I had my surgical abortion on sweetest day, 2015.
The first day, two days prior, an afternoon appointment, was mostly paperwork, probably 3 hours of reading, waiting and signing. Forms to read, fill out, sign, review, ultrasound, dressing into a blue sack dress and footies and waiting. I had to have 2 sessions for Lamidanda, many small seaweed sticks that are inserted to dilate my cervix. Insertion took perhaps five minutes. It was painful but the staff was kind and it wasn’t a horrible process. I felt faint at the intrusion on my body and nearly blacked out while taking ibuprofen and water afterwards. General feeling of invasiveness of the whole event and unease at the prospect of another appointment filled with pain had me emotional and weepy upon entering the waiting area. My boyfriend was up wandering about, complaining about the uncomfortableness of the chairs. He comforted me for a moment then we left. The car ride home was fairly miserable, my entirety achy and fuzzy with the medication I had been given. Dropped of pain pill prescription, my boyfriend picked it up when it was ready. I spent the majority of that day in my boyfriend’s bed sleeping and being generally weepy, watching Netflix and dozing in a blanket nest. There were a lot of weird sessions of crying for no reason, I blame hormones, and a lot of forehead kissing.
The second day, morning appointment was excruciating. We were up at about 6:30am, I ate leftover Chipotle and took my painkillers hoping to numb the discomfort for the second part. We stopped and the man picked up a breakfast sandwich. My appointment was at 8:30am. Still aching from the previous insertion, I was very much not looking forward to this. I was lead in, dressed in footies and that weird blue dress again. I don’t remember waiting long but I must have waited a while, I wasn’t taken into the back until it felt like my medications were wearing off. Different women this time. I felt a bit light headed at the dreading of pain. It was a hundred times worse than the day before. I cried. I felt blood running down my flanks. Strangely enough I think the speculum hurt the most. The sticks from before had to be removed. I felt as though it would never end. It apparently only took about fifteen minutes for the entire procedure but it felt like an hour. Upon insertion of the second round they had to be removed, again horrible pain, and I was coaxed to try and relax, my tension was preventing them from being inserted correctly it seemed. They went again and I heard the dreadful words “have to start all over” the woman who was inserting them told the assistant it wasn’t my tension, though that wasn’t helping, my cervix apparently is tilted upward. The table end had to be raised further up and I mentally begged my body to relaxed swearing it would have to end eventually. The third insertion felt like hot pokers searing my insides. Then it was suddenly all over. I felt faint but not as badly as before. My legs still shook from the pain. The nurses rubbed my back and brought me water, telling me I did great, how strong of a woman I was, etc. My chest was tight and I was encouraged to wait a few moments before standing and walking. I felt blood on my thighs and my bottom. I went to the bathroom and wiped up what I could. It wasn’t horrible, just startling, like I was watching it happen to someone else. I took an antibiotic pill to prevent infection and carefully dressed.
I left the facility and we went to a Walgreens. I picked up cheap underwear and maxi pads, sliding a pad into my leggings while in the car, in the parking lot. Didn’t feel as weepy as before. Just very shaken and discomforted, in pain the whole way home, burning in my gut.
Returning to my boyfriend’s house, he made a few jokes to try and make me smile. I stared at him for a moment then said “I’m going to throw up,” and opened the car door and puked on his neighbors curb. Once inside, I took ibuprofen and my prescribed Tylenol with codeine. Once the painkillers kicked in, the rest of the evening wasn’t as bad as the night before. I picked a stupid fight with the boyfriend. We went out to dinner with a couple of his close friends. I couldn’t eat or drink after 10:30pm. No drugs after that time either. I doubted and became paranoid with the boyfriend, once back at his house, he called me an idiot a few times and held me until I went to sleep.
I woke up at five in the morning, cramping and irritable but quiet. My body was sweaty where my skin was plastered to his. His hand on my abdomen made my stomach flip flop. He groaned and moaned as I got up and got ready. He was like a child whining and wrapped in the bed sheets. I went to the bathroom and checked the pad. No bleeding at all after the procedures the past two days, just a bit of brownish residue. Removed my facial piercings as well as all jewelry. Braided my hair as I waited for the man to dress.
Leaving the house, the sky was dark and the car ride was quiet except for the radio. I mentioned my mother and going for food after. My parent’s participation in this event had been minimal, of my own choosing, but desire to support was still there. The building was near dark, the anti-abortionist clan had candles lit around a postered Jesus in the parking lot over. We entered the building at about six. I watched nearly an entire episode of Scrubs in the waiting area before I was called back. I was nervous and still achy not being on painkillers had me in a bit of a foul mood. Blue dress, footies and now a hair cover. Naked and chilly under the dress I sat in a chair and waited for my blood pressure and temp to be taken for the third and final time. I waited for nearly 30 minutes before someone came in then escorted me to a different room than I had usually gone in. Smaller, the bed prepped and props for my legs at the bottom. I sat down and lay back, my legs in the holders, spread and a warm blanket folded over top of me.
The nurse was nice, two women doctors came in, patted my arms, introduced themselves, I don’t remember their names. I was nervous I didn’t know how much pain to expect. I requested the IV go into the back of my hand, as the veins in my arms are faint and hidden. The nurse said I was braver than her, she hated it in the hand. IV insertion was painful, but I hate needles very much, so I always dread the stupid IV. Needle was removed, tubing left behind and taped down. They began talking to me and an oxygen mask was placed over my face I was told to breathe normally and I don’t remember anything else. I vaguely remember waking. I wasn’t drowsy or even sore. It felt strange. I felt no movement in my abdomen as I had the days before. My lap felt damp but I was alert and wanting to leave. My vitals were checked multiple times, bleeding checked, and I was observed in a room later for an hour and a half.
When I was woke up, I was the only one in the room with the nurses but soon my bed was shifted to make room for another girl then another, then I was helped from the bed to walk to the observation room. In my time there, the girl immediately after me was able to leave first. There were three other girls there after, all younger than me. Two ended up vomiting and one certainly looked worse. We didn’t talk about what we went through. We quietly watched an episode of Cake Boss on a little corner ceiling TV and two nurses gave us crackers, lemonade and water. We had the option to sit or lay down to pass the time. I didn’t want to wait an hour and a half so I tried to doze through if but was too awake. One nurse made small talk asking where we were from, told us she was from Seattle.
Once it was time to leave, I was taken to the bathroom, bleeding checked and allowed to change pads. There’s this belt contraption to hold my pad on since I have no underwear. Taken back in the room where the after care was explained to me. Heavy bleeding stopping medicine was given as a precaution, allowed to take ibuprofen, if pain is excessive call the clinic. I was given the birth control samples I had requested and a year prescription for it. I was taken to get dressed and the Seattle nurse said my boyfriend was waiting outside of a side door with the car in the lot. I didn’t have to go through the waiting room and see other people. She warned me it was chilly.
As we stepped up to the door she told me there was some crazy woman at the edge of the lot yelling. She firmly held my arm and told me to ignore the woman and remember/listen to what I feel inside and my heart. I laughed a bit and thanked her. I have thick skin and wouldn’t be bothered by the rantings of a religious nut. I stepped outside, it was obnoxiously bright compared to the clinics dim lighting I didn’t hear anything the woman was saying. An elderly gentleman opened the door for me, smiling gently and wearing a poncho that said volunteer/escort. The boyfriend hovered for a moment, looking unsure of my mood, I slid into the car, ran around to the drivers seat and we left. My boyfriend asked how I felt. I said “fine.” He held my hand and we went to breakfast with my parents.
I had no pain for the rest of the day, except minor cramps when I went down the stairs too quickly or pain when reaching for something up too high. I didn’t really feel the need to rest or lay down at all. I went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday, I ate and slept fine that evening.
The rest of the weekend went fine, returned to work on Monday to my desk job, back at my own apartment without the boyfriend, I had a friend over for movies Monday night. The Tuesday morning after, waking up, my breasts were larger, swollen and hurting immensely. I looked online for the problem and realized it a a common occurrence. I had worn a loose cloth bandeau bra to bed the night before but then it felt tight, my breasts very pink and painful. I wrapped them, not too tightly, with an ace bandage over top the bra to keep them from being knocked around, not bothering to change bras due to the pain. The pain subsided and was manageable with taking ibuprofen. A few hours after into the afternoon, here I am typing this up, feeling a bit sore in the chest but fine. My appetite has returned to normal, no longer feeling like I need to eat until I am painfully full, no nausea after eating or drinking or smelling food, no restless in limbs when sleeping and my mind is more focused again, no more brain wandering.
I was 20 weeks along and I was in denial for at least a month. I took the test far later than I should have. I do not recommend waiting if you know what your decision will be. Waiting only makes it more expensive and more painful. This cost me $1000. The actual cost was closer to $4000, however, I am on state insurance and the national abortion federation covered the rest that I couldn’t. Donate to that cause whenever you can because women need it.
I am relieved and happier for my decision. It was the right choice for me. There was no way I am currently mentally, financially, emotionally able to have or care for a child. I had slight consideration to all other options but I knew from the instant the test in my bathroom turned positive what I was going to do.
My advice to you if this is going to be your choice is don’t struggle through it alone. Do it, get it done and move on. While on the bed the third day, I nervously asked the nurses what women usually feel after the procedure is done, I was worried about the pain I had experienced the day before and she said “relief!” and laughed, patting my arm. Not quite the answer I was looking for but it did make me feel a bit better. And or a true, the only regret I have is that I didn’t go through the process early on in the pregnancy, that I didn’t figure it out until that late. I ignored the signs, writing them off as stress and anxiety.
If you’re still debating on what you are going to do after you find out, stop listening to other people, ignore everything they say, think about what you want, think about the best decision for you. Don’t think of it as selfish. This is your life, you are the only one who can make this decision because you have to go through this and you have to live with your choice after. Don’t force yourself to have a child because you’ve been told that is the right thing to do, have a child because you want to have one. Don’t force yourself to have an abortion, have an abortion because you don’t want to have a child or you don’t want to be pregnant. It is honestly that simple.
Anyone can feel free to contact me regarding my experience or theirs. Any questions or asks for advice, I will happily listen to.
Thank you for reading about my experience. I hope this helps.