I had a surgical termination under conscious sedation
I found out I was pregnant just over a week ago, my partner and I decided more or less straight away that termination was the right thing to do - I'm only 20, I'm in my third year out of four at university, we both still live at home and couldn't afford a baby nor did we feel like we were ready to look after a baby.
I think everyone has an idea for their future and I definitely want children but I want to be able to provide for my child and give them the best start in life which right now I couldn't do.
I got in touch with Marie Stopes and from beginning to end they were amazing. I had a telephone consultation which lasted about 20 minutes, at this point I hadn't told my mum so I had to go on a walk I didn't want her to hear. The first consultation (which you can either have at a clinic or over the phone) just involves questions. The nurse asks your reasons for the termination and then lots of medical history questions, height, weight, etc. You'll then be asked your last period date so the nurse can estimate how far along you are - this is vital because if you are really early (pre 9 weeks) you can opt for a medical abortion which is where you take a pill. If you are post 9 weeks you can only have a surgical abortion. The nurse estimated me at 10 weeks so I was told I could only have the surgical abortion, which even though sounds daunting, I was happy with because after researching both options I preferred the idea of having it done by a trained surgeon rather than going through it alone at home, which is what I'd have had to do with the medical option.
The final step was arranging a date. I was given Tuesday or Saturday so I chose the Saturday. However during the week prior I finally plucked up the courage to confide in my mum, she was amazing and agreed I was making the right decision. She was so supportive and telling her was the best thing I ever did. Girls, I strongly recommend telling your mum or dad, whoever you're closest to because even if they are upset at first, they are probably the only people in your life who genuinely want the best from you and who are not afraid to tell you how it is. Telling my mum really was the best thing I did.
So following that, I had nothing else to do so I rung the clinic to see if they had any earlier appointments. This was all on the Tuesday and I just felt Saturday seemed so far away. Also I'd been suffering with heavy bleeding, cramps and agonising back pain, the night before (Monday night) I'd been in hospital because they thought I could be miscarrying so by this point I was just fed up and constantly worried so I just wanted it over. When I rung, I was told there was a cancellation Wednesday morning at 9:30 and although it was Tuesday afternoon when I rung I just took it, I knew then I wouldn't even have time to think about it. I rang my partner to make sure he could get the day off work, he could, so I rang the clinic back and officially booked it. I did feel a bit wierd that I'd taken a cancellation because I thought the girl who had had that appointment must have decided to continue with her pregnancy which made me question whether I should but I reminded myself it was the right decision so I went ahead.
The day of the operation, I turned up at the clinic and gave the lady in reception my details. I was then sent to a waiting room which was really small and just had an awful atmosphere, everyone knew why everyone was there so it was quite morbid. I waited there for about half an hour then I went to a different waiting room upstairs which was a lot bigger, brighter, there was music playing. I then went to see a nurse who was LOVELY. Throughout this whole process I never once felt judged, I felt cared for and well looked after.
The nurse did a finger prick test to check iron levels, HIV and I had to do a chlamydia swab in the toilets after my consultation. She also did my height and weight. She gave me a band around my wrist with my details on and an aftercare booklet. I signed two consent forms; one for the operation and one for the depo injection which I was having done at the same time as the operation. Finally she did a scan, she didn't say anything to me during and I caught a glimpse of the pictures even though she didn't show me when she was typing up the information, I filled up a bit when I saw them but reminded myself I was making the right decision. Had I asked her questions or asked to see the photos, I'm sure she would have answered them and shown me but I really appreciated the fact she didn't, I thought it showed professionalism and respect for the situation.
I then did my chlamydia swab and took it down to Reception with my notes. The receptionist then took me downstairs to another waiting room and from this point it was go, go, go. I was only in the waiting room 2 minutes before another nurse who was amazing, came and got me. She took me to a changing room and explained I needed to remove everything from the waist down and put a sarong and some slippers on. She asked me to put a pad in my knickers so that when she was helping me get dressed it would be easier, as I opted for conscious sedation. She left me to get changed and gave me blue tub to put my things in.
Shortly after, another nurse came in the room and took me through to theatre. It looked extremely daunting, there was a surgeon, an anaesthetist and 3 nurses and a black chair with stirrups. Although it was extremely clean and the staff were lovely, it just looked like something from a horror film. I had to just confirm a few details with the surgeon who then asked me to lie on the bed. A nurse assisted, she took off my sarong but covered me up with it, she told me I needed to have my bum practically hanging off the end of the bed and she wrestled with my legs to get them in the stirrups. That was the worst part for me! So uncomfortable it was literally like doing the splits. The anaesthetist then sedated me, putting the needle in my arm. A different nurse then asked me some casual questions and that's it, I remember feeling a bit woozy and then that's it! Next thing I remember is the lovely nurse from before helping me get dressed, she then tied my sarong around me and walked me through to the recovery room. I was given some water, which was heaven after not drinking all morning! I then had two tablets to take, I was given a brew and some biscuits.
The atmosphere in this room was mixed, some girls were fine, some were crying, some were feeling ill but the nurses were just brilliant. I was sat in this room for about 20 minutes whilst I came round, I had some tummy cramping but nothing more than a period pain and everyone was given a heat pack which really helped. I was then told to get changed and check my pad which was fine I had practically no bleeding. I then went back into the room and had my blood pressure checked and the needle in my arm removed. I was given some more tablets which I had to take later on with my tea and was told I could go whenever I was ready. I would fully recommend Marie Stopes for anyone considering termination, and if you're unsure they offer a counselling service before and after. My experience with them was flawless and the clinic itself was clean, modern, well organised, full of amazing staff and just wonderful. It's not an easy thing to go through but if you decide this is the right thing for you, I strongly recommend Marie Stopes because they made what could have been an awful experience, so so much easier. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are scared or worried and don't know what to do then I hope my story may have helped. There is so much help out there so please speak out! It is probably one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, you can't go through it on your own. At first I couldn't even say the words "I'm pregnant" or "termination" but it gets easier over time and as soon as you speak to someone you will feel so much better.