The first thing I noticed was how tired I felt at the end of my shift. I'd worked a normal shift but by the time it was over, I felt completely exhausted.
Next, I noticed some other changes in my body, things 'just didn't feel right'.
And then..........I think I might be pregnant.
I thought about Jeremy and I, the intimacy we'd shared. The care we hadn't taken. And I knew.
To be certain, I'd need to see someone. Searching through the Yellow Pages I found a local clinic that invited young women to come and receive a free pregnancy test. I told Jeremy my suspicions and that I would be going to the clinic to find out whether I was right.
Jeremy didn't offer to go with me. He wasn't happy.
I went alone one afternoon, into a shabby little house in a shabby part of town. There was a kind woman who signed me in and had me fill out some paperwork.
I was invited to pee in a cup and wait. While waiting, I heard a motorcycle outside and looked, hoping Jeremy was coming to be with me. It was Jeremy, but he drove by. Several times. But he never came in. I felt alone. Scared. I was alone and terrified.
After what seemed like an hour, the nurse called me back into her office and asked a few questions. WAS I? was the question screaming out of my mind! AM I PREGNANT?!! STOP TALKING AND JUST TELL ME!!!! She droned on. I have no idea what she was saying, until finally, she answered the question that was about to cause my mind to explode.
'Your test came back positive. Do you know what you want to do?'
Tears, panic, fear. No. No, I don't know what I want to do! I'm not ready to be a mother! I don't know HOW to be a mother! I hardly even have a mother! How can I be a mother?!
I'm ashamed to say now, that the first place my mind went for a solution was to abortion. I asked for and received information about how to go about obtaining one and hurriedly escaped the clinic to absentmindedly drive home, hoping Jeremy would come by so we could discuss the results and what we'd do next.
When I was in high school, I'd been part of a Speech and Debate class in which my primary goal had been to have an opportunity to debate on the topic of Abortion. I was strongly Pro-Choice and had a bit of a militant attitude toward anyone who didn't agree. I was a woman and I was angry and I wanted my voice on the right of women to choose to be heard. I felt perfectly justified in this position, having lived through years of sexual abuse and watching a friend being kidnapped and ultimately raped. In my mind, every abortion was about those kinds of cases.
That wasn't the case here at all, but it didn't matter. My intellect didn't take the time to separate the circumstances out. I just knew that I had a choice and I could choose abortion if that was what I desired.
I don't recall many details from that day. Primarily, I recall the fear, the feeling of being alone and worrying that Jeremy would desert me. That was probably my biggest concern at that point. I was desperately in love with him but I feared that this could easily send him scurrying away. Given that, I was inclined to do whatever he wanted to do.
When he finally showed up, and it seemed like an eternity before he did, I bawled my eyes out in his arms. We talked things through, the options, abortion, adoption or parenting and ultimately decided that we should seek an abortion. Jeremy would help pay for it. I'd call my friend Celia and ask her to come and support me.
Then, I set about making appointments. I called Celia and she did agree to come, though she tried to talk me out of going through with it. But ultimately, she was willing to support me either way. I was grateful.
I went into the abortion clinic shaking with fear. I had a preliminary appointment where they would draw blood and give me instructions. I remember asking them on the phone why I couldn't just make one appointment and simply get it over with all at once. They had a procedure and this was the way it was done.
So the afternoon before the abortion was scheduled, I went in for the preliminaries. For reasons I now believe to have been divine, during that appointment, I began to doubt my decision. Still, I followed the plan and did what they told me to do. I mechanically drove home to find Celia and Jeremy waiting for me and we spent the evening together, trying to distract our minds from the reality of what we were about to do.
We had cleared a space on the floor for Celia to sleep and Jeremy and I got into bed. I had set my alarm for the next morning at the appropriate time. The appointment was early and we'd need to get up before first light to get ready.
Then, I turned off my alarm clock. I had made my decision.
I wasn't yet strong enough to tell Jeremy, because I was afraid he'd be very angry with me. But I knew that I could not abort my baby. I lay there restlessly through the night, pondering how I might be trapping Jeremy into parenting a child with me and how would I explain what I had done the next day and what if he woke up early and tried to make me go.
I'm sure that I slept some, but I don't think it was very much. Morning arrived, with the light of the sun streaming through bent blinds waking us from our sleep.
'I'm not going', I said to Jeremy. 'I can't do it.'
I wish I could remember his response, but I can't, not specifically anyway. I know that he wasn't happy. Frustrated would likely be a good word. Maybe he stormed out? Maybe he just sat there dumbfounded? Maybe he asked me why? He likely did that at least.
All I knew was that I could NOT kill my child and I had made the decision that I WOULD NOT. And then, I went back to sleep thinking we'd figure out the details later.