I want to write today about a young lady named Lauren O’Malley who had an abortion this past weekend. She agreed to share her story with me and answer some questions about her experiences and her life.
Her experience from this past weekend as follows:
So, just to keep everyone updated on my pregnancy, I went to the hospital the other day to meet with my OB/GYN, my endocrinologist, and my urologist, who all 3 agreed that my kidneys are not functional enough to support a pregnancy, and I may have to have my left kidney removed if more dialysis doesn’t work. So, I made an appointment at a Women’s Clinic, and yesterday morning, I went and had an abortion. We had to leave here at 4 am, because it’s a 2 hour drive plus a one hour time difference. We somehow managed to get to our destination city an hour early, so we sat in the car in front of the clinic while Mark played with my hair and tried to reassure me everything was going to be okay. Some crazy protester started knocking on the window trying to talk Mark out of it, which made me laugh because I’m pretty sure Mark isn’t the one with the uterus. So we drive down the street, away from the protesters and one of the people who work for the clinic said they would all walk with us to the clinic. Once it was time, we got out of the car and the people walked with us up the street. One of the orange vested ladies talked to me about the weather and what not, trying to keep my mind preoccupied, while that same protester was STILL trying to talk to Mark. We made it across the protest line with people screaming in our ears about Jesus, and the entire time I wanted to scream back at them, how I was on their side, and that they didn’t know my story, and about how badly I really didn’t want to be there. But I held my tongue. Mark gripped my hand a little tighter and told me he loved me, and we walked inside.
Once we signed in, we sat down in the waiting room and I filled out some paperwork. I remember looking around the room, and was amazed at the diversity of women in the room. women ranging from my age to their mid 40′s. Black, White, Hispanic, Indian I vividly remember this one girl who came alone and she looked so scared and I just wanted to go hug her. Mark and I sat there and talked about the research he’s doing in his biotech lab, and finally the nurse came out and told all of the women to follow her. We went as a group into a room with a TV and then we were each called in separately to do our medical history. From that point onward, we were a group, and it wasn’t as scary, knowing that all of these other women were here for the same thing and we all had each other.
First, it was medical history. Then we were called back to the office for payment. Then back to that TV room. Then to a room where they took your temperature, weight, blood pressure, blood sample, and urine sample. Then we sat in a waiting room outside of the ultrasound room as each woman was taken for an ultrasound following her urine sample. While waiting there, I made friends with two women, Mandie and Eleanor, who were both quite a bit older than me, but they were great companions for the rest of the day. Eleanor was married and had a child of her own, and she and her husband had hit hard times, and she couldn’t afford to raise another child. She was there for the pill and got to leave quite a bit earlier than the rest of us. Mandie was 31, and her now ex-boyfriend had forced her to stop taking her birth control, gotten her pregnant and then left her. Mandie was my friend for the rest of the day.
I went in for my ultrasound, and surprisingly, it wasn’t as heart breaking as I thought it would be. Blastulas look the same in most species, and being a biology major, I guess it didn’t really phase me. Throughout the short time span of my pregnancy, I never really felt pregnant, I had hardly any of the symptoms, so maybe that’s why it didn’t bother me. After the ultrasound, they send you back to the TV room, and I sat in between Eleanor and Mandie, while we read outdated magazines and talked about our lives, and made jokes about the protesters outside. After everyone had their ultrasound, one nurse called the names of the women who were taking the RU486 pill. Bye, Eleanor. Afterwards, the anesthesiologist, who was this little gray headed lady came in and talked to us about the anesthesia we would be receiving because it wasn’t mentioned much on the video we were about to watch. I never got her name, but she was probably my favorite piece of the medical staff I met all day. She was short and sweet and reminded me of my grandmother, and she had this tone of voice that made you reassured you were going to be okay. She answered all of my questions and didn’t judge me, because I always panic about anesthesia.
After she left, this lovely Swedish lady named Addison, who was the counselor, came in and handed us a piece of paper that we had to initial as we watched the video. We watched the video, and then she called us out one by one for counseling. After the first three that had been counseled came back, another nurse came down to get them. I was in the second batch of women to be called. Addison was very sweet, she answered all of my questions and reassured me of all my concerns. As I go back into the TV room, I’m texting Mark telling him that I’m freaking out and I should have taken him up on his offer of Valium. Yes, he brought an entire bottle of Valium, just in case. They called me and another woman named Samantha who was at least 40, and she reminded me a lot of my mom. Blonde hair, wearing UK blue, walking to surgery with her was comforting for some reason.
We got into an elevator with the nurse, and went to the basement, which I thought was a bit sketchy. She gave us each a locker to put our things in, and gave us a hospital gown and hair net, and told us to remove everything but our socks, and empty our bladders. The bathroom and the dressing rooms both were painted this horrible pink, and there was a more terrible floral trim, and you could tell they hadn’t decorated the basement since the place opened. The upstairs was very nice and modern, although I couldn’t figure out the motif they were going for, something between old Mayan civilization and modern Europe. (I judge decor when I’m nervous, leave me alone) Anyways, after we changed, we went into a room with 5 or 6 hospital beds, and the first 3 or 4 were already preoccupied with women who were going ahead of Samantha and I, and they had all let the Phenergan get the best of them and were knocked out cold. The nurse started my IV and apologized for making me bleed, she said she does that 4 or 5 times a day, and then gave me a dose of Phenergan. I felt the coldness of it run through my veins, and I got really sleepy. I looked at Samantha who was lying in the bed next to me, and she just smiled and said “it’s almost over now.”
Finally, it was my turn and the anesthesiologist came in and smiled, and rolled me into the operating room. She helped me move from the bed I was in to the operating table, and another nurse helped my legs into the stirrups. I saw the rolling table full of instruments and asked if they were sterile, which they both assured me they were. Of that entire day, the thing that freaked me out the most was the giant jar next to the table that is used to catch the contents of your uterus after they use the vacuum. The jars were half full of blood and embryonic matter, and although you couldn’t see into it completely, you could see the top layer of blood. The vacuum part itself had been cleaned and sterilized, I made sure of that. The anesthesiologist pushed the anesthesia into my IV and I could smell it in my nose. then my face felt all tingly and I told her “my face feels really itchy.” she just smiled and said “good that means it’s working.”
I woke up in the recovery room sitting on one of those puppy pads that dogs pee on. The recovery room nurse gave me some ginger ale and crackers, but I really just had to pee. I stood up and spilled my ginger ale everywhere, and she yelled at me for standing up on my own but I just really really had to pee.The chair I was in was about 4 steps away from the bathroom but I staggered and almost fell the entire 4 steps. I peed, sat back down, and fell back asleep. I woke up and complained about not getting any crackers and the nurse laughed and said I had spilled them all over the floor. Oh. She gave me more and it was literally the best meal because I hadn’t ate in 2 days. Finally, I was able to go put my regular clothes back on and come back to the recovery room. I talked to the girl who had just came out, and she was feeling okay. Apparently, everyone else takes anesthesia a lot better than I do, because this girl, I think her name was Tasha, was sitting upright immediately after coming out of surgery and talking normally, unlike me, I was slurring my words and felt really drunk.
The nurse waited for Samantha to change clothes, gave us our discharge instructions, and walked us back upstairs to our drivers. Mark walked me out, and I was getting in the car, I noticed that all the protesters were gone (I guess Jesus told them to take a lunch break) but there were these two young girls sitting on the curb with gift bags. The girl said “Here’s a goody bag, it’s just got some snacks and stuff in it.” I was flattered, especially since she was giving me food. “Snacks and stuff” turned out to be a granola bar, a bible, a jesus CD, some mini lotion, body spray and bath wash from B&B, a loufa, and a couple of other religious items. But still, it was a lovely gesture and they weren’t screaming in my face.
Mark and I drove around downtown In the city and decided on eating at Jimmy John’s. We got back in the car, got on the interstate, I ate half my sandwich and then passed out for the rest of the 2 hour drive home. I woke up somewhere on I-65 to Mark making a totally illegal U-turn in the MIDDLE OF THE GODDAMN INTERSTATE. -___- Anyways, we make it home, Mark says he’s going home to shower and to the lab to feed the frogs, and he’ll be back within a couple hours. I pass out, wake up to him sliding into my bed to cuddle me. It was only like 6:30 or 7 by this point, and we get up, he gives me a valium, he takes me shopping, and we go get milkshakes and Thai food ^__^ We came home and ate, and by this time my bleeding was minimal, almost like the last day of my period. We went to bed, woke up this morning, and he got up and went and brought me breakfast, and watched Desperate Housewives with me. After he left to go to the lab, I took a nap, woke up a couple hours ago to just mild cramping and bleeding.
I thought this was going to be the most traumatizing experience ever, and I’m sure you all know how Pro- Life I am. Now I realize you can’t judge a situation or have any truthful insight to it until you’ve been there. I was in a room full of women who were experiencing the same thing I was, and the staff was so kind and reassuring, I eventually got over my fear, and Mark was there holding my hand the entire way. Yesterday was a life changing experience, and it was for the better. As much as I wish I could have kept this child, that wasn’t in the cards for me at this point in time, and I’m not traumatized, and I’m not ashamed, and I’m not regretful.