I was offered an abortion on the NHS
From finding out I was pregnant in October, until the abortion yesterday was the hardest time of my life. I didn't want to tell anyone about being pregnant unexpectedly, so I didn't tell my parents, only one of my closest friends. After having the symptoms like a missed period, a metallic taste and lack of appetite, I took one pregnancy test which came back positive with the number of weeks. Immediately I contacted my local GUM clinic and booked an appointment for a referral. I spent the time in between searching anything to do with pregnancy and abortion online, for help. I found out there were two types of abortion, depending on how far along you were.
At the appointment, the doctor was very supportive and non-judgemental and gave me the letter and the phone number to ring for the hospital. I did that and was offered an appointment for a consultation just over a week later. It was all I thought about. At about five weeks I started feeling nausea quite badly. Hiding it from my family was difficult and in the end I decided to tell my parents, who were extremely supportive. My mother said she would come to the consultation with me.
On the morning of the consultation at the hospital, it said we could be there for three hours. However, I was dealt with very efficiently. I had a scan first to determine how many weeks I was. I decided not to look at the scan as my mother said not to. Next I had my blood pressure taken, blood samples and height and weight measured. It showed I had high blood pressure but I figured that was because I was extremely anxious about the whole situation. I also learned that I had lost a stone in weight in a week. I knew I hadn't been eating much but I didn't realise it was quite that bad. The nausea and vomiting was the worst part. Next, I went into another room to talk to one of the nurses about which procedure I wanted as I was 7 weeks, so could choose either. After taking the time to read the information given and asking questions, I decided I wanted to have the surgical abortion rather than the medical. I was booked in for the surgery for four days later.
Those next four days were the longest of my life. All I wanted to do was have the abortion and get on with my life. This may sound heartless but this was really putting my life on hold both physically and mentally.
On the day of the surgery, I was extremely nervous. I had to be at hospital at 7am, so woke up early and travelled with my mother. I was almost sick on the way even though I hadn't eaten anything from 8pm the night before. At the hospital I was given a cubicle to wait in with my mother, got told to change into the gowns and remove my underwear. I met the surgeon and anaesthetist who were both lovely. The nurses on the ward were so kind too. I had my blood taken again. I was most nervous about getting put to sleep as I've never really had to go to hospital at all, let alone for an operation. However, the anaesthetist was very reassuring that she would stay with me throughout the procedure. Next, I was given pessaries by the doctor in my vagina and had to wait until they had worked. At 9.45am I was taken into the surgery room and was put to sleep.
The next thing I knew, I was in recovery, with a nurse talking to me. I felt like I had been in a lovely, deep sleep for about 12 hours. Then it dawned on me that I had had the abortion, it was over, finally. I was so relieved. I was wheeled back to my cubicle where my mother was waiting, and had some toast and tea, which was lovely after not eating properly for weeks. Then after having my blood pressure measured again, which came back normal, I was allowed to go home.
Overall, my experience was very positive and I can't thank the NHS staff enough for all their help. I am feeling so much better. The last thing I will say is don't feel guilty about choosing to have an abortion. The services are there to use and women should have the right to choose what they want. I know this has been a long post, but I wanted to share my experience for others going through the same thing. Thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope it helps.
Editor's CommentThanks for posting your experience of a surgical abortion.
I agree with you that the service is there and legal for women who decide to choose abortion. Unfortunately guilt is often an emotion we don't have control over and is often experienced when a person crosses their own personal values and beliefs. That is why it is important to explore these when you are looking at your options as they can affect how you feel about the different choices.