What I thought was going to be done and over with in a few hours ended up lasting almost 30 years. One choice made by a desperate young girl of only 19 years of age would affect her all those years. How do I know this? That girl was me. Out of high school and in my second year of college, I had my whole life ahead of me. But that all came to an immediate stop when my reckless lifestyle led me to an unplanned pregnancy. At 19, I didn’t think I would get pregnant. My lifestyle consisted of lots of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. My intention was to use men before they had a chance to use me. And this ended up causing me to make the worst choice I had ever or would ever make. The choice to have an abortion. By the time I had made an appointment, I was 21 weeks pregnant. I had no idea that a baby this far along was so developed to the point that I realized I was killing a human life. It actually looked like a baby. As I went to the abortion clinic in Atlanta, I had to be escorted by a police officer through people holding signs and calling me a baby killer. My attitude was to hate everything and everyone so I just ignored them.
The procedure took 2 days. The crowd of about 25 women was very diverse, black, white, older, younger, some had men with them others their mothers, I had my best friend. I was taken to a smaller room where we were separated by how far along we were in the pregnancy. They asked us if we were sure about the choice we were making. I remember one girl did change her mind, how I wish it had been me. But I moved on to the next room where they explained the 2-day procedure to the two of us that were the farthest along. They asked again if we were sure about our choice. I just wanted it to be over. They split us up and began the procedure. Seaweed spikes were inserted into my cervix to cause it to dilate overnight. It was very painful, the worst pain that I have ever felt. Tears poured down my cheeks as I kept saying to the nurse that I was ok. I could feel each spike being inserted like someone kicked me in the stomach below the belly button with a stiletto boot on. After they were finished, I got dressed and was given instructions for overnight in case something went wrong. I did not listen, I just wanted to get out of there. I drove back home, an hour away, because my mom thought that I was at school that day.
As I slept that night I could actually feel the baby inside me. This caused the pain to be even worse. The next morning I picked up my friend and we made the 1 hour trip back to Atlanta. Once again the police had to escort me through the protestors to the building. They took me immediately back after signing in. This time the room had a table to lay on and a machine with a trash can looking vacuum attached to it. The nurse assured me that she would be there with me the entire time. She knew I was scared because I was crying. She explained that another nurse would remove the seaweed and then the doctor would come in and perform the procedure. I laid back and put my feet in the stirrups. I felt each spike as it was removed from my cervix and the tears continued to stream down my cheeks. I never saw the doctors face, but once he came into the room the machine was turned on and that was all that I could hear, a vacuum. I kept my eyes closed tight because the horrible sound of the baby being sucked out piece by piece was sickening and I was experiencing the worst pain that I would not wish on anyone ever.
When it was over my nurse was still holding my hand and wiping my tears. She told me to take deep breaths and we would go lay in a small bed and drink some orange juice and eat some crackers and make sure that I was ok. I had to keep these down before they would let me leave. I just wanted out. I drank the juice and hid the crackers, finally they gave me instructions to follow. As I laid there all I saw was the exit only sign. We exited the building and there were no protestors allowed back there. We got in the car and drove maybe 4 miles and I had to pull over and puke my guts out.
This is not easy to share with others, but my hope is that in doing so I can spare another young woman from making the same mistake I did so long ago. The emotional pain it causes stays with you for a lifetime. I know because I am dealing with it every day since I made that choice.