Monday, February 15, 2010

My Journey through Adoption- III

I'm always asked about whether I considered abortion. I not only considered it, I was 2 minutes away from the surgery when I changed my mind.

This was one of the hardest moments of my pregnancy and a process that has changed my very core. Before reading this blog post, please remember to not make any judgments. Abortion is an extremely personal choice; one that I hope you never have to make. You can say what you want, but remember that you don't know what it's like. You don't know the girl's situation. What her life has been like. The path she has been on to reach this point. You don't know anything until you are in that position. Remember this and keep an open mind. This is just my story...

I couldn't decide between abortion and adoption. Keeping the baby was not an option for me at this point. I was not ready.

I had finally talked to my parents, D's parents, a counsellor and doctors. Everyone said the ultimate decision was mine alone and that only I would know what I could do. D did everything possible to make me believe that abortion was the only option. He came up with reasons like "You're too small to carry a baby healthily. Do you really want to go through this and miscarry?" He was desperate for this problem to go away.

My parents were heavily conflicted. My mom is very religious. Her brother is actually a Catholic priest and was staying with us for the summer. She was so scared. Her advice was to get an abortion. It was just the easiest path to go. She did not want to see me suffer, and she knew I would live a very hard life if I had the baby. My dad is atheist. He doesn't believe that a fetus is a human being. I could tell that all he wanted to do was take away this problem and let his little girl live a normal life. He was adamant that the best decision was to have an abortion. He told me to get it done, move to another city and start a new life.

D's parents are both Catholic. They did not want an abortion... but understood why I might do it.

To be honest, I can't remember much of what I was thinking during my internal debate. There were so many thoughts. My friends are all my age. All but two told me to get an abortion. All but two were willing to fight for my baby.

I've never believed in abortion. I believe that every fetus is a life... a soul. But, I was scared.

Everyone was telling me that I would not be able to give up the baby when the time came and to just save myself grief and abort the baby. Though it might seem that everyone was trying to persuade me towards abortion, the truth is that it was just their opinions. At the end of the day, everyone, even D, told me that it was up to me and that what I thought was the only thing that mattered.

I was too scared to change my life. I was scared of the responsibility. I was scared of what people would say.

I booked an abortion and 2 weeks later, found myself at the clinic. D and I were pretty much at war by that point. I didn't even tell him what day my appointment was. I was having a friend come with me but, I guess fate stepped in and made it impossible for her to be there last minute. I called D the day before and asked if he wanted to come. He said yes. He said he wanted to be there to make sure that I did it.

The day of felt like it was in constant fast-forward mode. The appointment was early afternoon. D picked me up; we drove in complete silence, found parking downtown and walked to the clinic. If someone asked me where the abortion clinic was, I would honestly answer that I have no idea. I just remember walking through a door that looked like any other door, into a puny elevator, to enter a dirty looking reception room. The receptionist was sitting behind what looked like a bullet proof window. She asked for my information inanimately. The place was quiet despite the fact that there were 5 people sitting there with D and I. What weirded me out the most was that these people were acting so normal. Like this was any doctor's appointment and that they weren't there to kill their babies. One blonde girl was by herself. There was a teenage, asian couple and an woman in her late twenties. They just sat there flipping through magazines. I would give anything to know what was running through their minds. Were they feeling as scared as I was?

When I was making the appointment, I had been told that "my partner" could be there the entire time except in the surgery room (which was only 5-10 minutes anyways). A nurse called my name to hand me off to a counsellor. D got up to follow and was told that he couldn't come in. The nurse told him to just go find somewhere to preoccupy himself for the next 2 hours. He was shocked. I didn't hear or see him leave.

I walked down a bright, cheerful hallway and was led into a small room. One of the walls was just lined with a million pamphlets. The counsellor was too nice and looked too young. She briefly explained what I was to expect the next 24 hours. I'd specifically stated in my paperwork that I did not want to discuss why I had chosen abortion. I remember us talking for a while but I all I could think of was whether she had ever sat in the same chair I was sitting in. When did she have an abortion?

She led me to the surgery ward. The floor was really cold. There were 3 black, plastic chairs facing 2 changing rooms. The hall smelled sterile and bleak. I stepped into the closest change room, stripped down and put on my bathrobe (that I was informed to bring). My ultrasound technician was waiting as soon as I stepped out. I can't remember her face, but I remember her voice. She sounded so kind; like someone I could just pour my heart out to. She joked with me as she did the ultrasound, obliging me when I asked to see the baby. I had had an ultrasound 3 days prior to the abortion and knew the baby was 10 weeks old. I noticed that she talked about the baby as if it was a baby and not just a bunch of cells.

She brought me back to the 3 plastic chairs and said I'd have to wait a while. I don't know how long I sat there. There were a stack of fashion magazines on top of the stereo in between the changerooms. The older girl that I had seen earlier was already sitting there reading. I followed. I was feeling good. I was feeling confident that this would all be over soon and I could go back to being Theresa... not "Mother Teresa". She got called to surgery. I kept reading. The teenage asian girl came around the corner from surgery. She was walking like she had a horse between her legs. She was swaying and smiling like an idiot. I could hear her bumping into the walls as she changed and giggling like a little school girl. I got so angry. I remember that her hand had a big bandaid on top where the IV was supposed to be inserted. She left after a while and I was suddenly by myself. I turned the page of my magazine and my eyes fell upon a picture of Alicia Keys and a white woman. The woman was Alicia Keys mom. It hit me that maybe Alicia Keys was adopted. And then I started to think that maybe my child could be a singer... or president. Who was I to take that away from the world? What if I was taking away someone's wife or husband, someone's best friend, someone who meant something to this world? The blonde entered the room and sat next to me. The room started to spin and I felt like I was in horror movie. I stood up and ran to the ultrasound technician's room. She was just stepping out her room. She looked at me with so much understanding and I just blurted out, "Is it okay if I change my mind? I need more time. I don't think I can do this right now".

"Yes!" She said emphatically.

She pulled back the sheet that was seperating the hall from the surgery ward. A nurse was standing right there. My ultrasound lady, who I was starting to see as my hero, told her I wasn't going to get the surgery right now.

"Oh," she said, "I was just about to go get her".

My hero walked be back to the changeroom and told me to change back into my clothes. She waited for me and took me back to my counsellor.

I was shaking by that point.

"Thank GOD!" was all that kept running through my head. "I saved the baby. My baby isn't going to die".

My counsellor was shocked that I had changed my mind. I guess I tricked her into believing that I was totally fine with the abortion. I was like every other girl that had walked through those doors.

"Sooooo..... what are you thinking right now?" she said extremely timidly. I think she was worried I was going to have a mental breakdown.

"I just think that this baby doesn't have to die. I think I should look into adoption more before deciding anything".

"Ummmmm.... I'm going to go get our senior counsellor. She knows way more about this stuff than I do".

She rushed out of the room. I grabbed my cell and texted D that I didn't do it and to come back for me. I could just see him reading this, throwing down his Danish and running back to the clinic as fast as he could from wherever he was. He wouldn't make it in time.

The senior counsellor walked into the room with so much authority. I loved her immediately... not like my mousy counsellor.

"Hi Theresa. Ok, I'm going to tell you straight up that adoption is not all it's made out to be. I'm warning you now... lawyers are dangerous people. They want your baby and that's the only way they make their income. That being said, I just adopted my daughter and can refer you to my fantastic lawyer. She's in Toronto but I completely trust her and I know that she'll recommend a good adoption lawyer. I wouldn't touch any of these city lawyers unless they came recommended by her. Now... what do you know about adoption?"

I think I talked to her for about 10 minutes but I felt so much more knowledgeable afterwards. You know when you learn some really good stuff, you actually FEEL better, more full and wordly? That what I felt.

D burst into the room panting just as she was concluding.

"Excellent. You must be the father. You need to take this girl home right away and let her rest. Have a nice day and call me if you need anything".

D's eyes were WIDE and he looked sooooo shocked.

"What?" he said.

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