Trials and Tribulations of Being a Single Woman in a Man’s World

It was more than just the nausea. More than indigestion, vomiting and sleeplessness.  It was more than just a time of high energy, in which those who are sensitive (such as myself) may find themselves transmuting what ever the world around them, was unconsciously throwing off.  It was way more intense than any other PMS episode I had ever experienced.

Sore tits.  Constant cramping to high heaven.

It was more than not being able to eat for two weeks; daily emptying my bile reserves.  Food wasn’t staying down, nothing sounded good and weary was I.

Yes, it was more, so much more.

I finally called an emergency trip down the canyon, to Boulder yesterday morning.  After arriving home the night before at 11pm, falling right to sleep, only to awaken at 2 am with previous said symptoms in addition to profuse sweating and dry heaves that kept on until 7:30 am.  At which point, I couldn’t take it any more.

If I wasn’t suffering from ulcers and irregular menstrual cycle again, I would think I was pregnant… but I just bled.  I stayed in bed all of Tuesday, my day off; I stopped bleeding, assuming it was because I was supine all day.  I began bleeding again on Wednesday… I figured I must be in the clear, I mean I am no stranger to morning nausea from the ulcers.  I know I haven’t been eating the best lately, due to stress.

It was the swollen breasts and soreness that was causing the confusion.  My breasts have always felt uncomfortable before and during a moon cycle; but this time, even I noticed I looked more “filled out” in a couple of shirts I normally wear.  My tits looked better than they ever have before.  I needed to know for sure, I wasn’t pregnant.

I found a free clinic that does testing and counseling.  I arrived at 9:36 am, but they were not yet open.  Located in a some what ghetto strip mall, “Real Choices Pregnancy Center” was neighbored by a check cashing/ advance pay check place and a bead store.

As I approached the front door, a white piece of paper attached with scotch tape to the winds announced that Real Choices, would not be open until 9:45 am, today.  “Okay, only nine minutes to go.”  I scramble back to my car as the air is heavy with fog outside, and seemingly more cold than the higher elevation I drove down from.

I feel somewhat unprepared.  I expect this feeling to pass.  It doesn’t.

9:45 comes and goes.  9:56 a silver car pulls next to mine.  A very conservative school secretary type exits the vehicle with a large yellow folder fill with urine sample cups.

I wait three minutes before enter Real Choices.

Mickie, introduces herself and apologizes for running late, I tell her I have nothing but time today… what a long day I am in for.

Mickie sets me up in the restroom with instructions to pee in the dixie cup and bring it to her when I am done.  I have been holding it now for over a half hour, so letting that yellow river flow, seemed quite the relief.

My anxiousness wants results, and I am being less conscious to detail in response to the emotional place I am currently at.  I am distracted by  my own uncertainty.

Mickie invites me to sit, and I am instructed to use a disposable dropper to pick up some urine from the dixie cup and to place a few drops on a pregnancy test result screen.  I do just that and then Mickie asks me some preliminary questions.  Name; date, birth, last period.  I tell her December 19, but that I have had bleeding since then.  I explain how I have had painful and irregular periods for as long as I can remember.   I tell her I had read Black Cohosh can help Amenorrhea ( a period that doesn’t come.)

I explain my cycle is usually waivers between 32-52 days; this cycle was nearing forty-eight, one of my longest ever.  I had no concern of pregnancy.  (Perhaps just my hopeful thinking.)

At this point, Mickie drops the bomb… I am pregnant.  These tests are 97-99% accurate.  My body has enough of a specific hormone to confirm, yes indeed, I am pregnant.

I tell Mickie the truth; I have no desire to have children.  She reflects upon me her beliefs.  At this moment I realize this free pregnancy test and any counselling that they offer at Real Choice, is funded by some Christian organization.

A look of fear and concern crosses over Mickie’s face.

“So you DO believe, at the time of conception, this is the beginning of life, right?” she asks.

“I believe life may have begun, but the soul personality, has yet to be attached.”  I respond.

Mickie casually pull her delicate cross necklace from beneath her collar.  “Well I am the mother of four children, ” she starts in and immediately I zone out.

“She hasn’t a clue!” I think, “She is only a volunteer here.  She is just here to represent her religious organization.  She isn’t some young vagabond in the mountains. She doesn’t exchange hours of her time for room and board from those she works for!  She doesn’t live in this paradigm.  She was probably supported through all of her pregnancies by her God fearing husband… She probably didn’t get pregnant from a random one night stand with a stranger just because she was horny and wanted to get laid, and the situation was there.  She probably never got pregnant from a condom breaking while having sex in her car during a blizzard and a full moon…. or maybe she did.”

At this moment though, that seemed like a very far off reality and since I zoned out most of her story, I guess I couldn’t be certain.  She was now telling me, how she has met “so many women who have chosen abortion” and how they end up feeling so horrible about it for the rest of their lives.

In my mind, I think ” I wouldn’t feel that way.  I know I wouldn’t.  I am so adamant about NOT having a family, unless I feel it is circumstantially ‘right’.  I can’t take nine months to have a kid for someone else, when right now I have to change things within and around me.  Even adoption wouldn’t leave me that choice.”

Mickie and I chat a while longer.  She attempts to get me an appointment at a free clinic for an ultrasound.  I have no money, and no luck.  She offers to take me to the Emergency Room, but her religious organization doesn’t want her to shut down the center for her to escort me. I don’t want to go to the ER with her anyway.

I am shocked.  I am unsure of how to proceed.

Mickie expresses concern that I might have an endoscopic pregnancy because of my bleeding.  She urges me to seek care very soon.

I finally leave; paperwork of confirmation in hand.  I need to smoke a bowl.

I drive back up the mountain in silence.  In my mind I am bargaining with the Universe.  I do not want pregnancy.  If abortion, by means of a tube, being shoved into my uterus, is the only way to go.. I’ll do it.  I don’t know how, because for someone with no money, three hundred or more dollars is expensive.  I feel I am early enough in the game, that there must be another answer.

Perhaps more Black Cohosh?  It could create uterine contractions.  I have more.

I recall hearing about a drug that induces labor in a few minutes by putting it inter-vaginally.  Or, what about self administered tappomant (percussive massage) on the lower abdomen?  Jumping jacks?

I get to my town, and I keep driving.  I need to see friends who understand.  I need to know if my clairvoyant friend senses anything about my situation.  I arrive at their house, but no one is home.

Shit.  I need to talk about this with clear people, NOW!  Finally I call a mutual friend who passes along a cell number for the friend I am looking for.  I call and find out she is over an hour away, and had just arrived at her destination.  It sounds as if she is in a bit of chaos when she picks up the call.  She tells me to give her a couple of minutes so that she can go outside and call me back.

I wait about twenty minutes before she returns my call.  I give her a run down of events, and she offers to drive back up the mountain, to take me back down the canyon to the ER>  It would be over an hour before they would be there.

Sleep and nutrition have been rare for me in the last few weeks.  I decided I would stay, and rest on their couch until they arrive.

I find myself in somewhat of a daze; not asleep, not awake.  I am half way nauseated.  She arrives an hour and a half later.  She walks in with her baby, explaining that her husband is concerned about her unnecessarily taking the baby to the ER, which is bound to be rife with sickness.  Her mother in law will take me alone.

Another hour and half of highways later, we are amidst the smog of Denver.  Lutheran Hospital; unbeknownst to me, one of the busiest ER’s in the the Denver Metro Region.

My stomach is feeling stronger now.  We sit among the sick and injured.  I fill out admittance paperwork.  I get my stats taken.

I wait for six hours in the waiting room.  The TV is tuned to CNN.  I am fully up to date on the Anna Nicole coverage.  I know I am going to have to sit here a longer while, so I eat a Snickers bar.

A man enters and throws a fit about the length of the wait. He is raising his voice.

The ER attendants reaffirms, “There are NO rooms!  There are NO beds!”

The chaotic man seems drunk or drugged, or just damaged.  A breezy Malibu type shirt hangs half open on his beet red chest.  This is not a small man.  The ER staff swiftly admit him.  To where, with the lack of beds?  It’s unknown, or perhaps unspoken that there is always room on the Psych Ward.

Various small dramas proceed with brash interactions, including a bitchy blonde ER nurse and an injured, low-income white guy.  I am among some of Denver’s best and brightest, today.  To each of their benefit, I am certain it is hard to think, when such pain and sickness impede your life…  The ER staff do not have it easy, especially in Denver’s busiest; still, is it really necessary to have such a sassy attitude with those who seek their care?

Six hours later, I receive a gown, a room and a tasty IV with anti-nausea medication.  YAY!  The cool fluid flowing into my arm, is easing away the sickness of reality.  It’s about time to really find out what is going on.  There is yet, more waiting.  I read magazines that I would never purchase.  I breeze through the gossip in regard to Brangelina and Britney… who looks how, in what?

Honestly I don’t fucking care.

They draw my blood, which leads to more waiting.

A silly tech wheels me to radiology for an ultrasound.  We are on the precipice of finding out exactly how far along this train wreck is.  Thank God for pain meds and anti-nausea.

A lubed belly and an ultrasound later, I find out I am eight weeks… TWO MONTHS?!?!  Oh yeah, that broken condom in the car episode.   Brilliant.  Some silly dread who happened to be in town for the weekend, over from Leadville.  Silly.

I endure the ER for another two and a half hours.  Fully re-hydrated and drugged, I am free to leave.  It’s now 11:30pm and everything is closed.  All I want is Chick-Fil-A ( avid pro-life, gay hating chicken.)  Actually, it’s all I have craved for weeks now.

Sleepily I laze in the passenger seat as I am driven back up the mountain.

The next few hours are used in mental formulations.  I will take more Black Cohosh, I will perpetuate my own bleeding.  I will find a loose pill of Misoprostal in the cabinet of my birthing nurse employer.  I will stay with my friends for a couple of days, to ride out the nausea where I am allowed to smoke cannabis.

I arrive home to find a dead cat in my room.  It seems to me, to be a sign of things to come.

I conspire to find and take the Misoprostal vaginally; causing me to bleed chunks later.  I am feeling smart, maybe too smart for my own good, as I am sure this will cause a miscarriage. In my mind, this is decidedly a pregnancy that WILL be terminated, whether by force or effect.  I feel a stress of unknowing, burden my ovaries.  The pain goes through waves of increase.  A sort of feeling, like my uterus is being ripped from me; and yet it stays placed inside, only to be positioned in pain from unknown origin.

I tell myself that this isn’t a “safe” pregnancy.  This is not a “conscious” pregnancy.  This is not a continuing pregnancy.  How am I going to end up paying for all of this; monetarily, physically, spiritually?

Word has it of “Emergency Medicaid,” but no one I talk to has much information.  My circumstances seem applicable, to me.  Will the State of Colorado, agree?  I rationalize that it would cost less for The State to assist in the cost of termination, than it would cost to assist in the long term raising of a child, from a no income young woman.  I learn The State has it’s own ideas as to what It believes our money should be allocated to assist.  Most of it, seem illogical.

A small bit of paperwork for an ongoing, onslaught of more paperwork and phone calls.  I could have allowed myself to be attached to the system for weeks!  Whatever hard earned taxable dollars I had previously earned, were deductible from the over all system; so for those weeks, I could get the best in medical help, if I so choose.

Painful wisdom teeth?  Fuck it!  They will pull them for FREE! (No tip required.)  Just provide proof of pregnancy, and you too, can have a free first class ticket to any medical predicament.

In the right wing tradition of Pro-life, our male dominated system, peeks it’s head into our State and Federal run programs.

Women considered irresponsible for multiple births out of wedlock contributing to our supposed over population are somehow supported… but abortion is only legal in a few states.  Women are demonized for having children out of wed lock, with various men; yet our system is seemingly aligned with the idea that “man SHOULD spread his seed.”

It seems it is economically easier, to live in a life of unwanted, and avoidable circumstances, than it is to independently make a decision for oneself;  to have to  ultimately live in a state of shame perpetuated by a political and religious agendas.

Sure, sometimes men get slammed with child support, but in reality, less than half of them actually pay. Even then, somewhere out there, under the radar; out of the political and religious eyes; we learn that abortion is the most common surgical procedure performed on women in this day and age.

Silently we are speaking back.  This topic will not be spoken about at your local church group, in any light manner.  In fact, the topic will most likely be avoided all together.  The topic is too, taboo… a product of bad taste.  Despite it all; when those groups gather, there will be at least one woman in the group who will have done it, or considered it, depending on their personal beliefs and situations through their life.

Male domination in the world, will cause them to question their choices.It will only be conversations that are whispered among sisters, that they will find commiseration.  Otherwise, they will be left to feel, that they didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, because  ironically,”Life must go on.”

Weirder yet, conception is another touchy subject especially when it occurs outside prudential expectations..  The way conception unfolds, apparently happens on it’s own terms.  There isn’t always need for attraction or permission.

One in three women will be raped at some point in their lives.  How many of those, become pregnant from the rape?  How does that rock a woman, emotionally; especially when unprepared  and un-wanting for such news?  I have met a man, who is a byproduct of such an event. Conceived from rape. He survives his adulthood caught in child like delinquency.  The man is desperately talented, yet he is lost in a search for something meaningful  in all the wrong places.  You might say he has a lot of loose ends.

His mother committed suicide.  She was never able to cope with the past pain that brought her son into the world.  He was twelve and committed to juvenile hall, when he got the word his mother killed herself.  They wouldn’t let him leave to go to her funeral.  Ten years later, he was dealing with the effects of not being in attendance and the violence of his beginnings.

When is self preservation an act of higher intuition?

My step mother is in disagreement of my choices, yet  I feel confident.  There was a time when, what she thought may have mattered to me, enough to affect my decision making. Not today. Now, it’s all about me.  The question, exactly, is how?  I keep going back to the idea of self preservation.

When we took that drive up the mountain and  I was running groggily through my thoughts.  I was thankful the Vicodin was easing my pain.  I thought about the ultrasound, and how I was able to see the beginnings of a being, forming inside of me.  At eight weeks it was only a grain of sand, only sort of visible in it’s embryonic form.

Seeing the beginnings of life, had changed nothing in my mind.  It had only reaffirmed my self preservation.   This being was bringing my attention to what I have avoided; my own body, my own ability to procreate.   I realize how I had abandoned my own system. Secretly, I felt somewhat cursed from the beginning of my own life.  My pain was likened to the feeling of rotting from the inside out, right through my reproductive organs .  A feeling as thought the ligaments holding everything in place, were being ripped directly from me.

Lately, I feel new to anything feminine.  Maybe it’s been about four years or so, that I have actively tried to assimilate myself to societal ideals of womanhood.  Everyday has been a struggle.  I feel covered in a facade of accessories.  I suppose, I have mainly attempted to be more feminine through ways of appealing to others by physical perception.

If there is one thing I hope to learn from all of these experiences that I have gone through; I hope one day, to find an answer to the question that stands strong for me; “how does one truly become womanly.”

So far, it seems I am finding out first hand, the hard way.  Regardless, I am thankful.

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