Photo: lol. The one picture I could find from Summer ’02. It’s my ID badge from my summer internship at United Illuminating, an electric company here in CT. I was part of the INROADS internship program.
A bunch of people: Stacy, how do you feel sharing these stories?
Me: Very anxious in the beginning. As soon as I click the post button I start sweating. I usually feel numb on Thursdays. By Friday, I feel much better. The rest of the week I feel freer. Each week feels like I’m emptying a bag. It’s like an emotional spring cleaning.[PART THREE] Parts One and Two are on processingpain.com.
“My period is late,” I told Michael.
“Two days,” I said.
“Oh. It’s only been two days. You’re fine,” he said.
“My period is never late.”
“It’ll come,” he said.
“God, you said ‘ask and ye shall receive,’ so I’m asking that you please let my period come.”
“My period still didn’t come,” I said to Michael with an attitude.
“It will. Stop worrying,” he said.
“But it’s never late…never this late. It feels like it’s going to come, but then it doesn’t.”
“Give it a week,” he said.
“I’m going to the doctor.”
“Why?” Michael asked.
“Because my period still isn’t here!” I yelled unintentionally.
“I think you’re fine, but okay,” he said calmly.
I hung up the phone. I put on a black v-neck shirt, a long denim skirt and black flip-flops. As I walked passed the mirror, I reassured myself that I did not look like the type of girl that would get pregnant in college…especially not with a 3.5 GPA.
I grabbed the keys to my mom’s black Pathfinder and drove to Planned Parenthood.
“Have you been here before?” A lady shouted through a glass window.
“No,” I said.
“What’s the reason for your visit?” she yelled again. I didn’t understand why she was asking me such a personal question through a glass window. I looked around to see who might be listening.
“I want to take a pregnancy test,” I whispered.
She handed me a packet of Easter-colored papers attached to a clipboard and asked me to fill them out and return them to her when I was finished.
I sat down and started answering the questions on the forms.
“How many sexual partners have you had?” One.
“What was the start date of your last period?” I guessed that it was about 36 days ago and wrote that date down.
“Check off any of the following conditions that you have:” HIV/AIDS? I didn’t even think of that! I guess if I could be pregnant, then I could possibly be HIV positive too. I wasn’t but having HIV sounded like a better offer than being pregnant. I could die silently and no one would know what killed me until after I was gone. I couldn’t hide being pregnant. Everyone would know once I started showing. How could I possibly live through that humiliation? I was only nineteen. I was an age that still had the word “teen” in it.
The next question asked what I wanted to do if I learned that I was pregnant. My hand was now sweaty and shaking. I couldn’t lift it off the page.
“Haveanabortion.” I wrote it just like that – all one word.
“STACY,” a lady in scrubs said loudly, as she opened a door to the waiting room. I stood up and followed her into a white hallway. She led me to a bathroom and handed me a plastic cup to pee in.
After I was done, I was escorted to an examination room. Several minutes later, a lady with long, light brown hair sat down in front of me. She had my test results. But first she thought it was necessary to ask me the same questions that I already answered in the 5-page packet I worked on in the waiting room. “Ugggghhhhh, just tell me!”
“Your pregnancy test results came back positive,” she said.
Oh. My. God.
I don’t remember anything else she said after that.
I left the office. I called Michael before I could even find the keys to get back into the truck.
“I told you!” I said to him.
“Told me what?”
“What do you want to do?” he asked.
“I can’t have a baby, Michael.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“Why not?! What do you mean?”
“Why can’t you have a baby?” he asked again.
“We’re nineteen. We’re in college. What are you talking about?” I asked.
“So, you want to have an abortion?” he asked like he was daring me to say yes. I didn’t understand his reaction. “I don’t think you should, he continued. “I think you should wait and think about it some more.”
“Babies are a gift from God, and we made this baby in love. I think you should wait,” Michael said.
Why was he talking like this? I didn’t understand. Then I realized that he was not scared or worried like I was…but happy. Happy. How could he be happy?!
For the next week, I was imprisoned by this secret. I wanted to tell my dad, but instead the next time I saw him I just sat in his apartment…with a baby tucked inside of my low-rise jeans.
I went to church with my mom on Mother’s Day, contemplating motherhood myself. Why couldn’t my mom tell I was pregnant? Wasn’t she supposed to study me and tell me that something was “different” about me? Then I could admit the trouble I got myself into, and then she could help me. But she didn’t notice, and I couldn’t tell her.
The day of my appointment couldn’t come fast enough.
Michael spent the week trying to change my mind about getting rid of our baby.