My Journey Across the Water
I was in my first year at college. It was my first time living away from home and it was great. I met a really nice guy on my first week and we hit it off from day one. We were always very careful where intercourse was concerned, but not careful enough. I didn’t want to go on the pill or get any other contraceptives as I was too embarrassed to go the doctors and anyway it was all too expensive. The only thing we could use therefore was condoms. It must have happened on a drunken night, that we weren’t as careful as usual but 3 weeks later there was no sign of my period and naturally I started to panic. I was much to embarrassed to go into a chemist or anything for a pregnancy test. I knew I had to do something. I had seen a poster around college and in the toilets for where to go in Dublin for unplanned pregnancy. I went in to the Well Women’s Centre, Dunlin and met a lovely lady who was really easy to talk to. She talked and reassured me and said there was support there available if I needed it before she did the test. She knew I might panic and would be too flustered to take any information in. Then she did the test, it seemed like ages even though it was only a few minutes, the test came back positive, I couldn’t believe it. I alway thought it could never happen to me.
I knew straight away keeping the baby wasn’t an option. It was my first year at college, I had only turned 18 and wasn’t ready for such a responsibility. I could barely look after myself. The lady made me a cup of coffee and told me to think about it and gave me an appointment to see the pregnancy counsellor in 2 days time. This time was good to let the news sink in but my decision stayed the same. I went back and saw the counsellor. She listened to me and explained all my options keeping the baby, putting the baby up for adoption and abortion. I went back the following day and I made a few calls from her office. My options were either Birmingham or Liverpool. I booked Birmingham. I had to be there for 10:30am one week later. The clinic I was attending sent me all the information I needed about the location, a map and a list of things I needed to bring. I borrowed money from friends and got an overdraft and booked flights. I arrived at 8:30am and got into the city in time for my appointment. Everyone was really friendly and I felt really comfortable.
A nurse did a medical check to see if everything was okay. Then a counsellor cam to talk through the procedure and give me the option to change me mind right up to the last minute. The clinic where the procedure would take place was a short journey away. I got there at 12:30pm. It was just like a doctors waiting room but you knew everyone was there for the same reason. Thankfully my boyfriend had come with me. The waiting room was packed. There were couples a few years older than me and some the same age. There were girls as young as 13 there with their parents, some with friends. We were each called in one by one for another medical check and to make sure we were able for general anesthetic. We then were given a hospital cubicle each where we had to undress and put on a gown and wait in turn. I went into the operating theatre at 12:45pm and was awake at 1:10pm. I was on the train on the way back to the airport at 2pm. My flight was at 6:30pm and by 10pm that night I was tucked up in bed.
I felt very emotional on the way home but mostly relieved with the whole thing. It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do but I still don’t regret it to this day. It was right for me at the time and thanks to the pregnancy counsellor I was able to get support before and after I had the abortion. And the best thing all this support and counselling sessions were free. It was a tough decision but I knew I had plenty of support from family and friends also, otherwise I don’t know where I would be today.