(I apologize in advance for the length of my story! I wanted to provide as detailed an account as possible so anyone who is considering an abortion will know what to expect.)
I was 20 and sitting on the bathroom floor when I saw the little pink plus sign.
I grew up in a fairly liberal, non-religious family (neither of my parents is originally from Mississippi, they relocated for military reasons). Despite the hordes of abstinence-only educators that spoke at my high school and bombarded us with the idea that sex before marriage was a sin, I became very pro-choice. As a teenager I served as a volunteer escort to many girls at the Jackson, MS, clinic, where pro-life protesters jeered and waved bloody fetus dolls at young girls who were already making a tough and emotionally taxing decision.
I didn't want children and honestly, my boyfriend at the time was not the man I wanted to be linked to for the rest of my life. That same day I called and made the appointment at the closest Planned Parenthood in Memphis, TN.
I told my boyfriend, and he was more shaken up than I was. I was matter-of-fact, stating that we were both poor students and having a baby would make life 20x more difficult. Plus, I added, it was my body and my decision, and if he didn't support me I would STILL have the procedure. I asked him to split the cost of the procedure and he reluctantly agreed. He also accompanied me to the clinic.
I had to get a blood sample and send it to Planned Parenthood before the abortion could take place. I went to my university's student health clinic and was honest about why I was there. The nurses were not only rude, but tried over and over to get me to change my mind. I became afraid that they wouldn't even administer the test but eventually they did.
I scheduled my appointment early in the morning. As we drove to the clinic I felt almost no fear or nervousness, just impatience to get it over with. My boyfriend barely spoke to me and got mad that I seemed so unaffected. I replied that to me, it wasn't a baby yet and it wasn't like he was going to have to have the surgery anyway. I was peeved he was trying to guilt me but it only reinforced my decision. Why would I want to have a baby with someone like that?
We arrived at the clinic. Surprisingly there were no protesters. The only person outside was a super nice female police officer who walked us to the door.
I was surprised by how nice the Planned Parenthood in Memphis looked! It looked like a normal doctor's office, with vending machines and a beautiful mural painted on the wall. All the nurses wore pink and brown polka-dotted scrubs. It was so lovely and cheerful, and it made me feel safer and well taken care of.
Once inside we signed in and were taken to the payment window. I was asked if I wanted surgical or pill abortion. I decided on surgical (I didn't want to see whatever was going to come out of me). Afterwards I was almost immediately admitted.
What followed were a series of what I can only assume were supposed to be deterrents. I spoke to two or three different counselors who told me about protection (we had been using condoms and pill bc when it happened) and alternatives to abortion and kept asking, "Are you sure?" Uh, I don't think I would've paid all that money if I wasn't sure! I also had to watch a video about the process so I would know what to expect. (The video was actually really cool.)
FINALLY I was led into pre-surgery, where I was given painkillers and told to wait half-an-hour for them to kick in. Anticipating this I also brought migraine pills to increase the numbness.
From there things moved rather quickly. I was put on a table by a nice nurse and the doctor, a sweet older man with a soothing voice, instructed me to lay back and spread my legs. I heard some clicking and a vacuum sound as he warned me that there would be some intense pressure. The nurse offered me her hand to hold if I needed it.
Suddenly I felt A LOT of pressure and pain. I hadn't expected it to hurt so much. I remember yelping in surprise and asking the nurse if I could hold her hand. I tried to stay still but the cramping and suction made me arch my back and yell a little. Despite that it was over very quickly and the doctor said I did a good job. He smiled and said that everything went well and the nurse would show me to the recovery room.
It was a really nice room. I was a little foggy from the medicine but from what I can remember, the nurse put me in a cozy reclining chair with a warm blanket and a glass of sprite. There were other girls there too, though most of us were absorbed in our own thoughts.
I was given orders to rest, take the anti-biotics they provided me with, and come back for a check-up to make sure everything had come out of me. We left and I spent most of the ride home (and the rest of the day) sleeping.
By the next day I felt fit as a fiddle! The check up went well too and I put it all behind me.
I am neither ashamed nor proud of my abortion. I never told anyone and do not regret it. I am SO GLAD I didn't have a baby with my boyfriend at the time (he turned out to be a total loser anyway). We broke up the following fall.
Please don't be afraid to make this decision for yourself. I hope my story can help other girls make an informed and safe decision concerning their unwanted pregnancy.