Stephanie's Story

I am 23 years old, single, and just had my first (and hopefully only) abortion 3 days ago. Although it was certainly not an easy choice to make, I am glad that I did it and so far I look back with no regrets.

I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 5 years and went out with an old friend who had just gotten divorced. The night ended up with us having unprotected sex - something neither one of us imagined would happen. (I was on the pill, but an antibiotic I was taking made it less effective.)

When my period was nearly 2 weeks late, I bought a home pregnancy test during my lunch hour and took it in the restroom of my office. Of course it was positive. I went to my gynecologist, where over the next few weeks, I was put through a battery of tests resulting from strange symptoms that accompanied my pregnancy. The worst was when I spent a night in the emergency department, was given a catheter and had an ultrasound. The technician turned up the volume on the ultrasound machine and I heard, for the first and last time, the heartbeat of the fetus inside of me.

I had daily discussions with the father, and after lots of heartbreak and tears, it was finally concluded that neither one of us could give this child the kind of life we wanted for it. We would abort the pregnancy. I wanted to do it as quickly as possible - as I knew it would be harder to actually go through as I got further along and the baby developed more. My gynecologist referred me to a reputable clinic in my city, and I made the appointment.

Driving to the doctor was the longest drive of my life. I was absolutely petrified about the procedure. I knew in my heart that I was doing the right thing but I was afraid of the physical pain that my body might go through. We arrived at the clinic together, prepared to spend 5 hours there, like they told us we would. I was given another ultrasound - this time the body was more visible. I was counseled and had blood work done. When they finally called my name to prepare me for the operating room, I froze with fear. As I sat in the standard-issue hospital gown waiting my turn, I begged the nurses to reassure me that I wouldn't feel a thing. They wouldn't do it. Finally, a counselor came and took me into the operating room. The nurse injected me with a combination of 2 drugs that would calm my nerves but leave me awake and aware during the procedure (it did a little more than calm my nerves, but I'm certainly not complaining.)

They told me that I would have a pelvic exam and then the doctor would do the procedure. I heard the doctor say "OK" and assumed that she was done with the pelvic exam and was about to start on the actual procedure. The counselor looked at me and said "You did a great job - you're all done." My abortion took a total of 3 minutes. I didn't feel a single thing - I was completely amazed. The nurse reversed all of the drugs with another injection (I was having slight breathing difficulty as a result of the drugs) and they walked me to recovery. I sat there for 20 minutes. Over the last 3 days, I have had moderate cramping, bled very little, and felt tremendous relief that I had been brave enough to do what was right for everyone involved. 

I want other women who are trying to make the decision regarding their unexpected pregnancy to understand that they are not alone. I read everything on the Internet and nothing said the abortion would be relatively simple, that there would be little to no physical pain, and that the workers in the clinic would be so supportive.

I hope my story gives just one person hope that an abortion is not a horrible experience, that they will survive and go on with their life, and that there are hundreds of thousands of women who have gone through the same thing. I am thankful for all of those women who came before me and fought for the right to terminate my pregnancy.

October 1998

more stories -- share your story

Birth Control Comparison - alll methods Abortion Info from Feminist Women's Health CenterShare your story
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See the Alan Guttmacher Institute for a wide variety of statistics about abortion, birth control, and trends in women's reproduction.