My Abortion Story: Grace after the Choice

She then told me that a laminaria would have to be inserted in the opening of my cervix. “What is that? What does it do?” I asked. She explained that it was a piece of seaweed that would expand to dilate my cervix. I asked to see it, and she showed me what looked like hardened tobacco rolled into a cigarette. My feet were put in the stirrups; a cold instrument assisted the nurse in inserting the laminaria. “That wasn’t so bad.” I had thought it would hurt more. Here I tell you about my abortion story and how I feel the grace after the choice.

She told me that I would need to wait for an hour. I was to drink as much liquid as I could in that time. I got re-dressed and slipped off for an hour to visit the local Burger King, where I sipped as many sodas as I could. I returned to the hospital waiting room, where my name was called again. I was inspected to make sure that the laminaria was still in place and doing its job. It was.

I was once again escorted to a room and instructed to put all my belongings in the bag I had brought, and to put on another hospital gown. I was helped into a rolling bed and rolled through several corridors and through several sets of double doors. Finally they rolled me into a room along the back wall and set my bed (Bed B) up in the corner. My belonging were put into an armoire at the foot of my bed.

The same nurse as before soon rolled in another girl, who was accompanied by her mother. The girl was only fifteen and had gotten pregnant by a much older ex-boyfriend; the mother wasn’t happy about it, and I could tell that the girl was terrified of her mother and of what was about to happen.

A different nurse came in the room, drew the curtain between us closed and took my blood pressure and inserted an IV into the top of my left hand. She also asked me if I wanted some juice or crushed ice. I accepted the ice. And I waited some more. I recall not knowing exactly what time it was because there was no window in the room. Neither was there a television.

A hospital intern pulled up a chair next to my bed, introduced himself and started asking me all kinds of personal questions, and as I answered, he jotted on the forms on his clipboard. The questions, which inquired mainly about my sex life were quite humiliating to answer, especially to a male stranger. He then went to the other side of the curtain and as he proceeded to ask the girl in Bed A the same set of questions, Bed A’s mother angrily replied, “That’s none of your business” and told him to get out, which he did. I’d have told him the same thing, had I known his inquiries weren’t mandatory. I found out later that they were a gathering of facts with which the hospital could use to advertise their abortion services better. 

Then, the two nurses I’d gotten familiar with seeing came in the room together, accompanied by the doctor.

A stainless steel rolling cart with a few utensils, what looked like a large folded blue paper towel, a bottle of betadine, some cotton pads, and a clear plastic bag (of what looked like water) with plastic tubing coming out of it were on top of the cart.

The doctor was gentle, but unfriendly as he asked me to pull up my gown, which I did. A nurse washed and dried my lower abdomen twice with the betadine and pads, which left it stained brown. Then the blue paper was draped across my stomach. It had a cut-out hole about 3” across in it. While this was being done, the doctor was connecting the plastic tubing from the bag of water to a large needle. I got scared. I hate needles, but I asked the nurse nearest to me if I could hold her hand, and she let me, as I looked the other way. Thankfully, the doctor wiped an anesthetic over the skin exposed by the hole in the paper, and I didn’t feel the needle entering me. Nor did I watch what the doctor was doing, however, when the bag was emptied, he simply left, taking a nurse and the cart with him.

The nurse that had held my hand told me that I would probably feel contracting, and that that was simply the uterus expelling the fetus, that it may take up to four hours, and that when I felt the urge to push, to call her by pushing the nurse’s station button on the side of my bed.

I then heard the same procedure being done to the girl in Bed A, I heard her wimpering. When her mother heard that it was going to take her daughter up to four hours to be finished, she decided to go out and get some dinner.

Her mother was only gone about a half hour when the girl started groaning and crying and I asked her if she was okay and if she wanted the nurse. She didn’t. A few minutes later, she called me over to her bed, so I climbed out of the left side of my bed because my rolling IV bag pole needed to come with me.

She told me that she had pushed something out and asked me to look to see what it was. I was kind of shocked by her request, but said, okay. Apparently, she had been as curious as I as to what was happening. So, I went over by her bent up knees and looked down below them at what was lying near her bottom. I saw in a puddle of blood and water, what looked like a red, wet tumor about the size of an eggplant (I know now that the baby was facing her body and that I was looking at its back) and decided that it was just that: a mass of tissue, like a tumor. I described it to her, and we were both relieved that that was all it was. 

By now, I had started having cramps and I got back into my bed to wait.

Leave a comment