Once I was home, I locked my bedroom door, pulled out my laptop and found the number for the local Brook clinic. I needed to know for definite and work out what to do. I called and booked an appointment, the woman on the other end of the line sounding bored as hell to be doing her job. There was no point in asking that woman the chances of it being a false positive.
All week until the appointment I tried to act normally, but I know that my friends were suspicious, and my dad thought I was acting strangely. That friday I headed off to the clinic after school, running off before my friends could catch me. I felt so conspicuous heading in, but there was no one around to see me. The reception was just plain, bland like most entrances to places like this, apart from the posters declaring that you could give the child up for adoption, whether private or open. Then you had the others that stated all the facts about abortion. I couldn’t take in what any of them said.
After being checked in, I was led through to the little office. The doctor was a middle aged woman, hair salt and peppered, wearing small, dark-rimmed glasses. She was wearing generic black trousers and a white shirt. She checked my name, age, and other details, what I was there for, and then asked me to lie down on the bed and pull up my shirt, exposing my stomach for an abdominal scan. “The jelly might be a little cold on your skin,” warned the doctor, as she gave me a paper towel to tuck into the top of my trousers to protect them from the jelly. She was right, the jelly was cold, enough to send a shiver up my back. As she began the assessment, she put the hand-held scanner thing (which I later found out was called a transducer) onto my stomach, applying pressure as she moved it across my stomach, getting a picture of what I hoped wasn’t a foetus. I couldn’t see the screen, and she kept her poker face on, so there was no way to tell what she found just yet. With the pressure she was putting on my stomach I was too busy trying not to pee to do much else. Having to drink a litre of fluids an hour before the scan would have been alright if you didn’t have the added pressure on your stomach.
“When did you say you last were sexually active?”
The question surprised me, so it took a moment to work out the answer. “About 6 weeks ago, I think,” I replied, as she looked once again at the screen. She kept hitting a couple of buttons on the keyboard thing in front of her, presumably taking pictures. Then she turned the screen towards me, and pointed to a little patch on the screen that looked like not a lot more than a little smudge. “That’s your foetus. You’re about 6 weeks pregnant, like you said, and there’s the little heart beat. All healthy.” She paused as she looked at my face. I felt sick again, but not because of the morning sickness; because I had no idea what to do. No way to support a child, no way to even hide a pregnancy to give it up for adoption. In my head there was only one solution. I had to get an abortion. “Did you want me to call anyone?” She
reminded me of my mother, the way that she asked the question. I shook my head, trying not to cry as I sat up and she handed me some more tissue paper to clean my stomach. “Will you be keeping the baby?” I had already made up my mind. I continued shaking my head, unable to look the doctor in the eye. How could I explain that I had to have an abortion, that there were no other options for me?
She put a hand gently onto my shoulder, offering the comfort and said, “There are plenty of options available, if you’d like to talk through them.”
“No, I need an abortion. Do I have to book another appointment?” I finally looked at the older woman, and saw the sympathy there.
“You’ll need to book another appointment for the abortion, but don’t rush into it. Give it a think-over; you don’t want to end up regretting your decision.” As I got up from the chair to leave, she handed me a picture of my scan. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was my baby.
“Thanks.” It was all I could say before I walked out of the office and down the hall. As I went to the reception desk to book the appointment, I looked again at my
scan, before shoving it into my bag out of sight. The receptionist seemed bored, as she booked my appointment, before offering me a variety of free condoms. Fat lot of good they would do me now, unless I was using them for water-bombs.