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03 August 2012 @ 02:26 pm
What I Did Last Weekend  
(EDIT: this has apparently been posted around a bit, so a lot of people who don't know me are seeing it. For these people, some clarifying background info here.)

so uh, don't freak out, but I was pregnant and had to have an abortion last weekend.

yes yes I know, my uterus is ruled by murphy's law. Patrick and I both thought it was pretty funny, in that "oh, life" way, when it occurred to me a few days after I missed my period why I wasn't bleeding.

Being first-trimester crazy (I have fits of horrific rage, I get depressed, I can't sleep, I can't concentrate) has made everything more difficult these last couple weeks. Having an abortion is really not that big of a deal, but it would be even less of a deal if one were not suffering from overhormones when it's all going down.

I didn't really waffle at all on it. Patrick and I are both exhausted. When we are at home dealing with the kids, someone constantly needs something (or many people need things at once), and then there's cleaning up after four kids, etc. We already should do more for our kids than we do. There is no way we can deal with another pregnancy or baby on top of one-year-old twins, two older children, work, and life. I could feel Patrick's terror at the thought; he's already on his last nerve. It would also be very difficult to afford. and where would we put another baby?

And frankly, after the twin pregnancy, I'm tired of being pregnant. That really wrecked me. Right now, at least, pregnancy doesn't feel magical. It feels difficult and exhausting. I just stopped nursing. I want my body back for awhile.

So I went down to a local clinic this weekend to get an abortion. I knew there would be protestors, so I had to think of what would be the most amusing way to deal with them. I decided to print copies of Flying Spaghetti Monster proselytizing pamphlets to hand out to them. Spreading the good news. They should have thanked me. Instead, they got mad.

Specifically, I parked around the corner on the street instead of in the parking ramp, so the escorts didn't see me. Also, despite the fact that I was wearing pajamas, I didn't look scared or like I was looking for something, which further threw off the escorts. The protestor lady, however, was all over me. She was this older woman in a black skirt and sensible sneakers and sunglasses, with a big messenger bag full of paraphenalia. She told me they were there to help women like me, etc., and offered me their pamphlet. I took it, thanked her, and said I also had something for her. I handed her a FSM pamphlet and turned to walk away.

She was pretty surprised. I don't think anyone had ever handed HER a pamphlet before.

Once she realized what it was, she got super pissed, which I don't think was fair at all. First, my pamphlet was way more entertaining than hers, and second, she hands out pamphlets all day, so it is very hypocritical of her to be angry about receiving a pamphlet, IMO.

Anyway, she started yelling angrily at me to take it back, she didn't want my crap, etc., which, again, I felt was quite hypocritical. Also not at all in keeping with her kindly helpful lady persona. I turned to her and said, "Well, I don't need your materials either," and handed her paraphenalia back to her. I didn't take mine back though, just turned around and started walking away, because it is about time someone stuck her with an unwanted pamphlet, IMO. She continued to yell at me about it, but I just said "no no, it's ok, you keep it," and kept walking. Apparently that wasn't ok with her, because then she grabbed my arm and then my bag, trying to stuff the pamphlet back in it.

It is not ok to grab people or their possessions without permission. It is called assault and battery.

I just shook her off and kept walking, but I admit I was startled and unsettled. Once I went from the sidewalk to the entrance of the building the presence of the escorts reminded her that she couldn't follow. She was yelling angry, abusive things about Jesus and evil and how I would answer for my sins etc., which did not do much to convince me that she was concerned about helping me. I think yelling at me did distract her from bothering another woman who was walking in at the same time.

After I was inside and checked in, I decided that the woman's behavior was Not Acceptable, so I borrowed a cell phone and called 911. I told them it wasn't an emergency, but this was the only police number I had, and I explained what had happened. I went downstairs and the woman was still there, so I was able to describe her very precisely. The dispatcher said she'd send police. When the police arrived, I explained to an officer what had happened. He asked at one point whether I'd been in fear, which amused me. "Well, FEAR, I mean, I'm pretty sure if she'd tried to start something I could have taken her, and there were people around, so I can't say I was AFRAID of her."

Anyway, the police told her not to do that anymore, but I don't think they're going to take any serious action against her. A minor assault like that rarely gets acted on. But that's ok, because mainly, I want the incident on record, so if she does something like that again, she will get in serious trouble. She knows she's got a strike, hopefully she will toe the line. I also made a report to security because they wanted me to.

There was an escort there w/the officer and the escort and I discussed the assault a bit; he was upset for me, which I thought was very sweet. Another thing was that he was clearly gay, and if anyone has an excuse not to care about a woman's right to choose, it's gay men, but so many of them are really active for choice anyway - this guy was giving up his Saturday morning to help me and other women, and getting indignant for my sake. I don't really have words for how grateful and touched that makes me feel. I get all teary thinking about it.

All this police excitement was taking place around the various things I was doing in the clinic. It's a lot of waiting. You fill out the forms, then they call you back for various things - a urine test, blood test, the payment process, taking your vitals/height/weight/med history, doing a counselling session, informed consent stuff, etc. In between you go back to the waiting room. Happily, Patrick bought me books in anticipation of all the waiting, so I was set. It took about five hours total.

I was going to do medication abortion like I did last time, but everyone else recommended surgical to just get it over with. I had to admit, it would be difficult to go through the miscarriage process with four kids around. So I decided to agree, but then was told it was more money. I waffled, then called Patrick.

Me: I was going to do surgical, but it's more money.
Patrick: how much more?
Me: $100.
Patrick: DO IT
Me: *laughing*
Patrick: if it were like $1000 more, I'd have to think about it. $100? Just do it.

Patrick is good at decisions.

Surgical abortion is so incredibly minor and fast, it's amazing. I mean, abortion looms so huge in our society. It's portrayed as this horrible serious thing. In reality, it takes 5 minutes. An HSG is more serious. It's ridiculous.

They put me in a room like any ob/gyn room, on a table with stirrups, and I assumed the pap smear position (every woman knows what that is.) They put on a blood pressure cuff and one of those finger things that tracks your pulse. The dr. did a pelvic exam, which was probably the most uncomfortable part of the process. Then they started administering the sedative.

Nurse: How are you feeling?
Me: Things are getting kind of woogy. I imagine that is the anesthesia.
Nurse: Yep.

Next the dr. injected novocain into my cervix, which hurt. When I'd had an HSG, the injection hadn't hurt - just luck, I guess, avoided all the nerves that time. But that's the last pain I remember. They encouraged me to talk, which I happily did, but I can't remember about what. My kids, probably. It's weird not to remember, because I clearly remember being conscious and talking. It's like when you are driving and you kind of blank out for a bit. I think I felt something down there while the abortion was going on, but I can't remember what exactly - nothing very painful, nothing that got my attention even. I just sort of happily chattered until the dr announced that I was done. I was like, "....that's it?"

Then I went into the recovery room, which had cookies and drinks and reclining chairs. Like after you donate blood. Except the chairs. I felt very tired. The nurse asked about my pain, zero to ten. I said zero. I wasn't in any pain. Just felt tired and dizzy. And kind of cold.

Afterwards, I called Patrick to come get me. (He'd had to stay home with the kids.) I sat outside on the curb, sleepy. When I got home, I took a nap for awhile. Afterwards, though, I felt fine. I played outside with the kids, I read my books. I finished two and a half books this weekend. After the kids were in bed, we watched Watchmen. I did not approve of the musical score.

I had some bad cramping, especially on Saturday. It feels like when you have diarrhea.

I can tell the hormones are going down. Everything is less scary and crazy and emotional. I can sleep. I like chocolate again.

It's so strange, contrasting an actual abortion with the OMG ABORTION that the pro-lifers portray it as being. I mean, they were out there with their signs with stillborn bloody children on them, like that had any relationship at all to what went on with me. I was 7 weeks progressed (they said five, but I think they weren't counting the two extra weeks.) My embryo wasn't even a fetus yet, it was the size of a lentil.

the reality is so much different from the hype, it's amazing.

When I went in no one would be able to tell I was pregnant. It's not like I am any different now. Just getting back to life. I may feel sad off and on, but I've already got four children and a lot going on. I ain't got time to bleed. I prefer to let the whole thing slip away into the past instead of dwelling.

I kind of hesitated about talking about this because of all the IF stuff I've gone through and not really wanting to hear comments about that. And while I was all hormonal, I didn't want to deal with other people's emotions too. But hiding an abortion is basically the opposite of what I believe in. The harder it is to share, the more it ought to be done, otherwise we will eventually not have choices anymore.
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( 238 comments — Leave a comment )
Beaniekinsbeaniekins on August 3rd, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
I think you're awesome. Thanks for sharing all of this. I know it's what you strongly believe, but you don't have to and I think it's brave that you do.

Also, the part about the gay male escort made me teary, too.

I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but: I'm sorry this happened to you. You've got enough going on without having to deal with All This™. But reading something like this makes me so extremely glad that you had options and were able to exercise them with (relative) ease. (Douchebag protesters aside.)
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
thanks :) I know it has helped some people for me to speak out, and that is a good thing!

I'm not thrilled it happened to me either, so I know where you're coming from. I'm dealing with it fine, I know I made the right choice, but it's not like it's consequence-free.
Bertinebertine on August 3rd, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
WTH eyelid's uterus, could you be more inconsiderate?

At least you had a choice, right? <3
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
IKR? My body and I are clearly not communicating.
(no subject) - sithlet on August 4th, 2012 01:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
Britney St. Patience: Sad kittydamncutekitty on August 3rd, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that you had to go through that.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
thanks. I'll be all right :)
tediousandbrieftediousandbrief on August 3rd, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. It is totally different from what it sounds like from the anti-choicers.

The story of the protester kinda made me smile, just in that you actually gave her something and her reaction, though it wasn't funny when she grabbed you.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
oh, she was kinda funny all round. I'm just glad she assaulted me as opposed to some really vulnerable person.
Missy: Unbearable Lightness of Being Hatpen_grunt on August 3rd, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. I'm glad that you did.
Man. Life. Such a wicked bitch sometimes.

(On a side note: It's pretty freakin' rich that the protester took such offense to you handing out a pamphlet back. Like,"Hey! Only I'm supposed to be allowed to do that!")

eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
ikr? I thought that was pretty fantastic. Especially when she was all "I don't want your crap!!" Like hi lady, giving people pamphlets they don't want is sort of your raison d'etre, and yet here you are getting super-pissed when someone does it to you.
Thank you for sharing this with us. - gugibufugi on August 16th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Thank you for sharing this with us. - eyelid on August 16th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sacramentalistsacramentalist on August 3rd, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
Wow. Thank you for sharing. Good for you all around. Especially the FSM pamphlet.

Also. Don't come within 10 ft of Patrick whilst ovulating. Haha

Edited at 2012-08-03 07:58 pm (UTC)
eatsoylentgreeneatsoylentgreen on August 3rd, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
are you an evangelist for the Flying Spaghetti Monster now?
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
nah, just making a point ;)

she has serious trouble taking a joke, it appears
Commander Lilytoes goddamn Vakarianhydrogen_atom on August 3rd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
OMG what in the name of holy unlikely scenarios, batman. Talk about a curve ball.

I've always admired you for taking such an open, frank and humorous approach when talking about this stuff - I'm just sorry you've had to go through it again.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
ikr? when I told Patrick we laughed for like 5 minutes straight. whee.
curb stomping is not vegan.: pic#65863769mezdeathhead on August 3rd, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Good on you for the FSM pamphlet, and entirely how you handled crazy protest woman. I thinking trying to bring a bit of humor to an otherwise dreary exercise sounds like the best way to handle it.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
I totally wanted to do something hilarious w/r/t the protestors, now that I had the opportunity. I'm like Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice, I like to find the amusing in everything.

I was kind of surprised that crazy protest woman reacted so strongly. I guess she can't take a joke.
(no subject) - kwokj on August 4th, 2012 07:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bronnyelsp on August 4th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cherylcheryln on August 3rd, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
When you said you had things you might talk about, this was pretty far from any idle guess about what they were. And, you know, I could in theory respect protestor-lady's difference of opinion, but WTF with, "You can't give me crap I don't want!"

I hope you are in a good place.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
but WTF with, "You can't give me crap I don't want!"


I'm not in a bad place.
Erik Amundsencucumberseed on August 3rd, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for writing.
A Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons: Allosaur blackgwangi on August 3rd, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
Should have told her that, as a Jew, you're not super worried about the whole "hell" thing. But that might have made her anti-Semitic instead, I guess. I don't know if that'd be better or not.

Also, might be time to send Patrick in for the ol' snip-snip.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
I tried to say a couple things to her, but she just sort of yelled over me, and also I was embarassed engaging her. It felt stupid to get down on her level.

"I'm a Jew" might well have been a good thing to yell, though. Even evangelical Christians often get embarassed yelling at Jews about Jesus.

I do not approve of snipping.

Edited at 2012-08-03 09:28 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - bertine on August 3rd, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - grenacia on August 4th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eyelid on August 6th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Daphne P. Winnabagodaphnep on August 3rd, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
Just chiming in with the "WTF, uterus?!" chorus, the "Ugh, so sorry you had to go through that" refrain, and particularly loud on the "Thank you for writing about it just the same."

True life really is stranger than fiction, and more compelling because no matter how many repeats we hear (like candid abortion stories, for example) we still benefit from hearing them again. *I* benefit. Thank you for sharing.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
theskyyendstheskyyends on August 3rd, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
You are as I have told you a fucking goddess. I couldnt have stood up for myself the way you did. I'm glad it's done and my offer always stands you can always talk to me any time about anything. I don't know you but I do love you.
eyelideyelid on August 3rd, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
you're a sweetie :) I am not that great. I am just a person.

I couldnt have stood up for myself the way you did.

Sure you could :)

Boxing Pickle Jesus: Daniel Clowes Casper.radiumhead on August 3rd, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
I guess im lucky i wasnt in that situation. I love confronting people on shit, especially when i know theyre idiots, and dead wrong.

If i had to go to an abortion clinic where these assholes are protesting id probably punch one in the face.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
They're dicks, but hitting them would only make them seem like victims or something. I like this better - that this woman got in trouble for what she did.
eatenbykraken on August 3rd, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this. Would you be okay with me sharing it on my facebook? You tell the story really well and I think it is important to have more abortion narratives like this out in the world.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
no problem.
greatljnamegreatljname on August 3rd, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this with us. Your courage to discuss your life experiences is something that I have always admired. Also, A++ on the FSM pamphlets!
greatljnamegreatljname on August 3rd, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
btw, this is Marina/OceanDream9, and not just some random person commenting on your LJ :)
(no subject) - eyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - greatljname on August 7th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
...and a cute argumentative girl to wrestle withdamnitnicole on August 3rd, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
Another thanks for sharing this.

I e-love you even harder for distributing a Flying Spaghetti Monster pamphlet.
Reminds me of the time a similarly inclined friend of mine calmly announced to the protesters that her babydaddy was both black and gay. They didn't like that one much, either, but I know it made the experience not so bad for her.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:37 am (UTC)
the protesters around here would probably seize on that to seem openminded. "that's great! we're all G-d's children!" (once the baby is BORN the discrimination begins.)
The Great Ideas Fairyscorpi084 on August 4th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Should I ever need an abortion, I want to troll the protesters. I'm so excited that you actually did.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:37 am (UTC)
I couldn't let an opportunity like that get away.
A Goat with a Warningmeleth on August 4th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
Your uterus needs to make up its g-ddamned mind. Also, thank you for being so willing to share all of this.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
np, it is really quite easy seeing as I know everyone will be supportive ;)
Zoinks!zeldazonk on August 4th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
I'm dying at the FSM pamphlets. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

I am so sorry you had to deal with that shithead woman.

And life is crazy, and I think you are a phenomenal woman.
crazybreedaisycrazybreedaisy on August 4th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
thank you, for sharing this. you have a lot of strength and courage that a lot of women dont.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
nah, I just have a good support system. Dicks don't last long on my LJ ;)
Cod Kittykatmiaow on August 4th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
I'm glad you are ok.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Melissabeethatbumbles on August 4th, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
I can't believe you handed out FSM pamphlets. That is just so fucking awesome. You are amazing.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
I felt like it got my point across.
alisa_ivanovnaalisa_ivanovna on August 4th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Dear Eyelid,

I found your journal through your abortion group a few years ago. Your support got me through what I was going through and your personal LJ has been a source of inspiration, humor, ideas, beauty and love.

I can't imagine that it is easy to do what you do and to say what you say. But the fact that you say it, makes life so much easier for what I would imagine are thousands of women out here, and also their children and their mates. You are a super hero.

I hope you feel better soon. I am thinking of you and your wonderful family.
eyelideyelid on August 6th, 2012 04:39 am (UTC)
wow, glad to help :)

I don't think that I do so very much, but I hope it is useful to someone :)
( 238 comments — Leave a comment )
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