Brandon's Story

I am sending you my story (which is far from over) not only in attempt to help others, but because I need to share this, I need to be feel like I am being heard.

Let me start by saying that I am Pro-Choice and that my decision (mine and my husband’s) to have the abortion was based largely on our financial situation, shaky relationship, and the fact that we already have 2 children (one and extremely difficult toddler). I was not prepared for how I would feel after ... I did not have time to do a lot of research before I had the procedure performed, but a majority of it was positive (pro choice articles of course).

When I began to approach my 2 month mark, my husband and I decided that it would be a horrible mistake to have this child, it would ruin our marriage, our relationship with our existing children, and put us into further financial distress. So I agreed. Over the course of that weekend I tried to mentally prepare myself for the week to come and what I would have to do and how I would handle it. I started by taking the ultrasound picture off of the refrigerator, and all I could think of as I did this was "pour little unloved baby your own parents do not even want you." It was only a small black and white paper thin picture, but it is burned into my mind as is the sound of the vacuum that sucked it out of my womb. What an agonizing next couple of days I had I felt like a condemned prisoner, my husband wanted it done as soon as possible so even though I had heard some rumors about the one clinic in my home town I made the appointment anyway.

I went to the appointment, it looked awful from the outside(not to mention all of the Pro Life signs along the outside of the gates) never the less I went inside anyway. As we drove up and parked outside I looked over at my husband hoping that he would say something about the condition of the building but he said nothing. We went inside and we were greeted by and extremely cheerful voice telling me hello and how was I doing today, I felt like my knees were going to give out and that I would just fall out onto the floor. I was asked to fill out my paper work, which I am surprised anyone could read seeing as my hands were shaking terribly. Again I looked at my husband, he just smiled, then again what did I expect him to say.

Done with my paper work, I was brought into the back for my blood work, pregnancy test, to meet the Doctor (who barely spoke to me) and to watch a short video explaining the procedure. When the video was over I was asked if I had any questions, well sure I did, but the only thing I asked was about my recovery time and what I could expect after the procedure. And of course I was reassured the recovery time was minimal. As my husband and I left he asked what I thought of the clinic and the Doctor, I said it was fine and that the Doctor seemed really professional and concerned at putting my fears to rest. In short I lied, I hated the clinic, the Doctor seemed like and asshole, he did not have a nurse on staff, he laughed at my being frightened and at the questions that I had asked. Never the less I went back 24 hours later for my abortion, it was not the simple procedure that I believed it would be. The pain was not minimal it FUCKING HURT!!!

I was supposed to be medicated 15 minutes to half and hour before the procedure to relax me and to help with pain. I received my vistoril (lol) then ended up waiting and hour. Then suddenly it was my turn, I left my husband in the waiting room and went into the back. I undressed put on a gown and was led into the room, then left alone. I sat there alone for at least 10 minutes, shaking, partly from the temperature in the room, but mainly from fear. All I could do was sit there looking at the vacuum and wondering how I would ever forgive myself. Then the Doctor and his assistant came in first he numbed my cervix with Novocain, then began the abortion. The assistant did hold my hand and talk to me the whole time, and I did really well she said, but I will never forget that sound or how badly it hurt. After it was over the Dr immediately left the room without a word to me, I guess to dispose of everything, and I just laid there for a few minutes until I could sit up. Then I was taken into the recovery room to sit with a heating pad on my aching stomach, I was also given advil. Then I was handed a sheet with my recovery instructions on it, prescriptions, and the emergency # of the clinic. 25 minutes later I was on my way home having only spent 30 minutes in recovery.

The abortion was on a Wednesday and I was told that by Friday I should be feeling much, much better after all it is a very simple procedure. By Friday I was starting to feel worse, by Saturday afternoon I could barely stand up, or urinate, and I had a fever. My husband called the emergency # several urgent messages. He felt like I should just go onto the hospital, but I would not go, I believed that I would be treated unfairly and made to feel like a horrible person, part of this was due to the fact that this Dr had made it a point to discourage any of his patients from going to the ER for this exact reason, we were to contact him first. Well 7 hours later he finally called me back and called in an antibiotic for my symptoms. I took the medicine, rested, and followed all of my aftercare instructions for the rest of the week. Then Friday night my fever was back and I was bleeding very heavily and passing clots (big clots) again I called the clinic, this time my call was returned faster (1 hour later). But this time he was very rude to me insisting that I was to blame for the bleeding and my slow recovery however he did call in another antibiotic and more metheragine for the bleeding. Eventually by Sunday night I did begin to feel better physically.

Now having gotten passed the physical recovery I am trying in vain to recovery emotionally it has been a month and 10 days since the abortion, but for the past 2 weeks I have been in absolute agony...Why didn't someone tell me that I would have nightmares, depression, anxiety attacks, bouts of anger...I just was not prepared for this, for how I was going to feel afterward. Of course I am guilt stricken for what I did, but on the other hand deep down I know that I did not want another child, but was it just my hormones that were making me feel so overwhelmed or was it knowing that my husband just did not feel like we could handle or afford another baby, that it would make our lives worse instead of enriching it. Did I do this for myself or for everyone else??????? This is a question to keep me awake at night.

I never went back to that clinic for my follow up appointment , I just couldn’t when I thought about having to drive through those gates again, see those signs, and lay on that very same table, I would just start to shake inside and I would feel like I couldn't breath... So I did not go and I have yet to see any GYN for a follow up. How can I?? I just can't imagine how I could look my Dr in the eye and tell him the truth, even though according to the law I did nothing wrong... It’s my own right as a women to chose abortion if that's what I want, but I am still afraid, too ashamed. And what's worse is that I have by not going to my follow up with the Dr who performed the abortion released him from any liability...

I'm angry, I should have received better treatment than that, I should have been given the chance to choose the clinic that I felt the most comfortable with. I am trying really hard not to blame my husband for that, maybe he just really did not realize the impact that this was going to have on me and that I should have had more time to find the right place. I do know that I do not want to waste the next 10 years of my life and family’s life in turmoil over this, I want to get past this but I just know how.....I just want to encourage anyone who is considering abortion (and their partners) to do a lot of research, and talking with various clinics before deciding which one you feel the most comfortable with. I did not write this with the intent to deter anyone from seeking an abortion -- that is a personal choice, and I can't say that I even regret it completely.

Of course a part of me will always wonder about that child and even at times wish that I still had her/he inside of me, but I can't lie and say that I am not relieved that I am no longer pregnant. My rational side tells me that I did nothing wrong, it was my choice, and I am not a bad person (or mother), my irrational side will tell you something different. What I did wrong was allow myself to feel pushed into having this done in a course of 3 days without time to come to terms with it, or allowing a clinic to perform this procedure on me when I did indeed have some major reservations about the clinic and the Dr. But I will keep pushing ahead (even though all I want is to crawl into my bed and never get out again). But I have a family and they love me and I love them very much, and I have to get past this and I will ... Just being able to tell my story has been a relief and if this helps anyone else going through the same turmoil then I will gladly share it again and again.........

December 1997

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"feminism = All women have the right to do what they want with their minds, bodies and souls, without fear of any judgments of men or other women."