America, Home Of the Controlled and the Controlling.

I was just a few weeks into my 16th year when I had an abortion, and it was not the worst decision I had ever made in my life. As a matter of fact, it really was not my decision at all.

The worst part about it? Was that my adult made the decision as to whether or not I would stay awake, or be put to ‘sleep‘ / lightly sedated, during the procedure.

The latter was what I wanted. I did not want to remember. But it was not up to me, none of this was. The latter, was not what was chosen.

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This was not up to me. It was intended that I remember this experience. This was my lesson. I would be fully awake, so that I would know learn, to not get pregnant again.

That is not what I learned from this experience.

Even though I had some of the Best Health Insurance money could buy, and even though my boyfriend offered wanted to come with me, my Adult had lessons for each of us tucked into every pocket and up every sleeve.

My adult did have good intentions.

My Boyfriends lesson came out of his wallet in the form of a $500 Money Order.. for only $50 (or 100) more dollars, they would sedate me. It was my choice. Except when I didn’t have the extra money to hand over right then an there. Except when they brought my adult into the room.

This did not get to be my decision. Who was I, but a Dumb, Young, Sophomore, who found out she was pregnant by driving an hour away to the ‘Free Clinic, behind my Adult’s backs to get put on ‘The Pill‘ (Birth Control Pill)?

Who was I but a sneaky Teenager who did all the things her adult told her not to?

A few short years and a high school diploma later – and we were pregnant again.

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The first person I did not call?

My Adult.

I knew right away what I was not doing.

I was not going back to that place.

Literally or Figuratively.

The place I had arrived at in the wee morning hours on what was the last day of the school year.

The place I had to use and remember a Secret code word to get in, but not before a Guard wanded me down to ensure the safety of others.

(Mind you this code word was the same code word for each one of the friends whom I accompanied to this same place throughout high school..)

The place where they took me into a room to counsel me, and told me that this was all ‘my choice‘. It didn’t matter my age, or what anyone else wanted me to say or do. All of the decisions being made on that day, would lie solely on me. My Body, My choice. But that just was not true.

The place where they made me feel like I mattered, like I was safe, like everyone there gave a shit about me and that everything was going to be OKAY.

And everything was okay, even when they wheeled me into the procedure room. Even when they sat me on the padded blue table, had me lie down and open my legs up. Open more..

wider

wider

A nurse told me to place my feet on these, and let my knees fall apart to each side, as far, open, and as relaxed, as I possibly could.

She held my hand and told me step by step, move by move what was happening before, after and as it was happening. I squeezed her hand through the pain as if to share my pain with her.

I could not do all any of that again.

This time; my our choice. And I was keeping our baby.

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I’m grateful that the option was there – because had it not been, I may not have finished my high school education. I may not have walked at graduation with my graduating class mates.

However, I just wish that the first time I got pregnant, I was more informed, more educated on life. During a pregnancy, after a pregnancy, while having a child, what happens to my body, my mind, my life, my education.

All of it.

The only thing I factored into my decision was that my decision was taken away from me and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.

Little did I know, my ‘informed decision making process’ never fully formed into its own thing. It stopped at what I was told to do and why I was told.

child touching his mother lamb
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Two years after having my first born, I was pregnant again. I was about 3 or 4 months along when I began to miscarry. The Emergency room Doctors sent me home to pass what they described as a clot ‘no larger than an orange’. After what felt like days of labor, I passed the fetus, and I felt like I was dying for a whole 3 days later.

When I finally got myself home and to my home doctor, he told me I was hemorrhaging and needed to have a D&C and quickly. He sent me to the hospital next door, did an ultrasound and a few other short tests and within an hour, I was in a gown in a bright, cold, light, procedure room, with my doctor, the same Doctor who delivered my first born, having a D&C.

citrus fruits and ultrasound result on white surface
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com
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After having 3 children, I got pregnant again. During a regular Ultrasound Scan in my earlier weeks, I was told that the baby had bilateral cysts on her Brain, A Mild Marker of Trisomy 18.

I was told that at my next scan, at 21 weeks, even if the cysts disappeared; we would not know if the baby would be born with Trisomy 18 or not. I was told that it was something like a 1 in 50,000 chance that she would be born with Trisomy 18. At my 21 week scan, they noticed the cysts had disappeared, and that was the last ultrasound I got before the big D-Day!

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I was completely horrified. I was receiving all sorts of information that I did not know what to do with. I could not make this decision. I could not go through a pregnancy only to lose my baby in the hours or days after birthing her, I would not be okay for me or for my other children.

In the state that I lived in, they would not perform a medical abortion after 21 weeks, unless absolutely deemed necessary. So I looked in other states around me. After long hard conversations with family, a lot of praying, crying and not understanding life – I decided that I would not do anything. I decided that I would pray, and that God would not give me anything that I could not handle – even if I could not understand it.

After 40 weeks of carrying my 4th beautiful blessing and not knowing what would happen on the day she was born, I chose to be induced, again. However, I knew something was not right. I had been telling asking my doctor for months if where her head should be, felt like a bum to him, and vise versa, to which he assured me that she was in the correct position.

She was not. She was Breech.

This ended in an Emergency C-Section. The thing I had spent hours watching t.v shows and a couple of Netflix specials on. C-Sections, exactly what I had always thought that I never wanted.

Once they pulled my newborn baby out of me and got her breathing, they allowed her dad to see her. After I heard her cry, I whispered through tears, ” Thank God.” but I still wasn’t sure if she would be okay. My first words after hearing her were, “Is she okay? Does she look Okay? Is she perfect?”

My stories are neither here nor there when it comes to abortion, or its laws, however, that is my whole point. I am grateful that there was always an option, a choice. Decisions are not easy to make, especially when it comes to life, and they should not be made for us, unless one is incapable of making such a decision. These are decisions that should be made solely by the women whose bodies are undergoing all this change. This is not about pro-life, anti life, pro se or anyones rights – this is purely about control.

road people art new york
Photo by Emma Guliani on Pexels.com

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The Softmore

Part 1 – Cori – time frame – 2000’s

It’s the year 2005 or 2006, the year you get your license. The month is ApriI. I think I was in 10th grade, driving a 1994 XL Fire Engine Red Chevy Blazer. I was not yet an experienced highway driver, so wherever I went, I went the back roads.

On this particular day it didn’t matter. The place I was going was all back roads. There was one way into town and one way out, and this was it. A Long, winding, curvy, strip of what felt like forever. Beautiful mansion like houses lined the road, and the smell, the sticky smell of the salt water clung to the hairs inside of my nose the way you would picture molecules and cells sticking together.

It was the same road I had traveled down many, many times throughout my youth with my parents to get to the Beach, but one of the first times I had driven it myself. And I wasn’t going to the Beach this time. I was going to a Women’s Health Clinic to be put on birth control, without my mother’s knowledge or consent. They had a little notebook, a journal, filled with “testimonials” from patients before us. Essentially, the ” Comment’s Section” of this particular Women’s health Clinic.

I’d brought my friend Leena with me for support, more of a celebratory support. Little did I know- I was going to need more than that, and a lot of it.

I peed in a little cup for what I believe now, was the first time I’d ever done so ( outside of when my mom would hold the cup for me at my annual physical with my pediatrician), sat back down in the waiting area with Leena, and began reading some journal entries.

After about 45 minutes, and a lot of whispering stares and side eyed glares, a woman opened her door and called out my name, ” Cori? Come on in.”

We spoke about the different types of birth control, my history ( which wasn’t much yet) and then she asked if I’d like for her to bring my support person in. That threw me way off, but I sort of chuckled it off and thought it’d give us a lot of laughing material for the ride home.

She opened her office door and called out, ” Leena, could you please come in and take a seat with us?” . A knot began g r o w i n g inside of my belly. My nerves were starting to catch up to me.

When my Best Friend entered the room, we locked eyes and nervously smiled at one another.

“What is going on?” I ask the, (lets call her “Doctor”) Doctor.

” Unfortunately Cori*, we can not give you a prescription of Birth Control today, but we can offer support-” Said Doctor, uneasily.

What?! What the hell do you mean??? What is wrong with me?? Is it an STD?! HERPES? HIV? AM I DYING?! – Were some of the first thoughts that went through my head, my best friend Leena, was thinking the same things. She was so afraid of what the next words would be, she visibly clenched her fists into the arms of the chair, on each side of her body.

” We can not give you a prescription for Birth Control today, because…. you are already Pregnant.”

Explosives going in all corners of my brain.

That’s. Not. Possible. ( not a statement taken lightly in such a situation).

I couldn’t imagine being PREGNANT!? I had just turned 16 years old.

NO!! This cannot be happening. I was t r y i n g to get AHEAD OF THIS!!

The first audible words out of my mouth were, ” Okay, Well… Soo what can you guys do for this? What can we do about this? I need to fix this and fast, and again, w i t h o u t my mother finding out…”

The only support offered to me by the lovely clinic, was a few brochures regarding adoption and teen pregnancy. They did not offer, provide, nor support a b o r t i o n.


When I walked out of the clinic, I took what felt like the first breath I had taken since Leena sat down in Doctor’s office with me.

My face stained in tears, I called my boyfriend Anthony.

When he answered, he already knew something was not right. See, usually I’d only call him over the 2-way Radio. So when the phone rang and he saw my name flash across the screen, his stomach bubbled.

On the ride home, I called my mom.

She could hardly understand the words coming out of my mouth, but she got the idea. ” Drop Leena off, and head home, I’ll be right over.”

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Cut to- It’s the second-to-maybe Third-to-Last Day of 10th Grade, June of 05/06, and I have an appointment scheduled for the following day. I’m sitting in Mrs. Lato’s Spanish class nauseous, a feeling I’d begun to get used to, and my teacher won’t let me go to the bathroom, a g a i n. I know my bathroom breaks were frequent, more frequent than normal- and they thought I was going to smoke cigarettes, ( something I did regularly in the school bathrooms). Over the last 3 months, my bathroom breaks had become even more frequent, and I was doing more than just s m o k i n g in the girls room.

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Even when I did go in there to smoke, I would throw up. E v e r y. s i n g l e. t i m e. I was SO frustrated. I had been trying to keep this secret for months, as one pregnant 10th grade teenager would do. It wasn’t that I couldn’t take the secret any longer, it was that I had to throw up, and did NOT want to do so in front of a room full of Juniors and Seniors, most of whom I was n o t friendly with.

I tried to cover all my bases. I asked if I could PLEASE run to the bathroom, THREE TIMES. In between my pleas, Mrs. Lato would throw in a wise remark. She thought it was funny. She wasn’t trying to be mean, no – she was just trying to get through her lesson. ” It’s the last week of school, cant you wait until the bell rings? Your not going to want to miss a thing in class today or tomorrow.”

“I’m not going to be here tomorrow or the next day. So May I Please run to the bathroom? It’s s e r i o u s. It’s a M e d i c a l condition. It’s a g i r l problem.”

Nothing. She ignored me each time.

I rose from my chair and exited the class room. Fuming. Actually, f u m i n g. This was the first time I felt my whole body heat up the way it did in response to my anger. I felt my skin turn flush. My neck, covered in blotches of red… embarrassment? Fear? No, Anger. Anger that looked like a bad allergic reaction.

I splashed my face with water, and looked at myself in the fun house like mirror that was mounted along the wall as you exited the bathroom. I wanted to wait for the bell to ring, but back then, the concept of time wasn’t what it is now. It lasted longer. One half hour felt more like One whole hour. Fifteen minutes was more like 45. So I waited for my face to cool down some, and I walked back to class.