Just Because It’s Sad or Hard Doesn’t Mean It’s Wrong
My abortion story begins a long time before my actual abortion. I am infertile. To control if or when I get periods, I take the pill. None of my hormones work right so when I don’t get a period, there’s no way to know I’m pregnant unless I pee on a stick. I underwent almost a year of fertility treatments with an ex when we tried to get pregnant 9 years ago. I’ve peed on a lot of sticks and they’ve never been positive. But when I started feeling nauseous and having breast pain I thought “what the hell, I know I’m not, but let’s just rule this out,” only this time, it was positive. The kicker was that my boyfriend and I had only been dating a month. I knew I was pregnant at only 3 weeks, a week before what would have been ‘the missed period’, only one week after conception. While on the pill, he had done in two weeks what no one had ever done. And it was brutal. Constant nausea, dizziness, headaches… I ask myself sometimes “at what point does improbable become impossible? How many zeroes do you need after the decimal place to decide that?” The chances of someone with the issues I have and my being on the pill to getting pregnant are close to 1 in 2000. The chances that someone with my issues will carry to term and deliver a healthy baby are even worse than that. The probability that I’d miscarry couldn’t be ignored. Having just moved across the country and started a new job, I didn’t have insurance yet. I knew that my Hashimoto’s was going untreated as I had no more refills for my Synthroid. I know what elevated TSH and low hCG does to a pregnancy. See, a long time ago, when I stopped fertility treatments, I started accepting that I wouldn’t have biological kids of my own; I locked that part of myself away and spent 9 years picturing a future without that. And since then, after coming to accept that reality, I knew that I didn’t have the emotional strength to want this baby and to try to keep it knowing that it was statistically going to end in disappointment and blood. On top of the health issues and the fact that we’d only been dating a month…he was in the midst of a brutal divorce that we were trying to get him and his kid out of…not bring another into. We knew that we would absolutely love this baby. He’s a wonderful father…but we also knew that it wasn’t fair. It wouldn’t be right to force my mind back into a place I spent 9 years getting out of only for it to not work out anyway. It wouldn’t be right to bring a baby into this awful situation. I didn’t have insurance. And on top of that…we were starting our new life, our new relationship. We were working through this dark, crappy tunnel towards a light at the end. And the light we envisioned, the us we were pouring a foundation for…didn’t involve another child. The challenges of raising their kid triggered the wedge that drove him and his spouse apart, and they were together for 6 years before having a child. We didn’t want us and the future we were working towards to suddenly change. We decided that for my physical and emotional health – as well as the timing, situation, and future planning – that we’d abort this baby. We knew having it wasn’t right because we weren’t happy or excited for it…the pee test and the ultrasound…only made us sad and scared, not excited like we should have been if it were ‘right’. He went with me to a clinic and I got the abortion pill. No one warned me about what was to come. I read all the info packets and read every single thing I could find online and nothing prepared me for it. The doctor said the cramping and bleeding would start about 6-8 hours after taking the pills and to take them before bed and it would start up around the time I woke up. NO, it started 3 hours after taking them. All the info it had said, “mild to moderate cramping, similar to a period”. NO, it was the most intense pain and contractions I’ve ever felt in my life. I was doubled over, squeezing my boyfriend’s hand, in so much pain that I couldn’t breathe. I took pain meds and it made it bearable. All the info it had said, “moderate-heavy bleeding and clotting (bleeding shouldn’t be heavy for more than 1-2 hours and clots shouldn’t be bigger than a lime”. NO, what happened was a massacre. Blood soaked through diaper-sized overnight pads in an hour, going through my clothes, a towel, the sheet, and the mattress pad. It ran down my legs when I jumped up to rush to the bathroom. I had to rush because I could only be upright for so long before the dizziness was too much. Once I got to the bathroom, what I can only describe as ‘chunking’ happened. These were not clots. These looked like pieces of liver. Like a bag of gizzards. I’m sure, from outside the bathroom, it sounded like the worst diarrhea ever because it was just liquid and chunky and splashing. My boyfriend was up with me, talking to me through the door, making sure I was still alive. Before it all began, at the doctor’s, my BP was 105/53. Which is low. I lost so much blood my boyfriend found me passed out twice when I wouldn’t answer from the other side of the door. I’d wake up on the bathroom floor, my ass stuck to the linoleum with blood. He was terrified for me but I’m so grateful he was there. I can’t imagine going through that alone. I’ve read stories of women choosing to be alone during all of this, and I can’t even imagine. In the morning when the doctor’s office opened we called because my boyfriend was so scared that I’d pass out and not come to. But by that time the bleeding has lessened and I hadn’t lost consciousness again, so they didn’t think I needed to go to the ER. They had given me a second dose of those pills just in case there was reason to believe it hadn’t worked the first time. Even if it didn’t and I did need to follow up, I will never take those pills again. If I ever need abortion services again I will absolutely go into the clinic for a surgical/suction/D&C. I will never put myself or my boyfriend through that ever again. And had I known how AWFUL it was going to be, I probably would have chosen that route instead. Nothing warned me or prepared me for that. “Moderate bleeding and cramping but you’ll be in the comfort of your own home, it’ll be like a bad/heavy period.” What a lie. It’s been 2 weeks now since then and I’m still bleeding on and off but I feel like myself again. He and I feel like us again. On top of what all I’ve already mentioned, he tested positive for coronavirus and we’ve had to quarantine, which I was thankful for as I had extra time to recuperate. I don’t know if it was the hormones or the stress of it all but twice since the abortion I’ve found myself just….crying. Uncontrollably. It’s not that we regret the decision, we know it was the right thing to do…maybe it’s partly because I did want that for so long and, like a cruel, cosmic joke, it happened in the shittiest of ways and at the worst of times. The tiny fraction of me – that would want that life, that future, that thinks maybe I missed my one shot – is so much less than the overwhelming part of me that is relieved and thankful to be back to myself. Anyone who says that women just ‘get abortion after abortion and use it like birth control and just murder babies and don’t care at all’ is an idiot. This decision is not made lightly and it absolutely is healthcare. It was hard and sad and will be still for a long time…but that doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision.