10th July 2016

An excerpt from a troubled teen regarding abuse, anorexia and abortion.

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1. 10th July 2016

I hadn’t slept much. I put on my make-up, ironed my shirt and drank my coffee like it was any other morning. I was staring at my phone, waiting for my boyfriend to text me to tell me he was at the station where I was meant to meet him. The clinic was outside of London and we both live central, so it meant travelling for an hour. A large part of me thought he wouldn’t turn up. He never turned up when he was meant to or was more than three hours late to the agreed time, so what was so different now? Because I was about to kill the child he begged me to have before I fell pregnant? The child he wanted so desperately to have with me, and then changed his mind when shit got real and wanted nothing to do with it or me.

I was hungry. My stomach was empty and it felt as if a force was pulling its way forward and grabbing at the insides of my body. Being pregnant did some hectic things. I ate four chocolate biscuits with my coffee, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t allowed to eat 6 hours before the big show.

My phone lit up and it was my boyfriend. He had turned up. I made sure I had everything in my bag; my nightshirt, some toiletries, a pack of jumbo sanitary towels, spare underwear and most importantly my 6 week old crumpled, tea stained letter of referral, which just reinforced the lengthy turmoil of my decision process. 

I walked to the station and listened to the playlist I listen to everyday. I met my grumpy boyfriend who was quick to tell me how much I had unsettled his morning for asking him to meet me beforehand. “Why couldn’t I have just met you there? I have to do an extra fucking trip on my Oyster now”. I kept quiet. We didn’t speak much at all on the train. All I remember is him telling me that I was wearing too much make up. I felt like I was going to cry it all off anyway.

We got to Vauxhall and got on the overground. Still, there wasn’t much talking. Half way through the journey he grabbed my hand and laid his head on my chest and I comforted him, stroking his neck and intertwining my fingers with his. It was the first time we had touched each other in a while. Fuck I missed him so much. I held so tightly on to him, our bodies locked together in a foetal position, ignoring the stares from the morning commuters and school children. I wished for the journey to never end. I didn’t want to stop holding him ever and I didn’t want to get to our final destination.

The building was beautiful. It was surrounded by big, swaying trees and beautiful honeysuckle in full bloom. There was one pro-lifer outside the gates, harmless but still getting his message across. He gently offered me a pamphlet headed “there are other options”, to which I shook my head and continued walking. I wonder if he knew I had spent weeks of sleepless nights agonising over said options.

The door was security locked and we had to buzz in to enter. I told the receptionist my name to which she gave me three forms to fill out and told us both to sit in the waiting room. I couldn’t believe the amount of people all here to do the same thing at 8:45 on a Friday morning. There were people of all different ages, races, and social classes all here for one sole purpose. That comforted me slightly. We sat down, annoyed there were only the plastic chairs left.

I filled out all of the forms quickly, whilst my boyfriend read the leaflet detailing the day’s itinerary, as if we were on an excursion. The forms asked me generic things such as age, religious beliefs, allergies and previous pregnancy history. I handed the completed forms back to the smiley receptionist and went back to join my boyfriend.

We were both extremely relaxed and couldn’t help to find humour in the situation, a mechanism we both used too often. We put each other at ease. It felt as if we were madly in love again, that we weren’t here to do what we had to do and that the past 11 weeks of anger, hopelessness, and blame screaming and swearing at each other due to the decision process hadn’t happened. We couldn’t let go of each other, to the point where it may have been a bit inappropriate. I nuzzled myself into his neck and waited to be called.

A staff member called my name into the silent room. I darted my eyes at my boyfriend and immediately became worried, asking him to come in with me. He mirrored my reaction and I saw how genuinely scared he was. We were told he was not allowed to join at this point. She led me into a small room. She took my blood pressure, my weight and height and rudely asked how I was paying. I showed her my referral from the sexual health clinic and said I was on the NHS and was not private, therefore payment was not required. She explained that because my address was not in the same catchment as my doctor’s surgery (I had recently moved and hadn’t had time to register with a local one), I would have to pay. She left the room to ask for advice and my head started spinning.

My fears of still not knowing if I wanted to keep my baby bubbled in my brain and I felt sick. What if I couldn’t get it done today? What would I tell my boyfriend? I wouldn’t be able to get even more time off work. I had worked myself up into an ok mind-set to go through with it after all this time. I was semi-ready. I knew I would never go back if I couldn’t get it done today. I felt a slight sense of clarity. The possibility of not being able to go through with the procedure made me more confident about my decision and I knew that I did want an abortion, although I was still 90/10. She came back in sheepishly and told me she had sorted it and I would be able to get the surgery done today still. She was a lot kinder, explaining my options and then led me back to the waiting room where I joined my nervous boyfriend.

I was called again. Again, we asked if my boyfriend could accompany me into the room to which we were told he could for the second part. This time I was led into a room with two cheery nurses. They were so lovely and made me feel like a real human being in a real situation with real feelings. “I firstly need to ask if this is really what you want to do Charlotte”. The midwife was young, probably not a lot older than me. I stared at her wondering if I should go into everything that I had been feeling for these 11 weeks. I was honest. I explained that up until about a week ago I was certain I wanted to keep my baby. So much so that I told all of my family and friends, everyone at work and had even started searching for baby names.

So what changed? I don’t really know if I am honest. It really was a case of waking up one day and having a realisation that just fuck, shit, no I can’t do this. The shock of me getting pregnant didn’t allow me to think rationally at the time. It was so surreal that I never properly thought about the consequences of what a child would bring. I didn’t think I could go through with an abortion, that I would feel too much guilt and that I could somehow make it work. I didn’t allow it to be an option in my mind. I also selfishly wanted to keep the baby because it was something that my boyfriend and I had created together and I was obsessed with him. However I know deep down that keeping the baby would have been entirely the wrong choice to make for my situation. I had no finances, no suitable home. I wasn’t mature enough to take on such a huge responsibility and I just went along with being pregnant for such a long time, hoping everything would go away and resolve itself on its own. I do that a lot.

My boyfriend who had previously told me how much he wanted to get me pregnant and that he would support me whatever my decision, did a 180 and said if I kept the baby he wouldn’t have anything to do with me or the child, only giving me money each month to financially provide. He rang me most early mornings screaming at me to get an abortion, claiming that he was suicidal and my decision to keep the baby had ruined his life and that he would never forgive me. My mother practically forced me to the clinic to get an abortion referral, refusing to hear any other possible outcome of the situation. Outcomes that I needed to talk through, in order to feel like I was making an informed decision. Two of the most important people in my life left me to deal with this monumental anguish alone and didn’t want to know until I had come to the decision they initially wanted.

Both of them told me how they would not support me and didn’t speak to me for 2 weeks. Those weeks were probably the most painful weeks I have ever had to endure. I genuinely lost myself and all of my rationality. It’s still such a blur.

My mother reached out when she had found out I was going to get an abortion. I never wanted to speak to her ever again. I was her child and she had left me in such a vulnerable state when I needed her the most. I rang her the morning of the abortion and we cried and she told me how strong I was.

My boyfriend had done and said unforgivable things. He left me alone too. He lied and most probably cheated on me whilst I laid in my bed all day crying and trying to come to a decision. I just loved him so much; I would forgive anything he did, no matter how psycho and cruel those things were. I was just so glad we were talking and holding each other again. Although this situation was so messed up, it bought us back together again right there in the clinic and we were acting as if nothing had happened.

I explained that I just wanted my life back to normal. I was angry at myself for putting myself in this position and having to make such a horrible decision, but again I knew I had to do it.

She asked which method I would like to undergo, as if I was choosing an entrée from an elaborate menu. I had friends whom have had medical abortions (the pill), whom had traumatic experiences and have heard plenty of horror stories on Google, which was enough to put me off. The whole passing of the pregnancy whilst being awake and aware and having to feel the pain did not appeal to me. Plus I was too far gone to opt for this method anyway. I chose to have the vacuum aspiration under a general anaesthetic, so I would be put under and unaware. I had never been put to sleep before and found the idea of the procedure extremely distressing, but knew it was the best choice for me.

The nurse also said that as soon as the abortion had been carried out, I would be fertile again immediately and asked if contraception was something I had thought about. In my whole 23 years of life, I had never been on any contraception. My boyfriend and I had never used a condom. I was told I was infertile and could never have kids due to a 4 year battle with anorexia. She talked me through my options and I selected the implant, which would be put in whilst I had my abortion. Talk about 2 birds with 1 stone. I was just scared that I would want another baby straight after, hoping to get back the life I had lost like a lot of the women on Google’s abortion after thoughts had pined for. Three years was a long time.

I was told I could retrieve my boyfriend from the waiting room, if I wanted, as it was now time to do an ultrasound to determine if I was potentially having an ectopic pregnancy, a multiple pregnancy and also my gestation. The midwife asked if I wanted to see the screen, to which I said no. I honestly could not tolerate seeing my baby alive, with its heart beating. My boyfriend chose to look at the screen.

She put the jelly on my stomach as I lied down on the bed. My boyfriend stood up and held my hand as she spoke through what she was looking for and what she could see. My boyfriend was making jokes and laughing in an attempt to make me detach myself from the fear of the situation. I couldn’t look at anything else apart from his face. I wanted to know what he was feeling the whole time.

I was still convinced I wasn’t pregnant.  “You won’t even find anything. I just need to go home”. But no one listened. “There’s the baby” the nurse nodded to my boyfriend. I watched him turn white. His whole body sank into the ground and he put his head in his hands, letting go of my hand. “I just need to sit down” “fuck I don’t feel ok”. He propped himself up on the chair, staring in disbelief at the floor.

“This is all too real. Are you sure you want to do this Charlotte? Are you sure this is what we want?”

“Aron, we have to do this. We have to remember why we are here and the reasons why this decision is the best for our current situation”.

I was secretly so happy he doubted the decision. I wanted to jump up and say “let’s go home, have the baby and live happily ever after!” but I know the ending would not have been very happy and certainly not for ever after. I was well aware my boyfriend was a selfish arsehole and that we would not be together for much longer, although I was absolutely besotted with him.

The nurse started to speak about the big show; the vacuum aspiration with general anaesthetic or as my boyfriend insensitively called it the ‘Henry the hoover’ surgery.  She gave me a few consent forms to sign. Not anything major, just clauses such as you may die or suffer serious internal injuries but it’s “just a formality, please sign on the dotted line”. I had never been put to sleep before, not even for wisdom teeth or anything like that. I was completely terrified. “You are so brave” my boyfriend exclaimed. “Honestly you’re braver than me; I don’t know how you’re doing this”. I didn’t know either. As I signed my baby’s life away, tears dropped from my face. I became uncontrollable. My boyfriend held me and started crying too and the nurse just held us both.

Stop it Charlotte, you have to be strong. You HAVE to do this. The other option was not suitable for me and I had to keep that in sight.

I asked if I could keep a picture of my baby scan and whether or not that was inappropriate. She said not at all, most people did. I’m a very nostalgic person and like to keep keepsakes as memories, regardless how negative the situation. It wasn’t my intention to keep the pictures and sob over them every night, reminding myself of the terrible ordeal I had been through. I just needed them for my own sanity. She printed them off and I stared in awe at this life that I had created. It was a real living thing, so small but with real and distinctive features. I wondered if it had a soul and knew what I was about to do to it.

I asked her if I would wake up feeling different. Would I just wake up feeling not pregnant anymore or would it take some time? Would my body mourn what it had been growing for 11 weeks? Would I feel lighter?

My boyfriend asked when we could next have sex. She said 2 weeks but I told him I would never be having sex ever again, to which he agreed might be a good idea.

She asked me if I had eaten in the last 6 hours. No, I lied. She asked me if I had drunk anything in the last 2 hours. I told her I had sipped some water just before I had been called into the room. She said that I had to wait a further 2 hours whilst abstaining from any fluid or food, in order to safely carry out the procedure. She secured a patient band around my wrist and suggested that Richmond was a lovely place and we should take a walk whilst we waited.

My boyfriend and I left the room, thanking the two nice nurses. My head was spinning. I felt sick. I couldn’t stop thinking back to when I first found out I was pregnant, on my own in a sexual health clinic at Euston. Just me and my two pink lines. A rush of panic, shock, but mostly joy swept over me. It was the most amazing feeling of my life to see a positive pregnancy test; that I was capable of new life. Being pregnant was such a special and unique experience and I couldn’t believe I was choosing to get an abortion.

We informed reception that we would be back in a few hours for the operation, passing the meek guy who was still outside handing out his leaflets and headed off into the town. We didn’t speak about it much. I tried to, but he couldn’t. So that was it. It felt as if my boyfriend was putting on a comedic show, he hadn’t made me laugh this much before. He was showing me where he used to hang out with his friends and telling me funny stories. We were both causing chaos around Richmond, no one would have ever guessed what we were about to face in a few hours.

The deadline loomed, holding hands we made our way back to the clinic.

This time, there was what seemed like a sea of protestors outside the front. They had even bought deck chairs as if they were spending a day at the beach. Women with separate blue and pink rosemary beads, huge posters of dead infants and menacing quotes, there was even a nun. She was praying as we walked past, whilst the other women were shouting in my face about my decision. My boyfriend whom ‘claims’ to be a Christian got really angry and started shouting back, challenging their chants. I say ‘claims’ because I don’t know how a 27 year old who does nothing but disrespects women and smokes weed with his friends on his estate everyday can claim to be religious of any sort.

He asked the women if they had ever had sex outside of marriage. This completely threw them and they sheepishly told him that yes, they had. He asked how this sin was different from the sin of abortion. This debate continued for a good minute whilst I just stood there in disbelief of the situation. Couples were trying to enter the gates and I got really embarrassed that my boyfriend was even entertaining the protestors.

“I can’t deal with this, please let’s just go” I said. He grabbed my hand and walked me in.

We were back in the waiting room and this time there were a lot more couples. The couples were mostly my own age, but some older. There were one very young couple, not much older than 14, with the girl in a head scarf who looked like she was about to vomit.

Everything seemed very relaxed and normal. Yet again, my boyfriend and I couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. I noticed one girl staring over at my boyfriend and I. She was staring so much that I started to feel uncomfortable and my boyfriend noticed too. I began to get restless and the whole mood changed. I was fucking scared. My boyfriend looked as equally as scared. I hoped my name would never be called. Perhaps they missed my name off the list and I could go home and forget about everything.

My name was called.

I looked at my boyfriend and nestled my head onto his chest. His heart was beating so hard and fast it felt like it would fly out of his rib cage at any given moment.

“I’m coming in with you Charlotte” he attempted to get up whilst picking me up off his lap. Everyone was now staring.

“Please can I have my boyfriend with me? Please I can’t do this without him.”

The nurse kindly, but firmly told us that it was time for my surgery now and only I could go upstairs for the procedure.

I picked up my stuff and followed the nurse, glancing back at my boyfriend and wondering what it would be like when I would see him again, not pregnant with our baby.

The nurse took me up to a small room, gave me a hanger for my clothes, a thin patterned gown to get changed into and a locker key to put my stuff into.

I went into a changing room and took off my clothes and got changed into the gown. She told me to wait in a seat and read a magazine. The seat had what looked like a huge sanitary pad attached to it. My legs were sticking to the seat and I felt hot and clammy. After she left and I waited for my next set of instructions, my eyes began to tear up. Swallowing got hard, and I kept reminding myself to pull it together, just pull it together.

A girl who I had seen before when we had first arrived joined me in the room. She too was given the same instructions and came and sat next to me.

“I’m so fucking hungry” I said.

She looked at me and laughed. “Is this your first time?”

The calmness of her question shocked me, as if she was asking about a piercing or a tattoo.

“Yeah. What about you?

“It’s my fourth”

“Oh. How far gone are you?”

“Fifteen weeks”

She didn’t ask me. I’m glad she didn’t because I was at least a month less than her and I didn’t want her to feel bad. I asked her what it was like. Would it hurt, would I feel it, what was it like to be put under and so on? She did her best to reassure me, but she looked bored and uninterested. She told me she needed to hurry up because she was going out later on.

The nurse called me in and took me to a small room with a bed and a ladder. She told me to go up the ladder to get onto the bed and then scoot myself right to the edge so my legs were hanging over. Another young male nurse came in and introduced himself to me. He had tattoos and was relatively good looking; I became conscious that he was most probably going to be rummaging around my vagina in a few minutes.

He asked me how I was feeling and I replied “terrified”. He laughed and said I’d be fine.

I felt like I could kind of deal with this. It was just two people, just a small room. He put the cannula into my hand and apologised that it was uncomfortable, but that we would be going into the main theatre room now. I was confused. I thought this was the main show!

He wheeled me into a scene out of Holby City. The lights were piercing my eyes. There were so many people in the room. An American lady introduced herself and said it was her job to stay with me throughout the procedure. She held my hand and asked me where I was from.

I ignored her and asked why there were so many people.

“Well Charlotte, each person has a special job to do. It requires seven of us to ensure your procedure goes well. Without one of us, the operation wouldn’t be able to happen. You’re scared aren’t you?”

Well, duh.

“I can tell. Look at your heart rate” she nodded to the machine, displaying numbers increasing by the second.

I don’t want to do this.

“This is your anaesthetist who will put you to sleep today, you’re in safe hands don’t you worry.”

I don’t want to do this.

A strange Indian man poked his head over my bed and told me that he was going to insert the anaesthetic into the IV in a moment and I would feel light headed and wake up ready for recovery.

“It’s not going to work. It won’t knock me out”

He laughed as the burning liquid started trickling down the tube. I felt drunk and woozy and just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep.

I blinked and I woke up in another room. I was only asleep for a half hour. I was no longer pregnant. My little one is no longer growing inside of me. I let my baby go to heaven. I let my baby go at 11 weeks. I felt so light.

I struggled to make sense of where I was and what had happened. I darted my head from side to side trying to see my surroundings, I saw other girls doing the same thing. Another good looking male nurse came up to my bed and told me that the procedure had gone well, everything was fine and that he would get me up in a moment to walk me to the recovery room.

He asked to check my pad.

“What? I’m not wearing one.”

He explained they had put a sanitary towel on me after the operation. This sanitary towel was so thick and practically a nappy, I was also in horribly thin, white cotton underwear. He rolled me over and I immediately felt the stickiness of liquid down below. I looked down to see what looked like a massacre. I was so embarrassed. There was so much blood. He didn’t take much notice. I had severe pain in my stomach, which I was given a strong dose of drugs for.

A few moments later I was told I could get dressed and wait in recovery. I was walked into the recovery room and sat with all of the girls I had seen in the waiting room before. You could see the light they once had in their eyes was gone. Some were in pain and some were trying just as hard as I was to hold it together. I acted like I was fine and in no pain, so I could leave this depressing, silent place. I felt that if I could just get outside and feel the air on my skin that it would wash it all away. 

My boyfriend had text me “hurry up I’m bored”.

He told me how the girl whom had been staring at us was talking to him and he felt uncomfortable. He said that all of the other boyfriends were looking at him wondering why he was engaging in conversation about her abortion whilst his girlfriend was up there getting one herself. I shrugged off how inappropriate this was.

Hurry up? Was that a joke? I didn’t want to be here just as much as he did.

“Please take me home and put me to bed. I just want you to hold me” I text. “I will” he replied.

After being given tea and cake, I had a follow up about what to expect post-abortion and was informed about my implant and then told I could go.

I retrieved my boyfriend, grabbing him by his hand and completely bypassing the girl he had been speaking to. He tried to speak about how weird she was, but I honestly knew he had been enjoying himself whilst I was up there getting rid of our child.

He complained how he didn’t want to take me all the way home, even after he had just told me he would. The nurse gave strict instructions that I needed constant care for at least 24 hours after the procedure, just in case I was to fall or something. I also wasn’t allowed to get public transport alone. I re-explained this all to him, to which he was still disgruntled. Prick.

I finally got my Mcdonald’s and we got the train home.

“You’re wanking me off when we get in” he whispered into my ear.

I was shocked. I’d just had this happen to me and all he could think about was his dick. I couldn’t even open my mouth to reply, still so sleepy from all of the drugs. He woke me up when we were at the station.

We got home and he took all of his clothes off and tried to take mine off to.

“For fucks sake, I wish we could have sex.” I was lying next to him bleeding. Hold on 2 seconds, let me get the rest of your dead child out and then I’ll consider.

He grabs my face and starts kissing me, so violently. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t caring. It was awful.

He thrusts himself on me and asks if it’s inappropriate that he’s horny.

It is but I say nothing.

He snatches my hand and puts it on his hard penis. “Please just touch it”. I tell him that I’m not in the mood and he gets angry. Weakly, I do it. If anything to shut him up.

“Now just put it in your mouth”

“Aron are you serious?”

He pushes my head down and I probably give him the best blowjob of his life, trying to hold back my tears and disgust for him, but mostly myself.

He finishes and I lay in shock. Why did I do that? What the fuck is wrong with me?

His phone hasn’t stopped going off the whole time, he finally picks it up and I glance at his recent messages. Girl after girl after girl. The most recent message was from a girl, whose number wasn’t saved and whose picture suspiciously resembled the girl who was at the clinic. I will never know, but it would not surprise me.

He left my house pretty much as soon as he had come, without even kissing me goodbye.

I laid there and waited until he slammed the front door shut. I screamed and screamed into my pillow. I can never describe the pain that I felt right then.

Two weeks on, the physical pain was gone (albeit some minor cramps and clots), but so began a new ugly chapter of emotional pain. I was in denial about my feelings. I truly believed I was going to move on like nothing happened. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget what I have been through, nor would I ever want to forget because it will always be such a big part of my life. I always wonder what would have happened if I just believed in myself and didn't take the easy way out. Not one day has gone by where I haven't cried and regretted my decision. If I could go back in time and get my baby back, I sometimes think I would. Although deep down I know I made the decision that was right for me at the time.

I found out my boyfriend had been cheating on me the whole time throughout the pregnancy. He continued to tell me he was in love with me, and would do anything to get me back. He wept on my shoulder a couple of days after the abortion, telling me he can’t get the image of our baby out of his head. He kissed me hard. Two hours later he was kissing some other girl hard too. Since him finding out that I knew he cheated, he has completely cut contact with me. I don’t know if he is embarrassed or just that much of a coward but I find myself questioning what I did wrong. Going through an abortion is not easy, but an abortion and a break up with someone you love is almost impossible.

I still receive the weekly emails every Sunday updating me on how far gone I am and what to expect at this stage of pregnancy. I would be 15 weeks now. I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe. I dread Christmas day, the day my baby should have been born. I still look at the pictures of my baby every day and feel as if I missed out on the opportunity to be a mother. Sometimes I get scared and think, “What if I never have another baby?” What If I never get that second chance to be a mother? What if this was the only baby I would ever have? I feel a deep loss for this baby that I never had. It has affected my life in many ways.

People tell me that I shouldn't feel regret. It was my decision, and I should just live with it. This is in no way an easy thing to live with. I experienced 11 weeks of a life growing inside of me. I felt the morning sickness the whole time. I had all the pregnancy symptoms. I know what it feels like to carry a child that I love inside of the womb. I hope my baby forgives me because right now I can’t forgive myself.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had to make this choice again, I would 100% make the same decision. I am just so mad for putting myself in the position to have to make this choice. I couldn’t bring up a child, so the only option was to terminate. That doesn’t make the feelings any easier, but I take solace in the fact that I know I made the right decision. Thank god for the freedom to be able to determine such a thing. I am so thankful for the NHS and for organisations such as BPAS to enable me to continue with my life. I will have children one day, when I am ready. For now I am just trying to mourn the loss of my baby. Time heals all.

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t slept much. I put on my make-up, ironed my shirt and drank my coffee like it was any other morning. I was staring at my phone, waiting for my boyfriend to text me to tell me he was at the station where I was meant to meet him. The clinic was outside of London and we both live central, so it meant travelling for an hour. A large part of me thought he wouldn’t turn up. He never turned up when he was meant to or was more than three hours late to the agreed time, so what was so different now? Because I was about to kill the child he begged me to have before I fell pregnant? The child he wanted so desperately to have with me, and then changed his mind when shit got real and wanted nothing to do with it or me.

I was hungry. My stomach was empty and it felt as if a force was pulling its way forward and grabbing at the insides of my body. Being pregnant did some hectic things. I ate four chocolate biscuits with my coffee, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t allowed to eat 6 hours before the big show.

My phone lit up and it was my boyfriend. He had turned up. I made sure I had everything in my bag; my nightshirt, some toiletries, a pack of jumbo sanitary towels, spare underwear and most importantly my 6 week old crumpled, tea stained letter of referral, which just reinforced the lengthy turmoil of my decision process. 

I walked to the station and listened to the playlist I listen to everyday. I met my grumpy boyfriend who was quick to tell me how much I had unsettled his morning for asking him to meet me beforehand. “Why couldn’t I have just met you there? I have to do an extra fucking trip on my Oyster now”. I kept quiet. We didn’t speak much at all on the train. All I remember is him telling me that I was wearing too much make up. I felt like I was going to cry it all off anyway.

We got to Vauxhall and got on the overground. Still, there wasn’t much talking. Half way through the journey he grabbed my hand and laid his head on my chest and I comforted him, stroking his neck and intertwining my fingers with his. It was the first time we had touched each other in a while. Fuck I missed him so much. I held so tightly on to him, our bodies locked together in a foetal position, ignoring the stares from the morning commuters and school children. I wished for the journey to never end. I didn’t want to stop holding him ever and I didn’t want to get to our final destination.

The building was beautiful. It was surrounded by big, swaying trees and beautiful honeysuckle in full bloom. There was one pro-lifer outside the gates, harmless but still getting his message across. He gently offered me a pamphlet headed “there are other options”, to which I shook my head and continued walking. I wonder if he knew I had spent weeks of sleepless nights agonising over said options.

The door was security locked and we had to buzz in to enter. I told the receptionist my name to which she gave me three forms to fill out and told us both to sit in the waiting room. I couldn’t believe the amount of people all here to do the same thing at 8:45 on a Friday morning. There were people of all different ages, races, and social classes all here for one sole purpose. That comforted me slightly. We sat down, annoyed there were only the plastic chairs left.

I filled out all of the forms quickly, whilst my boyfriend read the leaflet detailing the day’s itinerary, as if we were on an excursion. The forms asked me generic things such as age, religious beliefs, allergies and previous pregnancy history. I handed the completed forms back to the smiley receptionist and went back to join my boyfriend.

We were both extremely relaxed and couldn’t help to find humour in the situation, a mechanism we both used too often. We put each other at ease. It felt as if we were madly in love again, that we weren’t here to do what we had to do and that the past 11 weeks of anger, hopelessness, and blame screaming and swearing at each other due to the decision process hadn’t happened. We couldn’t let go of each other, to the point where it may have been a bit inappropriate. I nuzzled myself into his neck and waited to be called.

A staff member called my name into the silent room. I darted my eyes at my boyfriend and immediately became worried, asking him to come in with me. He mirrored my reaction and I saw how genuinely scared he was. We were told he was not allowed to join at this point. She led me into a small room. She took my blood pressure, my weight and height and rudely asked how I was paying. I showed her my referral from the sexual health clinic and said I was on the NHS and was not private, therefore payment was not required. She explained that because my address was not in the same catchment as my doctor’s surgery (I had recently moved and hadn’t had time to register with a local one), I would have to pay. She left the room to ask for advice and my head started spinning.

My fears of still not knowing if I wanted to keep my baby bubbled in my brain and I felt sick. What if I couldn’t get it done today? What would I tell my boyfriend? I wouldn’t be able to get even more time off work. I had worked myself up into an ok mind-set to go through with it after all this time. I was semi-ready. I knew I would never go back if I couldn’t get it done today. I felt a slight sense of clarity. The possibility of not being able to go through with the procedure made me more confident about my decision and I knew that I did want an abortion, although I was still 90/10. She came back in sheepishly and told me she had sorted it and I would be able to get the surgery done today still. She was a lot kinder, explaining my options and then led me back to the waiting room where I joined my nervous boyfriend.

I was called again. Again, we asked if my boyfriend could accompany me into the room to which we were told he could for the second part. This time I was led into a room with two cheery nurses. They were so lovely and made me feel like a real human being in a real situation with real feelings. “I firstly need to ask if this is really what you want to do Charlotte”. The midwife was young, probably not a lot older than me. I stared at her wondering if I should go into everything that I had been feeling for these 11 weeks. I was honest. I explained that up until about a week ago I was certain I wanted to keep my baby. So much so that I told all of my family and friends, everyone at work and had even started searching for baby names.

So what changed? I don’t really know if I am honest. It really was a case of waking up one day and having a realisation that just fuck, shit, no I can’t do this. The shock of me getting pregnant didn’t allow me to think rationally at the time. It was so surreal that I never properly thought about the consequences of what a child would bring. I didn’t think I could go through with an abortion, that I would feel too much guilt and that I could somehow make it work. I didn’t allow it to be an option in my mind. I also selfishly wanted to keep the baby because it was something that my boyfriend and I had created together and I was obsessed with him. However I know deep down that keeping the baby would have been entirely the wrong choice to make for my situation. I had no finances, no suitable home. I wasn’t mature enough to take on such a huge responsibility and I just went along with being pregnant for such a long time, hoping everything would go away and resolve itself on its own. I do that a lot.

My boyfriend who had previously told me how much he wanted to get me pregnant and that he would support me whatever my decision, did a 180 and said if I kept the baby he wouldn’t have anything to do with me or the child, only giving me money each month to financially provide. He rang me most early mornings screaming at me to get an abortion, claiming that he was suicidal and my decision to keep the baby had ruined his life and that he would never forgive me. My mother practically forced me to the clinic to get an abortion referral, refusing to hear any other possible outcome of the situation. Outcomes that I needed to talk through, in order to feel like I was making an informed decision. Two of the most important people in my life left me to deal with this monumental anguish alone and didn’t want to know until I had come to the decision they initially wanted.

Both of them told me how they would not support me and didn’t speak to me for 2 weeks. Those weeks were probably the most painful weeks I have ever had to endure. I genuinely lost myself and all of my rationality. It’s still such a blur.

My mother reached out when she had found out I was going to get an abortion. I never wanted to speak to her ever again. I was her child and she had left me in such a vulnerable state when I needed her the most. I rang her the morning of the abortion and we cried and she told me how strong I was.

My boyfriend had done and said unforgivable things. He left me alone too. He lied and most probably cheated on me whilst I laid in my bed all day crying and trying to come to a decision. I just loved him so much; I would forgive anything he did, no matter how psycho and cruel those things were. I was just so glad we were talking and holding each other again. Although this situation was so messed up, it bought us back together again right there in the clinic and we were acting as if nothing had happened.

I explained that I just wanted my life back to normal. I was angry at myself for putting myself in this position and having to make such a horrible decision, but again I knew I had to do it.

She asked which method I would like to undergo, as if I was choosing an entrée from an elaborate menu. I had friends whom have had medical abortions (the pill), whom had traumatic experiences and have heard plenty of horror stories on Google, which was enough to put me off. The whole passing of the pregnancy whilst being awake and aware and having to feel the pain did not appeal to me. Plus I was too far gone to opt for this method anyway. I chose to have the vacuum aspiration under a general anaesthetic, so I would be put under and unaware. I had never been put to sleep before and found the idea of the procedure extremely distressing, but knew it was the best choice for me.

The nurse also said that as soon as the abortion had been carried out, I would be fertile again immediately and asked if contraception was something I had thought about. In my whole 23 years of life, I had never been on any contraception. My boyfriend and I had never used a condom. I was told I was infertile and could never have kids due to a 4 year battle with anorexia. She talked me through my options and I selected the implant, which would be put in whilst I had my abortion. Talk about 2 birds with 1 stone. I was just scared that I would want another baby straight after, hoping to get back the life I had lost like a lot of the women on Google’s abortion after thoughts had pined for. Three years was a long time.

I was told I could retrieve my boyfriend from the waiting room, if I wanted, as it was now time to do an ultrasound to determine if I was potentially having an ectopic pregnancy, a multiple pregnancy and also my gestation. The midwife asked if I wanted to see the screen, to which I said no. I honestly could not tolerate seeing my baby alive, with its heart beating. My boyfriend chose to look at the screen.

She put the jelly on my stomach as I lied down on the bed. My boyfriend stood up and held my hand as she spoke through what she was looking for and what she could see. My boyfriend was making jokes and laughing in an attempt to make me detach myself from the fear of the situation. I couldn’t look at anything else apart from his face. I wanted to know what he was feeling the whole time.

I was still convinced I wasn’t pregnant.  “You won’t even find anything. I just need to go home”. But no one listened. “There’s the baby” the nurse nodded to my boyfriend. I watched him turn white. His whole body sank into the ground and he put his head in his hands, letting go of my hand. “I just need to sit down” “fuck I don’t feel ok”. He propped himself up on the chair, staring in disbelief at the floor.

“This is all too real. Are you sure you want to do this Charlotte? Are you sure this is what we want?”

“Aron, we have to do this. We have to remember why we are here and the reasons why this decision is the best for our current situation”.

I was secretly so happy he doubted the decision. I wanted to jump up and say “let’s go home, have the baby and live happily ever after!” but I know the ending would not have been very happy and certainly not for ever after. I was well aware my boyfriend was a selfish arsehole and that we would not be together for much longer, although I was absolutely besotted with him.

The nurse started to speak about the big show; the vacuum aspiration with general anaesthetic or as my boyfriend insensitively called it the ‘Henry the hoover’ surgery.  She gave me a few consent forms to sign. Not anything major, just clauses such as you may die or suffer serious internal injuries but it’s “just a formality, please sign on the dotted line”. I had never been put to sleep before, not even for wisdom teeth or anything like that. I was completely terrified. “You are so brave” my boyfriend exclaimed. “Honestly you’re braver than me; I don’t know how you’re doing this”. I didn’t know either. As I signed my baby’s life away, tears dropped from my face. I became uncontrollable. My boyfriend held me and started crying too and the nurse just held us both.

Stop it Charlotte, you have to be strong. You HAVE to do this. The other option was not suitable for me and I had to keep that in sight.

I asked if I could keep a picture of my baby scan and whether or not that was inappropriate. She said not at all, most people did. I’m a very nostalgic person and like to keep keepsakes as memories, regardless how negative the situation. It wasn’t my intention to keep the pictures and sob over them every night, reminding myself of the terrible ordeal I had been through. I just needed them for my own sanity. She printed them off and I stared in awe at this life that I had created. It was a real living thing, so small but with real and distinctive features. I wondered if it had a soul and knew what I was about to do to it.

I asked her if I would wake up feeling different. Would I just wake up feeling not pregnant anymore or would it take some time? Would my body mourn what it had been growing for 11 weeks? Would I feel lighter?

My boyfriend asked when we could next have sex. She said 2 weeks but I told him I would never be having sex ever again, to which he agreed might be a good idea.

She asked me if I had eaten in the last 6 hours. No, I lied. She asked me if I had drunk anything in the last 2 hours. I told her I had sipped some water just before I had been called into the room. She said that I had to wait a further 2 hours whilst abstaining from any fluid or food, in order to safely carry out the procedure. She secured a patient band around my wrist and suggested that Richmond was a lovely place and we should take a walk whilst we waited.

My boyfriend and I left the room, thanking the two nice nurses. My head was spinning. I felt sick. I couldn’t stop thinking back to when I first found out I was pregnant, on my own in a sexual health clinic at Euston. Just me and my two pink lines. A rush of panic, shock, but mostly joy swept over me. It was the most amazing feeling of my life to see a positive pregnancy test; that I was capable of new life. Being pregnant was such a special and unique experience and I couldn’t believe I was choosing to get an abortion.

We informed reception that we would be back in a few hours for the operation, passing the meek guy who was still outside handing out his leaflets and headed off into the town. We didn’t speak about it much. I tried to, but he couldn’t. So that was it. It felt as if my boyfriend was putting on a comedic show, he hadn’t made me laugh this much before. He was showing me where he used to hang out with his friends and telling me funny stories. We were both causing chaos around Richmond, no one would have ever guessed what we were about to face in a few hours.

The deadline loomed, holding hands we made our way back to the clinic.

This time, there was what seemed like a sea of protestors outside the front. They had even bought deck chairs as if they were spending a day at the beach. Women with separate blue and pink rosemary beads, huge posters of dead infants and menacing quotes, there was even a nun. She was praying as we walked past, whilst the other women were shouting in my face about my decision. My boyfriend whom ‘claims’ to be a Christian got really angry and started shouting back, challenging their chants. I say ‘claims’ because I don’t know how a 27 year old who does nothing but disrespects women and smokes weed with his friends on his estate everyday can claim to be religious of any sort.

He asked the women if they had ever had sex outside of marriage. This completely threw them and they sheepishly told him that yes, they had. He asked how this sin was different from the sin of abortion. This debate continued for a good minute whilst I just stood there in disbelief of the situation. Couples were trying to enter the gates and I got really embarrassed that my boyfriend was even entertaining the protestors.

“I can’t deal with this, please let’s just go” I said. He grabbed my hand and walked me in.

We were back in the waiting room and this time there were a lot more couples. The couples were mostly my own age, but some older. There were one very young couple, not much older than 14, with the girl in a head scarf who looked like she was about to vomit.

Everything seemed very relaxed and normal. Yet again, my boyfriend and I couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. I noticed one girl staring over at my boyfriend and I. She was staring so much that I started to feel uncomfortable and my boyfriend noticed too. I began to get restless and the whole mood changed. I was fucking scared. My boyfriend looked as equally as scared. I hoped my name would never be called. Perhaps they missed my name off the list and I could go home and forget about everything.

My name was called.

I looked at my boyfriend and nestled my head onto his chest. His heart was beating so hard and fast it felt like it would fly out of his rib cage at any given moment.

“I’m coming in with you Charlotte” he attempted to get up whilst picking me up off his lap. Everyone was now staring.

“Please can I have my boyfriend with me? Please I can’t do this without him.”

The nurse kindly, but firmly told us that it was time for my surgery now and only I could go upstairs for the procedure.

I picked up my stuff and followed the nurse, glancing back at my boyfriend and wondering what it would be like when I would see him again, not pregnant with our baby.

The nurse took me up to a small room, gave me a hanger for my clothes, a thin patterned gown to get changed into and a locker key to put my stuff into.

I went into a changing room and took off my clothes and got changed into the gown. She told me to wait in a seat and read a magazine. The seat had what looked like a huge sanitary pad attached to it. My legs were sticking to the seat and I felt hot and clammy. After she left and I waited for my next set of instructions, my eyes began to tear up. Swallowing got hard, and I kept reminding myself to pull it together, just pull it together.

A girl who I had seen before when we had first arrived joined me in the room. She too was given the same instructions and came and sat next to me.

“I’m so fucking hungry” I said.

She looked at me and laughed. “Is this your first time?”

The calmness of her question shocked me, as if she was asking about a piercing or a tattoo.

“Yeah. What about you?

“It’s my fourth”

“Oh. How far gone are you?”

“Fifteen weeks”

She didn’t ask me. I’m glad she didn’t because I was at least a month less than her and I didn’t want her to feel bad. I asked her what it was like. Would it hurt, would I feel it, what was it like to be put under and so on? She did her best to reassure me, but she looked bored and uninterested. She told me she needed to hurry up because she was going out later on.

The nurse called me in and took me to a small room with a bed and a ladder. She told me to go up the ladder to get onto the bed and then scoot myself right to the edge so my legs were hanging over. Another young male nurse came in and introduced himself to me. He had tattoos and was relatively good looking; I became conscious that he was most probably going to be rummaging around my vagina in a few minutes.

He asked me how I was feeling and I replied “terrified”. He laughed and said I’d be fine.

I felt like I could kind of deal with this. It was just two people, just a small room. He put the cannula into my hand and apologised that it was uncomfortable, but that we would be going into the main theatre room now. I was confused. I thought this was the main show!

He wheeled me into a scene out of Holby City. The lights were piercing my eyes. There were so many people in the room. An American lady introduced herself and said it was her job to stay with me throughout the procedure. She held my hand and asked me where I was from.

I ignored her and asked why there were so many people.

“Well Charlotte, each person has a special job to do. It requires seven of us to ensure your procedure goes well. Without one of us, the operation wouldn’t be able to happen. You’re scared aren’t you?”

Well, duh.

“I can tell. Look at your heart rate” she nodded to the machine, displaying numbers increasing by the second.

I don’t want to do this.

“This is your anaesthetist who will put you to sleep today, you’re in safe hands don’t you worry.”

I don’t want to do this.

A strange Indian man poked his head over my bed and told me that he was going to insert the anaesthetic into the IV in a moment and I would feel light headed and wake up ready for recovery.

“It’s not going to work. It won’t knock me out”

He laughed as the burning liquid started trickling down the tube. I felt drunk and woozy and just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep.

I blinked and I woke up in another room. I was only asleep for a half hour. I was no longer pregnant. My little one is no longer growing inside of me. I let my baby go to heaven. I let my baby go at 11 weeks. I felt so light.

I struggled to make sense of where I was and what had happened. I darted my head from side to side trying to see my surroundings, I saw other girls doing the same thing. Another good looking male nurse came up to my bed and told me that the procedure had gone well, everything was fine and that he would get me up in a moment to walk me to the recovery room.

He asked to check my pad.

“What? I’m not wearing one.”

He explained they had put a sanitary towel on me after the operation. This sanitary towel was so thick and practically a nappy, I was also in horribly thin, white cotton underwear. He rolled me over and I immediately felt the stickiness of liquid down below. I looked down to see what looked like a massacre. I was so embarrassed. There was so much blood. He didn’t take much notice. I had severe pain in my stomach, which I was given a strong dose of drugs for.

A few moments later I was told I could get dressed and wait in recovery. I was walked into the recovery room and sat with all of the girls I had seen in the waiting room before. You could see the light they once had in their eyes was gone. Some were in pain and some were trying just as hard as I was to hold it together. I acted like I was fine and in no pain, so I could leave this depressing, silent place. I felt that if I could just get outside and feel the air on my skin that it would wash it all away. 

My boyfriend had text me “hurry up I’m bored”.

He told me how the girl whom had been staring at us was talking to him and he felt uncomfortable. He said that all of the other boyfriends were looking at him wondering why he was engaging in conversation about her abortion whilst his girlfriend was up there getting one herself. I shrugged off how inappropriate this was.

Hurry up? Was that a joke? I didn’t want to be here just as much as he did.

“Please take me home and put me to bed. I just want you to hold me” I text. “I will” he replied.

After being given tea and cake, I had a follow up about what to expect post-abortion and was informed about my implant and then told I could go.

I retrieved my boyfriend, grabbing him by his hand and completely bypassing the girl he had been speaking to. He tried to speak about how weird she was, but I honestly knew he had been enjoying himself whilst I was up there getting rid of our child.

He complained how he didn’t want to take me all the way home, even after he had just told me he would. The nurse gave strict instructions that I needed constant care for at least 24 hours after the procedure, just in case I was to fall or something. I also wasn’t allowed to get public transport alone. I re-explained this all to him, to which he was still disgruntled. Prick.

I finally got my Mcdonald’s and we got the train home.

“You’re wanking me off when we get in” he whispered into my ear.

I was shocked. I’d just had this happen to me and all he could think about was his dick. I couldn’t even open my mouth to reply, still so sleepy from all of the drugs. He woke me up when we were at the station.

We got home and he took all of his clothes off and tried to take mine off to.

“For fucks sake, I wish we could have sex.” I was lying next to him bleeding. Hold on 2 seconds, let me get the rest of your dead child out and then I’ll consider.

He grabs my face and starts kissing me, so violently. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t caring. It was awful.

He thrusts himself on me and asks if it’s inappropriate that he’s horny.

It is but I say nothing.

He snatches my hand and puts it on his hard penis. “Please just touch it”. I tell him that I’m not in the mood and he gets angry. Weakly, I do it. If anything to shut him up.

“Now just put it in your mouth”

“Aron are you serious?”

He pushes my head down and I probably give him the best blowjob of his life, trying to hold back my tears and disgust for him, but mostly myself.

He finishes and I lay in shock. Why did I do that? What the fuck is wrong with me?

His phone hasn’t stopped going off the whole time, he finally picks it up and I glance at his recent messages. Girl after girl after girl. The most recent message was from a girl, whose number wasn’t saved and whose picture suspiciously resembled the girl who was at the clinic. I will never know, but it would not surprise me.

He left my house pretty much as soon as he had come, without even kissing me goodbye.

I laid there and waited until he slammed the front door shut. I screamed and screamed into my pillow. I can never describe the pain that I felt right then.

Two weeks on, the physical pain was gone (albeit some minor cramps and clots), but so began a new ugly chapter of emotional pain. I was in denial about my feelings. I truly believed I was going to move on like nothing happened. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget what I have been through, nor would I ever want to forget because it will always be such a big part of my life. I always wonder what would have happened if I just believed in myself and didn't take the easy way out. Not one day has gone by where I haven't cried and regretted my decision. If I could go back in time and get my baby back, I sometimes think I would. Although deep down I know I made the decision that was right for me at the time.

I found out my boyfriend had been cheating on me the whole time throughout the pregnancy. He continued to tell me he was in love with me, and would do anything to get me back. He wept on my shoulder a couple of days after the abortion, telling me he can’t get the image of our baby out of his head. He kissed me hard. Two hours later he was kissing some other girl hard too. Since him finding out that I knew he cheated, he has completely cut contact with me. I don’t know if he is embarrassed or just that much of a coward but I find myself questioning what I did wrong. Going through an abortion is not easy, but an abortion and a break up with someone you love is almost impossible.

I still receive the weekly emails every Sunday updating me on how far gone I am and what to expect at this stage of pregnancy. I would be 15 weeks now. I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe. I dread Christmas day, the day my baby should have been born. I still look at the pictures of my baby every day and feel as if I missed out on the opportunity to be a mother. Sometimes I get scared and think, “What if I never have another baby?” What If I never get that second chance to be a mother? What if this was the only baby I would ever have? I feel a deep loss for this baby that I never had. It has affected my life in many ways.

People tell me that I shouldn't feel regret. It was my decision, and I should just live with it. This is in no way an easy thing to live with. I experienced 11 weeks of a life growing inside of me. I felt the morning sickness the whole time. I had all the pregnancy symptoms. I know what it feels like to carry a child that I love inside of the womb. I hope my baby forgives me because right now I can’t forgive myself.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had to make this choice again, I would 100% make the same decision. I am just so mad for putting myself in the position to have to make this choice. I couldn’t bring up a child, so the only option was to terminate. That doesn’t make the feelings any easier, but I take solace in the fact that I know I made the right decision. Thank god for the freedom to be able to determine such a thing. I am so thankful for the NHS and for organisations such as BPAS to enable me to continue with my life. I will have children one day, when I am ready. For now I am just trying to mourn the loss of my baby. Time heals all.

 

 

 

 

 

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