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In June of 2002 I discovered I was pregnant. The day I found out I was scared, excited and sad. You see, I knew that my boyfriend was unemployed and I was looking for a new place to live. While I have a good job, I also go to college full-time and have a lot of commitments in my life. I also knew that without a stable partner, there was no way I could raise a child in any fashion that would provide a loving and secure future for my baby. I realized that I could not keep this child, no matter how much I wanted to. When I told my boyfriend of one year at that time, he immediately said that he wanted an abortion, but supported my choice either way. Once your boyfriend says he wants an abortion, nothing he says after that really matters, you know if you have the baby, he'll hate you for it. We decided to make an appointment to go to a clinic.
It was a week later before my appointment. When I arrived I was scared and wanted to run out of there without looking back. The facility was not all that clean, and the people weren't very knowledgeable. There was only one doctor, he was old and had arthritis in his hands so bad he could barely move his fingers. They took me back to an exam room for the sonogram. The technician was incompetent to put it nicely. They couldn't get an external picture, so they had to use an attachment that went inside via the vagina. This was uncomfortable and painful as she prodded and poked around my cervix. The tech than informed me that I was 6 and one-half weeks pregnant. I was later informed that I was a candidate for RU-486, being less than 9 weeks pregnant. I breathed a sigh of relief as I did not have to endure the surgical abortion. I would later be VERY SORRY.
The initial injection made me very ill, I thought I was going to "get sick" all night, and that was just the beginning of the hellish torture I was about to endure over the next three weeks. There are several pills you need to take on different days to finish aborting the pregnancy. After the injection the doctor tells you that if you don't finish your baby will be born without arms and legs. He also says the last set of pills is designed to make you actually "pass" the "tissue". Or in a mother's English miscarry the baby. In order to miscarry you must experience contractions. The doctor gives you 2 days of pills that will make you go into contraction. The doctor gave me 6 Percoset to help ease the pain. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG!!!! I was in agony for 6 hours for 2 consecutive nights. The pain made me scream in tortuous wails. I lay on my boyfriend's couch, the first night alone, and writhed, twisted and contorted my body praying that either I would die or the pain would stop. I called the emergency number they gave me and told them that the pain killers were not working. They said very callously that there was nothing more they could do for me, informing me that this is normal and to just wait it out. After two nights of what I thought would end this nightmare I began to bleed, a little. On the third day after the contractions I passed the first "tissue" mass. I thought, that's it, it's over, now I can begin to heal, right? WRONG!!!!!!
About one and a half weeks later while watching TV I began to feel very ill, and began to cramp up again. Thinking this must be normal (yeah right), at first I thought nothing of it. Within two hours I began to bleed very heavily. The bleeding became increasing worse; eventually I couldn't get off the toilet. I began to pass blood clots the size of golf balls, and yet another fleshy mass. The cramps became contraction and the bleeding became uncontrollable, I went through a pack of maximum strength maxi pads inside of 12 hours. While sleeping the first night I ruined three pairs of P.J. pants. I again called the emergency number the clinic provided me with and they said it was normal and to just wait it out.
The next day the bleeding was still relentless and the pain only bearable because I was still breathing. I called the clinic, again, and they told me that the doctor said it was a "delayed abortion". There was still nothing they could do and it was normal. I lay all day bleeding, crying and thinking I must be crazy. As the day progressed it became increasingly hard for me to get up and walk to the bathroom. I began to pass out if I stood up. It finally got to the point that my boyfriend had to carry me to the bathroom, because I could no longer stand. Again we called the emergency number and they said if it was that bad I needed to come in. I asked them how they propose I do that since I cannot be more than 5 minutes away from a bathroom, and when I stand up I pass out. At this point I was distressed and angry that I had to endure such suffering, but at the same time I thought maybe I deserved it. After all, it was my fault and my choice not to keep this baby. I knew it was God punishing me for killing one of his children. Even though my boyfriend, Tom, didn't want the baby, it was my body, my choice, my suffering, and my consequences.
I called my regular GYN and described the situation to him, he said I needed to go to the emergency room immediately. Upon arrival at the ER they put me in a wheel chair and I waited no more than 10 minutes before I was blood-soaked from the waist down. They rushed me through triage, where they discovered my blood pressure was roughly 60 over 52. The doctors met me in my room where they immediately put me on I.V. fluids and drew blood. I described what was happening over the last 24 hours and the events that had led up to my visit in the ER. The next 12 hours were degrading, humiliating, painful, stressful, and virtually unbearable. The doctor said he needed to examine me, internally. While cramping and bleeding he inserted a speculum and began to pull out blood clots from inside. He then said I need a sonogram to determined what was left and what was causing the profuse bleeding. He also informed me that I had lost more than 2 pints of blood in the last 24 hours. During his exam I was screaming in pain. He called to the nurse and put me on a heart monitor. I was sent for a sonogram and again the tech needed to go internally, yet more embarrassment and pain. As I met different nurses and doctors I could tell who thought I was an awful person for having an abortion and those who were sorry for my situation. I felt the eyes of judgement and the hands of compassion.
When I returned to my room, I was informed there was a specialist called in to finish my "case". The doctor was a female, which I found comforting. She was thoughtful and compassionate. Somehow the compassion of other people only made me feel worse, like I didn't deserve it. There was a third painful internal exam and finally a conclusion. My cervix wouldn't close back up, it was still dilated and wouldn't close. The doctor asked me how far along I was and if it was a single pregnancy. I told her about the clinic and said about 6 and 1/2 weeks, and they didn't tell me anything more. I had to ask the tech at the clinic to even see the sonogram. They discussed nothing with me and I had no idea whether it was twins or not. I told her that I thought it was because thinking back, twins run in my family and it was my generations turn. My oldest brother didn't have twins so it was a good possibility. Realizing for the first time that it could have been twins made me feel even worse. The doctor told me that at this point it doesn't matter, they could fix the situation but it would involved a type of "surgical abortion" that I would be sedated for. Before the surgery I received my two pints of blood and antibiotics. I don't remember much thereafter, I woke up and the pain was finally gone and the bleeding had stopped.
It took me about a week to recover. The doctor told me if I had not come into the hospital I would have bled to death within an additional 24 hours. I was relieved to have survived my ordeal, but the mental ramifications since that day had a large impact on my life. I have regretted my decision, hated myself for ending a life, felt selfish and detached from my boyfriend, friends and everyday life. I have lost my desire to be intimate with my boyfriend; I have zero sex drive. There isn't a day I wake up and don't beat myself up about what a horrible person I am. Pro-life activists say this is the "easy way out". Let me assure you there is nothing easy about what I went through. The statistics say only 3 in every 100,000 experience such drastic side-effects. When you are one of those three it doesn't matter what the statistics say. I am a healthy 24 year-old without any indications that I would have been a high-risk candidate. I do not use drugs and rarely drink, I am not bulimic, anorexic, or over-weight, I do not engage in high-risk sex or have multiple partners, and I have never been pregnant or had an abortion before this. Please take my story and be warned but most importantly please know that you are not alone. I have shared this story with you because I feel alone, and that no one could possibly understand. I know that is not true. I hope I help someone to make an informed decision. Please actively seek out counseling before you make a decision that cannot be reversed. Don't feel pressured by your boyfriend or what society thinks is "right". Do only what you think is right.
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Posted 21 Jul 2002.
Copyright 2002 by Pregnant Pause