I had a scare last week. Broken condom, discovered post-ejaculation. Granted, I was pretty far into my cycle, so odds were low that I was fertile, but because I hadn’t noticed any fertility signs this month (eggwhite fluid, overwhelming horniness, high, soft, open cervix), I was a little concerned. After all, it’s not unheard of for me to occasionally have 42+ day cycles, so exposure to sperm on day 26 *could* lead to pregnancy sometimes.
If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ve read that I’ve been pretty sick for about a month. I’m on sick leave from work right now in an effort to get well and pinpoint exactly what’s going on. Because of how gross I’m currently feeling and how miserable the side effects were the last time I took Plan B, I opted to not take it this time.
That choice did not go over so well.
Let me be clear: at this point in my life, a pregnancy would be a giant disaster. I am dealing with mystery disease. I have two kids on the cusp of puberty (and whatever sweet hell that will bring with it). My relationship is far from ideal for dealing with a pregnancy. Oh, and I’m planning to be back in school full-time in September.
All that said, I still could not accept poisoning myself (because that’s what it feels like) in the hope that I catch my body before it ovulates. What’s even more alarming is that I also likely wouldn’t choose to terminate an unintended pregnancy, even in the face of such as-described-above shittastic timing.
That’s right: This woman, who has written abortion support documentation for Planned Parenthood, who worked as an appointment scheduler for an abortion clinic, who has written several academic essays on abortion accessibility, would most likely not choose it herself.
Because of my pro-choice politics, I’ve informed many of the male sex partners I’ve had over the years that should I, Gd forbid, get pregnant, I would most likely not terminate. I generally tell this to folks after the third date or so, if it looks like there might be potential for something ongoing. I think that’s fair: it gives the partner information he needs to make an informed choice about continuing to date me before things get too serious and emotional and complicated. I think it’s the right thing to do.
As for why someone with my politics would be so personally uncomfortable with termination as an option, I don’t really know if I can adequately explain. It’s not religious; I won’t go to the Hell I don’t believe in. I don’t believe that the fetus is a viable functioning tiny human. Thing is, out of all of the stupid things I’ve ever done in this life, the fact that I have only ever been pregnant twice is a freaking miracle.
That first unintended pregnancy saved my life, in a way. It woke me up, pulled my head out of my ass, and made me give a damn about something. Then I started to give a damn about a lot of things. The second was far more problematic. The timing was horrific: I had a child who had just turned 1. I was sure I would have to end my relationship with his father soon, due to escalating tension verging on abuse. I felt the only way I could get out was with one child. If I had another, I would be trapped for at least another 2 years before I could get the courage up to do what needed to be done.
I had the phone in one hand, number to the clinic in the other, so many times. I even dialed and hung up once. I talked to the embryo in my belly, tried to make peace with what I felt was the right decision for all involved. At around the 10 week mark, I started bleeding. Bright red blood. My midwife said I might be miscarrying, and I might not be. She sent me for an ultrasound, because I needed to know, one way or the other.
Sure enough, there was a strong heartbeat, the placenta looked great, and all was well. That moment made the difference. Whatever would come next, I’d figure it out, with two. And I did. Sure, I stayed with their dad until she was a little over a year, and things got much worse, but we survived, and I’m still figuring it out as I go.
I spent this last week worried about what was to come. I was fairly certain that should this broken condom incident lead to a pregnancy, I would be figuring it out on my own. There really isn’t any way around that reality. So, I just kept breathing. And living. And in the back of my head, coming up with contingency plans of what would need to happen should I be pregnant.
I woke up bleeding this morning. I said a small prayer of thanks, and continued my day.