Ashley's Story

Well, I finally got some time to sit down and really do this right. So here it experience:

I was 19, in college, dating a guy I thought was really cute and funny. For some STUPID reason we were having unprotected sex on a regular basis. I still had a dorm room on campus, but was staying mostly at his apartment just off campus. We had been together maybe a year when I started feeling really awful in the mornings. I wanted to throw up my breakfast every day. My period hadn't come yet, but that wasn't out of the ordinary--I was never regular anyway. But something still didn't seem right. I was getting up in the middle of the night to eat strange things...

So I went to the campus health clinic and had a pregnancy test. POW! It was positive. I was freaking out. I had no trouble deciding what I had to do next. I felt really stupid, and angry at myself, but I knew there was no way I was having a baby. I told my boyfriend and my best buddy, who helped me find a place to have the pregnancy terminated. She also paid for the abortion, on her credit card (about $300, I think); it took me years to pay her back.

She and my boyfriend escorted me to the clinic. There were protesters outside, and at first I didn't realize what they were doing there. When they started approaching us and blocking the sidewalk, I started to get the picture. They were trying to act all sweet and grab my hand, saying, "You don't have to!" and some other stuff. All I could think was, "You know nothing about me or why I am here. Get lost." I never said anything to them. My best bud fought them off for me.

We got inside, filled out some paperwork, and paid. The ladies at the desk were very nice. They asked if anyone outside had bothered us, and we said yes.

We waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed like forever. There were lots of people in the waiting room. Some women with husbands or boyfriends. Some by themselves. Some young girls, some with mothers, some crying. Not loudly, you could just tell they had been sobbing that morning.

Finally they called my name. I went to see a sort of counselor, who told me about the basic procedure and asked me how I came to decide that I needed an abortion. She asked me if I had any questions about it or if I was afraid. She asked me about birth control and recommended the pill. I asked a couple of questions, took her up on the pill offer, and then went to another little room for an ultrasound. They wanted to see the position and size of the fetus, I think. Again, very nice technician. She asked me about college and what I majored in.

I was finally escorted to the procedure room. A male doctor with a low, quiet voice was preparing instruments and such. A nurse helped me up on the table and gave me an injection to help me relax. It was sort of like a mild, short term anesthesia, I think. She held my hand and talked to me through the whole thing.

The procedure was physically uncomfortable. Not painful, but something I wouldn't want to experience again. The doctor was gentle, but the pressure on my cervix and the suction was very annoying.

Next thing I knew I was led to a little recovery room. There was one other young woman there when I came in. She seemed ok. Didn't say much. Right after I sat down I had a terrible urge to vomit, kinda like sudden motion sickness. The recovery attendant quickly showed me to the restroom, and said that was normal; some people react that way to the anesthesia. I never did throw up, and the feeling went away pretty quickly. After I sat back down in the recovery area another woman came in. She was obviously in her work uniform, and seemed very agitated. She was vocally annoyed that they were making her wait in there; she didn't need any stupid recovery. It seemed obvious to me that she was on her lunch break and was late getting back for work. I thought, geez. Show a little respect here. It's not like you just got your knee sewed up or something. I felt like I was taking the whole situation a lot more serious than her. She kinda made me mad.

Before we left I was prescribed one pack of birth control pills and an antibiotic to ward off any possible infection. I was eager to get started on the pill, although I knew I would have to find a regular gynecologist and start the annual exam/pap smear stuff.

I felt fine for the next few days, and relieved that it was over with. Soon, however, I developed a fever and started feeling pretty bad. I kept up the antibiotics, and the fever was gone within 24 hours. Gave me a little scare, though.

I never told anybody in my family. I stayed on the pill for several years and stayed with the guy for about another year, I guess. He was so bad for me. But that's a whole other story.

Having the abortion really opened my eyes about sex and birth control. I was also very thankful that I had the chance to decide my future, and that there were caring people out there to help me get through that terrible mistake. I don't have any regrets about the choice I made then.

I'm married now, and my husband knows about the abortion. He has no problem with it. We do not plan to have children.

I guess that's experience.

1 October 1999

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