My story: In 2013, I was in both an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. It was a really awful time in my life, and it was compounded when I found out that I was pregnant and due to the volatility of the relationship, I made the decision to have an abortion.
At that time, I was not in a position to afford an abortion at the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton (which has since closed down due to lack of funding, a damn shame). After attempting to navigate through Health PEI’s “helpful” website about abortion options, I finally went to a walk-in clinic to talk to a physician, who was extremely helpful. He referred me to an ob-gyn and told me, without a doubt, that I would be able to have a medical abortion (with the use of misoprostol) on PEI.
When I went to the ob-gyn at the clinic to which I was referred, I was immediately shunned. This misoprostol option was not even on the table. In fact, when I had blood drawn (as required), the nurse was extremely rough, and wound up bursting a vein in my left arm, leaving it swollen. I felt like I was a second class citizen when I asked questions about the procedure, the steps to get there, and she scoffed at me.
Finally, I saw another nurse at my first appointment with the ob-gyn who told me I would need another doctor to sign off on my form to have the procedure done in Halifax. Then maybe the funding would be provided. I was not in a headspace to hear “maybe” or “another doctor”. Getting to one doctor was difficult enough.
Fortunately the second doctor to whom I was referred was OUTSTANDING. She was extremely sympathetic to my choice, felt badly that I was mistreated by the clinic’s nurse during my blood test, and immediately signed off on my request, and sent me for the required ultrasound at the QEH.
When I arrived at the QEH (alone) for my ultrasound, the technician knew why I was there and her treatment of me was cold. Harsh, almost. By this time, my second ob-gyn estimated me to be about 10.5 weeks. The tech started the ultrasound on my uterus, and then immediately stopped and told me she had to do something different, that something was wrong.
I started to grow concerned, understandably. She said, “Ok, you need to remove the clothing on your bottom half. We have to do a vaginal ultrasound.”
This concept was foreign, and I asked for clarification. She said, “Well, I’m not hearing a heartbeat, I need to do a different type of ultrasound.”
By this time, I’m freaking out. Here I am, alone, with an unsympathetic nurse, not knowing what the hell is going on. I had no spotting. I had no inclination that something was awry. Nothing.
The technician begins the vaginal ultrasound and she says something along the lines of, “Yep, just as I thought. No heartbeat. You had a miscarriage.”
I’m crying at this point. Confused, beginning to get hysterical. I said, “When did this happen?” She looked at the screen and says, “Oh I’d say it died at about 6 weeks.”
I was sickened.
The technician knew I was there to get an ultrasound to get a referral to have an abortion done “off Island”.
She thrust me a box of tissues (because I was crying so much) and told me I would need a D&C to clean it out of me since my body hadn’t passed it over the past 4.5 weeks.
Do you think I would have received a bit more sympathy, consolation, had I demonstrated a want to continue the pregnancy? Absolutely.
Just because I wanted to have an abortion didn’t mean I wanted to have a miscarriage.
I asked the tech was happened next and she said, “You’ll have to go back to your ob-gyn to schedule a D&C. Likely within the next couple of weeks.”
You mean to tell me, I had to carry this uterus full of… “tissue”… around inside me for the next two weeks? I vomited on the spot.
I called my ob-gyn (the nice one) and told her what had happened. She had me scheduled in for a D&C within two days.
I pray that this treatment of women on PEI who are making choices about their bodies, that they are free to make, ends. Quickly.
– Anonymous, Charlottetown PE