It all happened so fast. I’ve only known the father a little over a month, so I must have gotten pregnant one of the first times we had sex.
Today is Tuesday. Last Sunday (10 days ago), I had a negative home pregnancy test; Wednesday, I something didn’t feel right, so I took another… and another, and another, and another, until I took about nine total. They were all positive. Less than 48 hours after that first positive test, it was over. I’m 31 and had always wanted to be a mother, but the timing couldn’t be worse. I’m transitioning out of a toxic work environment to start my own business and live in a badly maintained, fifth-floor walk-up in a gentrifying neighborhood. And the father absolutely does not want children — he told me after the procedure that if I hadn’t gone through with the abortion, it would have been the worst thing that ever happened to him. He spent the whole weekend with me while I recovered and I could tell he was trying to hard to be helpful and supportive, but he drove me crazy. I kept snapping at him and we broke up Sunday. At one point, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I let this idiot get me pregnant.”
I’m so grateful that I live in a place and time where I could take care of this so quickly and easily. I had it done at Planned Parenthood in Manhattan. I went through all the steps of my appointment with a handful of other women. It felt a little like we were all on an assembly line, the way we were sent from room to room and floor to floor, but the staff were very professional and kind. I had expected an initial blood or urine test to confirm the pregnancy, but the first test was an ultrasound, which had to be done transvaginally because the sonographer couldn’t find the embryo when she put the wand on my belly. I almost cried when she said, “ah! There it is!” I was so hoping the ultrasound would be negative, that all those tests were wrong. After the procedure, I seemed to be in a lot more pain than the other women in the communal recovery room. I begged a nurse to help me recline my seat, but she said I was coming out of anesthesia and that I might pass out of I put my legs up. My friend, who’s a gynecologist, told me later that the pain was most likely from the copper IUD that the doctor inserted immediately following the abortion. I’m still taking ibuprofen regularly for uncomfortable and painful cramping.
The only source of slight shame I have is that we used a combination of withdrawal and condoms for birth control. Friends’ initial reactions have been, “well, of course you got pregnant.” But I’ve read about withdrawal, and it’s just about as effective as condoms — after using it perfectly for one year, only four in 100 women get pregnant. For condoms, it’s three in 100. My ex has been having sex since before I was born (he’s 18 years older than me) and used withdrawal in other relationships, so I trusted him. As far as I know he always pulled out in time. Now I have my shiny new copper IUD, which will take me well into perimenopause.
I guess I can take comfort in knowing that I’ve been having sex pretty regularly for 12 years and this is the first time I’ve gotten pregnant. That’s a pretty good track record. Intellectually, I know that this shouldn’t matter, but for some reason it does.