It’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Every October is dear to me for this reason. Back in July of 2011, I made the horrible choice to terminate my pregnancy against my own desires. I suffered from depression and gynecological/vaginal/sexual issues for years as a result. People often want to treat abortion as dirty, taboo, and sinful instead of acknowledging that if you are going to discuss sex, you need to discuss miscarriage and abortion as well. They are possible results of having sex and getting pregnant, and because it’s not discussed, so many women are ill-informed or totally lack any knowledge of it. It’s tragic.
So I wrote this last year and shared it a few times on my personal Facebook page and my support group page. I’m gonna share it here.
I remember visiting my boyfriend at home in South Carolina. I was eating cucumbers, which I hate, and ranch dressing. His mother told me, “You better not be pregnant!”
I remember having headaches, feeling sick, and not having my period for a while, but because I was irregular, I decided to just wait it out.
I remember my boyfriend coming to visit me from South Carolina on my 21st birthday, and I asked him to stop and get me a pregnancy test, just to be sure.
I remember my birthday gift: a crocheted momma and baby sea turtle. The irony.
I remember talking to him casually when he arrived, as I took the test. I finally looked at it and stopped mid sentence as I saw the positive plus sign on the test. I showed him, he walked to the kitchen, face totally blank.
I remember crying and saying it couldn’t be right, there’s no way. He told me to calm down, just take it again. I drank a whole bottle of water and took the second test.
I remember bringing the second test to the living room, where he was laying on the couch. I showed him the bright pink plus sign.
I remember him saying he didn’t know what to tell his mom. I was dreading calling mine.
I remember calling my mom, gently breaking the news to her. Her exact words were, “Well, you know what you have to do.” For her, there was no other option than an abortion.
I remember arguing with her, many times, telling her it was my choice and I wanted to keep my baby. She told me that we couldn’t afford to support a baby. I was going to make the decision myself. In the meantime, I would enjoy my time with my bean.
I remember being so sick that I couldn’t eat, so nauseous and not being able to vomit, and only tolerating fried chicken and sweet tea.
I remember asking my boyfriend if he wanted to name the baby. I liked the names Kennedy and Nevada. He liked Nevada and chose it. It was different and beautiful… Just like baby.
I remember standing in the kitchen, and my boyfriend stooped down, held me at my waist, and started talking to my belly. That is the greatest memory I have of them.
I remember going to the doctor to have blood drawn to confirm the pregnancy. I felt that there was no need. We knew.
I remember my mom badgering me about making an appointment with the clinic to have the abortion. I wouldn’t do it. One day I gave in, as we drove to Jacksonville with my boyfriend. That was one of the first times I resented my mother. She kept telling me that I didn’t have another option. Goodness.
I remember walking along the river with my boyfriend, and talking about what we would do. He said he could quit school and work to support us. I told him I couldn’t ask that of him.
I remember praying for God to cause me to miscarry so I wouldn’t have to go through with the procedure.
I remember considering throwing myself down my stairs every time I passed them. I was so depressed, hurt, and ashamed.
I remember going to the Jacksonville Zoo, absolutely miserable with the heat and the sickness. The only thing that cheered me up was seeing the giraffes. They have been the thing that reminds me of Nevada to this day.
I remember going to dinner and returning every meal I got because it made me sicker. My mother got angry with me and said I was making everyone miserable.
I remember feeling so sick, then my boyfriend would call me on the phone. I would feel worlds better until we got off the phone… Then the sickness would return. He would joke that the baby liked him more because of that.
I remember sitting in bed, holding my belly, and saying “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…” to Nevada. I felt so guilty for agreeing to make that appointment. I already loved him/her so much.
I remember everything.
I remember waking up to a voicemail from my boyfriend. He was crying, and told me he was so sorry for this, and told me how much he loved me.
I remember riding to the clinic trying to have a good spirit about everything, sort of just acting like nothing was happening.
I remember arriving, checking in with my mom, and my dad arriving after us to pay for the procedure. I began bawling my eyes out, my dad patted me on the shoulder, and left the clinic.
I remember them calling me back, getting my iron levels and vitals, and I began to sob. The nurse told me I had to start crying. I hated how insensitive they were.
I remember a woman saying she had to “get this over with” because she was going to the beach. I didn’t know this woman but I wanted to hit her.
I remember going to a room, changing clothes, answering more questions, and being led to a very bland room with magazines. Another woman sat across from me; we attempted to act like we didn’t see each other.
I remember them calling me to the procedure room, and them asking if I wanted to see the baby on the ultrasound or hear the heartbeat. I asked if I could keep the ultrasound, they said no. So I declined. I considered running one more time.
I remember them preparing to inject something through my IV. I asked what medication it was, they told me it was atropine. Being a nursing student, I said that I didn’t want atropine. Next thing I knew, I was knocked out.
I remember waking up on a stretcher in a room with many other women. All these other women just went through what I went through. I felt drugged and loopy, and tried to make small talk with the lady next to me.
I remember getting in the car with my mom afterward, and noticing a rash on my arm from a medication they gave me. We asked a nurse about it, she said it should go away soon.
I remember calling my boyfriend, still feeling drugged. We didn’t talk too long.
I remember looking at my paperwork when I got home. I was 7 weeks pregnant when they took my baby.
I remember two days later being at my aunt’s house, laying on her couch, talking to my boyfriend (he was home in South Carolina), and I just cried telling him I missed my baby.
I remember all the doctor visits afterward, telling them I wasn’t as sexually functional as I was before the abortion. They told me to just use lubricant and maybe some estrogen cream, which could cause irritation and other issues.
I remember waiting almost two years to get my reproductive tract back to near-normal.
I remember being told that it may take me a while to conceive.
I remember crying every now and then, longing for my baby and regretting what I did, wondering if that was my only chance to have a baby and I ruined it.
I remember hoping, HOPING for a positive pregnancy test in the last two years, even after having sex during my fertile period. I would have fear and hope in my heart each time, and relief with sadness with each negative result.
I remember resenting my mother and my boyfriend for that. But I knew I had to forgive them.
I remember wondering what it would be like to write down my story… And now I don’t have to wonder anymore.
I remember Nevada. Her daddy, who is now my fiancé, remembers her too (and still believes the baby would have been a boy). I had to grow something beautiful from this tragedy. So no more hiding. No more shame.
Just because someone has an abortion, you never know the circumstances behind their decision. Like me, some women don’t WANT to make the decision and feel like they have no other option. I didn’t even know I COULD get pregnant.
So before you judge, think about some shit. And think about your own dirt before you try to trash someone for theirs. I will never feel dirty or horrible for my story, no matter how much I regret it.
Because of Nevada, I have become SO passionate about sexual and feminine health. I know what the aftermath can be like, both physically and emotionally. It can damage a relationship and completely fuck you over afterward. But I healed physically, although it took years, and I’m pretty good emotionally now. Praise God.
This month, I’m doing a walk for moms who have lost their babies through ANY means and I’m honoring my Nevada. Many don’t count voluntary termination via D&E or chemical (because of am ectopic pregnancy) as a loss, but uh, is my baby here? Was life cut short? Oh ok. So hop off.
I’m walking for Nevada. I’m living for Nevada. And I love her every day. Nobody’s gonna stop that.