I had a 2-day second trimester abortion at 18 weeks on May 3, 2016. Nothing was wrong with the baby.
I just did not care to become a mother, I did not think my sanity could handle giving it up for adoption, and above all else I do not need a reason. I am writing this to help others. Many of my questions were not answered in simple google searches, so I am posting this exact story on several websites this week in hopes that it can reach as many eyes as possible. Are you curious about what happens when you abort a fetus at 18 weeks? Are you just interested in my story? I’m going to give every detail. This is also going to specify the clinics I went to in Washington state. If you live in Mason county especially, you may be interested in my story. Washington state, I always thought, is incredibly liberal and abortion is not up for discussion often. However, things have gone wayward and I will explain much more throughout my story, so yes you have to read the entire thing.
I had one abortion previously in March 2013. I was 23 years old, and knew that I did not want a child. The process was extremely smooth and quick as I was living in Seattle (you will find out why a metropolis is one of the only places anymore to get this kind of procedure done if you wait too long.) It was a one day procedure and I was out in no time. I never thought about it again after that day. It was a blessing to have things so smooth and I took it for granted. After I had my first abortion, I got a Depo Provera shot within two hours. The reason that I got pregnant in the first place was that I was naively fearful of mood swings and weight gain with the pill. They are nothing compared to pregnancy, so I suggest everyone let that go if that is a fear. Birth control is the single most important thing a woman in her 20s can do, especially right now in 2016 when so many free programs exist to give you what you need for free. Though as we all know, it’s not 100% and you may still have to go through what I did. I thought that the Depo shot was my best bet after my first abortion; you get it once every three months and you never have to think about it. Except that I did, because I never stopped bleeding. To this day I regret not going to get it checked if something wrong had gone on with my abortion, but I have since heard several other people express their hatred of Depo’s “never ending periods.” My doctor swore when I went in for my second shot in June 2013 that it would be better with this dose. I couldn’t possibly bleed for three more months and the shot was meant to stop my period entirely over time. Except that I did bleed for three more months. All I wanted was to have sex again and have a normal life and instead I was more than spotting for six months straight. I accepted it almost as a punishment for my stupidity in getting pregnant in the first place. However, after I entirely skipped the next dose and my period stop, I seem to have gained amnesia about the entire thing because I never bothered to get on another form of birth control and three years later, here I am with a second abortion story.
As with all sexually active women, I knew that there was a chance that I could be pregnant. Since the Depo incident of 2013, my periods were never consistent again. I would go months without a period, then get two in one month. So when I missed my period in January 2016, I thought nothing of it. I had been up and down in life the previous three years and was now living with my family again in a tiny lake community in Shelton, Washington. There is no bus system that reaches this tiny community, unless you call what they refer to as “Dial-A-Ride” which could take 6 hours to make it to the next big town, Olympia, WA which is only 40 minutes by car, after picking up the other small towners. My entire life was monitored by my family due to this lack of self reliance. If I wanted to go to the grocery store, my mother drove me. When I started a new job in Olympia, it was my family who drove me to and from, having to sit in a parking lot nearby until my shift was over. At 26 years old, this is not where I wanted to be but it is the story of many small town Americans and if you have not experienced this, it is a privilege on your part. My job was 12 hours a week at minimum wage, and I never did get a chance to save any money as my measly $250 every two weeks went to rent and gas to get me to work. I was paying rent to keep me stuck. Again, if you have not been in this situation, you cannot imagine what it feels like. Depression was setting in and as the end of February 2016 rolled by, I realized my missing periods were a very, very bad sign.
I was dating the “father” of my fetus from November-January. He ghosted on me and I never heard from him again, but I wasn’t serious about him and it didn’t affect me until I realized the implications of our short fling. The only thing that stuck out to me afterwards was his constant worry of me getting pregnant. It was like he just knew it was going to happen, and I wonder if the fact that I was made him flee before I ever even knew I was pregnant.
My mother followed me around Walmart every time I tried to shop. There was never a spare second for me to buy a pregnancy test. Wallowing in my inability to do anything to even find out if I was pregnant without her finding out, which was NOT an option and should never be forced on anyone much like being forced out of the closet, I began to hope for a miscarriage. I read online that excessive doses of Vitamin C and parsley could cause spontaneous abortion. As ridiculous as this sounds, it was all I had. I was taking up to 5000mg of Vitamin C tablets a day and eating absolutely nothing but parsley. I never once drank a sip of water, only soda and coffee (hoping the caffeine would destroy the fetus) and instead of smoking cigarettes occasionally, I would chainsmoke for hours on my porch thinking of what in the world I was going to do. When I was scheduled to start my period in March and it missed, I became dangerous to myself. I would beat my stomach until I bruised, I tried to trip myself down a flight of stairs. As I reached a few months, I was showing and I would wake up to a tiny ball curled up in my stomach. I would just punch it as hard as I could. This did nothing, and I risked intense damage to my organs which can be what you feel before you ever feel a baby, as your uterus begins to shift them. If you know what I know now, none of these things can stop a three month old fetus from developing as it is very well protected inside of you. This clump of cells held on for dear life through all of it. I was about three months along during my first abortion in 2013, so I thought nothing of the decision to just go get it done with. I developed a system of lies that turned me into a paranoid mess during the next two months. I was constantly in pain from sucking in my stomach, wearing tight pants to keep my extra 5-8 pounds from showing and layers of shirts as the weather began to warm.
I never got morning sickness. I threw up a combined total of 2 times this entire pregnancy, and both times I forced myself to because I was nauseous and I knew it would make me feel better. I had pain in my right side but nothing worse than a period cramp. It was extremely easy to get away with the fact that I was pregnant.
I told my mother that I was going for an annual women’s wellness exam at Planned Parenthood. Lying at 26 years old was ridiculous and my shame only grew. I did not have a working phone at the time and my only option was to set up an online appointment for two weeks from then, for a pregnancy test. You can walk in at any time for a free pregnancy test at Planned Parenthood but I needed to actually speak to someone at length and having never gone this route before, I was completely clueless. I also had to keep up the illusion that I had an actual doctor appointment to my family. It was now entering April and waiting was driving me insane. I wasn’t sleeping anymore because all I could think about was how stupid I was for doing this again.
On Tuesday April 12 I went to the Mason County PP. My mother drove me the 30 minutes from my house to there. The Shelton clinic is tiny and cramped and after taking my urine sample, they confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. Hearing it out loud was like the whole world crashing down, her words were just glass shattering. Until this point it was so easy to pretend that it wasn’t happening. She asked when the date of my last period was and I, still in shock, said January out loud. She deducted that I was about 11 weeks just from that date alone, though in reality it was 14 weeks. I did not find that out that day. What I did find out was that clinic does not perform abortions at all. They will give you an abortion pill, not to be taken over 9 weeks. They did not even perform an ultrasound for me. I was given a brief pelvic exam after I told them that I had been having pain only on the right side. The quick exam only confirmed that it was a uterine pregnancy, most likely not ectopic, but I was told to go to the ER to get it checked out. Having my mother waiting for me in the car and keeping up this lie, I was not going to do that. So I just hoped it was nothing serious and continued asking about what I could do next. I was referred to the Olympia Planned Parenthood, another 30 minutes away and about an hour from my house. I was told they ONLY perform abortions on Fridays and that they were booked that week, making my appointment Friday April 22. I was then promptly told that they only perform abortions at ANY planned parenthood until 13 weeks along. Judging by date alone, I was terrified of being even a day over 13 weeks and being turned away but I had yet another two weeks to think about things.
I lost my job at that time due to my mother’s car breaking down and no longer having a way to get to work. I cried, but it was because of the prospects of being forced to carry a baby and not because I lost my part time job that was only worsening my days instead of bettering them. I began looking for ANY work in the area closer to me and trying hard to focus on that while I waited for my only option. It was going to be Earth day and I felt clear and hopeful about that being the day I would be free again, deciding to never ever do this to myself again. I told myself that I will never get pregnant again. I talked to a god that I don’t believe in, looking for any help I could get. The car got fixed, and I found a new job, only 30 minutes by car from my house now! Things were looking great. I had the interview for my job on Monday, got hired Tuesday. On Thursday morning they told me that I had to come in for paperwork on Friday at 10am. My appointment for my abortion was at 10:40, an hour away. I begged for any other option, but it absolutely had to be Friday for my employer, as I was starting Monday morning, who moved it to 11am asking condescendingly if that worked for me. I grudgingly told them yes and hurriedly called planned parenthood. I told them I was already on the cusp of 13 weeks and absolutely had to be in that week. After a lot of sighing on their end, they moved my appointment to 1:40pm. Then when asked about the date of my ultrasound I told them I had not had one and was briefed with a long memo that if I was past 13 weeks, they would have to refer me to a clinic in Seattle. Seattle, being THREE hours away, was like receiving a death sentence. I could barely make it to work and was having to lie at every step, how was I going to get to Seattle without somebody knowing?
That Friday, I still had not come up with a lie for why I would need a second Planned Parenthood appointment. So my mother drove me to my work at 10am, where I lied and said that a friend would be picking me up. None of my friends could know I was pregnant either, but it did not come off as suspicious and she went home and I walked to the highway, holding out my thumb. It took an hour of waiting, near breakdown, for someone to pick me up but I made it to Olympia with time to spare, and not being murdered by hitchhiking. I made my way to the clinic and waited, sweaty and now three+ months along, in the waiting room for nearly an hour and a half past my appointment time. A pregnant woman next to me was eating peanuts as loud as she could. Sounds were driving me insane and I was poor and hungry and about to get an abortion. The insensitivity of that woman still irks me as ridiculous as it sounds. When I was called in, I told them that I was nearly 13 weeks, in which they told me that they do NOT perform abortions of this type so late in the day because it would take 3 hours for me to dilate with the medication. Being my new job’s fault for the late hour, I burst into tears at the realization that this had all been for nothing. Gaining her sympathy, the nurse continued with my first ultrasound of the fetus while telling me I would most likely have to wait until the FOLLOWING Friday. It was then she told me that I was measuring 16 1/2 weeks. I did not have to look at the ultrasound and was only told that it was a single fetus, not twins or anything like that. Another set of crocodile tears as I realized there was no way this was happening, as I realized exactly how far along I was. I was given a referral list of three clinics, two in Seattle and one in Tacoma (slightly closer). Expressing my situation as lightly as I could, the nurse asked if I had ever heard of Paratransit. Then she sent me out the door.
If you guys have never heard of Paratransit, this company literally saved my life. There is no way without this program that I would have been able to make it to Tacoma. Did this make the rest of the story go any smoothly? No. But I made it to my appointment. This was the saving grace of the story. Paratransit is a company that is paid by your health insurance to drive you to and from appointments, for free and smoothly. There are no words for how amazing it is. The problem is that you need to have two weeks advanced notice to use this program, but I called a week in advance and I was able to successfully book it so please do not just give up, just know that things are not going to ever go smoothly with something like this as I learned first hand.
So I called Cedar River Clinics in Tacoma, in the waiting room of Planned Parenthood. They only perform abortions Mondays and Tuesdays. Monday and Tuesday were the two most important orientation days for my new job so, you guessed it, my appointment was scheduled ANOTHER two weeks away for May 2 and 3, 2016 at 8am, which I had to specifically request off and look highly unprofessional doing (but not as unprofessional as needing maternity leave by the Summer). I panicked. How was I supposed to stay overnight in TACOMA? I was asked if I had friends or family there. If I did, I wouldn’t be living in the boondocks Shelton, WA I will tell you that much. I was told it is absolutely necessary that you stay within 30 minutes of the clinic. I do not know how they would specifically check this but I understand from a health provider standpoint. You will also see why when I go into details about my procedure. So, I told them that I was not able to do it and halfheartedly asked if there were any clinics in the Mason County area around Shelton that were performing abortions past 13 weeks and just not telling anyone, especially google which was my most used search engine during this time. Unfortunately not. They have all been shut down and now the only locations are in Tacoma and Renton, everywhere else was in Seattle only. There used to be a Cedar River Clinic itself even closer to me, but they shut down apparently due to “competition with planned parenthood.” Let me tell you something, that is DANGEROUS. If they are only performing abortions to 13 weeks and only on Fridays, there needs to be more options!
Then, another silver lining. “Would you like us to set you up with a hotel paid through your insurance?” My jaw dropped. That was an option? Yes! Through Paratransit I found out later, the saving grace of Washington state medical bookings right now. I was told that I would be contacted with that information soon and given the rundown of my procedure. It would be two days, and I was told 4 hours per appointment (it was actually half that time both days). The first would be to get my body prepared for the abortion, and the second day would be the procedure. I don’t recall exactly how much information they gave me over the phone or what I googled, but they were very informative and I have no complaints here. Very professional though it was very intimidating. My story does not get easy from here, though. I was told that I was required to have a support person and asked if I would have one. I said yes. I didn’t. I looked online for absolutely any information on what the support person was needed for, too afraid to ask them questions in case they would find out I didn’t have one. The one thing I know is for driving. You absolutely cannot drive yourself, they say. Sedation is used on the second day for sure, and optional the first. Otherwise, I was not able to find out any information which is what led me to write this in detail for anyone thinking of going to Cedar River Clinics and needs to know the details.
After hanging up with them, I received a call hours later with a confirmation number and details of my lodging stay at Rodeway Inn and Suites in Fife, WA. It would come with two beds, one for my “support person” so they are paid for as well! If I had one. Even though it is yet another city I had to travel to, it was within 30 minutes away driving. I called Paratransit for their transport service and told them that I would need to be picked up for my appointment on Monday morning, and taken home on Tuesday. I had no way of knowing what time I would be out of my appointment and was told to call as soon as I found out but that there would be no problem. Of course that ended up being the day before I needed them, but I will go into more detail about that later. I did not tell Cedar River Clinics I was using the driving service, but I assume still they partner with them and that it was not a big deal.
So if you are caught up to the day of my procedure, I was now 18 weeks and 5-ish days pregnant. It still is insane to me to write that. 18 weeks pregnant and wanting to get rid of it since day 1 feels absolutely sickening. I should have been given the resources to do this months earlier. It should have been easier. But there are states that have outright banned abortion all together, or have one clinic in all the state. This is HARMFUL to women. This is where my story turns less sob, and more educational though my hard times did not end. My experience with a 2 day procedure was never something that I thought would happen to me. Who waits four months to get an abortion? Someone with no other options.
I had not slept AT ALL the night before. I was told not to eat or drink anything. At 6:30am on the dot on Monday May 2, Paratransit picked me up at my house. The lady driving was extremely kind and never asked me what I was going to, never acknowledging I even had an appointment except to confirm it’s time and asking if I had been there (for direction purposes, but she used GPS) I was extremely grateful for this. I was in no way prepared to talk about it and this service is used for ALL medical services, so there was still a chance someone pro-life could be behind the wheel. I stayed silent about my pregnancy the entire time and that is perhaps why I am writing so much now, to just release it all. Every word I held in.
I got extremely car sick on the way there, just nauseous nothing physical, but it was not pleasant. It seemed to take forever but in reality she went the quickest way and got me there with minutes to spare. I smoked a cigarette outside. I did not see any protesters at this time outside of Cedar River Clinic. Maybe 8am is just too early even for them. You enter into a small lobby area where you provide your ID and sign a piece of paper confirming who you are, and give a password that you made over the phone during your scheduling so remember it well. The women behind the counter were pleasant and completely non-judgmental. This clinic also does HRT work for people who identify as transgender and it was amazing to hear about their work there for that as well. Then they buzz you through to a larger waiting area. That is where I filled out a bit more paperwork, lots of health questions and making sure you are prepared for surgery. There was a sense of relief because I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the clinic without at least the starting process of an abortion this time, and if I could make it through day one then I had to go through day two. On the coffee table were pamphlets on how to deal with the protesters outside and a notice on the wall allows you to report any harassment. The one odd thing was that they had a religious programming station on that morning and I wasn’t exactly looking to hear Jesus rants at such an odd time, but I don’t know who turned it on and I can’t possibly foresee the clinic itself trying to convert others. I just ignored it as did everyone else in the waiting area.
I was taken to a back room where my weight and height was taken, a finger prick to test my iron level and whether I had positive or negative blood (very important in any pregnancy, the nurse said, but I didn’t bother to ask why). We then went to a room where I had a stomach ultrasound done by a technician who had just had dental work done and wasn’t speaking too clearly. She asked me if I had been pregnant before because of my stretch marks and that was a bit unnerving but I don’t think she meant it maliciously. She confirmed it was about 18 weeks. When I sat up, the ultrasound was still on the screen but from my curious glances all I saw was a circle, I didn’t see any definition of an actual baby in there. While we sat in silence she jotted down a lot of memos about it. Afterwards I went into an even smaller waiting room in the back, but I never had to wait there long they just send you there between tasks. I was then brought into a small office to discuss the days procedure where I was given more paperwork and asked if I wanted to send the remains of my fetus/umbilical cord to the University of Washington for what sounded like stem cell research. I was excited to do SOME good and apparently they needed blood from pregnant women so I signed up. There is a disclosure form saying the university may have the information of my abortion on record but I didn’t feel any threat by that.
Something to note: It can be ridiculously cold in these back rooms. Bring a jacket.
They put in a rubber IV, to be used the next day but was used on day 1 to take 4 vials of blood (for god knows what reason but it could have been anything) and I was given the anti-nausea medication Zofran to help with the “car ride” later.
I was then taken to yet another office to go over more paperwork and I was shown what dilators look like. This is also called a Laminaria insertion or tapered rods. It looked like a thick needle yet also like a tampon. A website I read told me they were about the size of a matchstick but truth be told it was a bit thinner and longer looking to me, not at all in a scary way I just want everyone to get the right impression. They told me they would insert 5-6 into my cervix which would then expand overnight (while I was at the hotel). The doctor ended up inserting 3 into me, I overheard him tell a nurse, so a few less than expected. It didn’t honestly look as scary as you would think, just imagine them inserting five thin and hard tampons into you. I was given the option to be sedated that day and I said no, I wanted to be awake as often as possible. The second day’s operation you do NOT have the option of sedation but you can either be completely knocked out or given a version of Valium. After another stint in the tinier waiting room, I was brought back for insertion. My legs were put into stirrups and I was told there would be a small numbing injection into the cervix. It felt barely like a pinch, but the speculum was quite uncomfortable. I was glad I did not get the sedation, it lasted 5 minutes and besides some obvious tugging sensations I didn’t feel a thing. If you get sedation, you need to have a driver with you. They did not meet mine though I continuously claimed that I had one. Looking back, I don’t know why I continued to lie but I think through my whole four month ordeal, I was too terrified of anything stopping the procedure. Once the dilators are inserted, you absolutely must come back the next day to finish the job. You risk infection from them being left in, plus spontaneous miscarriage can occur so you have already done half of it anyway. I was given a pad and told to wipe away any leftover residue. I had slight spotting bleeding at this point, but not a drop was on the pad the rest of the evening. I was almost afraid it hadn’t worked but a nurse the next morning told me that was a good sign and that if it doesn’t work, the opposite (extreme pain, cramping) are likely to happen instead. In this case, no signs were a good sign. I didn’t feel them at all once they were inserted, but throughout the night and the next morning on the left side I’d get almost a little pinching sensation, not painful but noticeable. Your medications should help with that.
The doctor who did my inserting was incredibly kind. I never asked any questions but he informed me that 18 weeks, while it seems like far along, truly isn’t on the scale of things. I was appreciative of getting this information unprovoked. This would be a smooth abortion, as simple as an earlier one, he told me, it’s only that my cervix needs to be a tiny bit more dilated and that is why they make these two day appointments. The whole thing took about 2 1/2 hours. I was asked if I wanted birth control and when I said yes, they gave me 13 boxes of birth control and 3 boxes of Plan B! It was a lot but I was grateful. I was taken to yet another waiting room, this one with comfortable chairs and told to sit and relax.
I was told to expect bleeding and cramping. I was given prescriptions for the antibiotic Amoxicillin, and the pain medications Naproxen and Vicodin. I was told to take the antibiotic as soon as I got the prescription and given directions to a nearby Safeway, only 4 blocks (a 6 minute walk) up the street. The fact that I didn’t get sedation, I think they just assumed I did not have a driver that day and the directions printed were for walking. As I walked, I was so fearful of something falling out but it never did happen and I was told that it is an extremely low chance. You are instructed not to touch your vagina and that was difficult in doing to make sure nothing fell out but I stuck with it and just tried to ignore the fact that inside my body things were just widening overnight.
When I got outside, I saw a few protesters for the first time. I must have looked quite confused fumbling for the directions because one asked if I needed help and I said no, quite annoyed that she was interacting with me. If there was ever a time in my life called “me time”, this was it. She asked if I was sure and I snapped yes, and she never tried to contact me again though called “god bless” after me. No harassment was observed so I was happy for that.
I got to the Safeway in one piece, gave them my prescription for Vicodin (the other two had already been sent in, but weren’t ready) and grabbed a bottle of water and a snack while I waited the half hour until they were filled. I then went outside and smoked a few cigarettes which made me feel lightheaded so if you are a smoker with more willpower than I have, I’d suggest getting a nicotine patch or gum in preparation of this procedure. While waiting outside, with several people staring at the girl with a medical bracelet and bandaged arm sitting on the ground as they walked past, small amounts of cramping began and it was a rare 70 degree day in Washington with bright shining sun. Not the kind of weather you want to be stuck in and exactly my luck, as well as trying to read directions with light sensitivity it was not pleasant to say the least. I called Paratransit in this time to request my return ride, and sat on hold for 30 minutes while trying to contact a new number. I told them that my appointment was at 8am the next morning and that I would need to be picked up at noon, still following their 4 hour suggestion. Everything was okay but I got the impression that they hadn’t had my information directly on hand, and was very lucky that they were able to send someone so soon as you normally have to make the request in advance. I received my prescriptions and took the antibiotic. In my haze I only took one, thinking there were more, and when I arrived at the hotel later realized there was only one other and that I was supposed to take both at the same time. So, be aware of that when you receive a prescription like that. You must take it with food, it will make you feel quite nauseous which kicked in just as I was walking to the nearest bus stop.
Being Tacoma, people can be “crazy” but they are also extremely friendly. I got a lot of questions if I was okay in this time just walking around the city, I must have looked so confused because I’ve never had so much concern from strangers. A man at the bus stop asked me for a cigarette but began talking to me just as a friend would and it was quite nice just to talk about things other than abortion procedures. A woman who sat next to me helped me with the bus system.
I took two buses to get to my hotel, which cost a total of $4.00, $2.00 each bus. They may have done transfer passes but I didn’t ask. Cedar River Clinics’ website says there are shuttles for hotels but the Rodeway Inn that I stayed at does not provide shuttles. You also can get bus vouchers from paratransit and most medical offices but I was trying so desperately to keep the fact that I didn’t have a support person secret, that I made things a bit harder on myself. It took an hour to get to my hotel. I read online that the check in time wasn’t until 3pm, and only being 1pm when I reached my hotel I was prepared to give my spiel about how sick I felt and needed to lie down but there was no real need as they were very considerate. They will ask for your ID at the desk and if they ask for anything else, just tell them that there is a debit card already on file and they will see it, billed to Paratransit. Even though I’d booked the room for two people, there was no question about my lack of a person and I received one key card. As soon as I got to the air conditioned room, I ate more and took 1 Vicodin. I did not take the Naproxen as the pharmacist had said it was just another pain pill so I wanted to keep the medications to a minimum. As it had been nearly 24 hours since I last slept at this point, I took the opportunity to in my quiet room and watched some free television. There was a continental breakfast at 6am but I was not allowed to eat within 6 hours of my appointment time. You cannot even have water 2 hours prior to your morning’s appointment, so make sure you get hydrated throughout the night and the rule of thumb is to just eat no later than midnight.
I woke up about 4 hours later to some cramping. My stomach was very swollen and hard, more so than it had been as I was beginning to show my pregnancy I was so far along. I took another Vicodin and went back to sleep around 6pm and that was the last one I took until the next afternoon. As I mentioned, I had no bleeding at all. I checked my pad every time I went to the bathroom, but this is a good sign.
Around 8:30pm I got my call from the clinic. She asked if I had anyone with me, I lied again and said my mother was there. She made sure she had her contact information (I gave a fake number) and then asked me how I was feeling, etc. She gave me more descriptions of my medication, telling me that the Naproxen is to be taken every 12 hours but if you take one right after your appointment, you can take one again that night, and it works in sync with the Vicodin to help heal pain. I took one right then while she continued talking, but I never needed anything more as the cramping had subsided almost entirely at this point. I had a swollen belly was all. Once again without provocation, she was sure to inform me that my fetus had not felt anything during this procedure, that it was still too early for any receptions to it’s brain and that is why it is still legally okay up to 24 weeks. I was just happy I wasn’t that far along. I had no real emotional response to this whole thing, I never cried except the times I was told I would have to carry it longer. She then told me that the remains would be disposed of with a type of cremation and spread in Utah, which I thought was quite random but did make me feel better at the time. She said if I was not comfortable with that, other arrangements could be made, but I didn’t need them so I didn’t ask what they were. She made sure I knew she would be there all night if anything, even just more cramping, occurred. Heavy bleeding (filling two pads in an hour) was also a warning sign, but that never happened to me. After we hung up, I slept on and off all night and woke up at 6am to check out and take the bus back to the clinic. Another $4.00 because I forgot to ask for a transfer again, but it was okay. $8 was all this whole ordeal was costing me so I am in no position to complain.
While leaving the hotel, a man in a passing car asked if I was good. I seriously don’t know what kept giving it off but I felt the concern of the universe around me. I just smiled and nodded. A man at the bus stop tried talking to me and asked what time the next bus came but when I wasn’t interested in conversing that early, he quite literally disappeared. Just wasn’t there the next minute. Some creepy things happened too of course, being a strange city you don’t know which is why I urge that this metropolis being the only place you can get an abortion thing being so downright awful. As I was passing a bus stop a block up the clinic, a man tried to stop me. I kept walking and went down the alleyway. A man in a car stopped me a minute later, asking me repeatedly if I needed a ride and why I was alone in an alleyway and “did I see all the meth heads up the road? You don’t need to be out here.” I was literally 5 feet from the clinic at this point. Not something that most people would view as safe. If I didn’t grow up in the D.C. area I may not have known exactly what to do.
I saw no protesters at 8am again, they must really be late starters.
They let me directly in that morning, giving me another medical bracelet. There was no religious programming on that morning, but the TV wasn’t on at all. When I arrived, of course they kept asking about my driver. One was absolutely needed today and I just kept telling them I had one and everything proceeded as normal. They didn’t ask to meet them but I know they were skeptical and I can’t express how nerve wrecking it was to have to lie because you have no one in your life to support this decision with you. They just asked for their number and I gave a fake one.
I was taken to the back room where my weight was taken again but no finger prick this time. I went to the waiting room with comfortable chairs and had my blood pressure taken again (they did this several times throughout each appointment as well as in the room where your weight is taken and while procedures are being done). I was given two Misoprostol tablets, aka Cytotec, to be held on each side of my cheek until they dissolved. This medication alone causes a miscarriage but being so far alone, you still need the suction and removal which I read online also may be done with forceps this late in a pregnancy. It was quite chalky and cramping started about the time the pills dissolved which can take 20-30 minutes. I was given a small Dixie cup of water to swallow it down though they had dissolved almost entirely by then, and they had me use the bathroom one last time where I drank more water from the faucet. It is a bathroom with two stalls and no lock on the door but nobody ever followed me in. I vaguely remember beginning to spot at this time.
I met about a dozen different nurses and doctors, only two were the same both days, all whom were amazing. An anesthesiologist took four more vials of blood, again for who knows what reason, and gave me a small dose of the Valium type sedation. I was then told a run down of the procedure but I was already losing memory (amnesia is a very common symptom of this) and can only remember that it would take about 15 minutes and it was very simple. I was then given the remainder of the Valium type sedation and I don’t remember anything, not even her taking the needle out. Suddenly a nurse was slowly having me sit up and put on a pair of underwear and a new pad. When I stood up, I was surprised at exactly how much blood was on the table/sheets. I remember asking her if it had happened already, that’s how dazed I was. I was talking gibberish and asked if they knew the gender of the baby but I never found out and don’t know why I asked this at such an odd time. I was convinced until writing this that I fell asleep but I now believe it was just amnesia and the medication wore off about then, I don’t think I did fall asleep necessarily.
In the comfortable chair waiting room I was very thirsty but was not permitted to drink water yet. I snuck to the bathroom several times and drank from the faucet as I felt that I would pass out without it. The nurse told another girl that water, especially cold, would only make her nauseous so I trust her judgement but personally I needed that faucet water and it did make me feel better. I was given another pad and told to check my old one for anything odd, but just bright period-like blood for me. A girl next to me apparently had brown “old blood” that was clotting a bit worse. I felt bad for her but she seemed to be doing well, dozing off. She was required to stay up to two more hours while I was already being discharged at that moment.
I did continually fall asleep in the waiting room while waiting for my “mother” to show up. I was discharged a lot quicker than others around me and it was only 10am, still two hours to go until Paratransit was to come. I was given some saltine crackers and a dixie cup of cold water after a bit of time. I asked if I could just go stand outside (I wanted a cigarette) and I was told no. This is where it is important if you have lied to them, as I have, up until now to make sure you have SOMEONE come for you even if it is the Paratransit driver. So I called them when the nurse left the room and asked them to come earlier. They said they would be there in 30 minutes. An hour later, around 11am, I called and told them nobody had shown up and that I wasn’t sure if they knew they were supposed to come in and let me out. I was feeling anxious at this point, I wanted to go home. They told me that it would still be at my original time, noon, and I disappointingly hung up. About 20 minutes later to my surprise I heard that “my ride” was here. I never got any grief about the fact that I had been lying, though I did quite literally run out of the door, and it wasn’t my mother but I did feel guilty and I urge anyone who has support in their life to use them in this instance. The clinic does everything they can for you but if you don’t have a support system, just do something like I did.
The Paratransit driver was great, he never spoke about what appointment I had or anything, though when we were leaving a protester asked me if she could give me a pamphlet. I told her no and she asked if I was sure again, I snapped that I knew the difference between yes and no and she told me “god bless” as I got in the van and went home to forget this whole ordeal. I slept almost the whole drive there. Cars were not my friend this trip.
The next 24 hours I bled like a normal period, passing small amounts of tissue with every bathroom break. This is expected to continue for a few weeks.
I was never asked once why I wanted the abortion, only how sure I was and if I had a support team. Cedar River Clinics is absolutely an amazing clinic but there is nothing about this that went the way that I planned. I had to lie at every opportunity because of my circumstances and the fact that Washington state has closed all clinics but those close to the metropolis. Planned Parenthood only does the BASICS of abortion help. If you are unlucky enough to not know you are pregnant until it is passed 9 weeks, over two months, or find yourself 13 weeks along, you are put into an almost impossible situation. Things need to change. Dramatically. The fact that “competition from planned parenthood” has shut down clinics that helped a larger audience is absolutely ridiculous. I am also extremely angry at the fact that every single appointment I had at each place was nearly two weeks between each other. In a pregnancy, time is absolutely EVERYTHING. Having a clinic open only 1 to 2 days a week is beyond harmful. A lack of a support system can nearly destroy a person. I urge everyone to realize that one to three clinics in each state is not enough.