This post starts with inappropriate urination and ends with dead kittens in my closet.
Proceed at your own discretion.
Peeing in places, other than into a toilet, has gotten me into trouble since about age three.
When I was in first grade I had a pink elephant sleeping bag and every time I slept in it, I would pee the bed. Now, to be clear, I was not a bed wetter. My parent’s potty trained me early on with the threat that if I didn’t stop using diapers I would never get to go to “big kid school”. I regret that decision to this day because since my out growing diapers I am not only in a shit load of school debt, but I have taken inappropriate urination to a new level of not ok.
I have no real reason why I would pee myself in that sleeping bag, other than maybe a deep emotional disturbance. It could have been the grey velour pillow or the comfort of being wrapped up in an elephant’s trunk, but if I fell asleep in that sleeping bag I was cursed to wake up covered in my own fluids.
In the third grade I was really shy and one day I had to pee badly at the end of the school day, but I was too afraid to ask the teacher, so I boarded my bus home and about 45 minutes into my 55 minute ride home I peed my pants and kind of wished I had never outgrown diapers.
My issues with bladder control eventually became a war on toilets that continued into my late teens where during high school I figured out how to (somewhat) successfully pee into a cup while taking long car rides.
College was really the final stretch on my urination freedom trail, where I became known to drop trousers,
usually when drunk almost anywhere at any time, sometimes on anyone in the way.
At 22, when I drunkenly peed outside of a car while at a park and had to jump into said vehicle midstream as a family walked by, I thought I had peed on it all.
It wasn’t until I was standing in my work’s bathroom holding a small digital EPT test, that I realized how wrong I had been.
I hate children almost all the time.
My prerogative to never have them spawned from a fear of pregnancy, morphed into a general dislike of babies and grew up into a personal belief that biological children are narcissistic, bad for the environment and an overall socially unsustainable choice.
So, you can only imagine my panic when I saw the word, “pregnant” pop up on that little screen.
What else can you say?
I texted my two best friends, who promptly demanded proof, and upon receiving the photo of my pregnancy test there was no further discussion aside from when I would take care of it and who was driving.
As I left work that day I was still in shock.
How could this happen to me? Was I honestly stupid enough to think that my sheer hatred of kids would be proper birth control until I had an IUD put in?
Did I miss that section in health class where they repeatedly say pulling out does not work?
Everyone I knew was pregnant: my boss, my editor, one of my friends, my cousin, four of my work regulars, even my goddamn cat was knocked up, I should have been far more careful.
I felt stupid and very alone because out of all the people I knew who were going through the same thing, I was the only one with plans to abort.
I was grasping at friends for help and none, spare one, could even closely relate and as I started to quickly feel isolated I remembered that fucking myself didn’t get me into this situation.
The only silver lining to this disaster was that I actually knew who the father was.
I did not even want to tell the sperm donor, as he shall be called. He was 3,000 miles away finding himself on the open roads of America and would not be back in Providence until September.
That fact aside, we had only just rekindled our relationship and while I had been head over heels for him since the day we met (fittingly about nine months prior), he was cautious, damaged, callous and fickle.
We had only talked about love a week prior to this disaster and I did not want to ruin what I had worked so hard to obtain. It is stupid, but I was so desperate to keep a love that was not real, I nearly ruined myself in the process.
In the end I told him and to this day I have not decided if that was the right decision.
It was not a romantic conversation, there were no tears, I simply told him, “I’m pregnant. I’m taking care of it. Please do not worry about it.”
I did not want to be weak.
I knew this boy had thrown girls to the curb for signs of weakness as petty as vomiting from being too drunk.
I would be damned if I was going to be the next bitch he tossed out and so I shut down.
I wanted so desperately to show him I could be strong, that he did not need to see me as a liability or something that needed to be looked after, I ended up shutting him out completely and I became emotionally numb.
I have no problem with abortion from a moral stand point. I have always voted pro choice and obviously, since I am plastering my experience on the internet, I am not ashamed of my decision.
It’s my body, my choice and no one should be able to influence that. I do not personally believe life starts until you are fully out of the womb kicking and screaming and even then, I have met some people I am pretty sure were born animated but still dead.
I never doubted my personal prerogative on abortion but maybe that is because I never thought about having to abort the child of someone I loved.
I was afraid that if I saw it as something like that, a child, a permanent part of someone I cared deeply about, that I would end up being a destitute, uneducated, single mother who would struggle alone for the rest of her life.
So, true to my hyper rational self, I dehumanized it. I referred to the situation as a minor hiccup, and acted like the fetus inside me was a disease that I was going to the doctors to have treated.
“It’s really no big deal!” became my mantra.
I guess this was not fair to the sperm donor, and I can see how it might have hurt him, but he could not have “loved” me too deeply because two days before my abortion he decided to call it quits instead of trying to address my emotionless stance.
No one around me, including myself, was all that shocked. I have been abandoned at worse times in my life and he had a reputation for bailing when things got serious.
I have been mid suicidal episode and had people hang up the phone on me, so I go into most relationships pretty much assuming that when things get tough that person will leave.
I also should have known better than to trust someone who had repeatedly treated me like trash.
He had left me more times than I could count and not always in the nicest ways. I had come to his apartment one time to find him with what was apparently his new girlfriend even though I had woken up in his bed not even five days before. She turned out to be a sweet girl he also treated like trash and would eventually booty call one night, after I graciously forgave him for the latter infraction, while I was still passed out in his bed.
Everyone knew he was fickle and weak, but even I was shocked when he failed to step up like the man he, to this day, loudly claims to be.
He didn’t help me pay nor had I talked to him much about it, not that he asked, so his being around or not, really did not effect much in my mind.
The morning of the procedure I was horrified, but I think my best friend Kate who drove me, was actually more scared than I was.
She had all the appropriate emotions: fear for my psychiatric health, fear for my life, fear for the aftermath of dealing with someone who had just been dumped and then had to struggle to pay for their own “murderous” procedure.
I was just scared of feeling. That’s all that terrified me. I did not want to feel a thing: pain, sadness, anger, anything. As soon as the nurses assured me that I would be out like a light, all I felt was quiet.
Before your procedure, after they deem you healthy, you sit in this dimly lit room with all the other women. They give you a johnny and a blanket inside of a brightly colored bag that you are instructed to store all your belongings in. Then, you sit on a couch and watch a movie until they call your name.
I remember Mrs. Doubtfire was playing and was sharing the room with about 5 other girls, some older than me and some far younger.
As I looked around at the miserable bunch of us I thought to myself, “We are the lucky ones. That’s the irony.” and I laughed to myself.
The sleeping procedure is the most expensive, but also the least traumatic. The alternatives are a pill that makes you bleed out for weeks, or you can have a medical abortion done, but only be slightly sedated for it.
About two weeks prior, on the actual day I had found out I was pregnant, I called Planned Parenthood and asked for the fastest appointment they could give me within driving distance. I knew I wanted to get this thing out of me as fast as possible. I was already suffering from extreme exhaustion, swollen feet, weight gain, vertigo and morning sickness that was debilitating. I felt like I was at constant war with my body. I could not smoke or drink anything other than water and ginger ale, which means I never left my house other than work.
Planned Parenthood’s earliest appointment was in West Hartford, Ct and upon calling I told the operator that I NEEDED to be asleep for it and she assured me it would all be fine.
My other best friend Mel took the day off to drive me to the clinic and the whole way there we made jokes to lighten the mood, but I think we were both terrified.
Upon arrival at the clinic, I went to check in and thankfully I was so nervous I asked the desk lady, “so, I’m going to be asleep for this, right?” just to verify what I thought I already knew and she gave me this look and says, “No, I’m sorry we don’t offer that procedure here.”
Apparently there are only two clinics in the New England area that have an anesthesiologist on staff and this was not one of them. Maybe the operator made a mistake, clicked the wrong button or what have you, but at that moment I could not think straight. All I wanted was this ordeal to be over with as quickly as possible, but here I was being told that I would not only be awake, but that I would not be numb.
I panicked, walked out and went to get a sushi lunch.
At this point I was still speaking to the sperm donor, and I texted him to tell him that I was in the midst of an absolutely traumatic day. The response I got back, “I don’t have much service. Sorry to hear about that. I’m having a really bad day.” solidified my fortitude in keeping him as uninvolved as possible.
I had to wait a week to get into the Providence clinic, but I thank whatever powers may be that I waited because waking up from the procedure was emotionally destroying. I can not imagine being awake while it happened.
“Allison Palombo!” I finally heard my name and I was ushered into a brightly lit, sterilized room that contained a chair that looked like a torture device, in its dead center. As I walked toward the chair I saw someone had left the biohazard bin open. It was full of bloody gauze and other things I wish I had not seen. It just made the process suddenly less mechanical. Sad women, brought in, lined up, cut up and sent on their way, the whole procedure had a assembly line flow. It was all so sterile and clean that seeing the bloody gauze reminded me at that moment how fucked up the entire situation was.
It reminded me that I was human, something I did not want to be at that moment because human’s have emotions which were a liability to me.
The nurses who brought me into the room helped me out of my underwear and into the chair where they proceeded to strap me in like a mental patient.
There I sat, two legs tied into the air and my arms strapped down on the side of me.
I was trapped.
As I waited I began to shake violently. The nurses covered me with the pink blanket in my bag, probably assuming I was cold when really I was scared nearly to death.
After what felt like hours, the anesthesiologist finally came in. She was a loud, curvaceous woman with an authoritative voice.
She explained how I would feel and then after she finished putting all the needles in my arm, but before she put me under, she looked me deeply in the eyes and said, “Are you here of your own will? Are you sure this is what you want?”
I wanted to laugh.
“What the fuck?” I thought. I could not believe they were asking me this now. Of course this was what I wanted! And even if it was not what I wanted I was already pumped full of oxygen and strapped into a chair taken off a horror movie set, while a tiny Indian man in scrubs was peering into my vagina. Something about that situation felt past the point of no return. There was no way I was going to back out now.
I nodded my head and told her this was indeed my choice and I was standing by it. Then I told her I was ready to be put under.
The anesthesiologist released a valve and all I remember after that is my arm felt like it was on fire, my mouth suddenly went bone dry with a taste like I had used chlorine as mouthwash and then I blissfully floated into unconsciousness.
“I’m awake. Oh my god I’m waking up. Please someone hold my hand. HOLD MY HAND PLEASE. KATHERINE! KATIE!!”
I do not remember waking up, but apparently when I did I started screaming and had to be given a small amount of sedative for them to be able to redress me. They told me all I wanted was someone to hold my hand and I kept screaming out my best friend’s name.
I remember coming into a fuzzy state of consciousness and realizing I was sobbing uncontrollably. I had not cried that hard in a long time, and as the medication wore off I remember feeling a deep sense of loss, but telling myself that the sooner I pulled my shit together the faster I would be released.
The recovery room was filled with all the girls who had been in the waiting room with me and as I was trying to get my tears under control one of them reached over to my chair, took my hand and told me I was strong, beautiful and it was all going to be ok. I do not remember her name but I cannot thank her enough for telling me those words that I desperately needed to hear.
After about forty minutes, they let me get up and change out of my johnny. I was not aware of anyone putting my underwear on for me and a pad in them, but thank god they did because as I stood up I instantly felt blood rush out of me.
I hobbled out of my chair and towards the bathroom, the nurse instructing me to leave the door unlocked in case of emergency. I attempted to pee and clean some of the blood out of me; there was so much blood.
I slipped into my cotton skirt and was walked out of the waiting room by a nurse where a very stressed out Kate was waiting for me.
She held me up and helped me shuffle out of the building where thankfully the protesters, who had verbally assaulted us this morning on our way in, were gone.
The scene of me leaving the Planned Parenthood is actually quite funny in retrospect. Here is this little girl, all fucked up on anesthesia, being practically carried out of the clinic and not even off the front steps of the building she turns to her friend and promptly throws up on both of their feet.
I do not know how Kate did it: simultaneously comforting me and carrying me as I threw up all over her.
I almost wish that someone had filmed it. I know the anti-abortion movement would have at least gotten a kick out of it.
Katherine drove me back to her apartment to sleep and watch movies where upon arrival, once my stomach settled, I proceeded to devour a small cheese pizza.
I had not spoken to the sperm donor since a few days before when he had broken up with me, and I decided to send him a text telling him that our problem had been handled and he could rest easy knowing I would not be hitting him up for child support in seven months.
The text was not actually that hostile, and progressed into bullshit small talk because I did miss him for reason I still do not understand. Eventually he made a point of telling me he was doing a photo shoot with a suicide girl. For those of you who do not know, the suicide girls are essentially tattooed women who get their photos taken naked.
Semi cognitive, bloated with food and bleeding like a stuck pig I can firmly say that I have never in my life felt LESS sexy and hearing that was just one more knife carelessly thrusted into my heart by that selfish bastard.
Around 10:30pm, after a two hour nap, I changed my pad and declared to Kate that we needed to go out.
I could not drink or smoke, but I knew I needed to get out of the house and see people. I had not been out in three weeks and I desperately wanted to feel normal again.
True to the roots of our friendship we went to the bar we call home, AS200 and just sat and reminisced about how incredibly fucked up the entire summer was.
A fucked up summer it had been: within my immediate friend group there had been drugs, alcoholism, death, therapy and breakups all around. I mean, Katherine had been kicked out of her apartment the very day my final exams ended,
by the sperm donor if you must know! so that really should have foreshadowed the downhill slide the next three months would take.
As we chatted I could not help but feel like I was missing something. All this loss, pain and misery yet, I felt nothing.
Literally, here I was sitting in a bar like it was any other weeknight acting like I had not undergone an abortion procedure ten hours prior.
The ludicrous nature of the situation would not hit me until about three weeks later.
I will not talk too much more about the sperm donor because every word I write about him immortalizes his essence and it is not one worth remembering, I assure you.
What you do need to know is that when he finally came home from his road trip we had one conversation where he looked me in the eyes and said he loved me so, like a moron, I forgave him for the millionth time.
Less than two weeks into our “relationship” after being repeatedly ignored, he ended things after I walked out of his apartment in a fit of drunken self esteem where I told him to loose my number.
That same weekend my cat gave birth in my closet to four beautiful stillborn kittens.
As I was cleaning their lovely little carcasses out of my laundry I could not help but wonder if I had inadvertently killed them. It was the first time I had felt anything but numb about my procedure.
The next day, my friend Mel and I took their bodies up to Lincoln Woods State Park where we buried them off the side of a hiking trail. As I stood there, tossing dirt over their little remains I wanted so desperately to feel something. I wanted to cry, but it was like trying to swallow with cotton mouth; your body feels like it is swallowing something, but nothing is actually happening except muscle reflexes. I was out of tears.
I turned to look at Mel and I told her that I needed to get drunk.
I like to party and I drink a lot for fun, but it is rare that I am so upset that I make the conscious decision to get totally fucked up out of sadness.
I am not saying I condone using alcohol to fix a problem but, I just needed something to crack the wall I had built around my soul that was containing a month’s worth of agony and so we drove to a bar where I proceeded to drink tequila like my life depended on it.
To be honest, I do not remember the night very well, but apparently once I cracked the wall the whole damn thing came tumbling down and weeks of misery just poured out of me.
I had felt for a long time like I was not allowed to feel sad.
I could not cry over the abortion because I was lucky enough to be able to get one.
I could not cry over the sperm donor because he was worthless anyway.
I could not cry over the kittens because I was 95% sure their death was my fault.
I just felt like I had forfeited my right to feel which was complete bullshit.
I had not felt that much despair in a long time, I had not felt anything in a long time and I wanted to die. If my friends had not been there I can assure you I would not be typing this right now.
No matter what you have been through and even if you were the cause of something bad, you always have a right to feel.
If ANYONE in your life tells you that your feelings are not valid or that showing emotion is a sign of weakness, get them out of your life as fast as possible.
Life is for the living and those who are dead inside will slowly try to kill you too by making you feel small and weak when really it is a coward who denies confronting his own emotions.
My best friend Mel put it best when she said that you can travel across the globe but if you do not give a piece of yourself to everywhere you go and everyone you meet, you are not actually traveling or even living, you are simply on the run and eventually a person must realize they cannot run away from their own self.
Crying over the child you never even wanted may not be rational, but neither is loving someone who treats you like shit. Emotions rarely make sense, but they are apart of who we are and without them we may not feel sad, but we also cannot feel happy or excited and we cannot feel love.
The reason I am sharing this story is because it took me getting to the point of trying to drunkenly slit my wrists to realize that being sad was ok. I do not want pity or judgement, although I am sure I will be given both, I just do not want anyone else to make the mistakes I made. Those mistakes not being the abortion, but making the error of not feeling.
In closing to this post I want to mention a few people to thank them personally:
I want to thank the staff at Planned Parenthood RI for being nothing short of amazing to me.
I want to thank all of my coworkers for holding my headset while I would throw up, accommodating me and buying me ginger ale.
I want to thank my roommate for his understanding and support.
I want to thank Paul for his fatherly and objective advice.
I want to thank Kyle for being the only person to tell me congratulations for being pregnant.
I want to thank Caitlyn for coaching me through my short lived and miserable pregnancy while being happily pregnant herself. I am very thankful for your guidance and I know that walking someone through the death of a baby while nurturing your own could not have been easy and I will be forever in your debt.
I want to thank Mel and Katherine for driving me to both my abortions, holding my hair back while I threw up and reminding me that no matter what, my family, my sisters, will always be there for me.
Last of all, I want to thank the sperm donor and he knows who he is.
I want to thank you for showing me that I do not need a man, or in your case something that impersonates one, to help me through anything. I want to thank you for smashing me into rock bottom so that I could pick myself up ten times stronger and finally see that I do not need something like you in my life. Thank you for showing me what cowardliness, selfishness and immaturity look like so that I may never, ever make the mistake of polluting my life with someone like you ever again. My only hope for you is that something reignites your soul because you will die very sad and very alone if the only thing you ever do is take from the world without giving anything back.