The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Before I begin, I want to note that this article may be hard for some readers. Nevertheless, I stress the importance of the words that follow. If now is not the time, please return to this article when you feel ready, as we believe it can really help someone.
For everyone who is currently, or plans to be, intimate with someone with the capacity to become pregnant, it is vital you are aware of the potential to become unintentionally pregnant and the resources you can seek out for help. First, I want to stress that no one is at fault and accidents happen even to those following all the right protective sex protocols.
Below is a UC Davis student’s experience having an abortion and what they believe other students should know if they ever have to make the choice. With this student’s permission, whom I will call Sunny [pseudonym], and their partner Liam [pseudonym], I’ve taken their experience and turned it into a diary-like narrative for your consumption. We hope this helps anyone in similar circumstances.
Today (November 2022, 8:00 am) I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well and I’ve been falling asleep in lectures a lot. The last few weeks of this quarter my temper has been crazy and I’m always craving protein and cheese. I decided to go to the doctor because when Liam and I tried to be intimate I almost screamed… it burned like hell. I thought maybe I had a UTI because I had felt uncomfortable for at least a week or so but I didn’t think anything of it.
But anyways, today I went to the doctor. And well, I found out that I’m pregnant. I’m six weeks pregnant. It doesn’t even feel real. How is this possible? I have to tell Liam… I have to tell my parents. I’m terrified… how could this happen? I have an IUD and we used protection? I don’t understand. Fuck!
(Same Day, 10:00 am) So… I told Liam. And I told my parents. I’m so grateful for their support. I’m so thankful they didn’t respond the way I was so petrified to think they would. I’m still in shock to be honest. I’ve been sobbing my eyes out. But I’m so grateful. The doctor called me and she got me an emergency gynecology visit today at 1:30. I am so grateful. I’m in undergrad and I can’t even fit the list of reasons why I shouldn’t have a child on both my hands… not to mention all the possible birth complications that Liam and I’s genetic background could lead to. It would be unfair to gamble their [the baby’s] wellbeing knowing all the mental health illnesses that our families possess. I’ve never wanted to be pregnant before. That was why… and yet, I’m so sad because a part of me is so happy that the person I love and I have the potential to have a baby… right now… no. No. We talked about this, and Liam supports my decision. This is the right decision for us.
(Same Day, 5:00 pm) I got my IUD out… they said the condom failed and I got pregnant because my IUD had shifted to the base of my cervix. They asked me if I ever got the string checked and that it has to be checked yearly. No one ever told me that. I’m so fucking pissed. But it’s out. I have the arm implant now. That shit hurt like a fucker. And… I took the first pill. Tomorrow I’m having an abortion.
(The Next Day, November 2022, 4:00 pm) So I took the first pill with the doctor yesterday at 4pm… it’s been 24 hours so now I take the other 4. He said I could dissolve them under my tongue or place them in my vagina. I’d rather not be nauseous so vagina it is… I really hope this works. Fuck I’m so fucking anxious. No, I got this. Everything is going to be okay.
(The Next Day, November 2022, 2:00 am) I just got home from the ER. I thought that I didn’t need the pain medication the doctor offered me when I took the first pill. I really regret that. It was so painful I had to go to the ER a few hours after the bleeding started because I thought I might die. They gave me what I needed. They were nice. They took care of me. I’m not pregnant. But I’m sad. I’m so grateful for the support, and the urgency, and that it worked… but I’m sad. I’ve never experienced such pain in my life. I don’t think anything can come close to that feeling. Even though I can’t remember it, even though I just got home… The memory terrifies me.
Let’s all take a minute to breathe. What you just read is heavy, and not even a fraction of Sunny’s real-life experience. But now I’m going to highlight what they wanted me to note as most important.
- Even on birth control which claims to be 99% effective, accidents happen. Sunny had a Copper IUD implant, one of the most reliable birth control methods today, but they didn’t know that it could move within their uterus. Ask your doctors ALL of your questions even if you feel shy. Remember, this is NOT your fault, accidents happen and you WILL be okay.
- When deciding what form of abortion feels right for you, take the time to think it through. Sunny decided on a medicated abortion because they wanted to feel safe at home, however, when offered pain medication Sunny refused believing they wouldn’t need it. It is better to take it and not use it rather than not have it when you desperately need it. Listen to and trust your doctor’s advice.
- You do not need to make this decision right away. This choice is HARD no matter what you decide. Be gentle with yourself and find the community you feel safe in and trust. Support is so crucial before, during, and after this experience. Additionally, before becoming intimate with someone, talk to them about the potential to become pregnant and get on the same page. Your partner’s support is crucial to healing. Those who love you will not judge your decision, they will be so proud of you and your strength.
- Accept that things might not go exactly as you plan. Sunny didn’t have the proper pain medication and had to go to the ER. Just know that you might have to get more help, so be in a safe environment with someone you trust who can not only take care of you, but can safely drive you to and from the ER if that is what you need.
- The choice is YOURS. Know how beautiful and powerful that is and give yourself space to grieve. This is a hard choice and no matter how relieved you are, accept and embrace all the other unexpected emotions that may come.
UC Davis, through the Love Lab and the Health and Counseling Services, now offers medicated abortions to students. UC Davis students have access to this resource, but please make sure that you will be taken care of and have the medications you need for a smooth experience. You are brave, you are powerful, you are valuable, you have a choice, and your choice does not need to be justified to others.
We see you.
With love, Sage, Sunny, and Liam.
Be gentle and take care of yourself today. Thank you for reading.
UC Davis Health and Counseling Services