As I watched the two pink lines appear in my pregnancy test, several emotions passed through me; joy, fear and despair. Joy because I am first and foremost a Mama, and fear because I could not at the time have another baby-- how would I afford it? How did this happen? My boyfriend and I had been so careful... and then despair because the timing was so off, and I knew my boyfriend would be extraordinarily unhappy with the turn of events.
I had an abortion. It’s hard to write let alone say out loud. It sounds hateful, hurtful and like a bad word. But I am getting ahead of myself. It took a week, a week of tears and the thought of losing a man I loved for me to come to the conclusion the most grown up decision for myself, my two daughters and my lover was to abort the child inside of me. I have a history of miscarriages; I prayed and hoped that my body would not be compatible with this fetus, just like the previous three.
I spent nights in pain at the ER with doctors telling me they could not see the baby, but that perhaps I was not far along enough for the ultra sound to see anything. They diagnosed me with a threatened miscarriage. I just wanted everything over with as soon as possible, but I could not have the abortion before I was eight weeks because I could not take the time off from work until I had enough sick/vacation leave. So I suffered through hormones surges, morning sickness, breast tenderness and the knowledge that, after all this time, I was finally carrying a viable pregnancy. I did not want to be a single mom again, and I knew my boy did not want the baby and could not handle the thought of having a child. I swayed between saying; “Fuck you! This is MY baby!” and “I can’t do this right now, I can’t handle doing this alone again, I need it over with.” My mind raced with all the possibilities as I waited for Friday, February 10th, when I would have three days to deal with what was about to happen.
I talked to my baby. I call my boyfriend Boo, and the fetus became Bitty Boo. I told it I loved it, but I couldn’t keep it. Things became harder when cramps one night in the ER revealed a fetus with a heartbeat and hormone levels higher than normal. This was really happening. I was going to have an abortion and kill this tiny life inside of me, and I felt like no one but me would care about its loss. I spoke to my Goddess, and I prayed for guidance, feeling torn between this being a punishment or just horrible luck.
The abortion process in Utah is ridiculous. There are only two clinics that perform the procedure, and women come from miles around to take advantage of their services. When I went in for the informed consent class-- a class that tells you exactly what will happen and what your options are-- I was pissed. I am a grown woman, almost 29, I knew what was happening, and honestly, neither I nor Boo were happy with it. It was hard, and for me, it still IS hard. Thankfully, the woman who did the class was an older nurse, and she sped through it. What was disturbing was that there were women from Ogden, two hours away, and Wyoming, 2-3 hours away. All these women had to drive a long way for a five minute class just to make an appointment. Plus, after the informed consent class, there is a 24 hour waiting period before they can legally do the abortion. In 2009 there were 3,665 abortions reported in Utah... the laws regarding abortion are illogical, especially with how many women seek abortion services. In Southern Utah there are no abortion clinics at all.
I was panicked. What if Boo and I got to the clinic Friday morning and I freaked and I couldn’t do it? What if I had an anxiety attack during the procedure and screwed everything up by jumping off the table and screaming at the Doctor? My sister has had two abortions and I always thought it absurd-- it is NOT a form a birth control, and I mainly believe in it for victims of abuse, rape and when either the child or mother’s life is put in peril. I do not know if Boo ever knew just how close he came to losing me, how close it came to me leaving him to cling to the life we created.
He held my hand tightly as we parked in the underground lot that Friday morning. I had a moment to be pissed off that I had to go in a back way just in case there were douche bags protesting. This was my body, my right, my choice, no matter how sick I felt about it. I have always been pro-choice and doing this made me even more so. Boo was quiet as we checked in and I have to say the price for the abortion made me feel violated: 425 dollars? How do victims or underage girls pay for such a thing? Boo told me in Europe with the Universal Health Care I could have had the procedure done with my normal doctor and it was a covered service. Just one more reason to support Universal Health Care, as a woman.
I had to have an ultra sound first and could only be grateful they did not make me look at my Bitty Boo, then blood tests, I was shaking, I was so nervous. A nice, older woman, the doctor who would be performing the abortion, tried to calm me down. It worked. She seemed so confidant and secure in what was about to happen, I felt some of the tension leave me. I went into the little room and undressed from the waist down and got on the table, Boo held my hand the entire time; they sat him in a chair that faced me and the wall so he could not see what was going on. I remember my legs were freezing and shaking, held in place by cold plastic stirrups. They gave me laughing gas, but no pain killers. The doctor told me it would be three minutes and only hurt as bad as my worse menstrual cramps. I could feel my heart racing-- my menstrual cramps, without birth control, are terrible. I had a suspicion this was going to really hurt.
I tried to breathe normally as they started. There are almost no words for what I went through, it hurt worse than I could imagine, like three minutes of condensed labor pains without a break. I could not breathe as tears leaked down my face and I gripped Boo’s hand. I remember glancing over at him for a second and taking some comfort in the fact that his eyes were red rimmed. It was the longest most horrifying three minutes of my life. It took ten minutes before I could get up and get dressed. Boo helped me into recovery, but he was not allowed to stay with me. I sat, curled, in a reclining chair feeling nauseous, with a heating pad on my abused abdomen. Tears were still streaming down my face as I rocked, thinking to myself, “I am so sorry,” over and over again.
Thirty minutes later they asked me to check my bleeding, and it was a lot, way more than I should have been. Needless to say they had to re do the abortion. They told me it would not hurt as much because the tube they were going to use was smaller, but it did. Thankfully, my boyfriend has a high tolerance for pain, because I almost broke his hand. I went to a place far away in my mind, like this could not be happening to me, this had to be some other woman writhing in pain, not getting enough oxygen, sobbing as her baby was sucked out of her.
The second time everything went fine. I was released forty five minutes later. Boo was so careful with me the next two days, and I think the experience has actually brought us closer together. I love him and he loves me. Does it bother me that it feels like this was easier on him then me? Of course it does, but that is just how life is, I think. Have my thoughts on abortion changed at all? Yes, how could they not. I am even more pro-choice, as I already mentioned. The big change, however, is that before I used to believe it wasn’t murder because the baby could not survive outside the womb. That is utter bullshit. I killed something that Friday morning, and while it was the best choice for me, I have to live with it the rest of my life. I do not regret it, but I am sorry for it, and I will NEVER do it again.