My medical abortion pain was overwhelming, continuous and unexpected

By anonymous on 19/04/2011
medical abortion abortion 7 weeks

An extremely painful medical abortion

Last year, me and boyfriend (for 3 years) got pregnant. As we are both medical students in 4th and 5th year in another country than where we are from, we had no possibility to keep the baby. We had to make a decision quickly, as I preferred not to be surgically operated on in this country, and I was about 7 weeks pregnant and knew medical abortion[1] was the best option for me. Within 2 days I got my medication for the abortion.

[There are more stories about medical abortion and abortion at different stages of pregnancy over on this page.]

The first day I swallowed the pregnancy-terminating pills in front of the gynaecologist. I was given additional pills to take home and eat after 36-48 hours which were supposed to start the contractions (prostaglandins[2]).

He never mentioned the abortion might be painful

Home with my boyfriend, it was a weekend around 9.00 am. We decided LET'S DO IT, 40 hours after the first pills had been taken. I was not told or given any pain medication by the gynaecologist.

It never even crossed my mind that it might hurt to the extent of needing painkillers. I took the oral tablets of prostaglandins. I went to bed to rest and let them work.

Almost straight away the pain was continuous

Almost straight away laying in bed I feel burning contractions increasing in strength in my uterus. The pain was continuous with no pauses. I became in more and more pain and wasn't able to lay still. I tried all positions I possibly could and ended up on my knees on the floor as the “best” position.

Honestly, no position could make it less painful... I was screaming

My neighbours would wonder what is happening over here and probably come to check on us, but I had to scream. It was unbearable.

What happened first was that ALL my smooth muscles started contracting, including my intestinal ones.... so during the first 20 minutes of pain, I was running to the toilet having the worse cramps and diarrhoea of my life, mixed with uterus cramps.

I was screaming, moving, roaring, all my intestinal contents came out of me. I felt embarrassed having my boyfriend next to me while watery diarrhoea came out of me with strong power. But in those pains, nothing matters to you.

After the intestines were completely empty was "only" left the uterus pain. It was an extremely intense burning pain of menstrual pain times a thousand, cannot even describe it...... I was screaming to my boyfriend with one word every 10 seconds.. “caesarian!!!! next!!!!! time!!!!!!!!”.

Because I could never imagine that I myself would ever put myself in this position of having this pain ever again. I kept saying “What have we done???????!!!!”

I thought I was going to die from the pain

My legs were exhausted even from standing on the knees for an hour..... I screamed in pillows, had blankets underneath to support... I became strengthless and hopeless. If my boyfriend put a supporting hand on me I screamed at him to take it off, anything additionally sensation was uncomfortable, to say the least.

The worse part was not knowing when it was going to end or decrease. I told my boyfriend many times that I think we need an ambulance. But I could hardly talk... I was focused only on the pain. My boyfriend came with water, but it was impossible for me to do another thing at the same time. I couldn't even cry.

After 1½ hr I forced myself an oral painkiller (earlier I couldn't even think of the possibility that a pill could relief this kind of pain). Maybe 20 min later I started having PAUSES in the contractions.

OH MY GOD WHAT A RELIEF. Even if the pauses were of 5 seconds, they were the most wonderful seconds of my life. They made the whole difference even if the pain was just as intense.

No blood had come out of me yet. The pauses became longer and contractions milder, then in the end as menstrual pain. At that moment I was exhausted and in mental shock, so I went to bed.

Thinking its all over I laid for about 30 minutes with my boyfriend staring worried over me waiting for whatever will happen next.

After 20 minutes in bed, it all started again

Painful enough to have to scream and bit pillows but with pauses of a few seconds.

Back on the floor, don't know for how long it went, but I was so sad and disappointed as I thought that it was supposed to be over.. and neither did I know if more would come.

I woke up by feeling blood coming out of me. No more pain beyond this point. Just a lot of blood. It was over.

My boyfriend and I were sitting in shock, for hours after talking with a blank look.... not really realizing what had just happened. I tried to explain to him the pain....was impossible. I told him that this must be like giving birth. At least they get something for the pain at birth..... and they get pauses between contractions.... and a baby at the end... how lucky they are...

It was the strangest day of my life

At the same time, I felt so strong. I was the strongest woman alive. I could not believe that I had managed to get through that. Without my boyfriend constantly by my side talking me, supporting me, I wouldn't have made it.

I am proud today of the pain I resisted. But at the same time, now in retrospect, when I read about stories about other women's abortions.... that it's a standard to get painkillers before you take the contraction pills..... it fills me with such sadness... that my gynaecologist didn't tell me this or give it to me.

I feel like crying thinking that that pain could have been avoided so easily....the pain that became the most awful one in my life.

This story is not to scare anyone of having a medical abortion, because in all cases I see that women are well provided with painkillers... even morphine. I am happy for all of you and very sad for myself as it scared me from having a future vaginal birth.... which I always wanted.

I have a high pain threshold I must add and have had painful injuries in my life. This was nothing in comparison. Mostly because there was never a pause to rest from the pain.

Now it has been probably half a year since the abortion. I can now again imagine myself having a vaginal birth. This experience made me stronger and to trust my abilities, plus with the painkillers, they have at delivery, pauses between contractions and the fact that I will get a baby in return makes me want to do it. Somehow to challenge myself, "CAN I DO IT AGAIN, huh?" I can and I will.

“So, how did it go, everything went well I assume?”

Additionally: The part of most hate, was when I went back to the clinic for a checkup 2 weeks after the abortion, the gynecologist asked me: “So, how did it go, everything went well I assume.”

Me and my boyfriend looked at each other, and before I had the time to open my mouth, my boyfriend started telling him how grotesquely awful it was.....

The doc then says "Was like a little stronger period pain no?" We both stare at him....we can't even find words.. we just shake our head.... mumbling something about it was the worse pain of my life....

I don't go to him anymore, even though he is considered the best in this town.

I am well now, on birth control pills to never ever have to consider this ever again.

But I say it again, all of you thinking of medical abortion, don't hesitate, but GET PAINKILLERS IN GOOD TIME AND THE STRONGEST ONES!

Happy to share my story with you. :-)

And I will never have another intervention in this country again.

Terms mentioned in this story

  1. Medical Abortion

    Medical abortion refers to the taking of medication to end a pregnancy and usually takes place over two stages. 

    The first stage is where a medicine called mifepristone stops a hormone that allows the pregnancy to continue. 

    The second stage, usually 24-48 hours later, is where a second medicine, called misoprostol, is used to cause the lining of the womb to break down causing bleeding and the loss of the pregnancy.

    Medical abortion doesn't require surgery but sometimes not all of the tissue is passed and may require a small surgical procedure to remove further remnants of pregnancy tissue.


  2. Prostaglandins

    Prostaglandins refers to a synthetic drug called misoprostol that is used in the second stage of medical abortion to induce uterine contractions, breakdown of the womb lining, and bleeding to expel the pregnancy. Cytotec is a common brand name.


Editor's comment

It must have been very traumatic to be so unprepared for the pain you experienced. This is the disadvantage of going home and it happening at home. At least if you were in a hospital or clinic you could have been given a strong pain killer. It sounds as though time has healed some of the memory and that you now feel you could go through a normal birth if you decide to try for a baby.

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