I am 39 years old, a wife of 19 years, and a mother of 3 healthy beautiful children whom I love dearly. I am one of those oh so lucky people who cannot take birth control because it causes me to have blood clots in my legs so my husband and I use several different methods for birth control; condoms, abstinence during fertile times, counting days in my cycle, etc. Two months ago our methods failed, as they did about 7 years ago.

7 years ago I had a medical abortion through Planned Parenthood; it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great and the staff treated me like an errant child instead of the intelligent 30 something woman I was. I took the first medication at the clinic then was sent home to take the second which you place between your cheek and teeth on both sides of your mouth. That medicine instantly makes you want to throw up and you aren’t supposed to drink anything or swallow it just let it stay in your mouth which is nearly impossible because it tastes disgusting and becomes gooey and dry all at the same time and induces your vomiting reflex. I wasn’t able to keep it in my mouth as long as was instructed and it took two days before anything really started to happen. I was very afraid it wasn’t going to work because it was supposed to work within 24 hours of taking the second medication. It took days to pass all the material at my home with lots of big blood clots, they did give me pain medicine though so it wasn’t unbearable but it did hurt. I bled heavily for about 2 weeks with cramping heavier than my normal period. Nothing compared to child birth though.

When I found out I was pregnant 4 weeks ago I knew keeping on with the pregnancy was not an option. From my perspective I’m too old to have more children, not financially set up to have more children and my oldest kids are getting very near the age when they will be having their own children. I want to spoil grand kids not raise my children alongside them. Anyway, not liking how I was treated at PP nor the experience of doing it alone at home, I went looking for another option and found a place in Little Rock that offers conscious sedation during a surgical abortion. I had to wait longer than I wanted to so we could save up enough money. I was 8 weeks and 2 days. The procedure was $650 for surgical with sedation as apposed to PP’s nearly $800 for medical. The staff were amazing, caring, and treated me with respect. I had the ultrasound there that revealed I was pregnant with twins, which did not change my decision only made it more emotional because I had twins that were stillborn many years ago. I knew I was making the right decision for my family and myself. When it was my turn to go back for the procedure they gave me a comfortable gown, brought me into the procedure room where there were three female nurses. They got me into the chair with stirrups and inserted my I.V. Very soon after I started feeling the room spin and asked if the nurse had already applied the medication, she said yes and that was the last thing I remember until the nurse was helping me out of the chair. I remember feeling light headed when I stood up and the nurse giving me directions. I felt no pain and remembered nothing of the procedure. I reawakened in a personal recovery room when the nurse asked if I would like to have my husband come back and sit with me. Then I awoke again when they asked how my pain level was and took me to the bathroom. Later my husband said on a scale of 1-10 I told them my pain was a 6 but I don’t remember that and don’t remember feeling the pain at all. He said they didn’t let me leave until I told them the pain level was a 4, I also don’t remember that. After that I was allowed to go home. It was a four hour drive that I slept through most of, when awake I felt no pain and was pretty comfortable in the car. I believe I read something someone else said about the worst pain being from taking the tape off their arm from where the I.V. was and I agree with that completely. That is the only pain I remember from the whole day. If anyone is reading this and is looking for an abortion option and information I would strongly suggest the surgical with conscious sedation, even if you have to travel to a place that offers it. It is by far easier on your body, and your mind. It’s over in 1 day, I have had very little bleeding, and almost no cramping. Today is the second day after the procedure and I have no more morning sickness, I had it 24 hours a day for the last month and a half so that is a relief. My body is becoming mine again and I am so grateful. I took one of the pain pills they prescribed me the day after for mild cramps (not even as bad as a normal period cramps) and only ibuprofen the rest of the time since but only because my hips hurt, probably just everything going back to where it’s supposed to be. I’m not cramping at all today and no more bleeding.

There were protestors outside but they stayed by the road and were not allowed to come onto the property and the staff stood and talked to us at the front door, trying to drown out the protesters voices, while we were waiting to be checked in through security. They didn’t really bother me, I knew I was doing the right thing, but they did make my husband really mad, and had he not been more concerned about me and being by my side, those protestors would have gotten more than they bargained for that day.

I am so grateful for my right to choose, though I wish there were more facilities available with the conscious sedation option. It is a service that should be available to everyone as they so choose. If it were men who got pregnant you can bet there would be an amazing facility on every corner. But as it is I’m glad I had access to a great one even if it was 4 hours away.