Cecelia Harcourt shares with us her true story of why and how she decided to have an abortion, as well as the difficulties she's faced while trying to obtain an abortion in the conservative state of Idaho...
I knew something was up when I broke out into hives that lasted for a week. Hives that wouldn't stop spreading even after taking plenty of anti-histamines and practically bathing in cortisone cream. After having hives on my face for a week I broke down and went to the doctor. They were just as puzzled as I was, so I was given some heavy steroids and sent on my merry way. The hives went away and I was a content lady.
Fastforward to October 4th. Since I'm an anal lady, I track my periods at mymonthlycycles.com. It's a nifty site where you mark when your on the rag and then it can tell you about when you should be getting your next period. It told me my period was a couple days late. After discussing things with my boyfriend of five years, we decided it was time to go and get me some pee sticks. I took a test and waited patiently for three minutes. Negative. So I figured cool, maybe I'm just stressed and Aunt Flo is taking her sweet time. We decided that if I didn't get my period in a week I'd take the second test from the box.
Monday rolls around and after going over things on mymonthlycycles I realize that I am a week late and that if I am pregnant, it will show up on a test. I decide to take the second test just to be super-duper-uber sure. I wait the three minutes, and pace the bathroom. This one was positive.
The first thought that went through my head was, "Fuck me running."
The second was, "What am I going to tell my boyfriend."
I always figured I'd get pregnant after getting married and it would be this joyous thing that I couldn't wait to tell him. Instead it was something I was quickly dreading.
Lucky for me I didn't have to say anything. All he had to do was look at my face.
"You're pregnant?" He asked.
All I could do was nod.
I sat next to him on the couch and we sat in silence for awhile. We discussed our options and mutually decided the only option was for me to have an abortion.
He just graduated last May, only has a low paying "filler" job until he can get one that pertains to his major, no health insurance, is moving to Seattle in an unspecified amount of time, and has student loans to pay off.
I graduate next May, am a full-time student, work part-time, and also have student loans to pay off. Between the two of us we probably have $25,000 in student loans. I have Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and barely know how to deal with that let alone being pregnant and eventually having a child. It's just not the time for us.
Sure, there are people out there who are probably screaming, "You couldn't give it up for adoption!" "You could get help and have your baby!"
On adoption: Both my boyfriend and I are very selfish about our genetic matieral, in otherwords, if anyone is going to fuck our kids up, it's going to be us. It's our creation and as such he and I can do with it as we please.
On just going balls to the walls and having the child:
2. We're just too young
4. We want to be parents someday but now is not the time
5. I would rather die than move in with my parents or keep taking their money
I can barely manage to take medicine for my Crohn's disease, let alone try and take CARE of myself and someone else for that matter.
So after we went over all of this I made the call to Planned Parenthood. Since there are only two Planned Parenthoods in Idaho (which is about 325 miles away from I am) so I have to go to one in Washington.
I am told that I'll be called back by a nurse to make an appointment. I decide that now is a good time to call my parents. I call my mom first and get her voicemail and then call my dad. He's upset when I tell him but overall very supportive. Call waiting beeps through and I quickly change over, I want this done ASAP.
There's a questionaire that I am asked, basic health history, have I been informed of my options so on and so fourth. I am then asked what type of abortion I would like, medical or a surgical. Because I found out early enough I qualified for a medical abortion and chose that as I prefer the less invasive route.
"Here's the bad news, the earliest we can get you in is on the 31st."
I sign up quickly for fear that someone else will take my spot and I'll have to wait longer. I am told I need to drive to a different planned parenthood and get a RH blood test. Then she hits me with the whammy.
"The cost is $800 for either a medical abortion or a surgical abortion."
I practically choked on my tongue. I get off the phone and call my mom. My mom being the awesome woman that she is simply said, "I wish I could hug you right now and I really think you're making the right decision." I told her the cost and then told her that my boyfriend and I would each pay half. I talked to her for awhile about what her own abortion was like and she reassured me in every way possible that it would be fine.
My mom is proof that you can have an abortion and still go on to have beautiful children who you love dearly.
I went into the local Planned Parenthood (well not really local, I did have to cross state lines to get there) and had another pregnancy test and had my blood draw. My boyfriend came with me and we joked and smiled with each other at the contraception chart. Who knew the rhythm method had up to a 75% success rate?
We go and have Chinese food to make me feel better about the situation and then go home and make jokes about it. Yeah, we're cruel and evil and joking about me getting an abortion. But we're like that. We have sick senses of humor and this is how we're dealing with our situation.
The next day I get an awesome call from Planned Parenthood saying that my insurance will cover 80% of my abortion! Woo-fucking-hoo!!!! Thank you insurance from my parents! I'll go in on the 31st, pay a $30 co-pay, and then the rest is sent directly to my mom's house. My boyfriend and I felt it was a sign that this was the right thing to do. $160 bucks for an abortion seems like a really good deal to me. Which in today's rough economy a bargain to be found anywhere is most appreciated.
So now I just wait.
I don't really "feel" pregnant although my skin is FREAKING out. I am getting monstrous zits that are truly gruesome. I also do have to pee quite a bit. I'm normally a camel but now-a-days I pee like once an hour. I also get emotional in a split second. On top of all of this, I also have super human smell it seems. I can seriously smell heat. I swear. My sense of smell is so screwy that it stopped me from eating a perfectly fine turkey sandwich.
At first I thought I would be an emotional wreck and doubt my decision, but the more time that passes the stronger I feel about this. A good friend of mine (who is 8 months pregnant) got married about a week after I found out. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle going to her wedding and seeing a couple who is around my age and excited to be pregnant, but I quickly remembered that she and her husband are not my boyfriend and I. We are different people in different situations.
I applaud every woman who has an unintended pregnacy and chooses to keep it. You have balls that at 22, I just do not have.
I know that someday I will be an amazing mother and my boyfriend will be an amazing father but not right now. I know that someday I'll take that test and be elated to find out that I am pregnant, but now is not the time for us. Maybe after graduating and getting a job and paying off some student loans.
Please join us later this week for Cecelia's next column on what it's really like to have an abortion in conservative America.