kivan Profile picture
May 18, 2018 82 tweets 12 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Did I ever tell you about the time I, a man, was pregnant?
I mean uh did I? I won't bother you if you don't want to hear the story
Okay so I wasn't feeling well for weeks, like extremely mentally unstable, but I didn't think I was pregnant because I was having my period.
Also, uh, TW for domestic abuse, but I was in an EXTREMELY violent relationship where my boyfriend, among other things, refused to wear a condom.
So all this is obviously before I came out or even realized I'm a man, but anyway. One day my coworker, god bless her, says if he won't let me use birth control (he wouldn't) I should see if I'm pregnant
I'm like "I can't be pregnant, I just had my period." But now she's got me worried.
So, being cheap I remember there's a place by the bus stop I wait at to go to work.

"Free pregnancy test!"

In my defense, this was well before the pieces in the news about crisis pregnancy centers.
I don't know if you've ever been in a crisis pregnancy center before or if you've just seen them on the news, but I have.

I went in and asked (quietly) for a pregnancy test, thinking they'd give me something to take home and pee on
Oh no. They did the test here. They'd need me to pee in a cup. No charge though.

So I'm led from the front office into a narrow hallway by a lady in pants and a scrubs top.
She takes me to a small office where I'm introduced to a lady in a lab coat who doesn't CALL herself a doctor but is definitely cosplaying one
They give me a little clear plastic cup and lead me to a bathroom. I go in and pee in the cup and bring it back to them. They PULL OUT A PREGNANCY TEST THAT YOU BUY AT THE STORE and dip it in the cup.

"Congratulations!" the not-doctor cheers.
I'll tell you the rest later
So the not-doctor has just congratulated me on being pregnant. She's asking me questions about whether I want to keep the child or put it up for adoption. Then she looks sternly in my face.

"You aren't going to kill the child, right?"
This is the language btw. "The child" or "the baby" never the foetus
I'm beginning to realize that I may be in a bad place.
So your boy here is, just so we're clear, not usually the lying type to doctors, but I am beginning to think this lady is a not-doctor in a lab coat. I'm pretty sure she's not even a nurse.

"I will be keeping the child," I intone solemnly, "but will need insurance."
They give me a number to call and I leave and get on a bus and go to a Planned Parenthood. They set me up with an appointment. It is not Abortion Day (that, I will learn later, is usually done on Wednesdays) so there are no protesters.

"Hi," I say. "I think I'm pregnant."
The lady can sort of see, I think, that I am not well. And I really wasn't. The mood swings had me at a point where I was a danger to myself and I'm sure the abuse wasn't helping, but I manage to hold it together and get my appointment set up despite my assurances I am pregnant
I come back like a week later and they confirm, yes, I am pregnant, though they use urine AND blood to determine this and the whole place is a real doctors office with really-doctors in it
A very nice young man who is a nurse takes me into a small, like, conference room where we can talk. I immediately read him as queer, cute, and nervous.

"Would you prefer a female nurse to talk to?" he asks me first. I tell him no. He confirms I am pregnant.
The next part is trickier because legally he can't offer me an abortion. He can't suggest it. He's looking for the right way to ask what my plans are and I'm like "how do I get this fucking thing out of my body?" He breathes a sigh of relief when I say it.
"You want an abortion," he says.

I am hungover. Of COURSE I want an abortion.
We hit yet another legal snag. They need me to call back tomorrow to schedule my abortion. They aren't allowed to do it without a 24 hour wait period like I'm buying a gun to shoot the foetus out (is there a 24 hour wait period to get a gun actually?)
So anyway, fast forward to Abortion Day at the clinic. I arrive and there's a group of creepy anti-abortion folks hanging around with signs and they see me heading for the clinic and swarm me.
This lady grabs my hands, she's the Tiny One so she touches me while big burly dudes with signs crowd us close together

"Can I pray for you?"
"I don't believe in that crap, do what you want," I snap and try to pull my hands away but she's surprisingly strong
"You don't have to do this," a tall bald guy with a ring of dark hair on his white head tells me. I remember all their faces. I was afraid.

But when I was a child I learned a trick
On the human body there is a spot on the wrist between two tendons that, when pressed hard, causes discomfort. A simple thing most everyone learns but that day I put it to use, jabbing my thumb into her wrist so she released me
I stepped through the open gate of the clinic into the safe zone. The antis watched me go accusingly
The lady at the front desk can see I'm shook up. She asks if something happened, am I okay. I tell her the "protesters" outside are intense.

"I can send security out," she assures me. No, I say, I just want to get this over with.
I wait. There are other women of all ages in the waiting room. There's even a little girl keeping her mother, not ready for a second child I assume, company. It feels like a regular doctors office. 90s pop on the speakers. Pictures of flowers on the wall. Bad magazines.
I get called back. They're nice, it's just a regular doc's office. They say they're required to give me an ultrasound but they can't make me look at it. They're very apologetic about it all. I say it's okay.
They ask me if I want to know if it's twins which I hadn't considered. I say yeah I guess.

They put cool gel on my belly and perform the ultrasound
The doctor looks concerned for a while. She's looking at my belly for a while. Then she excuses herself and leaves the room.

When she comes back she looks more than apologetic. She looks so sad for me.

There is a problem.
They can't perform the abortion. They cannot give me the pill.

I am going to need a different appointment at a different clinic.
I am 19 weeks pregnant and I'm going to need surgery.
I'll tell you the rest in a bit
So when we left off, I had just learned that I am not just pregnant, but kinda more pregnant than I realized, several weeks more pregnant than I realized, and I can't have an abortion via a pill, I need to go to a different clinic and have a surgical abortion.
I can't remember exactly what the cut-off time was for me to get this done, but I was definitely getting close to it at 19 weeks and that made me extremely anxious. They gave me another number to call and assured me they were the best and I would be fine.
I stepped out into the parking lot and there, waiting for me, were the anti-abortion folks, pacing by the gate waiting to pounce on someone, ANYONE. They turned and saw me.
The shouting began. I stepped out of the gate into a wall of screams, of spittle flying from wide, angry mouths, eyes wild, pointing fingers, pictures of dead children pushed into my face.

I hadn't even had the abortion. I ran.
At home, violence was waiting for me. Alan had figured out what I was up to and he was furious that I would make a decision like that without him. I tell him we can't afford a baby, I beg, I plead, he is furious with me. After he is done punishing me for this, he leaves.
He has a nearby other girlfriend. I won't see him for twelve hours, but that suits me. My life is often doled out in twelve hour chunks of freedom. I use those twelve hours to call the other clinic, more determined than ever to stop this pregnancy.
If I'm too late, I decide, I'll die before I have his child.
When I make the appointment, they tell me that I can't bring anyone with me, I have to come alone for the first appointment. I am disappointed to hear the word "first" but agree.
Less than a week later, I am approaching a tall but nondescript, almost severe office building in downtown Portland. On the first floor there is an elevator with a comm inside it. I press the button.
A click, then a security voice.

"Name and appointment?" they ask. I tell them my name and the office number of my appointment. There is no reply, but the button for that floor, previously dark, lights up. I press it and rise.
I step off the elevator into a hallway of identical doors and no windows and follow numbers with no nameplates until I find the one I'm looking for. There is another comm that I press a button for and a different voice answers and asks for my name and appointment.
There is, perhaps, one thing I should mention, one difference in this door from all the other doors in the hallway. As with the elevator, there was a camera pointed at me over it. The door opened with the click of a heavy lock.

I realized these people do not fuck around.
I began to wonder how many threats they received.
Past the heavy door, the waiting room feels blessedly normal, though quite empty save for the woman behind the desk who, after having me fill out some paperwork, told me to head back. But again, another difference here, yet another heavy, locked door I must be buzzed through.
Now the fun stuff.

How do you prepare for a surgical abortion.


They shove seaweed sticks in your cervix.
In order to kinda get up in through the cervix and get the thing out of there, they need the cervix to dilate, but that's not just like a thing you can do with your mind. There are drugs but rather than risk the side effects, there's also little seaweed sticks.
Ever had anything shoved in your cervix? How about three things one after another? It's unpleasant.
That night I can barely walk for the discomfort. Years later, right about now honestly, I will experience similar cramping pain when my fuckin' gallbladder goes bad and is removed. It's not a joke. They sent me home with Tylenol.
Here's how the seaweed sticks work. They like suck up the moisture and expand, thus forcing your cervix to dilate. I had to go back and get them replaced I think the next day or day after because they aren't supposed to stay in you for very long.
For THAT visit, after getting past the many locked doors, I had a different nurse who was like, "you're going to need some gas for the discomfort and then I'll send you home with hella painkillers." I'm pretty sure she actually said hella. She was great, honestly.
I think that was the first time I had genuinely laughed in months.
So with the sticks replaced and actual pain pills to handle the discomfort of them, I returned home. The pain pills were nice but when my abuser realized I had them he wanted some, then he wanted more, and when I said no...
Finally, the day of the abortion had come.
I had worked out a ride with a friend, and that was important. The clinic, it seemed, DID want me to bring someone with me this time, because I was going to be knocked out, doped up, and I was going to need someone to drive me home after the procedure.
I arrived and was once again let through the Many Heavy Locked Doors, and to a small office room in the back where I changed and sat on a small stool. The first man I had ever seen in the clinic came into the room, a grandpa looking sort of man with white hair and glasses.
He smiled in an avuncular sort of way and complimented me on the veins in the back of my hands while I shivered in the gown I had changed into. The room was very, very cold. Then he placed a needle in the back of my hand.
"I'm going to come back and get you and then we're going to walk into the operating room together and you won't remember anything," he assured me. Then he left.
And slowly

the lights on the walls

began to move
But I will finish the story soon, I promise. Just, in a bit.
This part of the story is the boring part because this part of the story is a dream.

I stand, surrounded by nurses and the white haired man and we walk from the room. The floor is cold under my feet.

Then they are gone and it's dark
I dream in the dark that I am standing in front of a mirror. An androgynous creature is reflected back at me, studying me. We look nothing alike.
We talk about lines, about being inside or outside a group.
I see a boy sitting in grass.
I follow a deer across a dry creekbed of uninterrupted stone.
My abuser hunts me through dark snow.
I rip from myself strings and strings of inky black.
Then I wake and it is over.
I am lying on my side on a stretcher in a large room crowded with many empty stretchers and the gentle sound of weeping. Across the sea of empty beds is one other patient, a young woman with her back to me who is sobbing. I don't know what to say.
Instead, I go home to the violence. I won't escape for a while yet, and that's a story for another time. But I knew even then if I'd had his child I would never escape. I'd probably be dead.
And that's the story of the time I was pregnant! Consider buying me a joint.$kivabay
Oh right, one more thing, if you have a problem with me or anyone else who gets a late abortion for whatever reason you can eat my entire ass. Just because I was abused doesn't make my abortion more pure. Ted talk.
As you TERFs begin to find this, just want to say in advance: eat shit, fall in a well, fill your mouth with dirt, fuck off, and just so you know, fuckers, I've faced way tougher than you and come out the other side. There's literally nothing you can do, I'm a man, you're a bore.

#Repeal8th and solidarity with all people seeking body autonomy.
I forgot to mention this but if you're seeking state healthcare for an abortion TELL THEM YOU NEED IT FOR PRENATAL CARE

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