After careful contemplation, I decided to terminate my pregnancy.
This was a difficult decision, but my heart felt this was the right choice. I couldn't envision myself raising a child, as I was not prepared to be a single mother, and I didn't feel comfortable with adoption, because the thought of someone else raising my blood and flesh, somewhere in the world, didn't settle right with me.
And so, I booked an appointment with my GP, where I explained everything to him. He was sympathetic to my situation and referred me to an abortion clinic. There was a waiting list, so I waited for roughly three weeks for my first appointment.
During this time, my stomach had grown large. I was always starving. It was the worst type of hunger I've felt in my life, as though there was a monster inside of me, that demanded for food and nothing would satisfy its cravings. I was constantly feeling dizzy and vomiting, which often resulted in me passing out. Once, I woke up on the wet, kitchen floor, with food splattered across the tiles and a burn mark across my arm (I was boiling potatoes and knocked over the pot, when I fainted).
At night, I'd wake up randomly, drenched in sweat and gasping for air, like I had jumped into a lake and resurfaced. Sometimes I would cough out blood that was so dark, it looked black at certain angles, and even my vomit became a different color - from foamy white to a dark-brown. My stomach felt like it was burning and it took everything in my power not to scratch it ferociously and tear my flesh apart. I didn't know if this was linked to my pregnancy, or if I had some other underlying medical issue that needed attention.
Finally, the day arrived when I visited the abortion clinic. Despite the time, around 7am, there were protesters out of the front of the building. They were all Caucasian, over 60, praying loudly and holding anti-abortion signs.
As soon as they noticed me, I prepared myself for their oncoming onslaught.
"Abortion is murder! Are you a murderer?!"
"...Making a mistake! Don't do this!"
"... Baby is a human... human rights!"
"Take responsibility... face the consequences!"
"...God's precious gift! Don't waste it!"
"....Adoption... families who need children!"
"...Terrible person! How can you live with yourself?"
Quickly, I headed inside of the building, while trying to block out their voices. That was scary for a non-confrontational person like me to deal with. They seemed like they wanted to chew my head out.
The door to the clinic was locked, and so I buzzed in with my name and appointment time. And then it opened. The office was like any other doctor's waiting room - chairs, old gossip magazines, plants scattered around. There were two other women waiting, both with their male partners. They all seemed to be around their early 30s - I was the youngest there.
Just seeing these couples caused emotions to stir within me. Hugging myself, I tried to console this overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I could still hear the chanting of the angry mob outside. Their words were swirling around frantically in my mind. I dreaded the moment that I'd have to leave this building and face them again.
I looked up to see a black nurse, who was a young woman herself. She took me into a treatment room, which was a cozy little atmosphere, and sat down with me.
"Hello, how are ya feeling?" She asked with a friendly smile.
I took a deep breath and calmed my nerves. "I'm fine."
She, very gently may I add, asked if I were making this decision by myself. She wanted to ensure that no one else was pressuring me to have an abortion.
"This is what I, without a doubt, want for myself," I reassured her.
She nodded and then proceeded to ask me several questions regarding my medical history, including what form of birth control I was using. Then she went through the process with me. I had opted for a medical abortion, over a surgical, which meant that I would take a pill (known as RU486) and that would terminate the pregnancy in 93-98% of cases. As I was only four weeks pregnant, this was an option for me.
"Are you positive you're four weeks pregnant?"
I was taken aback by the nurse's question, but I nodded in response.
She pondered for a moment, her gaze lingering on my stomach.
"You look six months pregnant already."
I didn't know how to feel about her comment. I wasn't completely oblivious. I, too, had often wondered why my stomach was so unusually big at this stage. There was a lurking fear in the back of my mind that, perhaps, there were twins growing inside of me, but I would instantly shake the thought away.
"I'm just checking because if you're more than 9 weeks pregnant, the pill is not as effective, and a surgical abortion is the only option," she informed.
She was making me doubt myself. Sensing my hesitation, the nurse told me not to worry too much, and that she would take an ultrasound to confirm how far along I was.
"Lay down on the bed."
I followed her instruction. She smeared an extremely cold gel onto my bulging stomach and checked my uterus. As she kept pressing down on my bladder with the wand, which was about the size of an electrical razor, I felt the urge to urinate. A navy-blue curtain separated me from the monitor, preventing me from seeing the ultrasound pictures.
"Hmm... that's strange," she muttered under her breath.
"What is?" I inquired.
"Oh, just a moment," she told me. I heard her picking up the telephone, as she told her colleague to come over.
This time, a man, who appeared to be older than both of us, entered the room and sauntered over to the nurse. I could no longer see him, as he was hidden behind the curtain.
"Have a look at this, John."
"Oh my... What is that?" I heard him say.
I felt a sea of anxiety wash over me. What was going on? Was I having twins, after all? Triplets? Did the fetus have two heads or something? Why did she call for her colleague - what were they mumbling to each other about? My mind was buzzing with so many questions, that I couldn't contain my curiosity for much longer.
So, I pulled apart the curtain and froze when I saw the monitor.