I had a medical abortion on 13/2/10

Planned career

I had a medical abortion on 13/2/10. I am 23 years old and newly qualified as a nurse, due to start my new job in 2 weeks. Therefore when I found I was pregnant I felt that an abortion was the right choice for me at the time. I had planned to have a career then children and really did not want to have to put my career on hold any longer having already been a student for 5 years! I also plan to move in with my boyfriend of 4 years and to go on some 'once in a lifetime' holidays this year now that I have some money!
I went to my GP who referred me for an NHS abortion (which is free) although I had to wait 8 days for my initial appointment. I attended the fertility control unit(FCU) on 2/2/10 for my initial appointment where they told me to attend with a full bladder for an ultrasound... they FIRST gave me an ultrasound through my stomach from which they established I was 6 weeks, 3 days pregnant. The screen was facing away from me so I could not see the baby. I then spoke to a consultant gynaecologist who gave me the option of an early medical abortion (EMA), or a surgical abortion. I chose EMA as it is less risky in the early stages and less chance of infection, but also I would have had to have a general anaesthetic for the surgical option.

2 stage procedure

I then spoke to a nurse who arranged the initial appointment for 9 days after to take the oral mifepristone tablet which stops the pregnancy by blocking the hormone which maintains it. She also booked the second appointment for 2 days after for the 4 tablets of misoprostol (gyneprost). I then had to go the the blood room to get bloods taken to test my blood group and to see if I was rhesus D negative. After this I went home... I was at the FCU for around 2 hours. I attended again on the Thursday 11/2/10 for the oral tablet... I went into the room where 2 nurses watched me take the tablet then I was told to stay in the hospital grounds for an hour... if after an hour I hadn't vomited I could leave. The nurses were lovely and I had a few questions which they answered about what would happen on the day. They told me that I had been prescribed codeine and morphine for the day of my 'procedure' in case I needed it and they also showed me an actual size picture of what I might see when I expelled the 'products of conception' on the day of my procedure. They told me they would cremate the foetus and put it in the grounds of a crematorium.

On the day

After the tablet I was fine and went home an hour later as instructed.. I was told not to drink alcohol untill the day after the day of my procedure. I had no cramping or bleeding during this time. I returned 2 days later on the Saturday at 8am to ward 23 to stay for a few hours whilst I was miscarrying and was given a bed. when I arrived the nurse introduced herself, she was very nice and she took myself and my boyfriend who was with me into their staff room to explain what I needed to do/ what would happen. She then took me to my bed and asked me to strip from the waist down and gave me a sheet to cover myself with. She left the bay whilst I got undressed then returned and took my temperature and blood pressure before telling me to lie back and relax, put my feet together and then let my legs fall apart. She explained everything to me very openly and made me feel quite relaxed about it, I was particularily nervous about this part. She inserted each tablet individually using her (gloved) fingers and it was not uncomfortable. She then left and let me get dressed again. She was very discreet about everything and made sure the other women on the ward heard as little as possible. She recommended I put a pad on immediately after in case I began to bleed. I had 6 bed pans at the end of my bed and a bowl of hospital pants to stop me ruining mine! I was asked to lay still for an hour after this. I was told from that point I should use the bed pan for every time I needed the toilet for anything so that they could see everything I passed as they have to make sure the termination is 100% complete. I was given privacy from that point, my nurse took my physical obs hourly, my temperature had increased so she gave me some paracetamol. I was there for 3 hours and nothing had happened, I had experienced some mild cramping but less than my normal period pains. After 3 hours as I had not passed anything I was given 2 more misoprostol tablets to take orally.

Something being ripped away

After about 30 mins I felt something being ripped away inside of me... this was the most severe pain I had experienced all day however it was short lived and I didn't feel the pain was unmanageable at any point and as such did not feel the need to use the stronger painkillers I had been prescribed. Half an hour later again I began to bleed lightly. I went to the toilet after a short while for a wee and whilst I was sat on the bedpan I felt lots of blood come gushing out of me... I had to sit there for 5 minutes before I felt I had finished. I cleaned myself up (you have to also put your pads and the paper you use to wipe yourself with in the bed pan).

I chose to look at what I had passed

. (this is a personal choice and some prefer not to look) and I saw a bit of white in the bedpan amongst a lot of blood and large clots... on closer observation it was very clearly my foetus which was very white in colour and about an inch in length... I could clearly see its eyes which were just black, arms, legs, hands and feet and even the beginnings of fingers... the head was kind of transparent and I could see the brain. It definitely resembled a small human. I was more shocked than I expected to be ... it seemed somehow unreal. After taking a few minutes to gather my thoughts and compose myself I pulled the cord for the nurse to take the bedpan away.
When the nurse arrived she asked me if I was OK I must have appeared quite distressed about the situation. I said I was ok but a bit shocked and I returned to my bed and my boyfriend asked me what I had passed. I found it difficult to verbally describe it... he just asked me if I could see the arms and hands and I had to tell him I could which I knew would upset him. I was shocked but also numb so could not cry although my boyfriend had a little cry. Shortly after the nurse came to my bay and told me I had passed everything but she would like me to stay for an hour so that they could monitor my blood loss. After passing the 'products of conception' I began to get a feeling of having diarrhoea however as I was due to leave shortly after I avoided going as I didn't want to use the bedpan for this! About 15 mins after this I passed a significant amount of blood again and more large clots and then again about 30 mins later where I did the same again although it was slightly less this time.

Undignified experience

I then was allowed home, the nurse recommended I visit my doctor for a check up 2 weeks after and gave me some information about what to expect over the next few weeks and some numbers to ring in case I needed them. It is now 3 days after my procedure and I have been experiencing cramping and bleeding like a heavy period untill now... although the bleeding is getting slightly lighter and the cramping is eased by paracetamol. I don't like using towels though and am supposed to use them until my next period which is estimated to be in around 6 weeks time. They told me I may feel up and down in my mood over the next few days due to the hormones I was given which I have, however I mostly just feel uncomfortable now due to the cramping, bleeding and having to use towels instead of tampons. The experience altogether I found to be quite undignified even though the medical abortion is supposed to be a more dignified and private experience. However the staff were very supportive and understanding and I didn't feel judged at any point. All in all the staff on ward 23 SJUH were excellent. I w
This story was sent in on 22/02/2010 and it's been viewed 1,562 times.

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