It was 2007. I was 18 and I had just moved out with my boyfriend (now husband) in Utah. I was on the pill, but it failed and I found myself pregnant. The second I saw that pregnancy test I burst into tears of fear and disbelief. As I cried in his arms we both knew I would get an abortion. We had talked about this “what-if” moment much earlier in our relationship; a conversation led by me to make sure he was alright with it. A conversation I think is important for any serious relationship. It wasn’t that we never wanted children, it was that we knew that if we were not ready we were in agreement of having an abortion. And we were far from ready at this point. We had just purchased a house and were so broke. So broke that we probably shouldn’t have been able to buy a house (we later went bankrupt during the housing market crash).
When I went to start the process for an abortion I was told that I wasn’t far along enough yet. I had to wait until I was at 6 or 7 weeks. I opted for the procedure rather than the pill because the pill was not guaranteed to work and could result in the procedure anyway. During those weeks I was sick all the time. Then I got a UTI and had to go to the clinic for meds. At the time I used my workplace clinic because it was free. While I was there I was asked if I might be pregnant (for medication purposes); a routine question I would usually say no to, but I am a terrible liar and I was too naive to understand that I could have said no. I was worried that the medications may affect me differently so I said that I might be pregnant. I was very hesitant as I was embarrassed and didn’t want my coworkers or dad (who also worked at this company) to know I was pregnant. Instantly the nurse made a big thing of it and had me do a pregnancy test. Of course they found that I was pregnant and congratulated me. I felt so embarrassed that I told her we were trying for a child (which I am even more embarrassed of now). Who knows what she thought, but it was pretty weird for me to be trying at such a young age… She set up an appointment for me to come give blood for prenatal tests which I then felt obligated and pressured to go to. While giving blood at that appointment the nurses joked about it being a boy or girl depending on the color of my arm band. It was one of the most uncomfortable situations in my life. I just wish I had someone to talk to about my choice who could have guided me away from these awkward unnecessary situations. Someone who would not guide me away from abortion; I had already decided on abortion and nothing was going to change my mind, but I needed someone to understand and help me with that choice.
When it came time to start the steps for the abortion I was required to go to an “educational” meeting so many hours prior to the procedure. It was led by a woman who was obviously anti-abortion. She was not pleased to be there and told us to not look at the packet of information if we were certain about getting an abortion. I was certain and I looked anyway. It still didn’t change my mind. It was not possible for me to have a baby at that time and I was getting this done at the earliest possible time. I am upset that so many women get packets of misinformation at these meetings.
The next step was showing up for the procedure. When I arrived I was nervous, but my boyfriend was with me for support. They had me go into a private room to be interrogated one-on-one by a very judgmental lady who I think meant well in that she was making sure I wanted this abortion and that it was my choice and my choice alone, but her responses to my reasons were not very understanding or accepting. I told her I wanted this abortion because I can’t afford a child and I am not ready. I was too young and there was too much that I wanted to do still. I explained how expensive this new house was that I was locked into and of course she thought that having a house meant that I was more prepared to have a child, completely ignoring the financial aspect of everything. Eventually she stopped questioning. I feel like we agreed to disagree.
They wouldn’t show me the ultrasound when I asked to see it out of curiosity which kind of stuck with me, as anything would after being told “don’t look”, but it wasn’t negative or positive. It personally wouldn’t have changed my decision to see it, but I know many are forced to look at it when they don’t want to and I don’t agree with that because that can be traumatizing for some.
I have generalized anxiety disorder so I was pretty anxious when they took my blood pressure, but the nurses were very nice. They gave me some pain medication and told me to get some food across the street. They wanted me to wait a little to calm down. Doctor offices in general just give me anxiety. Once I was back and on that table ready for the procedure I was nervous again. Even though this was something I wanted the doctor still had to pry my legs open because I was so nervous. My boyfriend held my hand as I stared at the ceiling. I calmly said, “ow” as I clenched still on my back squeezing his hand. The procedure itself was pretty painful, but before I knew it the whole thing was over. I felt dizziness as I got up but a few moments later I was fine and in no pain at all. They confirmed with me that it was successful and I sat in the nice recovery area for a few minutes before deciding to leave. I had taken some time off work to recover, but it wasn’t really necessary. I felt so much better than I expected I would feel. And I have no regrets about the abortion. I would have done it all over again because I was not ready. The only parts I would change are the interactions I had with people relating to the abortion. I wouldn’t have responded the way I did at that clinic for the UTI. I wouldn’t have told certain friends who bullied me for having an abortion. I wish there were more allies out there to support women who are in need of an abortion. All I really needed was support. By the way, this abortion was not done at a Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood doesn’t do abortions in my state. I’m really tired of people attacking them.
It really upset me that the people at the abortion clinic told me to start my birth control again right away without syncing it to my period. I know they don’t want me to have another unintended pregnancy, but it was really not a good idea. I ended up bleeding abnormally for almost a year before figuring out what was wrong. I even had a uterine polyp biopsy in an attempt to figure out why I was bleeding 3 out of 4 weeks per month. After I stopped the birth control and restarted it in sync with my cycle everything fixed itself. It’s horrifying that several doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and even the abortion clinic nurses didn’t know they were giving out bad information. Sex education is a major issue in this country.