Let’s start with the day before my abortion. All of the days leading up to this night were filled with nothing but positivity, which led me to decide that I needed to do all I possibly could to make sure that the days following my abortion were as comfortable as possible.
Thus began the “treat yo’self” shopping!
I went to my local home-goods store and bought a twin Sherpa blanket and a memory fiber pillow for my home stay.
Afterwards I went to the local Walmart and bought absolutely nothing but junk food junk food junk food!! And Gatorade for replenishment of electrolytes and Canada Dry for my stomach pains. On my way to checkout, I found some glow stars to put on my ceiling. I had $50 to spend, so why not? I grabbed them, put them in my cart, and made my way to the teller.
Blah blah blah, I bought my stuff and went home. I had to leave all of my stuff in my car given that my parents had no idea of my pregnancy or my plans for an abortion. They’d certainly wonder why I bought a bunch of “welcome home from a shitty day” stuff.
Babe came over that night and helped me put my glow stars up. Once finished, we left my lights on and went downstairs to watch movies until 11 (when I had to stop eating and drinking altogether). Babe left and I set up four alarms to make sure I was awake in time to get ready for “school,” which my parents would think I was going, then went to bed with my glow stars glowing and my cat curled up next to me.
I woke up on the morning of my abortion with my cat by my side still and my colorful stars displaying brightly. Needless to say, both sights were very comforting.
Time passed quickly after I woke up.
I showered, shaved out of respect for the doctors that would be operating, dressed in the coziest of clothes and made my way out by 9am. Upon arrival at babe’s house, I began to feel sick. This is really happening. Today is the day and it’s really happening! The nerves hit me. I got nauseous, scared, nervous. But of all the emotions I was feeling, I was not questioning or regretful of my choice. Our choice.
10:45 we left for the clinic. The drive was hard. I was nervous. I was ready to throw my head out of the window and barf at any moment. All the times I had researched abortions had hit me. It would be the most painful, the most emotional, the most horrible experience id ever endure.
Maybe it’s good that it was all in my head. I raised my anxiety so high that now that I look back, I realize it was not NEARLY as bad as I’d imagined it would be. But I’ll get to that later.
We got to the clinic at 11:00, filled out paperwork, paid our fee, and waited. Waited and waited and waited.
Many types of women came in. All colors. All shapes. All appearances. All different durations of pregnancy. And I had not one nerve to judge a single one of them. Because we were all there for the same thing. All of us. I remember one family came in trying to force their 20year old daughter into an abortion. She left. They left separately.
It felt good to know I made this decision and that it wasn’t forced on me.
I was called into the back. I hugged babe, and made my departure. I had to pee in a cup, get my blood taken, and ensure that I was healthy and able to have the abortion. All checked out. I was put into a separate waiting room where another lady, probably mid to older 20’s, was sitting in one of the many studio style chairs with puppy training pads on the seats. In the changing stall, I cried and cried and cried, silent little sobs. Got into my gown, sat in one of the puppy pad chairs, and continued to cry.
The wait seemed like forever.
I got word that there were activists outside of the clinic which only heightened my anxiety. My sobs got louder, yet somehow remained silent.
My name was called. I was guided to the sonogram room and I asked the nurse if I could have a copy of the sono. I could.
I didn’t like the sonogram process. My abdomen already felt tender as it was and she had to press really hard to find the fetus/embryo. It took her a while and I was hoping she would never find it and it was all a bad dream. She did. Then confirmed that I wasn’t actually 7 weeks, but 5 weeks instead. Good news on my part. The fewer the weeks, the smaller the dilation, the lesser the pain. Next was the exam process.
Now I began fearing the worst part. I swore they were going to shove that scary clear duck beak thing up there which, in my last experience with my OBGYN, was absolutely more terrifying than the idea of the abortion itself.
Come to find out an old man would be doing my abortion and exam (not some young bachelor looking to score a free peek and feel on a knocked out girl. Because I’ve heard of such practices) which was a bit of a relief. He looked professional, acted professional, and had enough apathy that I was actually comforted.
The exam was quick and consisted of a quick two finger insertion and a press on the abdomen. That’s it! I then waited until it was my turn for the abortion. The wait wasn’t as long, but it was certainly more excruciating.
My turn came. My heart raced as I walked down the hall, into a wide room with an operating bed, stirrups that held my legs up at the knees instead of the feet, and a huge light by the right knee. Talk about a terrifying sight! To add to this mess, there were tools on tools on tools just laid out on different operating tables in the room. My nightmare of evil experiments being played on my body was now sitting in front of me.
I sobbed and began to ask the nurse questions to ease my tension while I was lifted into the oddly shaped stirrups. She answered all of them with eager and complete responses. However I was still anxious.
Old man doctor walked into the operating room and didn’t say a word. He grabbed my arm, wrapped a rubber tunic around it, and prepared my vein for the needle.
Then the screams began. SCREAMS. From the room next door! I was instantly shocked. What the hell was wrong with her? Was she receiving an abortion?! Was she attacked!? Was she hurt!? No. She was coming off of the medication. My anxiety SPIKED to the roof. But it was too late. By the time I started my panic, the medicine was being injected. I calmed. I breathed. I leaned into the nurse’s caress on my head. I remember trying to reach for her hand to hold it, and that’s it.
Before fully waking up I remember the nurses hoisting me onto the gurney. Black out again.
I woke up face up in the gurney, looking up at a ceiling with a rectangle light. It looked to be floating back and forth. I began to see hallways; if you’ve ever played Skyrim with the dragonborn mod, just imagine white hallways moving around like the halls in the black book quests. That’s the best way I could put it in perspective.
At this point, I felt everything was just a trippy bad dream and that I was never pregnant and never got an abortion and was never in a recovery room.
Everything was moving way too much. I now understand why that poor girl was screaming; those drugs were TERRIFYING! However the fear in the movement was so much that I’d managed to put myself back to sleep. Then the voices started. And the dreams.
I began to dream about the abortion process. My nurse had the head of a cat and my doctor, the old man, had the head of a goat. The walls kept moving, and yet I felt no pain. Not one bit in the dream and not one bit in person.
Voices began flooding my head. My voice, the nurses’ voices, the doctor’s voice, my boyfriend’s voice, his two brothers’ voices, his parents’ voices, my parents’ voices, my coworkers’ voices. I was absolutely losing it! And I knew it too!
I called a nurse over and told her something along these lines: “you guys gave me a drug that put me to sleep. Now I’m awake and I’m losing my goddamn mind. Tell me, am I in a crazy house?” Now, that’s how I remember saying it, but it probably came out more like “I’m fucked up. I’m so fucked up. Am I in a crazy house? You don’t have to lie to me am I in a crazy house?” Of course the answer was no. Did I believe her? Not a bit!! It didn’t help that I wasn’t seeing one of her. I was seeing FOUR of her. FOUR!
I fell back asleep. The dreams stopped, the voices continued. This time I began to talk back to them. The volume dropped down to four, sometimes five voices. I called a nurse over again: “nurse? I’m hearing a lot of voices. Can you tell me how many people are in this room?” 5. There were 5. Me, a girl recovering across the room from me, another girl recovering behind a hanging sheet, wailing and talking a complete storm (probably like I was) and two nurses. “Who’s doing all the talking?” It was the mess girl behind the sheet, thankfully. Nurse told me I was talking up a storm but wasn’t nearly as loud as anyone else in the room. The nurse was no longer four, she was three. Only three of her appeared now.
I fell asleep..
I woke up and the walls were no longer spinning and shifting. They were moving more like a water bed would when you toss a heavy book on it. I could manage, as long as I wasn’t feeling like I would fall off of the face of the planet. I began to narrate what I was seeing so I could reassure myself that I was alive and this wasn’t a dream. “Am I alive?” I remember calling out to a nurse, “am I dead?” “Did I die?” “I’m dying!” I sure did feel like I was dying too. The nurses reassured me otherwise. Once I was convinced that I hadn’t crossed over into the other side, I continued the talking out loud. “The walls are blue… No… The walls are purple… Are the walls purple, nurse?” The walls were lavender. “And the ceiling is taupe? Brown? Tan?” Correct. It was a hideous color and that’s all that mattered. “There’s an emergency light on the wall. It’s got a red light on it. There’s a light on the ceiling. Big long light.” At this point I’m positive the two nurses were sitting in the corner, watching me in amazement as I try to force myself into sobriety.
I looked to my left. One nurse approached and asked if I was having cramps(my memory is really poor here. Pardon me if my story seems to jump in time. Remember, this is all a blur that I’m managing to remember bit by bit). “I’m not having cramps. Not down here [uterus]. It’s all in my head. My head, nurse. I’m losing my fucking mind. Can you inject an IV and pump some water into my veins to flush this shit out?” Whether or not they did, I don’t remember. I do remember seeing a liquid bag above my head and the other nurse telling her to inject an IV. Maybe they did.
I wake up. The nurse is running her hand on my head and asking if I’m okay. “I’m still crazy, nurse. Will this ever end?” I remember very vaguely asking “is this real life?” Then nursing into insane laughter because I began to think of the “David goes to the dentist” video.
Thus, the jokester came out of me.
"How are you feeling? Any cramps," the nurse asked, gently putting her hand on my abdomen.
"You know what, yeah, I’m having a little bit of cramps. Not that bad though."
The nurse said she was going to give me shot in the butt. I looked at her, “my butt!?” Yes. My butt. “Not my hole, right!? Because I’ve tried that and trust me it is not pleasant!” She giggled and assured me it would be a shot on the cheek. Also agreed that it’s not pleasant in the slightest. “I’m going to roll you on your side, give you a pinch, then a poke on the butt, okay?” Nurse asked as she got ready to roll me on my right side. “Uh, no! You better buy me dinner first!” I squealed, then burst into silent, gasping laughter as I realized I sounded like an old man flirting with his waitress at a bowling alley café.
With a lot of effort on my end consisting of moving my arms back and forth with hopes that the energy would somehow roll me on my side, I got the shot. It hurt like a bitch but I was too drugged up to even care. The jokester continued. “Hey nurse, wanna hear a joke?…. Why did the turtle cross the road?……. To get to the shell station!!!” It wasn’t funny at all, but she laughed. I’m positive that the joke itself wasn’t funny, rather it was my bat-shit behavior. Either way I was glad I was making the nurses laugh.
I woke up… Again. Facing the wall and feeling like an infant waking from a nap. I was rocking my head back and forth, blinking, trying to keep my eyes from going crossed, and flailing my hands to get my motor skills moving. I pushed against the wall and my gurney moved. OH, the power I possessed!! I felt so strong! I did it again! And again!! The purple wall was nothing compared to my strength!! Ha!
Nurse came back and pushed me back in place. “We meet again, purple wall.”
“You’re taking a while to come off, so I’m going to sit you up now, okay?” Nurse asked, putting her hands on mine.
"No! No I’m not ready yet I’m too fucked up!" Regardless, she sat me up.
“Now I’m gonna puke. Nurse, I’m gonna puke. Can I get one of those kidney bowls to puke in?” I don’t remember how, but (poof!) a kidney bowl appeared at my now crossed legs. “I’m gonna puke now, nurse, okay?”
Hurl. Nothing but vile.
I was feeling too dizzy to be able to sit up on my own. And my leg was asleep. “I’m going down, nurse!”
"No no you have to stay up!"
"Nope! It’s happening! I’m going down! It’s happening!" I let go of the bars of the bed and began to lean back, ever so slowly. The funny thing is my arms were still outstretched like I was still holding onto the bars. So now here I am, in Frankenstein position, giggling my troubles away on the gurney.
With my hands still up, I began to play with my sight and touch. I brought my hands together in front of my face, intertwined my fingers, pressed them together, made different hand gestures. My most popular one? A thumbs up.
"I’m okay," I began to chant, "I’m okay. I’m alive. I’m okay. I did it." My chanting was enough to have another, third nurse, the one who did my ultrasound, to peek her head from the operating room and into the recovery room. This was a shock. I was so convinced I was against a flat wall and now there was a sliding door with a nurse popping her head out! "What the hell!? I? I just came out of there!?" I pointed to the wall.
"Yes you did!"
"I got an abortion?"
"I’m not pregnant?"
"Yep! You’re all done!"
"That’s fuckin awesome!! Sweet!!"
She popped her head back into the operating room. There was another girl knocked out on the bed. I was thankful that I only caught a glimpse of her head and not the terrifying things going on in her lower region. The door closed.
"I came out of there!!" I announced to the nurses, filled with all kinds of excitement. Why? I have no clue.
The chanting continued. “I’m okay!” “I’m alive!” “I’m not pregnant anymore!” “I’m okay!” “I did it!”
… And then the self talk. “Jesus Christ this sucks.” “Never. Again.” “I will never do this again.” “Holy shit this is scary.” “Wow I really fucked up!” “This is real, I was really pregnant!” “Wow!” “Nurse this is real, right?” My voice was an echo. I was sure no one could hear me. But the echos were returned. The nurse was always responding to me.
"I’m gonna sit up now okay? Don’t let me fall."
The nurse came over and watched me sit up. I looked at her. “Nurse, I took psychology so I know that I’m okay and that I’m just fucked up on this drug. I’m okay, right? I’m in a recovery room and I just got an abortion and it all went well, right?” She giggled and assured me that I was okay.
I don’t know how long I was sitting up, criss-cross-applesauce, but my right leg was DEAD. It wasn’t asleep, it was dead. “Aw fuck,” I grumbled like a drunken man that had just spilled his lager on his crotch, “my leg is asleep, nurse what the hell do I do?”
She came over and turned my entire body, dropped the bar on the bed, and let my legs hang over. “Just don’t lean forward,” she said with a hand on my shoulder, “you’ll hurt yourself.”
"You got it, nurse! I love you!"
She walked away.
"Oh my god I’m so embarrassing! Nurse I’m never this… This… I took psychology I know the word… Extroverted!!! I’m an introvert!! This is so not normal for me! I’ve been high before but I’ve never been this fucked up, oh my god!! Nurse, I’m pretty sure part of the reason I’m losing my mind is because I have a tumblr. Do you have a tumblr?" She giggled and said no. "I have a tumblr. Don’t get a tumblr. It’s confusing as shit… Hey nurse? I’m gonna throw up again, can I get some water?" Again, my desired water just popped up in front of my eyes. My memory was shot.
"Oh man this sucks!"
My puking was probably bothering the other patients, so the nurse closed the curtain on me and left enough open for her to see me and check on me.
Every now and then I’d hear a “how are you doing, Brandi?” In response I would either throw out a thumbs up, or one of these lines: “I’m coo’!” “I’m just fine and dandy!” “I’m chill!” “I’m fine as hell thank ya very much!” “I feel like shit!” “I’ve been better” “I’m high as a motherfucker!”
At this point, they were ready to call Babe. “Call Daniel,” I cried, “where’s Daniel?”
"He’s on his way, dear"
"I want Daniel! Where is Daniel!?"
"He just got here, he’s waiting for you."
"Please I want to see Daniel I want to talk to Daniel"
"We’re going to let you go soon, he’s here waiting for you, okay?"
"Okay thank you. Tell him I love him please."
Now my memory is growing soft. So I’ll skip to right before I left the clinic. The nurse finally convinced me to stand up. I did so, and bent myself over the bed next to me. Thankfully, it wasn’t occupied. She grabbed all of my stuff from my locker that I was assigned with when I had first checked in. “My brown bag. It has my condoms and my sonogram and my phone. Is it here?” It was.
Oh this poor nurse. While I was hunched over the bed, she was putting a pad onto my undies and preparing my clothes to put them on. “You went to school for this?”
"No, I went to school and fell into this," she giggled.
"That’s crazy. I could never do this. You’re awesome for doing this. I’m so helpless!"
"It’s what I do!"
"You’ve seen me at my most vulnerable, nurse. Bent over, drugged up, bleeding. And you’re still here. You deserve an award!"
She slipped my panties on, my volleyball shorts, helped put my shirt on, and led me to a chair to rest. I puked a little, but managed to keep myself straight.
This part was haunting me pretty well.
While I was waiting for the nurse to get a wheelchair for me, I heard the operating room. “Ow!! Ohhhhh!! Please!! Oooowwww!!” A girl was crying; screaming. She wasn’t put to sleep. All three of us girls in recovery from the drugs were left silent. We knew what was happening. I cried. The girl in the chair next to me cried. The girl in the bed that was across from me when I was recovering had covered her head with a pillow. “I don’t want to hear that,” I moaned, then hurled into the plastic bag I was given.
The wheelchair came. “Please take me out, nurse I don’t want to hear that girl in pain!”
She lifted me, put me in the wheelchair, and began to wheel me to the exit. “Slow down, ya maniac!” I remember giggling to the nurse as she made squealing tire noises. Boy, was she great!
Babe had pulled his car up to the exit door and helped wheel me from the clinic, off of the sidewalk, and hoisted me into his car. The ride home was pleasant. He drove softly. I remember mumbling and telling him about my experience. My lack of pain. How much I loved him. How happy I was that we did this. He listened. He chimed in.
"I got an abortion. It’s over. I’m not pregnant anymore. We don’t have to worry anymore." I vaguely remember murmuring to him as he held my hand.
We got home in due time. His mother wasn’t home, thank god. His brothers were there, all wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I was still staggering and shifting about like a newborn calf. Walking was just pitiful. I was led up to his room and laid to rest under my Sherpa blanket and cozied up in my new pillow.
Water. He presented me with water which was all I ever wanted from the moment I woke up that day.
The rest of the night went smoothly. He served me Mac n’ cheese, some of which I threw up, gave me water. Lots of water, gave me a wet rag to help with my immense sweating, sat in the bathroom while I showered to make sure I didn’t slip or pass out, allowed me to nap, then ensured I was in good condition before I went home at 11pm that night.
By then the drugs had worn off. I went home, greeted my parents, carried my gallon of Gatorade to my room and went to bed. I slept soundly. No nightmares. Not even a dream to remember. No cramps. No midnight bathroom rush. No vomiting. I was fine.
Now here I am. Laying in fetal position, the most comfortable position, with very minor cramps and a small tummy ache. I’ve got my sonogram hidden safely in my room for me to pull out as a reminder of that day. I wanted to share my story so girls know that it’s going to be scary. It’ll be nerve wracking. You’ll be nervous. But if you take the day one hour at a time, it’ll fly by and before you know it you’re fine. You’re okay. You’re alive. And please know this. There is nothing wrong with getting an abortion no matter what the reason. I wasn’t ready. Babe wasn’t ready. Our families wouldn’t have been ready. We made the right choice and I think we both feel that this brought us together to become an even stronger bond.
Don’t ever think that abortion has to be a negative thing. View it as you wish. However there is nothing wrong from growing and making light of what you’ve gone through. However you feel about it, just know that you’re strong, you can do it, and you can choose your path.