Teresa's Story

This morning I woke up at 6:00 to be at my 7:30 appt. I couldn't eat anything since midnight the night before and was extremely nervous. Very luckily, I have extremely understanding and caring parents who supported me in this decision, who would pay for it and even lie so that it would not get out around town. Yet I was burning alive with fear and anxiety; even guilt before stepping into the clinic.

After an extremely long wait, I had blood taken, given a urine sample, done a sonogram, had pre-abortion counseling, changed into the gown, and had an IV inserted and flushed once with saline solution. After 6 hours, my name was called. I had chosen general anesthesia because I have a low threshold for pain and I wanted no memory of the procedure to give me nightmares later. There were three people in the room: the anesthesiologist, the operating doctor, and the nurse.

After laying on the table and putting my feet in the stirrups, I felt a little overwhelmed going from no action in the waiting room, to many different things happening simultaneously. The anesthesiologist replaced my IV with the anesthesia, the nurse was talking to me and relaxing me to sleep, and the doctor was performing a pelvic exam with his fingers. I was glad the nurse was soothing me and rubbing my face telling me when I woke up, I'd feel like I'd been asleep for days.

She was right. The next thing I knew, I was being rolled into the recovery room in a wheelchair, into the most comfortable lounge chair ever. A nurse checked my blood pressure like 20 times and I realized that a new IV had replaced the other one- one with minerals and electrolytes to build my system back up. A nurse gave me some coke and pretzels and some medicine to help with the cramping. I relaxed for about 45 minutes until I changed back into my clothes, received release/follow up instructions and made the 3-week checkup appt with the receptionist.

My mom had been in the uncomfortable waiting room the whole time and I was never happier to see anyone in my life. As soon as I sat in the car, I cried and cried, not so much out of pain, but out of relief: it was over. I don't know if I'll experience any emotional symptoms or post-traumatic stress, but I do know that the right support makes all the difference in the world. I went to dairy queen right after that, then got some real food and slept while my mother got my prescriptions filled and all the way home and on and off for the rest of today.

I'm getting sleepy again so maybe I'll wake up refreshed, with minor cramping and ready to go back to my apartment and deal with real life. Thank God for loving parents who truly mean it when they say: "I'm always here no matter what."

15 December 2002

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"We have survived and in that survival is our life, our strength, our spirituality. And we are telling about it…"
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