Monday morning she was back in the waiting room. With the nervous look of a girl embarking on her first sleepover, she had her pink backpack on her lap, ready for however many days the hospital would be her new home.
She would have to initiate and terminate her pregnancy under the careful watch of the hospital. First, they would administer a dose of misoprostol vaginally to stimulate uterine contractions. After six hours, an anesthesiologist and Ob/Gyn would perform a D&C (Dilation and Curettage); in reality, a procedure that is longer and more invasive than most protocols recommended for her pregnancy of only 7 weeks.
The reason for this? Like most questions of “why?” here, the answer is unclear. Maybe this is for her safety. Maybe the hospital doesn’t have access to the Mifepristone or vacuum aspirators typically recommended. Or maybe the additional procedures offer financial incentives that outweigh the health of the patient.
Time certainly wasn’t the issue. They had no problem keeping her in a room waiting for a doctor to see her with the misoprostol to begin the abortive process. The problem was that when he rounded on patients he skipped her room, repeatedly. What she thought was first a mistaken overlook, it became clear the doctor was actively avoiding her. Dr. B doctor warned her to be prepared for these so-called conscientious objecters. So she waited, hoping the next doctor on-duty would be more empathetic. But day 1 passed and still no one came to see her. She closed her eyes and prayed tomorrow would bring better luck.
Dr. B told her to be strong, but as day 2 came and went her patience turned to desparation; she had a daughter to take care of, a job to work, and a life she wanted to get back to normalcy. When she could wait no longer, she called Dr. B, alerting her team to what was happening. Phone calls were made, words were exchanged and on day 3 the patient was finally attended to and discharged from the hospital.
Maybe the invasiveness and time consuming nature of the procedure will serve as a reminder to be more careful next time.
Maybe next time she shouldn’t talk to strangers, shouldn’t drink, shouldn’t go out at night, shouldn’t leave her daughter with her parents.
Maybe she should be a better mother, a better daughter, a better woman.
Yes, maybe this time she would learn her lesson.