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I wasn't the worst kid at my high school by any stretch of the imagination. That's not what my parent's thought, but it was a truth. My biggest problem had always been boys. I just couldn't stay away from them. I didn't really have much of a type, but somehow I tended to end up with people who were less stable than me, and, as a volatile, bipolar teenage girl, that meant they were a bit of trouble.

Usually it was just drugs, from which I dutifully abstained through most of high school, but finally I wound up with a guy that was worse new than even I had bargained for. I had left home shortly after my 18th birthday following one of many fights with my parents. I was still enrolled in my overpriced extremely lenient private school until they found out that I had moved in with C. "You can't continue your education at this institution unless you are living under your parents' roof." There was no one asking me why I had felt the need to leave so strongly and no one to protect me when I was at my most vulnerable. I had bounced around a few times, sleeping under a bridge one night, before I moved in with C. My first night there we had friends over and all got wasted on gin. I remember vomiting into a trash bag and then laying in my own sick until C came to check on me. He stripped off all my clothes and wiped the vomit from my skin with a damp cloth. Then he had sex with me. I only remember bits and pieces.

Because this was high school that pretty much meant we were dating after that. We watched movie and hung around gas stations and really just had a lot of sex. Then things started to change with C. He became even more possessive. He stopped letting me go home to visit my parents and didn't want me to leave for easter brunch. He kept me shut in his room when people were over because I was a whore and he didn't want me around his friends. I became quite sick of the whole thing and after numerous fights, both verbal and physical, I decided to pack up and go home. I was trying to get some things together when C confronted. we argued and the next thing I knew my head hit the corner of the bed. I stumbled to the bathroom, dazed and vomited violently into the toilet after locking C out of the room.

Once I knew he had gone outside I picked myself up and ran into the front yard where I knew some friends were gathered playing music. I was crying and screaming and vomiting and still they had no idea that I hadn't just "tripped."

I had to go to the hospital after that incident and then I went back to C's house.

I finally broke away from C at the beginning of the summer, but that didn't stop him from following me. He would show up at my house and bang on the doors demanding that I come out. He would cut his wrists on my door step and cry and plead. Then he would hide up the street and watch my house from his car. His mother was schizophrenic and looking back, I think C was just beginning to show signs of some illness.

I had reconciled with my parents enough to be home more, but I was feeling nauseous almost every day. Something was wrong. I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I tried again and again hoping beyond hope that just one of them would tell me this was a cruel joke.

I went to the ob/gyn to confirm my results and I was 2 months pregnant. I was so afraid that I couldn't even consider my options. I refused to tell my mother but after a few more weeks of my nausea and dizziness and fatigue she called me out. I was mortified. She was afraid C would use the pregnancy to try and get me back.

I did talk to C about the pregnancy. All he said was "well maybe if you just give me another chance then I'll care about this pregnancy." That was it. I told him I could terminate it and he didn't bat an eyelash. I drove away hysterical.

My mom didn't give me a choice. She wrote down numbers of the clinics I could call and told me to make an appointment within the week. I just did as she said because what else could I do. A pregnant teen in my mom's social circle would be unspeakable. She would have become a pariah.

I found a clinic that had availabilities that week. I had 3 days to wait with the knowledge of what I was going to do. I didn't sleep, but I didn't leave my bed. The night before the procedure I snuck down stairs and cried my eyes out over a glass of orange juice and the movie "cold mountain." My mom found me on the couch that morning and told me it was time.

I don't remember the ride to the clinic. It was long, but not long enough. I stepped into a waiting room that was small and full of girls, some anxious and others unnervingly calm. Some had boyfriends, some were alone, some might have been with girlfriends, but I don't think I saw anyone else with their mother.

I live in Georgia so written into the law is a requirement that women look at an ultrasound of the fetus before undergoing a D&C. The nurse did a finger prick, took my blood pressure, gave me a paper cup full of pills to take and then hurried me to the ultrasound room. There was no compassion in their eyes. They looked bored and too exhausted to care even though it wasn't yet 8 am. There were girls being shepherded through the place like livestock and soon it was my turn for the ultra sound. The lady said "I have to show you, but I can't stop you from closing your eyes." So I did. I have never closed my eyes so tightly. I already knew I regretted this decision, but here I was.

As the meds kicked in I started to fade in and out of consciousness. I was led down into a small basement room with old couches and heated blankets. I sate between 3 girls and another 4 were on the couch next to me. Soon a nurse came down to give us IV's. We all admitted that we were scared and I wasn't the only one still crying. I guess a lot of us were second guessing our decisions as the door next to us opened into the bright light of the procedure room. They took one at a time. Things were quiet until one of the older girls said "this is my 8th." I admit, the thought of putting yourself through this multiple times disgusted me.

I don't remember much about being in the room. I put my legs in the stirrups and I saw a very bright fluorescent light above me and then I was out. The next thing I new I was in the car with my mother with what felt like a diaper in my underwear. She told me it was to stop the bleeding.

I was given a round of antibiotics and had a follow up visit 2 days later because I was planning a trip to Ireland to work on an archaeological dig. All that and I was just going to continue on like nothing happened. My mother swept it under the rug like nothing happened. No one in my family has ever talked to me about it.

I feel the loss of what would have been my parents' first grand kid. I knew I would never get to name the baby but I had been calling it something: Maurlie. It was a silly combination of things that held significance to C and I and that's what I called it when I talked to my abdomen that was soon to be empty again.

This happened 4 years ago now. I went to college after all that and I know that if I hadn't had an abortion I wouldn't be where I am. Sometimes I feel like I have an obligation to succeed because I gave up Maurlie's opportunity for mine. It was a trade fair and simple. I try to console myself with excuses: "he was schizophrenic, I'm bipolar, this can only end badly for everyone," "I was so sick early in pregnancy so something might have gone wrong anyway." There are no excuses. There shouldn't be. What's done is done.