Thoughts from a Patient

Hi, my name is Melissa. I am one of many patients at American Women's Services. The decision to have an abortion is never an easy one. It is something you will never forget, and should never be taken lightly.

I'm not telling you my story because I am proud of the decisions I have made, although I do not regret them. I am telling you this so that if you have made your decision and are researching it, or if you are not sure and need some information, we are here to help and inform you.

This is how it happened:

It was the nausea that set it off. I just couldn't shake it, and it was lasting too long for the flu. I had not gotten my period yet, but that was normal for me. I never knew when it would show up, so I bought a test. The two lines started to show on the stick and my heart fell into the pit of my stomach. How is this possible, I thought? I'm a freak, I haven't missed one day on my pills. How is this possible again?

I started to cry remembering my last experience when I had the local procedure. Could I do this again? The last procedure was one that had taken me years to stop crying about. The whole process was so awful, and people there were so mean. I still feel sick when I drive by the office. Was I going to hell? What do I do? Help me! Help me just kept repeating itself over and over in my head. I couldn't have a baby. I couldn't even pay my rent. How could I be a Mother?

So many reasons and so many fears led me to the phone book. I opened it to the yellow pages. There it was in black lettering: Abortion. I called a few places, and settled on one. It was not because of the price or location, but because the woman who answered the phone was really nice. She answered all of my questions, and even offered me some answers to things I hadn't even thought about.

The day of my appointment, I was so nervous and afraid. When I got there, the staff was wonderful - especially the counselor who went over all the options I had and why I was choosing this one. She didn't pressure me at all, and told me that if at any point I changed my mind up until the time the procedure was happening, I could just leave. They would refund me for everything I hadn't had done.

It was a long day; I was probably in the office for about five hours. In that time, nobody looked at me like I was a bad person or made me feel afraid. Everyone just kept saying that I was there because I had the choice. They were there to help me feel safe and comfortable with the decision I had made, which is one of the hardest decisions any women makes in her life when she is pregnant. Any decision can be life-altering.

I had my twilight procedure, though I don't actually remember anything past when they gave me the injection of the medication, and although there are risks, everything went well.

Afterward, I got to hang out in a comfortable room with recliners. They gave me a Tylenol for after the twilight drugs wore off, antibiotics, and instructions on what to do for the next two weeks until my follow-up. They also gave me an 800 number and said to call if I had any questions or problems- that someone would be there 24 hours a day to help me.

At my follow up, I decided I wanted to go on the Depo shot since pills just didn't seem to be working for me. (Contrary to what my other gynecologists told me.) Once again, all the women at American Women's Services were extremely helpful. They took the time to explain everything that was happening.

I just couldn't believe the difference between this experience and my last one. They made me want to help give other women the same experience, so much so that I asked them if they were hiring for any part-time positions, since I was still in school.

I have been working with them ever since - the past two and a half years. I am not the only patient/employee at American Women's Services, and all of us are here because of the kind of care we had when we were patients ourselves. We wouldn't be working here without it.

I like to think I am a product of the care that was given to me - the same care I now try to pass along to others. I have worked in every office in this organization. I have talked to hundreds of patients from all nationalities, backgrounds, and in many different situations.

Not every encounter with these offices will be the same as mine, because every woman is different and every situation is different. However, I can tell you that in each and every office we have, there is a woman there that has gone through an abortion and is now working with us in order to make your experience a better one.

Melissa worked with American Women's Services for several years and her dedication and compassion contributed greatly to our organization. Her story continues to inspire both patients and staff. We thank Melissa and know she will continue to touch those around her and shine in all her future endeavors.

Legally required disclaimer: "i. This procedure may not be suitable for every patient. All patients must be evaluated by a physician as to the appropriateness of performing the procedure. ii. The above testimonial represents the individual's response and reaction to the procedure; however, no medical procedure is risk-free. Associated potential risks and complications should be discussed with the physician rendering this procedure."