I opted for a medical procedure at 8 weeks

By anonymous on 03/09/2010
Having scared myself silly reading all sorts of horror stories online before I had my procedure, I just wanted to post my experience of having a medical abortion at 8 weeks. I hope other people reading this may find reassurance in my story.
I opted for the medical procedure, even though it sounded more harrowing, as it seemed to have far fewer risks associated with it, and I was very concerned not to impact on my future fertility.

The consultant promoted medical abortion over surgical

I'll be honest- the consultant at the Homerton seemed to promote the medical version over the surgical. Of course all she did was tell me the stats, but I think it was her very cold presentation of bare facts that lead me to look online for more 'personal experience' stories, even though I know the internet can be a scary place when it comes to medical info (duh!) It's totally natural to want more information, especially when you're scared, but that's why I want to post my POSITIVE experience online, because I guess it's more common for people to post if they have a trauma they need to share, and thus the impression is skewed.
It took two weeks for my abortion consultation to happen, after seeing my GP, and by this point I was 7 weeks pregnant and feeling very sick and exhausted.
I went into the Homerton on the Monday, had my scan, spoke to the nurse and the consultant, and was booked to begin the medical procedure on the Thursday.

The medical procedure

I took the first pill, orally, on Thursday at the hospital with the nurse, who was really kind. She made me feel very relaxed, and said she would be the person supporting me throughout. She even gave me her mobile number. She explained what I needed to bring on the Saturday, for the second stage, and roughly what to expect. It was very reassuring.
The pill had no obvious effect on me, and I arrived on Saturday at the Day Stay Unit, at 9am, feeling sick and anxious.
A friend came with me, which was great (men are not allowed in the unit, so my partner didn't come).
The nurse took me into a large open room, and I chose a cubicle to put my stuff and change into comfy clothes. The nurse then inserted four pills into my vagina, and gave me painkillers and anti-sickness pills to swallow, and a sanitary pad to wear. She told me it'd probably be a couple of hours until anything happened, so I went through to the TV room to sit with my friend, drink tea, read magazines etc.
After two hours I went to the loo, and some blood came out, like a period, but nothing much seemed to be happening. The nurse checked it and gave me some more drugs to take orally, to speed things along. I soon started to get what felt like period pains. They came in waves, stronger then I'd ever had them. About half an hour later I went to the loo again, and this time I felt a lot of stuff come out.

I had quite severe stomach ache

If there's one message I took from reading online stories, it was 'don't look,' so I managed not to, and rang the bell for the nurse. She told me the main material had 'been passed,' and there'd be a bit more to come. This carried on for an hour or so, until she told me it was basically done (she checked each time). I had quite severe stomach ache, so rested in my cubicle for another hour, and the nurse gave me more painkillers. I kept passing blood and clots, but it was definitely lessening. At about three o'clock I felt well enough to get dressed and go home. As I'd eaten during the day I was able to take the antibiotics there and then. The nurse gave me information about what to expect over the next two weeks (bleeding, no tampons, no sex), along with her mobile number again in case I had any problems. Now, 24 hours later I am still bleeding like a heavy period, and I have 'period pains,' but nothing extreme.
Today was my first in weeks when I woke up without feeling sick, and already my energy levels feel better. The experience wasn't easy, and certainly not one I ever wish to repeat, but honestly it was not that scary or painful either. Certainly not as bad as I feared after reading stuff online. I know everyone is different, and bodies react differently to drugs from person to person, but I know from the nurse that my experience was pretty typical, so I hope if anyone is reading this before their procedure that my story can offer some reassurance. The NHS is amazing. Be patient, trust the nurses, try to relax - and you'll get through it.

Editor's Comment

Thanks for sharing what you felt was a positive experience when you had a medical abortion. It helps to understand the procedure and what is likely to happen to you. As you said people's experiences are varied and all completely valid for how they reacted to the experience.
Information is very important and it helps to have support and reassurance as you go through it. Many women feel unsupported and have emotional difficulties that make the experience harder. In the end it is important to be sure about your decision and to explore your own feelings so that you know what is right for you. On a slightly cynical note medical abortion is cheaper for the NHS than surgical abortion!
For those who need extra help and support while making their decision or following an abortion please call the national helpline 0300 4000 999.a

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