"You are 19 weeks and 2 days..."

"'You are 19 weeks & 2 days' the sonographer said. My mouth dropped & my heart sunk. I just gave birth to a sweet baby 7 months ago & my period never returned because I was breastfeeding & my husband & I were less than careful. 'Is it too late to have the procedure now?', were the first words I could mutter from my lips. 'We can still proceed with the procedure if that's what you want', the sonographer said. I apparently was just mere days within the cut off limit to have an abortion in my state. A few days later it would have been too late to have an abortion. 'I still want the procedure', I stated. 19 weeks & 2 days, that's all I could keep repeating to myself in the car on the way home from the first visit for the abortion. How could I possibly have been so far along & never have any inkling that I was pregnant? I felt like my body had failed me. Where were all the pregnancy symptoms I experienced in my first pregnancy? Why weren't the signs there? I would subsequently have two more visits to the abortion clinic before the abortion was able to take place. The first visit included labs, a counseling session, and a sonogram. I was able to briefly meet with the doctor who would be performing the procedure. The second visit required that I have laminaria sticks inserted into my cervix to help me dilate in hopes that this would make the procedure smoother. The placement of the sticks was uncomfortable but thankfully not unbearable. I was given some iv sedation & a shot in my cervix to help numb it to make inserting the laminaria sticks as painless as possible. While I felt some discomfort the laminaria sticks insertion went smoothly. I had to go home with the sticks placed inside me overnight. The doctor gave me a prescription for some pain medication to help me make it through the night & while I experienced some cramping similar to period cramps, that night the pain never got really intense.

The day of my procedure. I had to be at the facility at approximately 8:30 am & once I arrived I was suppose to take 2 tablets of misoprostol which I was to place inside the cheek of my mouth & allow them to dissolve. I was to take the tablets while sitting in the waiting area. Nearly an hour & a half after taking the medication I started to feel more intense cramping & a slight dampness in my underwear. I called over one of the office staff to advise her that I felt extremely wet. She pointed toward the direction of the restroom & told me where to find the pads. The moment I stood up from the chair warm liquid started running down my leg. It was a clear liquid that had no smell. I mouth to the office staff I think my water broke. She agrees and quickly makes a beeline for the back of the facility to locate a nurse. A nurse arrives with a wheelchair helps me sit & states that she was going to get me changed & get an IV going so I could receive the sedation medication. I am having intense cramping & notice that the clear liquid is now bright red. Panic sets in but there are several nurses surrounding me reassuring me, instructing me to take a deep breath in & then release the air. One nurse holds my hand, she asks if its ok & I tell her it is. At that moment another nurse is quickly inserting pain & anxiety medication into my IV after giving me oral pain medication. I quickly change into the hospital gown & notify the nurses that I am feeling pressure. They quickly wheel me back into a surgical room. I get my feet in the stirrups & I then feel the fetus leave my womb. I never pushed, my body simply did the work for me.

My abortion story reads very different than most but one thing remains the same, 'my body, my choice'. I can say without guilt or shame that abortion was the right option for me in my life at this point & time. Was it difficult to have an abortion especially so late in the second trimester, absolutely but my reasons for having an abortion were just as valid at 19 weeks that they would have been at 8 weeks. To those having a late abortion in your second trimester or an abortion early in your first trimester. I can't say it will be easy, I can't even say the procedure will go as planned but I can say is that if you make the difficult choice to have an abortion stand firm in your decision don't allow anyone to make you feel guilty or ashamed. It is your body & it is your choice; know you are not alone. Your strength is incredible. So, stand strong but know you are not standing alone." - Anonymous

#caringforotherchildren #stigma

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