An ill-timed, drunken moment of unprotected sex got me pregnant by my very uncommitted boyfriend of 10 years. After realizing “hold up, my period is late,” I took a pregnancy test. I wasn’t surprised to see the two solid pink stripes glaring up at me. My heart felt heavy and my stomach twisted into knots. Inside me, there was a tiny speck of life—this had been something I had desired for, as I greatly loved this man. By no means were we too young nor was our relationship new. It was, however, an inconsistent rollercoaster of commitment, truths, and respect.
I tried to imagine the potential future. My heart, intelligence, and conscience were at war. This wasn’t as if I was planning a weekend away—this was a lifelong commitment. I desperately wanted to contact him and talk it through, but this in itself was like going into combat. I lost count the amount of times he would flee in his car to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. The most trivial topics would set him off. A great example was watching him drive away because it was all too hard for him to commit to a time and date for lunch reservations with his family. We all stood there dumbfounded as he drove away. He just could not commit.
I decided not to tell him I was pregnant. Instead, I booked in with my gynecologist to confirm absolute viability. My routine bloods confirmed the pregnancy, as well as a formal pelvic ultrasound. That moment in particular was excruciatingly hard as I viewed the tiny sac and flicker of life—our life staring back at me. It was incredibly painful to view. I loved this man. I still bloody do. He was my love-at-first-sight moment. Eleven years ago, I emotionally committed myself to him. I shut my heart off to any other opportunities, despite knowing this was not always reciprocated. A lot of “could have” moments surely passed me by in 11 years, but instead I desperately held onto my love-at-first-sight, dreaming of a fantasy future.
My gynecologist let me know that I had met the criteria for a medical termination. I was between a certain gestation and was in the care of a specialist who had the credentials to sign off on RU486. Knowing that I could do this in the comfort and privacy of my own home was the option I decided to take. This option was by no means cheaper than its surgical counterpart. It also required several awkward phone calls to locate a pharmacy nearby that stocked the medication.
I started the procedure over a weekend. The medical process meant I had to take two tablets precisely 48 hours apart. Both times I laid in bed and followed the instructions: hold the tablet into place between cheek and gum for 30 minutes, followed by a drink of water. To get through those 48 hours, I drowned my sadness with a bottle and a half of wine. I was so dehydrated and intoxicated by the combination of cheap wine and Mifepristone that I fainted face-first into the carpet when getting up to go to the bathroom. I suffered from that bloody carpet burn for the next two weeks. It was like karma each time I was asked, “What happened to your face?”
Not long after the second tablet, I began to bleed. It felt very much like an awfully heavy period. I had a back ache, abdominal cramps, a very heavy blood flow, and an emotionally low mood. Eventually I passed a solid mass and stared at it for longer than I should have.
In the week that followed, I returned to my gynecologist for confirmation of completeness. A pelvic ultrasound confirmed there was no longer a tiny sac or a flicker of life. It was a very poignant moment. I laid in silence and only burst into tears the moment the realization kicked in. For the shortest moment in time, everything that I thought I wanted, I briefly had. Though, really, did I? Life looks very different when you take the rose-colored glasses off.
I toyed with the decision of telling my partner. Although our relationship was volatile, it also had beauty and love during the better times. It was a very unconventional relationship and heavily lacked commitment. Given we shared a lot of history, I got him to see me for coffee.
Like verbal diarrhoea, the truth came out that we fell pregnant, I struggled with my decision, I did what I felt was right, and I wasn’t coping well.
True to his form, he told me that he didn’t believe that I had fallen pregnant. He also suggested that it could have been by another man. He could not comprehend that gestation starts on the first day of your last period and so couldn’t get his head around how I was 8+5 weeks at the time I terminated.
He never once asked if I was okay. He never once asked where or how the procedure was performed. He never offered me a hug, a shoulder to lean on, or even a small portion of money to reimburse the cost (which actually was incomparable to the physical and emotional pain that I had suffered).
So in the end, I guess I made the right decision after all.