by Inside (Chicago)
Ladies, your abortion experience will be much more pleasant if you chose a place where the staff and doctor are caring, compassionate, and understanding of what you’re going through. Women seeking out an abortion are already going through enough emotionally (or so I’d like to think), the last thing they need is for their termination to be a traumatizing experience.
I terminated my pregnancy just yesterday, and I’m still coming to terms with my loss. And I call it a loss because there was a lot of love in my heart for this little pea in a pod. But due to my current circumstances, this child would not be able to receive the love and care that it deserved. Even following through with the pregnancy to later give up the child for adoption wasn’t an option in itself. Terminating my pregnancy was a better choice than bringing a child into the world that I could not take care of, and on the contrary of what many pro-lifers believe, it was a tough decision that I made with a sad and aching heart.
On the same day that I took my pregnancy test at Planned Parenthood, I made my appointment at a clinic for the following week, for my termination. My boyfriend and I spent the rest of that week very sad, very emotional. I had decided on a medical abortion, but after reading up on how much it hurts to pass the clots, I called the clinic back and opted for a sedated surgical termination instead. I tried not to do too much research or look too much into the development of the fetus (I was four weeks along), even though I wanted all the details on what was gonna happen to my little embryo. I spent that whole week crying and in mourning, and the worst part was not being able to tell ANYONE what was going on. Abortion is still a very much taboo topic, and telling someone you terminated your pregnancy isn’t as simple as telling them that you caught a cold. Maybe I’m just more emotional than most, but this is some pretty intense stuff for me.
So yesterday, my boyfriend and I were at the clinic at noon. I remember being calm, finally glad that the big day was here and that it would all be over with soon. The waiting room was full of men, and I waited three long hours to be seen by the counselor. She was super nice and very comforting. One fear that I had was that the staff was gonna condone my decision and try to talk me out of it, but they were super supportive. And they gave me this feeling that what they do isn’t as dreadful as I was thinking. It’s a simple medical procedure, easy as 1-2-3.
I bombarded this counselor with questions. How big or small was the embryo? Would it feel pain? What happens with the remain of the pregnancy? I asked her if I could keep the little embryo in a jar or something, but she said that the remains were sent to a lab for testing, that they just don’t discard it like nothing. That made me feel a whole lot better. I was trusting my little embryo to these people, and I felt like I was in good hands. I felt so good, in fact, that I opted to be awake during the procedure, since I wasn’t gonna hear the machine or all the sucking, and since she described the cramping during the process as “tolerable”.
After speaking with the counselor, I peed in a cup, then went to change into a blue gown-thing. I went to a room with about five other girls (they looked to be no older than eighteen or nineteen), and everybody was very quiet, very afraid. I got called in to take my height and blood pressure, then they sent me to another room for an ultrasound. This was when things turned ugly. I was just waiting on the ultrasound technician, then I suddenly heard a woman next door screaming bloody murder. She even added, “TAKE IT OUT! IT HURTS TOO MUCH!” I was really hoping that wouldn’t be me. Next, twenty minutes went by and still no technician. Then thirty. Then fourty. Finally, a nurse came into the room and apologized for the wait, but there had been a medical emergency with a patient. I felt bad for that screaming lady, she was the first person that I thought about. After a whole hour, the ultrasound technician finally came. Again, she was nice and super friendly. I told her that I didn’t want to see the ultrasound, which she was totally ok with. I then asked her about the cramping while being awake during the procedure, and she said “On a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain imaginable, it’s about a three.” So I was confident that I could do this.
After the ultrasound, I was sent to the waiting room, where a couple of other women were waiting in their little blue gowns. I don’t remember who started talking first, but I found myself in deep conversation with them. All of us were in steady, committed relationships; we already had two or more kids, we were practicing safe sex, and our method of birth control had failed us, which lead us to sitting together in that waiting room. So, pro-lifers, take note: pro-choice people don’t go around getting abortions at the first chance they get. Many of us are caring, compassionate people that believe that when you’re pro-choice, you can very well choose life. But unfortunately, none of us could choose life that day, mostly due to circumstances beyond our control.
Due to the emergency that I described earlier, the doctor had to escort the patient to another hospital. So we waited three whole hours in that room, and we were getting hungry, antsy, anxious, angry, and impatient. I kept thinking of my boyfriend in the waiting room, wondering just what was going on. After the doc finally came back, he came into the room and apologized for what happened, and said that he was gonna prep up and get everybody started. It was already 7PM.
A nurse called me into the same room where I got my ultrasound, and said that she was gonna put local anesthesia to my cervix. Four little injections, she said, and she said that it wasn’t gonna hurt more than a bee sting. My bloody foot. Those shots hurt so bad. I was at the brink of tears. The nurse was, at the very least, nice and apologetic about it. I limped back to the waiting room, and came to find out that I was having cramps from the shot. Not too bad, but uncomfortable nonetheless.
Half an hour later, I got called in. This nurse introduced herself and asked me to lay down, and since the room was pretty chilly, she put a blanket over me. She must had seen a worried look on my face, because she asked if I was ok. I told her, “I’m just afraid this is really gonna hurt.” She told me that every woman was different, some felt a whole lot of pain while others didn’t feel a thing.” Then I asked, “If I’m feeling much more pain than I can handle, can I ask the doctor to stop and take a break?” She said that I absolutely could, which was comforting.
Then the doctor came and introduced himself, and he asked, “Are you aware that you’re gonna feel cramping during the process?” I asked him how bad exactly, and he said, “More like on the worst day of your menstrual period.” So he prepped me up, said that he was gonna begin, and began. The cramps were pretty tolerable at first, but then I was sent into he worst pain I ever felt, like someone was ripping my insides open. I screamed my head off and the tears were falling down, then the doctor stopped and had the nerve to says, “You need to stop screaming and control yourself. I’m not gonna do this procedure on you if you’re screaming.” I was shaking, crying, in distress, the nurse gave me tissues and some comfort, then I asked to be put to sleep, because the pain was much worse than I had anticipated. The douchebag doctor then said, “So you want to be put to sleep? Did you even pay for that? We’re only gonna put you under after you’ve made your payment.” I couldn’t believe this guy. Here was a patient in agony and distress, and all he could think about was getting paid.
Luckily, the nurse didn’t think twice and fetched the anesthesiologist. As soon as he came in, he said, “I heard your screams, I knew I was gonna have to come in here, so here I am, and I’m gonna take care of you.” Man, what a sweetheart. After he hooked me up to the IV, he wished me luck and walked out. I don’t remember when I fell asleep, but I do remember waking up. I heard someone say next to me, “So you opted to be put to sleep after all.” I looked to the side and saw one of the girls that I’d been talking to in the waiting room. Then the ultrasound technician came and drew this curtain to separate us, then she asked me how I was feeling. I told her how much of a douchebag the doctor was being, and that the nurse in the room was a witness, then she said that she was gonna have me speak to the supervisor. I asked her how long I’d been knocked out for, and she said only five minutes. Felt like five whole hours!
I stayed in bed for another five minutes, then a nurse helped me off the bed and gave me some granny panties with a pad. I sat in the recovery room for a bit, then I talked to the discharge nurse. I told her what had happened with the doctor, and she said that the supervisor was on her way to talk to me. I changed into my clothes, got some antibiotics, and realized that I couldn’t really believe it was all over and that I was no longer pregnant. My uterus did feel much lighter, but it kinda felt like I had forgotten on a psychological level what it’s like to not be pregnant.
I talked to the supervisor, who was appalled and how I had been treated, and guaranteed me that she was gonna speak with the doctor. I walked out of the clinic at 8:30PM. I was so glad that it was all finally over. There was no cramping, and very minimal spotting. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about a surgical abortion, please opt to be put to sleep. Pain is very easy to underestimate when you’re not going through it yourself. My termination experience would had been a million times better had I been put to sleep to begin with. So make sure you entrust your body and your emotions to nice people who care about what you’re going through. I would go to that same clinic again if given the choice, but I would NOT deal with that doctor again.
As for me, there are no regrets about my decision, but I am heartbroken that such a decision had to be made. I think of that little embryo and wonder what it would had grown into, if it was gonna be a boy or a girl, what hugging him or her would be like, what their voice would had sounded like. I feel like a part of my heart went with my little pea when I sent it back to the Universe, but since I’m a woman of great faith, I believe that little spirit is with God right now.