About My Abortion
Stories from the abyss.
When I stand up, I swirl. When I sit still I am tired. When I wake up I am sick. When I eat I am sick. When I breath I am sick. I must have a parasite. I must have the flu. I must be ill. I cannot be pregnant. I am not pregnant. I don’t even remember his name. I was so drunk. I have to go to class. I have to make it through this econ test and finish my finals. I can’t take another semester off. I must stop binge drinking. I must stop seeking attention from outside. I have to start to love what’s inside. Stop the running, the seeking, the binge and purge. Start the intention. Stop the fucking, start the loving. I am pregnant.
Sobbing, gagging, sleeping and repeat. It’s nearly 8 weeks now. I have to make a decision. I’m one of three roommates. I cannot have a baby. I can’t remember his name. I don’t know where he works. I don’t have his number. I just remember what car he drives. My married parents can’t know. My friends are not a source of support. Planned Parenthood doesn’t even do the procedure. I don’t know where to go to get it done. I don’t want the baby feet and the baby breath and the baby hair. I want my body to bleed. I want a life of choice. I want to marry. I want to go on vacations. I want to be pretty. I don’t want to use words like medicaid and child exemptions and WIC. I just want to bleed.
I found the right place. I had an appointment. I had confirmation. I made the decision. I can’t bring myself to drink or smoke or do drugs while this alien is still thriving inside of me. I have to be a good host before I get it vacuumed from my womb. The nurse who assists is so pretty. She is almost 9 months pregnant. The irony makes my laugh uncontrollably. I would be a horrible mother. Look at me. A barely functioning, mediocre, average looking on a good day, student. This is not what dreams are made of. This how lifetime movies start; as they show a welfare mom raped and killed by an abusive boyfriend. It hurts more than I anticipated. I bleed more than I anticipated. I go home and make peanut butter cookies and promise myself that I will take my birth control pills.
I never dream about the baby I killed. I rarely examine my life with the thought of that child in it. It was a bad few weeks. It wasn’t transformative. It was sad. It highlighted what I lacked in character and self esteem. Not my abortion. The circumstances I put myself in with little regard for my own health, much less the health of a child. I seldom think back to that afternoon where I cried on a table in a clean OBGYN office. I know it was the right thing to do on that day.
Every time my husband touches me, my heart melts. It divides into a thousand little pebbles warmed by the sun and sapce. My husband is my rock, he’s my world. He’s the father and the brother and the mentor and the lover that every woman needs. My dear husband, being a little older than me, wanted to show me the world before we started our family. He wanted me to travel with him. He wanted our time together. He wanted it to be just us, for me to experience life. Only after that, should I consider having babies.
Now I’ve seen the world. Now I’ve had my career. Now I’ve gone to sleep and had the extravagance of sleeping in. Now I’ve had fancy cars where no car seat would fit. I’ve seen it, I’ve done it. This is the fifth time I’ve seen the plus sign in the last three years. I don’t even tell him I’m pregnant. It seems that soon after my body accepts the implantation everything goes awry. I swell and heave. I lay back and daydream of the pink and blue blankets. I can feel the soft velvet new skin against my skin. I say another prayer for 12 weeks.
I never thought I would see the baby bump. My body always aborts the mission by 8 weeks. At 4 months, I am giddy with anticipation. Thinking of names and breastfeeding. I see my first specialist. The PAPP-A test came back irregular. They do an ultrasound. The baby looks like a creature, not an infant. The tech reassures me that it’s just very early. Then she gets quiet. She said the Doctor will call with the reading. I gasp and quickly eat the vomit coming up my throat.
The call is heartbreaking. The baby is positive for down syndrome. The baby is also missing a chamber of it’s heart. The heart is not functioning well. The kidneys are failing to develop. “This baby is still fighting to live” I say to him, choking back tears. My back is pressed against the corner of the counter. The sharp granite starts to cut my skin. I lean deeper into the edge. I want something to hurt worse than my soul. He suggests a D&C. He says the viability is less than 10% if carried to term. He says the baby will most likely spontaneously abort in the next week. I start to die. I can’t be the source of it’s pain and I can’t be the source of it’s life. I try to die instead. I will myself to stop breathing. I inhale and hang up the phone.
24 hours after the phone call I start to cramp and bleed. Within minutes I’m taken to the floor by lightning in my groin. My husband scoops me up and carries me to the car. I scream at him. I don’t want to go the hospital. I don’t want to deliver a dead baby with all of those people around. The pain is so incredible. I lie back and wait. The looks in the hospital room are sorrow and grief. I don’t want anyone to look at me. I get light headed and start to lose consciousness. I’m so thankful that I will get to die.
When I wake up, I feel like a small leaf. I’m so weak and my heart beat is so loud in my ears. I press my hand to my abdomen. There is a lump and bandages. My husband shushes me. He says I’m not allowed to try and leave him ever again. When I miscarried, my placenta ruptured. I nearly bled out. I lost half of my blood volume. They did an emergency hysterectomy. They took my womb.
Two Many Too Soon
We were young when we met. I loved him so much and I would do anything for him. From the very beginning I took care of him. I got up early to make sure his coffee was made and his lunch was packed. I did the laundry, got the dry cleaning, ran the errands. He never had to do anything more than wake up. I wanted to provide him with every comfort. With all of this, the love he gave in return was never the kind any woman deserves.
I remember the first time he hit me. I was only 22. All I could think was, are you serious? You think you’re going hit me? I’m educated. I have skills. I have a job. I make my own money and I make my own decisions. All of those things went through my head in an instant. Then he choked me until I lost consciousness. When I woke up he was crying. I had never seen him experience emotion. He was so sorry. He was so sweet to me. We made love. The next day he returned to expecting my obedience and service. I returned to trying to make him love me.
Our first child came. I could tell he loved the baby. Having the baby seemed to distance us more. He showered her with love and affection. He rejected me with venom. He yelled at me or ignored me. He certainly didn’t touch or caress me. There was no help with laundry or dishes. I was pregnant again within a year. He complained about how disgusting I was. I smelled bad. I was so fat. He didn’t touch me for nine months. I knew he was having an affair. But he was so sweet to our baby and he was always sorry in the morning.
The second baby was sick. This child always had some sort of illness. The baby never slept. He didn’t like it. The crying and the late night ER visits. I was getting even fatter after the baby was born. I was so tired and broken. I still managed to get my chores and his chores and the kids chores done everyday. My only source of happiness was when he said sorry after a punch. Then the rape. I never said no when he made advances even though he ridiculed my disgusting body during and after. The babies had been running wild, I was so sick. I couldn’t keep up and he came home drunk. He pulled me out of bed and threw me on the ground. I didn’t fight him, but he seemed to want to fight. He punched my breasts and choked me while he came. I knew before he got off that I was pregnant again.
Weeks went by without an incident. I couldn’t wait for my period. It never showed up. We lived in a small town, maybe 75,000 people. This is West Texas, all the towns are too small to be a city but too big to be isolated. No place in 300 miles would perform an abortion. I couldn’t Google it, he would see my searches. I went to the library. I found a place. $600. I didn’t have $600. I made the appointment anyway. This was the day he worked doubles. He would leave at 6:00 and be home by midnight. The second he left, I took the babies and I drove to Lubbock. My appointment was at 10:00. The physician looked mortified. He examined my body, my babies in tow. The bruises, the scars, with each limb he uncovered another dirty secret. He was required to make me listen to the heartbeat. In that heartbeat, I heard my heartbeat. He was my only advocate and the state made him torture me. One more kick to the chest of an already battered woman. He spoke slowly and softly. He said he agreed that this was the right decision. He had to wait 24 hours to perform the procedure to give me time to process and change my mind. I cried. I told him, I can’t come back. I live hours away. This is the only day. He will know, the miles on the car, the gas missing, the money from our account, he will know and he will kill me. My babies need a mother. He started to wring his hands. He was visibly torn. He asked me to sit in the waiting room.
Two hours later, my children were screaming and hungry. I had to go to the car to get the food I had packed. No charges in Lubbock for McDonald’s. I was afraid to leave. I wasn’t sure why I had to wait. I had to leave soon to make it home before he did. The nurse called me to come back. When she sat me in the room, she said she would take my children to get some food while the Doctor talked to me. He came in, clearly shaken. He handed me pills in an envelop. He said to take one today and one tomorrow. He asked if my husband had ever hit my children. Only once, he shook the little one. He couldn’t take the crying. He handed me another envelop with $1200, an address written on a yellow sticky note, and a cell phone. He said he would wait 24 hours before he called the police to report the abuse.
I returned to my car, one problem solved and a million more on the horizon. I looked at their dirty faces. I turned on the car and drove. I never looked back. 20 years later, I still don’t look back. My kids come over and have coffee with me on Sundays. They don’t remember their real names.