Wanting Different Things
Please Note: Views expressed by patients of Early Options and their companions are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Early Options. This transcript has been edited for clarity and readability.
Content Warning: This post contains an image of a gestational sac at 6 weeks of pregnancy.
0:00 | SofTouch: A Nurse’s Perspective
Doctor Joan Fleischman: You just finished a procedure maybe 20 minutes ago and how are you feeling?
Early Options Patient: Right now, actually pretty good, a little bit of cramping but it actually doesn’t hurt. You feel like regular period cramps, nothing too crazy.
D: You did the SofTouch procedure. How was the actual procedure? How were the cramps? How did it go?
P: Better than I thought it was going to be. You read a lot of things about other procedures done. This particular one is a lot less invasive. You’re awake during the whole procedure. You and the [clinical] assistant talk throughout it, which is really comforting. It isn’t as scary as you think it would be.
D: I also wanted to talk with you because you took a while to make your decision. You said you knew for about 4 weeks before coming in here?
0:52 | Conflicted Feelings
P: Yes, I guess I found out when I was around 3 weeks pregnant. Initially, I was confused because I’m almost 30, I have a great job, I have health insurance, I have an apartment in the city. I’m with a guy who likes being… I guess I have everything set up and if I were to have a kid I’d be okay.
For me at this time in my life, it’s not exactly where I saw myself. At some point I would like to be a mom but not right now. I definitely thought about it for a few weeks because it’s a decision that’s life changing. You either take the path to go down to be a mom and to do that or you don’t. You continue kind of the life path you’re on. For a few weeks I kind of weighed the pros & cons and decided for me at this point in my life, right now having a child wouldn’t benefit them or me. It’s why I came to the decision for this.
Also, I wasn’t sure how far along I was, so I was just reading up on reviews to do the oral pill. Usually they say, I think up to 10 weeks or whichever the case.
D: 9 or 10 yeah.
P: Sometimes, that’s not even 100% and then you may need a D&C after. To go through the pill, the cramping and then go through scraping? I have a friend that I work with who went through this procedure and she recommended right off the bat.
She was like, “Go here,” and when I called the receptionist was very helpful and very nice. She kind of explains everything so you understand what you’re walking into because sometimes the scariest thing is just not knowing.
Everybody makes it sound like this is like the end. It’s not, it’s just like going in for a GYN visit and getting a pap smear. You go in, they move around a little bit and that’s it, you’re done. You go home and you live the path of what you chose. You live your life and do what you were doing.
D: In making your decision.. You said a big part of the decision was the relationship you’re in and that you were feeling differently from him about what you wanted to do?
P: Yes, I’ve been with him a little less than a year. He’s a great guy. I just couldn’t see myself potentially being with him, maybe in the long run. Living in two different states, I know he’d move here but I couldn’t see myself being with him long term. That’s really one of the main reasons that I decided on the procedure.
3:43 | Feeling Differently From Your Partner
D: I think sometimes it can be helpful going through this process because it makes you take your life a little bit more seriously. Especially with relationships.
P: Oh yeah. I definitely feel like it’s eye opening to say the least. Another thing is, I feel like I’m actually okay with being alone. I think that sounds silly, but so much of my life I’ve been in relationships. I’ve been in a 6 year and 5 year and this is the one coming out of those two really long relationships.
At this point, I’m okay with not being with anybody. I feel bad because the person I was with did want to have the child and wanted this future, but for me it’s my body, my decision. It did not feel for me at this moment that it was right.
Companion (Patient’s Mom): He’s mad and I don’t think there’s a relationship there anymore.
P: Yeah, but that’s okay because if I don’t see a future with somebody then why even continue to… luckily I have my mom’s support, that voice that you hear, my family’s support which is nice.
D: As women we can linger in relationships that aren’t really taking us where we want to go in life.
C: Yes, right.
D: You spent 5 or 6 years in two relationships and now you’re getting smarter, you’re not going to spend 5 or 6 years in the next one. I always think it’s great, women coming in their late 20’s early 30’s sort of coming to that recognition. It’s a lot better than coming in your late 30’s with that recognition.
I think it can just help you take a look in the mirror, get clear on what you want, what’s important to you, what are your values? What do you need to have in order to make that kind of a commitment to somebody? You take yourself more seriously and what you need and what you want. That can be an extraordinarily positive thing to come out of this kind of a situation.
P: I think people need to realize too that just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to be with the person. They may say to you they want to keep it but if it’s not in your path to do, it’s your body. You have the right, you have the choice that you can make. Don’t feel pressured because the other person wants it.
C: You had that pressure at one point.
P: Yeah. I was going to make an appointment about a week and a half ago and then I couldn’t because he made me feel like this is horrible. “You shouldn’t do this,” and so I was upset, but then I really thought about it and you know, this is me. I’m the one that has to go through all this and he works, he travels, he won’t even be there most of the time. I’m the one that has to do this whole thing. It’s not… I don’t know so that’s why.
D: Yes. In these situations where women are coming to me and they’re not sure about the relationships that they’re in, if you’re having second thoughts this is not the moment to make that decision, about the relationship if you’re having questions about it.
P: Exactly. Even sometimes with happy relationships. I have a girlfriend at work and she confided in me. She told me that she’s married and while she was married she was actually in nursing school and got pregnant with her husband. They decided at that moment that to have a child for her would be too difficult.
She was 33 and she ended up having an abortion, 33 and married. Now, fast forward a few years, she and her husband just had a child. Even if you are in a committed relationship, married and happy, it doesn’t necessarily mean .. maybe kids aren’t in their path either. It’s both angles of it.
D: It’s not the right time, that’s what it comes down to for many many different reasons. I’d say most of my patients are moms, actually. They know what it’s like to be excited about a pregnancy and they’re not this time.
C: She was depressed about it.
P: Yes, as soon as I found out I feel like you should be like “Yay!” I was like “Oh…now what?”
8:09 | Our Early Options Practice
D: I always tell everyone to listen to your intuition.
P: Yes, it’s a lot but it’s good though. I think so many people have this misconception though about the whole process, a lot of times going to a clinic it’s a little scary because they’re so many people and nobody really explains things to you. At least coming here though everybody is really helpful in explaining everything, “What do you need and how can I help you feel more comfortable?”
It’s great to have that because being in the healthcare field, I understand when you’re on the other side and how important that is, to feel that way. When I practice I’ll be a little more understanding because it feels nice to have people that care.
D: It’s a vulnerable position to be in and I don’t care how clear you are in your decision. Women feel vulnerable going through this and the hormones don’t help. The whole situation, not to mention the politics, the morality and the culture and then just the vulnerability of finding the right medical care. That alone, given how abortion is provided, the bad stories that your best friend has told you and that you’ve seen in a movie, you feel extremely vulnerable.
At least here we’re trying to give respectful and reputable medical care so that, that part of the vulnerability is taken care of. Also, you can have your mom by your side which is really nice.
P: It’s good, even if people don’t have somebody to help them… I even read before I came because if my mom wasn’t able to make it, that there’s people you have here that help you too, so you don’t have to have anyone with you.
D: You would’ve been fine to be alone, yeah.
C: Yeah, that was nice what that girl did, I was surprised.
D: The assistant? Franceska. Did you have anything to add to all of this?
C: No, I’m very impressed with the whole layout and you were very professional. I’m very pleased with everything. It wasn’t horrible, as you think it would be.
D: How did you feel to be able to be with her as her mom, to be able to go through this with her?
C: I want to be supportive. It happens everyday. It’s not something you plan and I totally understand of course, it’s not horrible.
P: It’s not. When the procedure is done and you’re able to see – what do they call it at that stage – the tissue.
D: Yes, you saw the gestational sac.
D: Which would become the amniotic sac but at this stage, you got pregnant about 6 weeks ago, 5 to 6 weeks ago you’re not going to see an embryo in the tissue. I had you look at the sac as a medical professional. Also, to help you recognize what’s going on at this stage of pregnancy.
Gestational Sac at 6 Weeks
P: I have the app that shows you every week and the app makes you think it’s like a thing, but it’s not. It’s literally like cotton in water, it’s not anything.
D: I call it mucus, it looks like mucus.
P: Yeah, it’s fluffy. It’s like water with thickener. It’s like thickened water, it’s not really… I think a lot of people may have the misconception because of the apps and everything that there’s.. like one app said it’s growing hair. I was like “Oh my God!”
You can’t see anything, you don’t even see an outline of a thing, it’s literally fluff. I think that’s definitely something people need to realize. I’m surprised that online, I mean you can’t trust the internet but so much is such a big misconception about it. That’s so sad.
D: That’s exactly why I do these interviews, to try and break through that. Online there’s just so much misinformation because it’s politically motivated. They’re trying to make women feel ashamed of their decision, to convince them not to do it, like the pressure you got from your boyfriend. I at least want women to have accurate information, so that they know what choices they have.
P: Can I tell you though, the provider that I went to.. I did go to prenatal care because I wasn’t sure in the beginning and the provider I had, I said to him “I’m not sure 100% if I’m going to keep it.” He kind of laughed at me. He said “Oh, no, you’re almost 30, you have a good job. You’ll be fine.” He didn’t even approach any of the options that he could’ve done. He gave no information for options to have. Me knowing a little bit, I said what about the pill and he was like no you might even be too far for the pill. I knew I wasn’t.
D: You were not.
P: Also, because he just kind of laughed at me, I should because he said I should. Talking about it with female co-workers they said “Absolutely not, don’t listen to old school doctors,” I guess.. I don’t know.
D: Yes, there’s a lot of “shoulds” in life but in one place I don’t believe there should be shoulds, I mean.. making a decision to have a child is the rest of your life. Like you said, it’s a different road to go down. It’s a deeply personal decision, that that’s the road you want to go down and take responsibility for somebody else for the rest of your life because it doesn’t end.
P: I’m moving back home in January. I’m going to be 30 and back home but that’s fine. When you have children, they’re around forever.
D: Well, thank you for taking the time to help other women, it was really great to talk to you about this. I really appreciate it.