An early medical abortion at 30.

I had been a bit nervous that I may be pregnant for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure why. I think I just knew on some level. My body felt slightly different, my appetite had changed, I was having stomach aches frequently, headaches... but nothing I couldn't have put down to work stress. But I was dreaming I was pregnant and I just had a "feeling".
So after my period was late by about 6 days I decided to take a test. My boyfriend and I called into the chemist and picked up 2 pregnancy tests. When we got to my house I went to take the test and took it into the bedroom and waiting with him to see what the result would be. Almost straight away I saw it was positive but sat waiting for the full 2 minutes to be absolutely sure. Neither of us really spoke but then we both smiled and laughed when we knew it was positive.

About a minute later though I started to cry.

I knew there were reasons we couldn't keep it. It started dawning on me that this may not be great news after all. The next morning I took the second test which also came back positive and we both went to work. That day I realised more and more reasons why going forward with the pregnancy wasn't going to be the best decision.
I started to research termination and mentioned it to a friend so I could talk about it. My boyfriend didn't tell anyone. We decided to go to the doctors that evening after work to confirm the test and talk about termination which he was shocked about and upset but I just felt numb. The test at the doctors came back positive and the nurse testing me was so positive about it telling me to take vitamins and look after myself. I couldn't bring myself to ask about termination.
We left and went to sit in the car where I just broke down in tears. I was in shock that this had happened and felt like a teenager in trouble when in fact I am a 30 year old woman. I kept thinking about how disappointed my family would be in me and I wanted to talk to my mum but was terrified. I decided to go round on my own and talk to her about it.
I walked in to my parents home and broke down telling my mum. She just smiled and said "Why are you upset?" which made me laugh. It wasn't the reaction I'd expected. She was great to be honest.
She told me for the first time that she'd had an abortion and about how her and my dad got through it. She said she'd support me in whatever decision I made. She did keep stressing that if she were me she'd terminate it which was upsetting. I understood her reasons but thought that she didn't really know I was still trying to consider how to keep it.
I said that really my first reaction to a positive pregnancy test shouldn't have been bursting into tears and maybe that was a good sign I didn't want it. I now know that's not true. So many emotions are rushing through you that it's hard to let it settle in.

Being upset, scared or shocked is perfectly normal and no-one should be ashamed for feeling these.

I rang the doctor after a weekend of considering our options and asked for a certificate for termination. He chatted to me on the phone asking what my reasons were and I explained so he said I could call by anytime to collect the certificate so I could get an abortion on the NHS. I collected it and booked my consultation on the following Saturday.
There I had an ultrasound scan where the doctor told me my baby was 5 weeks 2 days but didn't let me see it on the screen. I think I went numb about everything to do with the treatment around this point. I then had a chat to find out which method of termination I should go for.
I knew I didn't want surgery so opted for early medical termination instead. I had a blood test which showed I was Rhesus Negative and so this would mean I'd need an extra injection of something called Anti-D to prevent my body building up antibodies which could affect my next pregnancy. I didn't really understand but signed all the forms and agreed to it all. The doctor gave me antibiotics, my Anti-D and the pill which was the first part of my treatment. I was told to come back on the Monday for the next part of treatment. I had a little bleeding on the Sunday and a little bit of an upset stomach but nothing bad.
On the Monday morning we both went back where I was given painkillers and a vaginal pessary of 4 tablets which were to induce the termination. The nurse told me to take paracetamol not ibuprofen when the pain began to get bad. She also told me not to use a hot water bottle to soothe the pain as this would make me bleed a lot more. I was given some leaflets and told to go home.
On the long journey home I began to feel very sick and my boyfriend was ready to pull the car over just in case. But I just wanted to get home. As soon as I got in I curled up on the sofa nervously waiting for it to start. Then I had to start going to the bathroom quite a lot to vomit, plus I was suffering from painful diarrhoea, passing blood and the contractions had gently started. It was like a period pain getting worse and worse until it was unbearable. I was trying to lie down in bed but kept running to the bathroom to vomit more. I was uncontrollably crying and my head was pounding. Then when I went to the toilet to pass more blood I felt like a lot of fluid rushed out of me with some kind of other matter. I knew straight away that this was my body flushing out the foetus.

I was rolling around the bathroom floor in agony for what seemed like an eternity, crying, vomiting and moaning with pain.

My boyfriend was getting more and more scared as it seemed to never end. He asked me if I wanted him to ring the on-call nurse the clinic had told me about. I screamed "yes" and he hurriedly got on the phone. He got through to them and said "hi my girlfriend has had a medical termination today and she's in quite a lot of pain" I remember laughing with my head down the loo as it sounded like such an understatment and of course they had told me it would be very painful.
The nurse told him to get me to curl up on the floor and stroke my back. She asked if I had a hot water bottle but he explained I'd been told not to use one. She advised him the hot water bottle would help calm me down and relax me. She seemed to calm him down and so I calmed down. He got off the phone and put me in bed with a hot water bottle where after about 5 minutes I'd noticed the contractions started to have tiny mini breaks between them. The breaks got longer than the contractions and eventually started to relax and fell asleep.
I woke up a few hours later confused and upset. I was massively relieved it was over though. It was a terrifying experience and I knew that I would never willingly put myself through it again. It was the most amount of pain I've ever known and it was just distressing and emotionally exhausting. Since this I thought I'd got over it and moved on but have recently found that I am struggling emotionally to keep things together.

I'm just starting some counselling though which I didn't think I'd need, but that I now think everyone should have.

I've been experiencing grief, bereavement, guilt, a feeling of being completely unhinged and unbalanced. But I want to get it sorted as soon as possible before it affects me too much to over-come. Anyone thinking of going through this should make sure you have a strong network of people to talk to about every little thought. Don't bottle it up. Expect a procedure like mine to hurt. A lot. A lot more than you'd realised. Please don't ever do this on your own.

Editor's Comment

The emotional effects of your abortion sound hard to come to terms with after coping with the pain, vomiting and diarrhoea at the time of the abortion.
I wonder if the seeds of that grief were right back in your immediate reaction to the positive pregnancy test? You wrote that you both smiled and laughed when you saw the positive result, and that seems to me to have been your heart reaction before your minds started telling you that it wasn't a good idea. I am glad that you are getting some post abortion counselling and support, and like you I think everyone would benefit from this.
This story was sent in on 19/05/2011 and it's been viewed 1,642 times.

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