How to have a Totally Awesome Abortion*

*Now to be realistic, no abortion could really be described as “awesome.” When the body purges itself of an undesirable, be it the flu or an unplanned pregnancy, it’s often an unpleasant, even painful experience, which we mediate with medicines and other techniques. Emotionally, to me, its a similar feeling to starting a painting, maybe impulsively, and at a certain point having to accept that you need to junk it, flip it over and start again. Maybe you’ll use the canvas for something else, or write for a while instead. The most frustrating aspect is that it feels like time and energy that could have been better spent on your other endeavors, but the pain & pleasure of making mistakes is how we learn, and with paint as with love, things sometimes move into directions you never imagined. Which I guess, is kind of the whole point.

1. Before getting pregnant, it’s best to spend a couple of years educating yourself on the history of abortion and contraception, holistic to synthetic. Befriend women of different ages, backgrounds, cultures and socioeconomic positions. You may be surprised to discover that your issues are the issues of many and there is plenty of advice out there to build upon when you look for it. I grew up at a time when the internet was just crawling out of it’s primordial shell, so a lot has changed, and continues changing so fast that you may be reading this when such levels of insularity are but a vague memory in the collective consciousness. If you’re aware of how your body works and what your options are, this greatly reduces the chances that you’ll find yourself unintentionally pregnant, but hey, it happens, so…

2. …if you’re going to accidentally and unintentionally get pregnant, let it be with someone who’s man enough to be a part of the process, to help you with it financially and emotionally, contribute to your research and tend to your discomforts as if they were his own. Yes, I know, these are very hard to find, but they do exist. Men that do not possess these qualities are worth little more than a casual fling IMHO.

3. When the day comes that you sense that you may have conceived, and are aware enough of your cycle that you would notice its lateness within a few days, take a test to confirm. The abortion “pill,” which is actually a few pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol http://www.fwhc.org/abortion/medical-ab.htm), is prescribed in the US for up to 9 weeks (though legally pregnancy is measured by the last menstrual period, instead of a couple weeks later when ovulation or fertilization would *actually* occur (aka stupid white men making up laws about women’s bodies AGAIN). I have heard it will work much later, though you may have a hard time acquiring it if you are further along than this — at the time I am writing this, there was a case in the news about a woman in New Mexico that obtained it privately rather than with a doctor and miscarried a 5 month pregnancy. The sooner you know the better anyway. While I am staunchly pro-choice, I do feel that the further along the pregnancy, the more difficult physically & emotionally it’s termination will be, so best to nab it early.

4. Despite my failed attempts with herbal methods, I still encourage they’re practice, simply because, some people do experience success with them, and I believe that if more testing was done with herbs, efficacy comparable to that of modern pharmaceuticals could be reached. Nonetheless, if you’re like me and your own herbal attempts at terminating fail, find a private certified female practitioner that takes an integrative approach to women’s health. In my case, the herb shop I was frequenting had her information, and now I understand why.

5. What a contrast to the clinic! She’s also an artist – some of her pieces are up in her office. There’s a buddha statue near the window, and some bamboo. You talk privately for a bit, about self-blame and judgment, and you cry a bit, and it’s good, it’s exactly what you need. Perhaps for years your opinion is that fertility management should be an effortlessly private affair, for which you should be able to get what you need over the counter, cheaply. You say so. She disagrees, she says part of the process needs to be reaching out to one’s community for help, and in so doing, educating and empowering oneself and each other. She approved of my usage of Queen Anne’s Lace, despite my mishap (I seem to have miscalculated my ovulation, or I ovulated later than expected, or ovulated twice). She said in her research with herbs she found that one had to catch things right at or before implantation. After this, pregnancy becomes more tenacious with each passing week.

6. She is going to give you one Mifeprex there in the office, which you take orally. This will inhibit progesterone production, which is necessary to maintain the uterine environment hospitable to a pregnancy. The Misoprostol suppositories are what you will take within 12-72 hours to induce uterine contractions. Her recommendation will be to do this very early in the morning – set your alarm for 6am, insert the pills into your vagina, and then go back to sleep (one needs to lie down until the medicine begins to do its work). This way, it will be daytime when things begin, which is a far less scary time than the night, to feel ill or seek out assistance should you need it. She will also write you a prescription for vicodin to ease the pain from the contractions.

7. Pick up the vicodin at your local pharmacy, and call a friend, preferably sensitive, open-minded, in touch with her mind-body, and possesses a wisdom and awareness of women’s health issues on par to your own (Yes, I know, these are hard to find too). You will want her there when the contractions start, to help with hot water bottles and such. Call your lover, the one with whom you’ve become pregant, for it’s important for him to participate and see what you are going through. If he doesn’t, he’ll have little to no idea what the experience is, and may not attend to you in the way you want & need once it’s over. Arrange a time that they can both be there, ideally before the contractions start. This will be 2-3 hours after you’ve inserted the Misoprostol.

8. When the alarm goes off, insert the pills as directed, take 800 mg ibuprofin and go back to sleep. It will begin in a few hours. Initially it will feel like a heavy period – as soon as you feel a heaviness in your abdomen, it’s time to take the vicodin. Knowing what I know now, I would have popped 3, for the contraactions are intense, and even with 2 they were intense and somewhat painful. Without any vicodin they will be nearly unbearable. (For weeks after I walked around marveling at small children, and the pain that each one’s exit from the womb must represent!) Ask your friend to prepare you some hot water bottles, for the back & front of your abdomen. The Misoprostol will also cause you to vomit, just bile, so have a bowl nearby. As the contractions become more intense she tells you to sigh through them, the way you do sometimes in Yoga vinyasas. It does help you ride them out. The medicine gives you the chills, and you need extra blankets, even though the temperature in the apartment in normal. They sit on either side of you on the bed, holding your hands and you shiver and sigh through the waves of contractions. It last perhaps 1 hour before the waves die down in intensity and frequency. You are exhausted. You sleep.

9. A few hours later, you wake up, surprisingly refreshed and thinking of breakfast; Something light and strengthening, like fresh juice, multi-grain bread, miso soup. Maybe you’ll go bead-shopping with a friend to celebrate.

10. Pouring over brightly colored bits of glass, you start feeling a cramped heaviness in your abdomen and you wish you had brought the vicodin with you. You are still bleeding heavily, clots & liquid, and it is satisfying. You feel that a great burden has been lifted. It’s might be later when you get home that the placenta and embryo or fetus come out. It may freak you out a little bit – you weren’t sure if you would actually see anything — and if it’s earlier than 6 weeks, you may not. If you do find any thing recognizable, it’s good to see it, and even handle it. I photographed it. When you get past the initial ‘ick’, you start to examine what your body is capable of creating, without your conscious effort or logical understanding, and it will awe you. Something I disliked about the clinical abortion was the disconnect — I wondered afterward if it was real, if it had ever happened at all, for I had so little evidence in memory of the actual pregnancy. Carefully fish it out of the toilet with a slotted spoon, and place it in a bowl or cup of water for the time-being. This may leave you drained again, so nap.

11. When you wake up, decide what you would like to do with it. I consider myself spiritual though not religious, and I believe ritual is important. I bought a potted amaryllis, wrapped the fetus & placenta in a lily bloom, and buried it at the base. I ordered a little hand-carved statuette of Mizuko Jizo (The Japanese Deity which resides over travelers, women & unborn children) to live on the dirt above. I apologized and told the spirit I loved it and would like it to return when we’re ready.
Other nice things to do:
-Hire someone to clean the house & do the laundry (or you can do it yourself, but keep in mind the next days are for restoration, so ensure you get continuous does of pampering in some form between such activities)
-Buy yourself a gift that pleases one or more of the 5 senses.
-Go to the sauna and/or get a massage
-Masturbate. Ever find that when you have a steady lover/partner, you occasionally forget to take this time for yourself? I know I do, and then things go off balance. The contractions of orgasm may not only help with any lingering cramps/back pain, but will exacerbate the flow of blood and bolster your endorphin levels

12. The next days may be very emotional as things bubble up and your body’s hormones recalibrate. Reflect, rest, make some artwork, and talk about it with your friends. In my fantasy world I would probably invite friends over to join me in a pagan dance and/or sacred smoke around the amaryllis (or whatever you chose) and cookies after, but my impression is that this is yet a bit much to ask of even the most un-shockable & fun-loving souls. I suspect attitudes will lighten up rapidly as the nature of the process filters through our collective experience from something sad, controversial & traumatic, to a common experience deserving of out attention, respect, humor & humility.

How to have a totally crappy abortion>>

One Response to “How to have a Totally Awesome Abortion*”

  1. Sarah says:

    Holy shit thank you . I’m fucking 36, a certified welder building dams/reservoirs all over the nation. Somehow I’m currently on a project in in eastern Montana…the middle of nowhere Montana…. my boyfriend and I managed to get prego… Wtf! I’ve been trying to go to a local clinic and they won’t help me . I found you and thank you for saving me. I’m 9 weeks 3 days… Your informative site has been super helpful!wish me luck please and thanks again.

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