By Sabrina Guerrero
Part I: How I Found Out I Was Pregnant… Surprise!
(Editor’s Note: This is a first person account of one girl’s experience with getting pregnant when she was 17 years old. Please keep in mind that not everyone has the same experience or reaction in this situation and not everyone receives the same counseling or medical treatment. If you can relate to what Sabrina went through or have a different experience you’d like to share about, post your thoughts in the comments section below.)
I was 17 at the end of my junior year in high school when I went to Planned Parenthood for a regular check up. I had been going to Planned Parenthood since I was 15 to get free condoms and check-ups. My girlfriends and I would go to the appointments together to support one another. At this appointment, they did the usual pregnancy test and I thought nothing of it, until it came back positive. I was so confused. How could this have happened? My boyfriend and I usually use a condom. But then I recalled not using one about a month and a half before. I had taken a Plan B pill and thought I’d be ok but I must have taken it too late. [Editor’s note: Later she discovers she had actually gotten pregnant months earlier, so it was the result of another time when she hadn’t used protection or taken Plan B].
After getting the news, I got really scared. I was scared of being so young with a baby. I didn’t know how to raise a kid. My life wouldn’t be just mine anymore it would also belong to this baby. I was scared of my mom’s reaction, how disappointed she would be in me. I had to figure out what I was going to do. Will I keep it? How far along am I? The clinic set up a free appointment for two days later to return to their office and get an ultrasound. In two days I would know for sure how far along I was.
Waiting to get my ultrasound was terrifying. A million thoughts were running through my head. I was considering abortion because, “I’m so young, how am I supposed to raise a baby?” “How will I pay for everything a baby needs?” “What will everyone think?” “How do I tell my mother?” “My life will be over, I’ll have to give up everything – school, friends, my future plans.” I also had thoughts of denial, “I might not be pregnant,” “The test could be wrong,” “It’s not 100% accurate and that’s why they’re giving me an ultrasound to be sure.”
Finally the day arrived and the nurse came in. As she was doing the ultrasound she had the screen in front of her and I couldn’t see it even though I wasn’t expecting to see anything. As she was checking the fetus she asked me, “Do you know how far along you are?” I told her, “Yes, like a month and a half”. She shook her head and said, “No, you’re over 12 weeks pregnant.” and turned the screen for me to see. I will never forget that moment. On the screen I saw a baby. I could see fingers, feet, little body, round head. My eyes swelled with tears. At that moment it was real. I decided right there I was going to be a mother.