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Wednesday, 30 November 2005

I had an abortion.

I've always appreciated the frankness of these t-shirts, though I would never have the nerve the wear one myself.

I've been debating whether or not I should share my story, and given the Supreme Court stuff today coupled with the fact that I have no readers as of yet, I figured what the heck. So here goes.

I mentioned that Yan and I met when I was laid off from my job in April of 2001, and I fell instantly in love with him (never mind his pesky fiance). Which meant that I instantly had to find some form of birth control, since it'd been three years since I'd slept with anybody. Previously I'd taken the Depo Provera shot, but after four years without periods I figured I'd better go back to the pill. And of course, the day after the first time I slept with Yan, I got my period. Nothing like a good hormone rush.

Shortly after recommencing the pill, I developed bacterial vaginosis. And then a yeast infection. And then some other kind of infection that nobody could diagnose but caused severe burning during peeing, sex, and washing. This went on for the whole of the second half of 2001, until through a series of referrals and rather embarrassing appointments with my mom's colleagues (she worked for a gyno office), I found my current doctor. She promptly prescribed a month's worth of Diflucan (with no health insurance that bill came to a hefty $350; no matter, I would've paid $1,000) and told me to immediately get off the pill, which was the culprit. (Turned out I had a rather severe yeast infection caused by the estrogen in the pill.)

And miraculously my symptoms disappeared. By this time Yan and I had broken up, gotten back together, and broken up again (remember that pesky fiance? She hadn't taken it so well), and a month after I ditched the pill, he invited himself over to cook me dinner and woo me back. Which he did. More than once.

Since I'd experienced the usual signs of my period--breast tenderness and light cramping--it took me a little while to figure out that I was pregnant. In fact, I hadn't given it much thought at all until I mentioned in passing to Yan that I hadn't had my period that month. We were IMing at work--I had a freelance job by then--and when he seemed alarmed, I ran out to get a pregnancy test at the pharmacy next door to my office just to prove him wrong. Imagine my surprise in the women's restroom in the middle of the work day when that second pink line showed up. A weekend holed up in his studio apartment with five more tests confirmed the original results.

It wasn't a nice time for us. He was still working out things with his ex (they were attempting to be friends but it wasn't going very well) and he and I were only tenuously together. By that point I think we both knew were in love but we weren't sure we were good for each other. In February of 2002, I was still struggling to find a secure job and he was contemplating taking a thirty grand pay cut to take a more prestigious position with a real-world (ie, non-dot-com) salary. We weren't sure we had a future, I had neither a job nor health insurance, and he wasn't ready to reveal my existence to the still-fragile ex.

It wasn't an easy decision but it was a completely rational one. I wouldn't say I regret it, other than to say that I regret getting pregnant in the first place--it was so irrational and so unlike me. But what I didn't expect was the emotional fallout. I think because we knew we were in love with each other and wanted to have kids eventually, it made it hard. Yan was extremely emotional the whole time. I think I was just numb.

The abortion was on March 9, 2002. I was six weeks and five days pregnant. We actually broke up a few weeks later (again on IM; now we know better). I can say without hesitation that that was the worst time of my life. I'll never know if it was the abortion or losing him--or both--that made me such a wreck, but after lots of therapy, Prozac, and telling his ex where to stick it, we got back together five months later and haven't been apart since.

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