I was going into my senior year at a small private high school. I had many friends and a long-term boyfriend at the time; however, our relationship was not stable. I was an active athlete throughout my childhood and teens years; always outside, playing hockey, soccer and running track; being goofy, laughing with my friends and being adventurous. But, that all stopped when I was 17. Everything I knew about myself changed that year, and I did not know then, but also would change the course of my life.
A back-story that led up to my situation, started with an eating disorder. When I was 16 I developed Bulimia-the torture of an eating disorder is very secretive and plays with your mind, you start to believe very bad things about yourself-you escape from reality. At any rate, I was sexually active at the time and on birth control. Yet, I became pregnant and when I found out, I was 22 weeks (5.5 months) pregnant.
Due to the eating disorder-I believed I lost my period and was also in denial, which is why I was so far along when I found out. I was lying in a tanning booth at my best friend’s work, when I felt something “strange” in my stomach. I pressed my hand on my abdomen and felt a very hard “ball,” Pregnancy test after pregnancy test, all read Positive. I do not know what my initial reaction was when I read it, but I do remember the exact moment, where I was, and what I was doing that day.
I was on the phone calling Planned Parenthood and scheduling appointment for an abortion. I did not think much at all about my decision, my parents taught me that getting pregnant young would “ruin my life” and I was going to Catholic high school; so I couldn’t walk the halls like that, nor was I in a healthy mind to be a mother. I believed that an abortion was my best, and only option.
When I went to Planned Parenthood, the sonographer did an ultrasound on me and informed me I was too far along to have an abortion there. She told me that there was a place in Minneapolis I could go to that did late term abortions, but I needed to see a judge to grant me the ability to do so, as I was a minor. So I got in touch with two female lawyers who helped me stand before a judge to be granted the “emotional capability” of making the decision to terminate my pregnancy. I made an appointment at the clinic downtown for my abortion. It was a two-step process due to how far along I was. I forged a note for school to allow me two days off during that week from school to get my teeth pulled. Meanwhile my family had no idea this was happening to me. I did this all on my own.
When I first got to the clinic, the staff were extremely nice, comforting and non judgmental. I felt safe. I was being escorted from one exam room to the other. Every room was purple and I wont forget that, because it gave me some sense of comfort. The ultrasound was first, and then I needed to be seen by the gynecologist. He was quiet and did not ask me anything, just did the exam and inserted “stents” to dilate my cervix overnight. It was very painful.
I came in the next day for the procedure; it was October 22nd at 8 am. There were about 6 people in the room with me-nurses and a doctor. A black nurse held my hand, and she told me “we’ll be done soon, honey.” In less than 20 minutes, it was over.
I can’t describe how it felt, but a feeling and a memory that I think about every single day. I am 29 years old today. I have battled addiction, alcoholism, depression, and anxiety; been in and out of treatment, hospitals, and a suicide attempt. Do I blame this all on my abortion? No. Am I writing this to make abortions sound terrible? No. When I was seventeen, I was not ready to be a mother. I made the best decision I could for myself at that time. I do not regret it, but it does haunt me for what I did. I am grateful that I survived what I thought would kill me. I am learning to forgive myself today and appreciate those who helped me, which is a big reason I have fought so hard to be a nurse, I want to give back.
The last few weeks, I have been trying to locate my records from my abortion; I wanted to answer the question if it was a boy or a girl? Since it has been so long, the records have been destroyed. I will never know for sure, but I will always wonder who you would have been.