it's been 3 days since the procedure. with each day that has passed my feelings become more mixed. i know that in consideration of my financial situation and my physical and mental health, and not to mention who the father is, i did the right thing. i made the right decision. i don't have regrets. but i do feel a little remorse. in a sense, i feel like i'm mourning.
i arrived at the clinic at 8am, trailing behind my mother who i was silently thanking every second for being there with me. on the other side of the small parking lot a single protester stood in the rain with a sign around his neck, umbrella in one hand, camera in the other. i hid my face and cursed him under my breath. i don't even remember what the sign said. after confirming with the greeter that we had no food or drink with us and that my mother was my licensed designated driver, we entered the building.
it was actually a really nice facility, a lot cleaner and, well, better looking than the outside. the walls were painted with cool, calming colors, the lobby was filled with comfy chairs, TV monitors and magazines, and all the workers greeted us with smiling faces and kind voices. after filling out some paperwork and waiting for my name to be called, i went to the first waiting room to wait to get my ultrasound.
every chair was filled, phone use was not allowed, and all of us were sitting there alone with our thoughts knowing we were all thinking about the exact same thing. i searched their faces for emotions, some looked scared and nervous like me, some looked sad, some looked like it was no big deal, and others faces were too hardened or hidden to read. finally, after a girl had hushed her mother off the phone, i had to break the silence. "moms, right?" was all it took. a few of us in the corner started talking and a couple of them had already been to the clinic for the same reason before. they assured us that it wasn't that bad, only took a minute, and that the comfort shot they give you took away all the pain. "you won't even remember it," she said, "you be aight!"
when they called my name, i was pretty calm. i was a little nervous about pulling my pants down for a doctor for the first time, but the woman was so sweet and friendly it completely relaxed me. She told me I was 8 weeks and 3 days and didn't ask if I wanted to see the ultrasound. I didn't want to anyway, the number made it real enough for me.
after that they gave me a binder full of information about how the procedure was done, what the possible side effects were, aftercare procedures, and other services offered by the clinic. i read every single word, and now i don't recall any of it. shortly after i closed the binder, they called me for my blood test.
another nice nurse asked me how i was doing as she strapped my arm to take my blood pressure. then she pricked my finger, squeezed a little blood out and smeared it around on a test card. then she told me the awful news: my blood type was negative, meaning i needed an extra shot, which cost $60. i started to panic, because that meant i couldn't afford the comfort shot. with tears in my eyes i hurried out to talk to my mom, who immediately had my dad put money in her account and saved my ass. i breathed a small sigh of relief. then they called my name to make my payment. my got to come with me this time, since she was helping me pay for it. "for the record," she said, "i'm only paying for the shots. i'm not helping you pay for the procedure." this was hard for her, you see. she strongly sided with the pro-life opinion, but since i was her daughter and a legal adult, she supported my decision as my own choice. anyways, i paid the $440 for the procedure, and my mom paid $60 for whatever the fuck that stupid shot was that only people who are unluckily born with a negative blood type have to pay for, and $55 for the sanity-saving comfort shot.
then, back to the lobby. name called again. another waiting room. i ran into one of the girls from the ultrasound waiting room, who had been unsure about which way she wanted to get it done. now she was pretty settled on the pill, because it seemed more natural. i wished her luck when they called her away to consult with the doctor. then i was called to get my IV inserted. miraculously, i didn't freak out about the needle, probably because of the nurse. this one was my favorite, a late-middle-aged woman who probably lived in a trailer and sounded like she smoked as many cigarettes as i do. her slight southern drawl was comforting, she was just the sweetest thing. when she took my left arm to put in the IV she saw my scars and just touched them softly, said her son did the same thing and she never understood why. we actually talked about it for quite a while, among other things. at this point i really felt understood by these people, cared for. i thought that if i had to do this, of all places at least i picked the right one.
when she sent me on my way, i tried not to think about how that IV felt stuck in my arm. every time i noticed the sensation or looked at it i remembered why it was there and why i was there and oh god i'm really about to do this.. this time i was in the waiting room alone, and i started to feel scared. i think the only thing that had kept me calm this whole time was the presence of others, and now, lacking that, the dams behind my eyelids broke. i started to cry. i was frustrated, tired of waiting, I didn't have my phone but I knew i'd been there for hours. i cleaned myself up and calmed down just in time to be called to the changing room. the same nurse led me there, gave me a room, instructions, and a hug, and left me.
as i removed my shorts and underwear and wrapped the white cloth around me, things started to feel real again. "8 weeks and 3 days" began to play on loop in my head. i hid my face from the other girls in the waiting room and let the tears flow. one by one they called them and i hid my tears from the nurses. for a few moments, i just needed to be with myself. i needed to let it out, to cry. i needed to mourn. for the first time that day i saw this thing not as a parasite growing inside me and messing up my body, not as a piece of drew stuck inside that could possibly connect me to him for the rest of my life, but as a living thing, 8 weeks and 3 days old. maybe it couldn't think, maybe it couldn't feel, but it was living, it had some kind of spiritual energy, some kind of soul that kickstarts inanimate materials' transformation into living things. i couldn't give it a name, i couldn't refer to it with he or she, but i could grieve this loss of life, of both the fetus and the girl i was before this day. i knew i would never be the same, and i knew i would never forget this creature who i had decided to destroy.
i remember the last girl before me wishing me luck as she passed me, looking at me as if she understood all of that reasoning behind my tears.
a perky redhead opened the door and her smile fell as soon as she saw me. i stood up and hurried to her side as her eyebrows bowed with concern and she asked me if i was alright, if i was having second thoughts, assured me that i don't have to do this if i don't want to. well, nobody wants to i thought, but i told her i was alright, just a little scared and a little sad. i was sure i wanted to do this, but i just needed to cry. she smiled and said she understood and walked me into the O.R. with an arm around me and tightly holding my hand. i swear she didn't let go. this is where things get foggy, because shortly after getting up on the table and spreading myself open she pumped that wonderful comfort shot into my IV and i drifted. i remember the cold pressure of the first instrument the doctor inserted to dilate me. i remember some pinching and pulling inside, but i swear i was outside my body at the same time because i remember more of my yelps and handsqueezes than the pain itself. and before i knew it, it was over.
i was being led away to the recovery room to sit in a nice comfy chair all doped up sipping sprite and munching on saltine crackers. it was over with. i could breathe. i could begin to forget. i realized that same girl who wished me luck was relaxing a couple chairs down from me, and we made slurred small talk for a few minutes. nurses helped us stand and led us to a table where another nurse talked us through aftercare procedures, gave us a couple handouts, and hugged us goodbye. our nurses led us to our drivers, and my mom led me to the car. and that was it. we didn't talk about it, we didn't want to. and i was hanging onto that dazey, dreamy dopey feeling for as long as i could. but one thing i knew for sure, i was never going back there. i was never putting myself in this situation again.
that night when i got home i made the mistake of looking up pictures, educated myself on what exactly was inside me before i took it out. it looked more human than i was comfortable with. it killed me when i read that it could hear. had i known that, i would have bent down to my stomach and whispered "i'm sorry" every chance i got.
two of my best friends have been through the same ordeal. maybe they didn't go about it the exact same way i did, or werent the same age when it happened, but they understand, and i'm so grateful to have them. i want ALL of my readers to know that if they ever have to face this situation, i know how lonely it is to deal with and i am here for you all 100%, just leave a comment on my most recent post or tweet me and we will figure out a way to communicate (i forgot my firstname.lastname@example.org passord, lol). i really want to help anyone else who has to deal with this.
as for me, i'm just trying to unmix these emotions and sort them into neat little piles, get everything in place and in the right order. i just try to keep my mind of things, and what better way to do that than to focus on shedding 15lbs of pregnancy weight, eh?
stay strong, think thin, live ana