an abortion. But he would start no later then tomorrow so would be my last chance. I would have to decide right there. And because I was so far along he insisted to me that the only way he would do it is if I brought my mom down and she gave him permission. Oh Sm**rf!! How was I going to do that? Why did he think I went behind her back? Because telling her that I was pregnant was an impossibility. She had me when she was 13 and never let me forget how hard it was for her. But it was my only option. I HAD to tell her because I came this far and I was not turning back. So I run out of the office, to Charlie. Freaking out telling him we had to tell my mom. I called his mom and she told me she would go to my mom and tell her herself and convince her to come down.
Waiting to find out what was going to happen, we went to sit in a park. About a half hour passed and my mom calls me, in tears, asking me what I was doing. I told her and told her I needed her to do this for me. Knowing that she always told me if I were to ever get pregnant this is what she wanted. She told me she didn't know if she could give permission but yes, she would come.
So, Tom drives Charlie and I to the B&B that we were staying at (my MIL paid for it with her credit card). That first night is kind of blurry and I don't remember much except for being so worried thinking my mom wouldn't let me have my abortion and would force me to have a child that I did not want.
The next day early in the morning my MIL shows up with my mom. My mom was hysterical, reiterating the fact that she didn't think she could do it, but she would come. We leave for the clinic. When we get there, my mom and I go in, once again being seated in the waiting room that was playing the church shows. The nurse once again comes in and once again I am led, this time along with my mom to the cold, dark doctors office. The doctor starts by handing us the ultrasound photo (to prove gestation of the pregnancy) then starts talking about the abortion, how long it will take, and explaining that because of how far along I was it was alot more dangerous. He puts down some paperwork. So I'm thinking this is the part where my mom has to sign something or the abortion wasn't going to happen. She all the while is saying, I can't do this, we can't do this, it's a baby Nicole, I believe in god (which really pissed me off because one, I'd never heard that in my life before and two, she herself had had an abortion and told me if I were to ever get pregnant then I would be too). So I look at the doctor and ask him "So if she doesn't give me permission then you won't perform the abortion?" He turns to me and says "No, you're 17 so you don't need her permission". I was so, so relieved. My mom didn't take it very well though. She started freaking out. So the dr asked us to leave the office, go talk about it for a few minutes and come right back because if thats what I wanted, we had to start today.
So, we go outside. My mom is freaking out still, telling me I can't it's wrong, she won't let me. I told her flat out, this was what I thought she wanted. It took alot for me to do all of this and I got this far, I wasn't turning back. I went to go back into the clinic, my mom blocked the door and started harassing the woman guard that came out. Telling her she was calling police, that she wouldn't let this happen. The guard started to say we all had to leave. I thought this was the end, I thought she had really gone and done it. The guard went back inside for a minute. I sat there shaking, my heartrate was probably at about 200 bpm, I felt sick and weak. Finally the guard came back out and let me through the door. Once I was through that door I realized that I was really going through it, I was going to have an abortion.
The procedure of abortion took three days for me. After 20 weeks gestation your cervix tightens substancially, so when performing an abortion they have to insert something called laminaria sticks. They're sticks about two and a half inches long that are inserted into the cervix to help it dialate. The first day or my abortion they inserted two or three lamies. I'm not quite sure because a lot of time during these three days is blurry. I know that it took a while and it hurt, a lot. When they were done inserting the lamies Charlie and I went back to the B&B. My mom and MIL had left Toronto by this time. She was not happy with me at all the last time I saw her and I was not very excited to talk to her. But knowing my mom, I knew that talking to her would be inevitable. As soon as she got home she would be starting the harassment until I answered. When she did call, she started with telling me again, for the thousandth time that what I was doing was wrong, I was going to regret it. She then told me it wasn't too late and I could stop. I told her I came this far, there was no turning back. So after her persuasion failed, she started with the bullying. Telling me that what I was doing was disgusting. To think of what everyone would say. My nanny would hate me because she was so against abortion. I hung up because I couldn't deal with it. She then gets her friend, who I don't know very well and who doesn't really know me, to call me and tell me more of what my mom was saying. How I was going to regret this so much. This woman had just had an abortion and was regretting her decision a lot. I really didn't want to hear it. I had enough to deal with without all this added unnecessary stress and drama.
The rest of that night is a blur. Woke up that next morning, walked to the clinic. They inserted more lamies. Went back to the B&B. Pretty much stayed in bed the whole time we were in Toronto, besides going for walks to get some fresh air.
The night before the the procedure I was feeling terrible. For the past two days I had been dealing with constant harassment by my mother, mixed with Charlie's mom calling constantly to "check up" (intentions aren't always clear at first). I remember right before bed the baby started moving like crazy and I just felt like absolute garbage. I had never really associated that there was something living inside of me. The whole time I was pregnant I was just occupied with being terrified. But feeling all that movement that night I think it really clicked in my head. I had to force myself not to think about it because it was too late. And as horrible as I felt, having an abortion was what I wanted.
The morning of the abortion I woke up, went pee and when I wiped I noticed there was this odd, brownish colour stuff on the toilet paper. I was also cramping. I paged the doctor's emergency line. He called almost immediately and knew who it was without me having to tell him. I told him what was going on and he told me it was just iodine, to continue getting ready and come in for my appt. I showered and what not and started feeling more intense cramping. The walk to the clinic was almost unbearable, but I was too ashamed to call a taxi. So slowly but surely we made our way. Almost at the clinic we encountered a protester that had been there for the past two days- I slowly walk past him in obvious pain and he's telling me "Nicole(he asked my name before) it's not too late, you can still change your mind" I told him, No, I couldn't change my mind,yes, it was too late. I didn't need his preaching, I just needed all this to be over.
We get to the clinic, Charlie goes to wait in the park because his mom was already on her way to pick us up.
Instead of the church waiting room I am led right upstairs, told to change into my gown and go to sit in the waiting room. I was already pretty dazed, just from the days events and what I was doing. I got up to go to the washroom but accidentally walk into the procedure room where a woman is on the table, having an abortion. They quickly closed the door and I was led to the bathroom.
When it came to my time I was led back to that room where I was put on the operating table. My heart was racing so fast the doctor told me if I didn't calm down then he would knock me out. Sorry for being terrified. I guess with all the drugs they gave me (and it was quite a bit, because I was pretty out of it) I calmed down enough to satisfy him. The procdure took a while, can't tell you how long because I block it out, but I remember three quarters of the way through the doctor had to stop because he was covered in blood. It was little things like this that really scarred me. After it was finished I remember seeing something wrapped in that blue surgical paper and I just knew what it was. When it was over I was led to the recovery room to sit there while the cramping subsided, so they could check my bloodflow and to make sure everything was okay. It was at least an hour that I was in there. All the while, women were being led in and out. Some chatty, some very quiet. I remember one girl, looking very terrified, looked at me with a half smile and said "We're instantly skinny again" There were a few girls talking about how far along they are, I was asked and I told them 23 weeks and 6 days. One of them said to me " but it's a baby now " and I just said "not anymore, it's too late". I also remember one woman, after just coming into recovery was being comforted by the nurse because she was obviously very affected by what she just went through. The nurse, trying to comfort her, looks right at me and says "don't worry hunny, it was nothing because you weren't very far along at all." Like the church thing, it didn't really register with me at first but now it's something from those days that has stuck with, and really affected me.
When I was done in recovery, I went and got dressed, walked out of the abortion clinic and Charlie, his mom and his sister were there, waiting in the car. They had already gotten our bags from the B&B so we were heading straight home. Charlie tried to comfort me, his mom and sister didn't really say much. I was so high that I didn't really care, I was just so relieved that it was over.
On the drive they were talking about going on a trip the next month that we had all planned on going on together before they found out I was pregnant. They were talking about it without including me, basically uninviting me without saying it. Halfway home we stopped at Mcdonalds for lunch. Charlie and his sister went to order while I sat down with his mom. As soon as they were out of earshot she was telling me " I don't think you and Charlie should see eachother anymore, you need a break" After telling me for the past two days that if it was bad at home I could come live with her and everything would be okay. Now she was going to take the one stable thing in my life away from me? I remember thinking, she got what she wanted now she's going to get rid of me. For the rest of the ride, I felt sick. I didn't eat my lunch thank goodness or I would have thrown up a few times. The second we got into town, downtown at a stop light I got out of the car. I was not going to go any longer sitting in that car with her. I understand that she was angry and going through whatever, but what about me? What about what I just went through? Charlie followed me and I told him flat out everything she said and how I wasn't going to deal with her anymore. I walked home.
When I got home my mom was surprisingly very comforting towards me. I went upstairs and just cried. My boobs hurt, my tummy hurt, my soul hurt. I just wanted my baby back.
The next few weeks were hard. I cried a lot. Partly because of my loss. Partly because I was made to feel like this was what was supposed to happen. I was supposed to regret it, I was supposed to miss my baby.
Charlie and I saw eachother as much as we could. It was so hard being seperated from him at the time I needed him the most. But my mom let him come and comfort me when he could behind his mom's back. Eventually he moved in with us. We lived rockily but somewhat steadily together with my parents for the next few months until their addictions really spiraled and I couldn't do it anymore. Eventually we moved out and when we did my mom immediately threw the abortion in my face. I still have many facebook messages from her calling me a baby killer, telling me she wishes she did to me what I did to my baby.
We didn't talk for two years, but we've been repairing our relationship now for the past year. Those two years were the worst in my life. I was going through a major depression because of the abortion, because I felt like I had nothing. I cried every night for the first year and frequently for the next year after that. I stopped going out and talking to all of my friends. My best friend got pregnant about 6 months after my abortion and I had a really hard time with it. I couldn't be there for her and I really regret it now. But I'm doing better now. It's not that I ever regretted the abortion, but I definitely regret waiting so long. I was so niave when I was seventeen. If I had of known then what I know now things would be really different. I didn't even know what went on during a D&E until a few months ago when I google searched it. I can't imagine doing that to this beautiful little baby that is inside of me right now, but this pregnancy has been so different. It has been nothing but wanted and loved. I can't wait for my little girl to grow up so I can be open with her about all of this. Although I don't blame anyone at all and I know the responsibility is all mine, I really wish that I was able to go to my mom because I know if I could've, things would have played out a lot differently.
If you're thinking about having an abortion please do it as soon as possible, so you don't have to live through what I lived through.
Again I ask that you keep your comments about late term abortion to yourselfs. It took a lot out of me to share. Thanks for reading, if you made it this far.