Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days.
Today’s story features an anonymous woman with the handle of ShortyLB, originally published on the ehealthforum website.
Hello, I am not writing this out to ask any questions, but simply to share my story. When I was considering my options after I found out I was pregnant, forums such as these were a lifesaver. I just want to pay it forward.
First of all, I am 24 years old. I live with my boyfriend of 3 years, who I one day plan to marry. We had talked about children, but definitely were not ready for one when we found out I was pregnant. It was a heart-wrenching few days while we decided what to do. I literally cannot describe how painful it was to realize that we could not afford this baby and were not emotionally ready to be good parents. It was awful.
So after those terrible, dark days, I finally had the courage to schedule my medical abortion. I called Planned Parenthood on Monday morning and was scheduled for my first appointment the following Wednesday (two days later). I was terrified about what to expect, as I had never been to a PP before.
The day of my appointment my boyfriend and I drove up to PP. There were no protestors out front like I was afraid there would be, which was a good sign. We checked in and I filled out some paperwork. A bunch of the paperwork needed a “witness” to sign as well so I was glad that I did not come alone. Here is how my appointment went – I do not remember exact times of things (I did not have my phone or a watch on me) but all in all I was at the clinic for about 3 hours.
Arrival, check-in (I had to be buzzed in by the front desk), filling out paperwork
I was finally called in, where I watched a 5 minute video about Medical Abortions and what to expect.
I was then weighed, measured, my blood pressure was taken, and a vile of my blood was taken. I gave a urine sample. The medical assistant asked me some health questions, as well as some “counseling-type” questions such as: Were you forced into this decision? Will your partner harm you when he finds out you have had an abortion? etc.
I was then directed to a smaller waiting room outside the main waiting room where I sat for what felt like years. Finally I was called in to the exam room where I undressed from the waist down and waited for the doctor to come in. The doctor gave me a vaginal ultrasound, which was not painful, but very uncomfortable. I have had a gyno exam before, but for some reason, I felt very exposed this time. It took her a long time to find the embryo (maybe 7ish minutes), and she then told me I was 5 weeks 4 days pregnant. Before the exam, I think its interesting to note that she asked me if I wanted to know if I had twins or if I wanted to see the ultrasound monitor. I said yes to both questions, as I am a curious person. I think she was surprised by my answer. She never told me whether or not I had twins and she also never let me see the monitor. I guess I was in too much shock to speak up; I just lied there waiting for her to finish. I did sneak a peek at the ultrasound print-outs, and saw my embryo which looked like a dark circle. I really did want to know this information, I kind of felt like seeing the pictures would be like saying goodbye in way.
I was then sent back to the small waiting room. When I was called back out, and this is the weirdest part of my whole experience: the pill which would stop my pregnancy and begin my abortion, the pill that I was deathly terrified to take, was administered to me IN THE HALLWAY of the planned parenthood! Where other patients, MA’s and doctors are just strolling about. This really upset me, but I figured I was at a low-cost clinic so I really had no right to complain. Looking back I wish I would have, again, I think the shock prevented me from doing so. Somebody walking by as I was swallowing this fateful pill even had the nerve to tell me my haircut was cute, which normally I would have appreciated, but it almost made me cry because of the gravity of the pill I had just swallowed. It just seemed sooo wrong. Ladies, if any of you are reading this and are planning a medical abortion, SPEAK UP FOR YOURSELF if ANYTHING like this happens to you!!
That night, I felt physically fine, I was mostly just overwhelmed about the magnitude of the events of the day. I think my thoughts were making me dizzy, not really the medication.
The next day I went to work, where I was mostly unproductive because I was thinking about my situation, but I was running out of paid time off so I kind of had to go in. I left work promptly at the end of the day, and went to Rite Aid with my boyfriend to get supplies. ladies, this is a must-buy list for your home experience when you take your second set of pills!
* An electric heating pad for the cramps. Mine was $15
* Ibuprofen (1000 mg tablets were prescribed to me at PP)
* Anti-Nausea medicine (I got Rite Aid brand)
* Extra heavy flow overnight maxi pads
* Regular maxi pads (you cant use a tampon for two weeks, so you’ll need these for the later bleeding if you dont already have some)
* Crackers/snacks – I got goldfish crackers, saltines, and bananas.
We then went home around 4pm. I turned on some Netflix to distract me, changed into my comfy PJs and put a maxi pad on. I took some anti-nausea medicine, an ibuprofen tablet, and then 30 minutes later, put the 4 abortion pills in between my cheeks and let them dissolve for 30 min. I swallowed the remaning after 30 minutes, which was some pill chalky stuff as well as the pill shell.
An hour or so went by and I had to use the restroom. I noticed I had started to bleed and it looked like a normal period.
Over the rest of the night, I suffered pretty bad cramps, but not worse than the worst days of my period. I passed a few tiny clots, but nothing major. I bled more than I would on a heavy period day, but it wasnt crazy. I never filled one of those maxi pads or got blood on any of my clothes or bedsheets. I never felt nauseated, I never threw up, and I never had diarrhea. Only cramping and bleeding. I was sooo terrified of what would happen after reading other peoples’ stories, and the medical staff at PP also prepared me for the worst.
I think I passed the embryo around 2am, as I woke up with awful cramps, went to the restroom and bled a clot into the toilet, then went back to bed. I woke up and felt loads better in the morning. THe next day it was just like a normal heavy period day. I was able to clean my apartment and go to the grocery store.
I am not 100% sure why my body reacted so mildly to the second pills; maybe I just got lucky, or maybe I was well-prepared. I did keep myself very hydrated (I drank a TON of water), I had a full stomach, and I was taking the anti-nausea medicine as often as it was safe according to the label on the bottle (make sure you check your bottle’s label!)
I go back in a couple weeks for my follow-up to make sure it was a complete success. Today I feel great physically. All of my pregnancy symptoms are gone, as well as a great deal of my emotional disturbances. I feel very logical and level headed today and it is making me feel like a whole new person. Dont get me wrong, i am VERY sad that I could not keep my baby, but I know in my heart that I made the right choice for me, the man I love, and for our child and future children. Even though this was the hardest experience of my life and I would never wish it on ANYBODY, there were some beautiful things that came from my abortion – I want to be a better person for this little life I could not keep. I owe it to that life to make my life the BEST I can make it. I want to do so many things that I have always wanted to do, but made so many excuses. My boyfriend and I are now making plans to save money so we can be parents in the next 5-7 years. We want to travel the world, get married, buy a house, and save up for our future baby. This life that I could not keep has rededicated us to future children we bring into this world, and for that, I am so thankful for that little dark circle embryo that I saw so briefly on those print out sheets. If not for my little embryo, who knows when we would have buckled down and taken a hard look at our lives and priorities.
Sorry if this was so long to read. I wrote from my heart and I hope that this can help at least one person.
I am sending out all my love to you ladies in this situation. I feel for you. Please let me know if you have any questions.