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I recently had an abortion, and I know how much reading about other womens' experiences helped me, so I decided to give back. I hope reading about my experience will help someone in some way.

Three weeks ago, on St. Patrick's day, I found out I was pregnant. It sounds SO stupid, but it was only a few days that week that I'd started thinking that maybe I was pregnant. I was on Yaz, but I wasn't good about taking it at the same time each day, and often I'd skip the sugar pills so that I wouldn't have my period. Not only that, but I've always been irregular. Therefore, I didn't question it when i didn't get my period for awhile. I've struggled with my weight my whole life (I'm 5'9 and a size 12/14), and I'm prone to bloating, and so I didn't think anything of it either when I noticed my stomach was pudgier. My breasts were never swollen or tender (a common symptom of pregnancy), and there were only a couple occasions when i felt nauseous, and since I was drinking a LOT at the time, I attributed it to being hungover.

So, during class that morning, I decided I'd better take a home pregnancy test, just to calm myself down. I went to the grocery store and bought one, and took it into the bathroom there. i was beyond shocked when it came back positive. Totally freaking out, I drove straight to Planned Parenthood, where they gave me another test and confirmed it was positive. I'd already made up my mind that I was not ready to be a mom, so they gave me info on the PP in Minneapolis. (At this time, I was still 100% positive I was only 7-8 weeks). This was on a Wednesday. I called the Minneapolis PP that day, and had appointment for Saturday morning.

I was told the cost was $480. I'm in school and not working right now, so I told my parents I needed some money for some expenses, not telling them what for. I had no plans to ever tell them about my abortion. I was planning on paying them back later for the money and getting it done Saturday. (Thank god I have a family that's able to help me out).

Those few days were hell. I finally made it to Saturday. I drove the hour-and-a-half to Minneapolis. The waiting room was packed, but everyone was really kind. After about 3-4 hours of waiting, they took me back, where I had an ultrasound. The nurse asked me how far along I thought I was, and I told her 7-8 weeks. The thought that I could be more didn't even enter my mind. I hadn't had sex at all in November and December, and had started having sex again in January. I didn't even begin to think that I could have been pregnant since October and not known it.

The nurse took what seemed like a long time, and finally she told me she was showing me at 25 weeks. OK, so St. Patrick's day was no longer the worst day of my life. Today was. When she said that, I went into total shock. I knew deep down that my family would be supportive, but I couldn't bear the thought of telling them. I went back and forth about calling a family friend, but finally realized I needed to call home. My dad was out of the state, so I had a very kind nurse call my mom at home. It was HORRIBLE. Long story short, I found out that I had to get to Atlanta ASAP. No place closer performed abortions at that late a date. Also, it would be about $2500.

The next few days were a miserable blur. The worst was having my parents find out. It sounds horrible, but for me the decision to abort was made easier by the fact that I KNEW this would not be a healthy child. I'd been on Accutane until September (I conceived in October), which is one of the most dangerous meds to be on if you're pregnant. I've never done drugs, but I was drinking and smoking (cigarettes) like crazy. My parents agreed this was the only responsible decision.

My dad and I flew to Atlanta exactly a week after I'd first found out. Because I was so far along, it was a 2-day procedure. The first day was counseling, some blood work, another ultrasound, the insertion of seaweed sticks to help dilate, and the shot ("Diox-something"), which ended fetal development. The shot was the hardest part. It was physically very painful, and of course there was the emotional impact. the dilator sticks caused period-like cramping for a half hour or so, but after that I was fine.

The next day we got to the clinic early. They gave me a Xanax (I'm terrified of surgery). Then I got an IV (again, not fun. I hate needles!), and they sent me into a room with several other girls for an hour or so, where we watched TV while our IVs gave us medicine to help induce contractions. by the end of the hour, we were all in pain from the contractions.

The procedure was really not bad at all. The nurses and doctor were SO nice. The procedure itself was only about 15 minutes. I was in pretty bad pain for maybe 15 minutes after (really), but totally fine after that. They'd given me a prescription for painkillers, but I didn't even need Advil. It's been two weeks now exactly since I had my abortion, and I am doing a million times better than I thought I would. No physical pain at all. I bled moderately (like a period) for a week or so. Emotionally, of course it wasn't easy. The pregnancy was the result of an ongoing physical relationship (purely physical) with a guy who turned out to be a complete jerk. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't told him, but at the time I was so angry and confused that I wanted to make him feel the same. However, the deep-down knowledge that this would NOT have been a healthy child has made it easier. It would have broken my heart to bring a child into this world only to have him/her crippled by physical deformities or emotional/mental/learning problems.

Thanks for reading this. Best of luck to anyone struggling with this decision. Trust your heart.