When I had my first positive pregnancy test I was four weeks pregnant. I knew I was really early on, so I tried to Google ways that I could abort the fetus myself. I took a few morning after pills, a row of regular birth control pills and lots of vitamin C, but nothing worked.
I knew that I was simply not ready to be a mother, and the guy I was dating was not ready to be a father, and there was no forcing us to be ready when we were both working for just over minimum wage, and had not yet finished our education.
We had planned on getting an abortion if I ever ended up pregnant. This was well established from very early on in our relationship.
I googled my options. There was not much out there, other than a blog that had a lot of information on sexual assaults. It said, that if I talked to my family doctor, they could possibly refer me to the Morgentaler Clinic, where I would have to pay for it, or to a hospital in Moncton.
I’ve had my family doctor for most of my life, so I thought it would be a good idea to talk to him about my situation. I got an appointment to see my family doctor one week after my positive pregnancy test. When I told him that I was sure that I wanted an abortion, but did not have the means to pay for one at the Morgentaler clinic. He said that he would prefer that I go there, so he could be close by if needed, but would go through the referral process of sending me to a hospital if that’s what I really wanted to do.
I knew it was nearly impossible for me to come up with $850 to go to the Morgentaler Clinic, and I did not want my anti-abortion family to know, so I knew that I had to get the referral and leave town.
The first visit with my doctor, he did a physical exam (on my abdomen) where he guessed that I was about 5 weeks pregnant. He also did a pap. He then wanted me to get blood work done to confirm I was pregnant, and also get an ultrasound done.
I waited a little over a week for my blood work appointment to arrive in the mail. I went for blood work, got a call a few days later to tell me that they didn’t get all of the blood that they needed so I had to go back. I went back a week later for round 2.
The next week I had an ultrasound at the hospital. The technician said I was too early on to see it through my stomach, so she had to do an internal ultrasound. I was 6 weeks pregnant and could see the fetus (even though I didn’t want to and was not asked if I wanted to see it). I was also told the heart rate without asking for it. At the end of my appointment, the ultrasound technician gave me my next appointment, which would bring me to 16 weeks. Feeling like I had no choice, I smiled and carried on like I was happy about my growing fetus, and took my picture home of my blurb of cells.
Two weeks later, I had an appointment with my family doctor. He said that I had a perfectly healthy baby, and asked if I wanted to still go through with an abortion. I knew that I did not want to bring someone into a situation where its parents were in a broken relationship, didn’t want it and couldn’t afford it. I had just been accepted into a graduate program that would not allow me to be a mother. It just wasn’t the right time in my life.
I explained this all to my doctor, and he said he would write me a referral to take with me to whatever hospital I wanted to go to. He really did not know much about this process, and kept trying to get me to go to the Morgentaler Clinic.
Growing up in a small city such as Fredericton, I knew that if I went to that clinic (if I even had the money to go), I would see people that I did not want to see and have to deal with anti-abortion protesters yelling names at me.
I left the doctor’s office that day with basically a book: my ultrasound information, blood work, and a three page referral from my doctor saying that I had struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, and had been doing well up until this unplanned pregnancy. He also argued that I had fallen into another episode of depression, was not in a healthy relationship, and financially, could not take on the responsibility of someone else.
Feeling lost and leaving with a whole armful of paper, I turned around and said to the receptionist, who is also a nurse, ”What hospital should I go to? Is it true that I can go to the Georges-Dumont hospital in Moncton with this referral?” She said yes, provided me with their number and information and that she would cancel my next ultrasound appointment for me.
Working 40 hours a week with children, and dealing with morning sickness from before I even knew I was pregnant, this whole process took a lot out of me. I was no doubt in a serious state of depression, only having a couple people for support and a boyfriend who wanted nothing to do with me other than make sure that I was working on a plan to get rid of the fetus that was growing inside of me. I knew no one who had been open about their abortion, and I felt more lost than I ever have in my whole life. The people I did tell were also constantly asking me if I was sure that I wanted to go through with an abortion.
At ten weeks, I called and spoke to a nurse at the Georges-Dumont Hospital. She was a Francophone and there was a huge language barrier between her and I. I told her I had a referral and she told me that she would have to call me back for an appointment for the consultation and then for my actual appointment. She called me back a week later and said I could come the following Tuesday for a consulation. That day would consist of me going over the procedure with the Ob/Gyn and then a counselling discussion with a nurse where we would talk about birth control options. I was given a serious warning of their policy: If I did not show for the consultation appointment a week prior to the procedure, I would not be able to return to the hospital for an abortion.
At twelve weeks, noticeably showing, and still feeling like I am dying from morning sickness, I went to Moncton for my consultation appointment. I told my story of how I got pregnant and how I couldn’t go through with the pregnancy. I was seriously pressured into getting a Merina-IUD. I persistently declined after hearing horror stories from friends and family members who had used it. I stated that I wanted to try the pill, and was given Yasmin samples and a prescription for a year.
The OB/GYN came in and told me that I was going to have a D and C (dialation and curettage) and that she was going to make sure that I was given lots of medication so that I felt “happy drunk” when I left. She told me that they were going to write me a prescription for misoprostol (Cytotec) and I could insert it vaginally exactly twelve hours before my procedure. I was warned that at that point, I would not be able to change my mind about having an abortion as it could cause serious harm to the fetus. I was also warned that I might miscarry at home. I had no real counseling, no one to comfort me and tell me that it was going to be ok. I felt very judged by the nurses and the only one who showed genuine interest in me was the OB/GYN. She was fantastic and very reassuring that I wasn’t going to feel any pain.
I left Moncton extremely nervous for the procedure, as I had never had any procedure done at a hospital before in my life. The night before the procedure, I seriously struggled with the misoprostal. I was terrified I was going to miscarry. I drove to Moncton at 6:15 in the morning to be at my scheduled appointment for 8:30. My boyfriend drove to make sure I was going to go through with it. It was one day before I was 13 weeks pregnant.
I went into day surgery, where I was given an Ativan, changed into a robe and was hooked up to an IV. I had to wait in a large room, with about eight other day surgery beds for my name to be called to go to the operating room. There was a curtain separating the beds in this room. I waited for four hours for my name to be called, while my boyfriend waited in the waiting room.
The Demerol and Fentayl made me pass out for a bit over those four hours.
I’m not sure if it was the pain killers they gave me or the stress that made me pass out during the procedure and not wake up until it was over. I was given antibiotics and sent home an hour after the procedure. I felt no pain, but seriously went into a state of depression after coming off the pain killers. I had no follow up appointment, no counseling follow up, no social work involvement or even a phone call to check in.
It was really a nightmare, waiting for almost nine weeks for a procedure at the hospital, and having a fetus growing inside of me that I did not want. Looking back now, I would have went to the Morgentaler Clinic if I had the funds. I really felt like I was failed by our “healthcare” system. I should have been able to go to a clinic in my own city, receive immediate service and have it over with. Instead, I was put through psychological and physical torture carrying a fetus for 13 weeks. I would not wish my experience on anyone.
The author has preferred to remain anonymous.