By now we had known we were pregnant for a couple of weeks. Had we come any closer to making a decision? No. For me, I had come closer to this little alien growing inside me, I had connected with it, I could see myself nursing it, changing it’s tiny nappies and proudly announcing it’s first steps to the world. For my partner it was rather different. He was more focused on the actual reality of raising a child, the family support which we lacked where we lived, the financial security of savings or our own home, the fact we had not made a 12 month plan that included a child.
I may repeat this in future posts but I had been told once “Mothers are made on a positive pregnancy test, fathers are made in the delivery room”. It’s hard to describe the emotions I was feeling. It was like my practical, reasonable self had just gone on a vacation and all I could think about was how cute tiny little baby clothes were.
We made an appointment with a termination counselor for 11am Thursday morning. My partner was due to arrive back from working away that morning but phoned me around 8am to inform me he was stuck. The main road was closed due to flooding and didn’t look like he’d make it back in time. I considered rescheduling but I’d been going out of my mind having not spoken to anyone else and needed to express my actual feelings with a qualified stranger.
Hospitals are strange places. You’re meant to feel safe and secure in hospitals. I’ve always found them rather depressing, cold, dark and gloomy looking. Like the halls are filled with thousands of silent sobs. Unfortunately Christchurch hospital was no different. As I filled in my contact details in the massive waiting room I noticed two teenage girls sitting across the room from me and wondered if they were here for the same thing. If they were silently judging me the way I was judging myself.
My counselor was a hippie looking lady in her mid to late 40’s. She dressed like she did the job because she loved helping people, not because she enjoyed the money. Her kind welcome made me feel instantly relaxed. She knew why I was there, she knew how to start the conversation. We discussed my personal situation; 25, in a reasonably new relationship, had just moved to Christchurch for my partner, had no family or friends close by, didn’t think pregnancy was going to come this easily due to being diagnosed with PCOS a year prior. Actually getting all of this out already made me look at my situation differently, it could be been a hell of a lot worse. She asked me why we were considering termination which I hadn’t really asked myself. All I could think of was the financial responsibility of raising a child. We just could not afford it on one wage, we had plans to travel a bit, buy a house, maybe get married? But all of that seemed so miniscule if it meant ending a life. Again, it could’ve been worse for us, we were both in alright jobs, we lived a reasonably comfortable each week, we could definitely make compromises and work on our savings. The next factor was the support. She asked me if I’d be sitting in the termination clinic, talking to a counselor if we still lived back home close to our family. I said no.
We then discussed our next step if we decided to carry on with the termination. I could arrange another appointment with my partner but as far as the counselor was concerned I was in a complete sound emotional state to make a reasonable decision for myself. If we decided to progress with the termination we would have until week nine of my pregnancy to go through with a medical termination, anything after that we would have to go down the surgical route.
I knew I would probably not be able to go through with a surgical termination. I’m not that keen on anything involving surgical equipment. I struggle with the dentist. So we had a week or two up our sleeves for a medical termination. A medical termination involves taking two pills. Pill A, blocks the effects of progesterone, a hormone pregnancy thrives on. Pill B, is to be taken around 24 hours later and will induce the miscarriage. Each pill must be taken at the hospital but after the second you are free to go home. The miscarriage itself varies person to person but usually involves heavy bleeding and strong period-like cramping. Of course, the sac and embryo will be expelled in the process which I thought for myself would be the most saddening and daunting part.
I knew what I was going to do. I had made my decision.