I was in college. My boyfriend and I had been together for about 2 years. I decided to get an IUD for contraception; because while we were planning on getting married eventually, kids were quite a few years out.
An IUD was a good long-term option. I had my IUD inserted at the university health clinic. At my 1-month checkup post-IUD, the OB said the IUD was being pushed out naturally and I had to have it replaced. So I had her replace it.
A couple months or so later, I came down with the flu. I couldn’t stand the thought of food. Also, my breasts were really sore. I didn’t eat for 2 and a half days. I didn’t think I could be pregnant, because an IUD is over 99% effective. But a few days later, I took a pregnancy test that was roaring positive after reading stories online from women who got pregnant while having an IUD – all of the women online, of course, had babies now. I knew I would be a different story. I told my boyfriend I was pregnant, and he couldn’t really believe it. I was fortunately prepared to handle the situation – in college, I was really active with women’s health advocacy, and I knew what my options were. My boyfriend was always really supportive and trusted me to make all decisions.
I went back to the gynecologist, who confirmed the pregnancy with blood tests and made sure I knew my options. She ended up being a total rock star through the whole thing. Most of her days were spent working at the hospital. I couldn’t go to her hospital-based practice to have my IUD removed (it had to be removed again now) because I couldn’t afford it without using my health insurance that I had through my parents, and if I used my health insurance I ran the risk of my parents finding out. So the gynecologist changed her hours at the hospital to come back to the university health clinic just for me, to take out my IUD. Rock star. I was hoping the IUD removal might result in a miscarriage, but it didn’t. My gynecologist’s colleague was my doctor at Planned Parenthood. I went really early on a super cold Friday morning, and had the whole experience. I felt supported, not at all coerced, and I left with all the resources I could ever need. Oh – one other thing, I had to get a shot of program because I have a negative blood type. It’s a shot in the “hip” (aka buttocks). Ouch.
My boyfriend waited at Planned Parenthood the whole day; he missed class and everything. I was a little loopy coming out of the procedure but hated sitting in the recovery room by myself so I left a little prematurely to be back with him. I laid in his bed for the next day and a half because it was the only place I felt supported. The worst part was the isolation – I didn’t tell anybody, and I didn’t know of anyone who had gone through an abortion before. I felt confident in my decision, I still do, and I wouldn’t have done it any differently; but I do still feel kind of isolated.
My boyfriend and I are still together, for 5 years now. We are closer now to getting married. I had my abortion for my future kids. If I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have graduated from college with high honors, neither of us would have had the flexibility to get the jobs we did after school, and we would not have nearly the same financial and relationship foundation we do have, which will give our future kids a stronger family to grow up in. As a result of getting pregnant, I learned that my IUD failed because I have a bicorneate uterus, meaning I’m at a much higher risk for future miscarriage – it’s such a good thing I know that now. I will be much more prepared when I’m trying to have kids later.
I truly hope that no woman feels like a failure for having an abortion. I support choice in every reproductive capacity – the right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, the right to choose what type of birth you want if you choose to give birth, the right to choose contraceptive options, and the right to feel empowered through your health care decisions. Because you deserve the life you are working for, and you deserve to be supported.