Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why I'm more careful with birth control now

  • I was 21 years old and was pregnant by a one night stand with an ex, an ex who got back with his son's mother the next day and was thus unavailable to me and wouldn't even take my phone calls.  I worked 2 jobs to pay my $275/month rent and still had to use my mom's washing machine because I didn't have money for the laundromat. So I made an appointment, borrowed money from my mother, and went to terminate a poorly timed and insurmountable pregnancy.
    They assigned me a counselor who gave me a prophylactic antibiotic pill and explained the procedure to me.  They would give me a local anesthetic shot in my cervix, dilate me with a series of increasingly large metal rods, and then suction out the cells. I asked the counselor, a bright-eyed college student, how far I'd be dilated and she held up her pinky finger. pointed out that at this stage (11 weeks) the fetus was way bigger than that; how would they suction it out.  She reluctantly admitted that there's a blade in the vacuum that "breaks down the tissue". (Ever see a Roto-Rooter commercial?)  But she assured me that it was just a clump of cells and asked me to not make the mistake of confusing "tissue" with "flesh". I had done my homework and told her so.  I knew that the cells had a functioning heart, the beginnings of arms and legs, and tiny undeveloped eyeballs.  She stammered and gave me the consent form to sign.
    When I backed out, on the table and in the stirrups, the doctor ripped off his gloves and threw them at my exposed crotch. "I have real patients waiting for me," he snarled. I looked up at my counselor, crying, confused, and scared, and feeling a LOT of pressure to make up my mind right this very second no you can't have a second to collect your thoughts we're busy, she stood up and left the room.  Apparently I wasn't pro-choice enough to warrant her services.
    I wonder what would have happened, how I would have taken it, if I'd accepted what they told me at face value and then found out later about the arm buds and "neural tube" spine. I think I would have had a breakdown. They lied to me.  For all I know, they lied to that college girl when they told her what to say to patients.  I assume they did it to lessen the trauma of the situation, as a kindness to me, but they did me no kindness. And so, because I don't feel that they deserve anonymity, I hereby post a link to the clinic:

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