“When I found out I was pregnant in November of 2016, I was 18 years old and in my college dorm room with my boyfriend. My first thought was HOW? We had used protection literally every single time we'd ever had sex and hadn't ever noticed a breakage in any of the condoms we'd used. I had always known that condoms weren't 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy, but I always thought it meant that they could break, not that pregnancy could happen even without a condom breaking.
My second thought was that my parents could NEVER find out. No matter what, they couldn't ever know about it. To this day, they still don't know. They would be so disappointed in me and might even stop paying for my tuition. Being 18 and a freshman in college, I was in no position to have a baby. This broke my heart, because I'd always pictured my reaction to seeing a positive pregnancy test would be a happy one, not a devastated one. I was terrified.
I've had panic disorder for several years, but I have never had a panic attack as severe as the one I had when I found out I was pregnant. I hyperventilated for 13 straight hours. I knew I wasn't going to keep the pregnancy, but I was still so terrified. I've been pro-choice my entire life, but I'd never actually learned in detail what an abortion was like, so I had no clue what to do.
While I panicked and freaked out, my boyfriend searched online for the nearest Planned Parenthood that performed abortions and scheduled a consultation for me (I am so lucky to have had such an amazing and supportive significant other, because I know that there was no way I could have made that phone call without bursting into tears on the line).
On the phone, they asked for the date of my last period, which had been October 19th. Since it was only November 16th, they determined that it would be too soon for them to treat me. They said I had to be 5 weeks pregnant at the earliest for them to be able to see it on the Ultrasound, and that I was probably around 3 weeks pregnant at that time. So we scheduled the appointment to be 2 weeks later, and let me tell you that waiting was the worst feeling in the entire world.
I've had a 3.4 GPA my entire high school career, and because of the stress and worry of waiting and just knowing that I was pregnant and at 18 years old and not knowing if my parents were gonna find out and absolutely kill me put my GPA for my first semester of college at a 2.2. Those 2 weeks of waiting were absolute hell. I had no idea what to expect. I couldn't fall asleep at night without my boyfriend by my side.
When the appointment finally rolled around the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I had to sit at both my family's and my boyfriend's family's Thanksgiving dinners knowing I was pregnant. It was so hard to look everyone in the eye) I was so scared. The entire ride to Planned Parenthood I was pale and shaking. My boyfriend had to give me a strong pep talk before taking me inside.
At the first appointment, I made it very clear that I was NOT using my parents' insurance because then they'd find out and that was absolutely the last thing I wanted. Out of pocket, the first appointment was $150. My boyfriend insisted that he would be paying for everything, considering he had way more money than I did and he just felt so guilty (even though I assured him it wasn't his fault).
When the nurse called me into the back, the first thing they did was have me pee to make sure my bladder was empty before the ultra sound. They made me take a Q-Tip into the restroom with me and instructed me to swab the inside of my vagina and put it in a vile in a little cabinet by the toilet. This was to test me for some STD's. Then they took my blood pressure, which was extremely high due to my anxiety. I have a severe fear of needles, so when the nurse said she was pricking my finger to test whether my blood was positive or negative, I nearly fainted. Another nurse came and asked me some questions about my school to keep me responsive and distracted. The nurses were all very kind and helpful.
After they determined my blood was positive, they took me to an ultrasound room. I'd never been to an OB/GYN before in my life, so I had no experience with medical professionals touching my vagina, but this experience made me extremely comfortable with getting naked at the doctor's office. I guess there's a positive part of everything in life, right?
They said that because I was only 5 weeks pregnant, the best way to get the ultrasound images was via a probe instead of just the jelly on your stomach, so I was instructed to take off my pants and underwear and sit on the table with my feet on the stirrups. Normally I'd be uncomfortable spreading my legs to a stranger, but I was determined to get my life back to normal so much that I had no issue with it whatsoever. The nurse inserted the probe and I felt pressure but no pain. She confirmed that I was pregnant and showed me the fetus on the screen, which I was kind of dreading. She asked if I wanted pictures printed off and I immediately said no.
Then, I put my clothes back on and a doctor came to discuss my options. My doctor was extremely compassionate and made sure I felt safe and confident in my choice. I'm deathly afraid of surgeries, which I told her immediately, and she reassured me that because I was so early along in my pregnancy that I was perfectly okay to have a medication abortion. She told me about the different pills I'd need to take and then scheduled me for my actual abortion date.
Leaving Planned Parenthood that day was such a relief. Even though I was still pregnant, I now knew for sure that my parents weren't going to be involved and that there was a safe way for me to end my pregnancy.
My abortion was set for December 9th, and I was extremely nervous yet again. This appointment was $460. That's a lot of money for a 19 year old college student to spend, so on top of my nervousness I felt guilty for my boyfriend paying for it. The doctor called me into the back and she could tell that I was extremely afraid and reassured me and informed me that some women can even sleep through medication abortions minus the getting up to change pads occasionally. This gave me a lot of relief. She gave me 2 pills of Misoprostol and an antibiotic to take during my next meal. She also gave me 2 prescriptions, one for pain relief and one for nausea. She then gave me 4 pills of Mifepristone and told me to take them 24-48 hours later. The appointment lasted about 2 minutes and then I was free to go.
My boyfriend took me out to lunch and calmed my nerves a bit. Conveniently, my roommate went home for the weekend so my boyfriend and I were able to camp out there during the abortion. We took my mattress off of my loft and put it on the floor so that I could easily get up and go to the bathroom. I took 600mg of Ibuprofen and an anti nausea pill 23 hours later, and then one hour later I began the uncomfortable process of taking the Mifepristone. I put 2 pills in each cheek and sat there waiting for it to dissolve. It was a pretty unappetizing taste, sort of like flour and just nastiness. My boyfriend put on Parks and Rec for me to watch to distract me while I was waiting for the pills to dissolve, and then I just snuggled up next to him and went to sleep.
A few hours went by and I woke up, went to the bathroom, and checked my pad. No blood. I went back to sleep, woke up a few hours after that, and still, no blood. I began panicking and thinking that something went wrong and that it wasn't working. About an hour later, I started to feel some discomfort and cramps, and then very slowly I began to bleed, just like a regular period. I thought "Oh, this isn't too bad! This is totally fine, I'm fine. I can do this." and I went back to sleep with a heat pad to help with cramps.
I woke up to the most pain I've ever felt in my entire life. I immediately took the pain medication that the doctor prescribed me, because the ibuprofen obviously had worn off at that point. I was in so much pain I couldn't speak to my boyfriend to communicate to him what I was feeling. This sharp pain lasted about 10 minutes but felt like it was hours. All I could do was rock myself back and forth, clutch my heat pad to my stomach, and cry. When the sharp pain subsided and I could sit myself up in bed, I felt what I can only describe to you as a waterfall in my underwear.
I had been bleeding like a regular period for a couple hours, but this was way different. I rushed from my dorm room to the bathroom, which is about 10 steps, and in those 10 steps I had bled out of my pad, down my entire leg, and into my slipper. I had never seen that much blood in my entire life. I began crying again, not from pain because the pain had stopped, but from the shock of what had happened. I had no idea what to do with that much blood on me. My pants were soaked from my crotch all down my right leg (not just a trickle, like my ENTIRE leg was covered in blood) and into my shoe. There was no way in hell I could clean it with just toilet paper. I was humiliated.
To avoid anyone from my hall seeing me like that and wondering what the hell was going on, I sprinted out of the bathroom back into my room. My boyfriend was alarmed at seeing me so hysterical and asked what happened. I couldn't even answer him. I just took all of my clothes off, handed them to him, and begged him to go put them in the laundry. I took a shower and cleaned myself off and I felt so much better when I got out. After that rush of blood came out, my bleeding went back down to regular period bleeding and I was able to fall back asleep with the help of my boyfriend and my heat pad. I knew that the worst was over, which brought me a lot of relief and I slept the rest of the night.
In the morning my cramps were completely gone, and I felt like myself again. I was able to go out to breakfast and got through the whole day with just one nap. I bled for a total of 10 days. At my follow up appointment, which was free, they confirmed that I was no longer pregnant. I was relieved, but also sad.
I love my boyfriend so much, and while it was scary and I knew I couldn't keep the pregnancy, it was an extremely intimate thing to have his DNA mix with mine and I was kind of sad that we weren't in a position to have a baby because I felt like he would have been such a great dad, and I've always wanted to be a mom. When I read abortion stories online, no one seemed to bring that up. Maybe I'm alone in thinking that, but I wanted to point it out in case anyone else feels the same way.
It's now January of 2017, almost 4 weeks since my abortion, and I took a pregnancy test last night. The hormones are all gone from my system (the test came back negative). However, I haven't had my period yet. I read online that it takes 4 to 8 weeks to get your period after a medication abortion, so I'm not too worried. I've also scheduled an appointment to get an IUD inserted on January 20th, to prevent this from happening ever again.
Physically, I feel completely normal, all of the pregnancy symptoms are gone. Emotionally and mentally, I'm having a difficult time. As I said, I've always dreamed of becoming a mom. I watched mom youtubers religiously before I got pregnant just dreaming of the day when I'd have my own little family, and now whenever I see anything related to babies or pregnancy, I feel like my heart is being jabbed a little bit. Sometimes I still cry about it, but I don't regret my decision at all.
I noticed a lack of stories being told from college age girls and wanted to put my story out there to hopefully help another girl going through what I went through. Although my abortion was extremely painful, the pain was only for 10 minutes. It was completely worth it in my opinion. Those 10 minutes of pain granted me my life and body back. Thank you for listening to my story. I hope that it helps someone out there who was in fear like I was.” —Anonymous