Leigh's Story

I am nineteen years old. I have been pregnant twice.

The first was when I was seventeen. I was sure it was my boyfriends, there was no doubt about it. He was really good about the whole thing. Except that he refused to tell me what he wanted me to do. It wasn't that I would do whatever he wanted me to, I just wanted to know how he felt.

I would change my mind everyday, sometimes more. I would be sure I was going to abort it one minute then I would feel fiercely protective of it the next. As I would walk to my next class in the busy hallways I remember keeping on hand on my stomach. Then I started leaving a folder or a book out of my bag, and I would hold it on front of me, afraid someone would elbow me in the stomach.

But this was before I even thought I was pregnant. I just became aware of what I was/had been doing once I thought I might be. Part of me really wanted to keep it. I've always wanted to be a mother. And since the first pregnancy that desire has only gotten stronger.

I made my boyfriend go and get the pregnancy test. I told him which one and where it would be. But I didn't want to buy it, I was afraid someone would see me. But it didn't make much sense, because if someone we knew saw him they'd know who it was for. Everyone knew we'd been together for a long time.

I also had him get me some marshmallows, the big kind, not the miniature ones... it was one of my major craving for that pregnancy-that and chicken strips from fudruckers. I think my best friend and I went there for lunch nearly everyday while I was pregnant.

So we made a few calls, carefully avoiding the pro-life centers and ended up finding a center that would do it with either parental knowledge/permission or with a judge's permission. And because of his Catholic parents and my hotheaded father we decided to go the court route. And we were lucky. There was a foundation set up in our area to help pay for abortions if you couldn't pay for it all on your own. We set up an appointment to get a pregnancy test and an ultrasound done. We both missed our afternoon classes to do it. We had to drive forty minutes to get there, plus the wait time in the office and all the additional paperwork we'd have to do because of my age it took all afternoon.

I found out I was five and a half weeks pregnant. And we began going through the legal process required for a seventeen-year-old to get an abortion. I 'forgot' to talk to my Dr about the stomach pains I was having in the mornings. I guess I thought they might be normal, and that it didn't matter if they weren't since I was getting an abortion anyway. So our court date was a few days away when I began to notice a little bit of blood accompanying the pains.

After three days, I got home from school and went straight to my room. I told my father I had a lot of work to do and then I was going to bed early when I was done. I laid in bed all afternoon and evening trying to find a position that would make the pain go away. I finally took some (more) ibuprofen. And after another couple of painful sleepless hours I took s dose of midol. I was crying and balled up with pain. I was praying for my baby to be ok. for me to be ok. I knew it wasn't. I felt empty and alone. I managed to walk to the kitchen to re heat my heating pad (it was the kind you put in the microwave. I couldn't find the electric one) and I remember being doubled over with pain. Half praying I would wake up my father and he'd make everything better, half praying he'd sleep right through it. I felt so ashamed. Like I had done the absolute worst thing I could ever do to my family. Partly because I knew they didn't think very much of my boyfriend. Tears were streaming down my face I was as pale as I've ever been. I finally made it back to bed. It was 3:17 am. I took two more ibuprofen and passed out.

When I awoke I half expected my bed to be covered in blood. But it wasn't. I hadn't bled through my pad or my panties. I was surprised, but I didn't feel much better. I was exhausted. I took a shower and got ready like it was any other day. My boyfriend came to pick me up. On the way to school I told him about my night. But I said I thought I was ok now. He wanted to take me to the hospital but I wouldn't let him.

During my second class of the day I got up to go to the bathroom down the hall. I was beginning to hurt again. I had put in a tampon that morning, and as I pulled it out, something fell in to the water. I looked and there was this fleshy little mound, almost feathery, and I knew what it was. It didn't look like a baby yet, thank god. I was seven and a half weeks pregnant. 'was' being the key term here. I flushed the toilet and watched as it was whisked away from me.

The rest of the day went by in a daze. I remember going back to class and studying for my exam and acting as if everything was fine. I just sat there. I don't remember when I told him what happened. I don't remember calling the doctor and canceling my appointments or the court date. I think he did it. I really don't remember. I guess he told them we'd decided to keep it, because they didn't question it at all. I went through the rest of the week and the exams that followed but I don't remember much of it. And I never went to the dr. I felt fine after that, and couldn't bring myself to. I knew they'd probably put me in the hospital and I didn't want anyone to know.

That was the beginning of the end of our relationship. I didn't want to be near him anymore. I kinda felt like he was the reason I had to go through that. We stayed together a few more months, but I broke up with him four months later.

Ten months later I was dating another guy. We'd always known each other, and liked each other, but it didn't go anywhere till then. We began dating after we graduated from high school, so toward the end of May.

By July I was pregnant, but I didn't know it. I didn't miss a period, but I gained a little weight and my breasts began to swell. I was constantly hungry and had to began having to run to the bathroom all the time. So after few weeks of ignoring it and getting another period with the other things still present we decided to make a doctor's appointment. I took a home pregnancy test first. And those two lines popped up once more, but amazingly fast. It was less than ten seconds before they were both there. I couldn't believe it. I stared at it for awhile then went and told my fiancé.

At first there was no question what I would do. While we had expressed we wanted to have children, I knew now wasn't the time. So I decided to go ahead and abort it. But I put it off. I kept thinking, I'm not that far along. I'll have more time next week. (I had to get someone to switch hours with me at work. I needed a full day off) so finally I sucked it up. We drove to the clinic. The same one I went to the time before. But this time I wasn't going to come out still pregnant. Or so I thought. They did the ultrasound to make sure I was pregnant and the dr told me I was twelve and a half weeks pregnant. I definitely couldn't believe that, that meant I had been pregnant since July... and it was September. I had thought I was no more than six weeks. I guess I under estimated that a bit. I was judging my how I felt the time before. Since I was so close to the second trimester the dr wouldn't prefer the procedure.

I had to go to another clinic that would. They called and made an appointment for me. I had to take off another day of work. It was a Thursday. I had pretty much stopped going to class at all at this point. My fiancé had been taking me in the mornings (I was in college) and all I wanted was to sleep. So I would have him take me back to his house and I'd fall asleep in his arms off and on all day. I left my house early the day of the next drs appointment. I wanted to spend some time w him before we drove all the way there. It was now going to be nearly two hours away.

We were late to the appointment because I couldn't get out of bed. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to do it. I wanted everything to be different. I wanted us to be able to keep it. I wanted us to be able to afford it, to be able to just get married a little sooner... ok two years sooner. But it would mess sup everything we wanted. No, everything I wanted. I wouldn't be able to go to college. I wouldn't be able to go to culinary school. Or open my own business. Nothing was going to be the way we wanted it. But it didn't matter to me at that moment. All I knew or cared about was I wanted that baby. And I wanted us to be a happy family together. He listened and held me, and agreed with me, while trying t talk some sense into me. He finally talked me out of bed. We agreed I'd go and see what the dr said. And see how I felt then.

So we went. And I ended up fainting from the stress and medication before I even got to where the procedure would take place. But I was ok. and the dr was really good. The nurse was very strong and reassuring. She talked to me and held me the entire time. It hurt. And I was crying. And all I wanted was to be off that table and in his arms. With him telling me everything was ok. and the baby was ok. while I'd like to say I'm sitting here with my baby on my lap as I write this, I'm not. And I don't regret what I did.

I was lucky. The staff was phenomenal. I'm so glad I had to go there. The first one was ... cold. Unfeeling. And this one was full of love and strength and forgiveness. They were proud of the ones who went through it, because we were being strong. And trying to keep from making even more mistakes. We all knew we were there because we couldn't take care of those babies. Or because we didn't want to make the same mistakes our mothers did. We wanted a better life. And we wanted our children to be taken care of, and we couldn't do that right now. I was also lucky, because I was the last one for that day. Once the girl before me had left the recovery room, they let my fiancé come in with me while I was in the recovery room. I was groggy from the anesthesia still so the first thing I really saw/ felt as that fog lifted was my husband. I had very little pain after the procedure was over. Very little bleeding, etc.

I send a check to the clinic every month for making my experience so much better than it would have been. I am very grateful to them. because while having to go through this twice has been hard, they kept it from being even harder.

Thanx. I'm really glad you've got a site like this out there. It needs to be discussed. It shouldn't have to be such a secret.

January 2004

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