Read this if you're frightened about medical abortion
I found out that I was pregnant following almost two weeks of feeling ‘strange’. I was late on my period (not unusual for me), but was feeling incredibly sick and absolutely exhausted; often having to come home for an afternoon 'nap'!
I knew something was wrong and went to buy a pregnancy test. I was in a relationship at the time, but we were spending time apart as it was not going in the right direction for either of us.
[There are links to other stories about abortion organised by the provider and the number of weeks of pregnancy here]
Nothing could have prepared me
I wondered what I was going to do, I worried about my age (I'm 32) and the fact that previous pregnancies had ended in miscarriage. I realised that this could be my only chance for a baby.
However, the timing was awful and my partner and I weren't actively trying. I am also a mature student and nearing the end of a course which I worked hard to continue. I knew that I had to speak to someone.
I called CareConfidential and the advisor was incredibly supportive
I contacted a local centre for advice in the decision-making process and was really glad that I had. They helped me to speak openly about my situation and explore each possibility. I was grateful for this.
I made the difficult decision to have an abortion. I made an appointment with my GP and was a little surprised at her reaction; she was very knowledgeable, professional and sent me straight to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit at my local NHS hospital. I had a scan to determine how many weeks pregnant I was (just over 6 weeks) and was booked in for a medical termination 3 weeks later.
I was really glad I waited to have it on the NHS
The waiting was certainly the worst part of the process. During those 3 weeks, the hormones were raging; I felt increasingly sick and exhausted and cried almost continually about my decision.
I was really, really scared about the prospect of going into hospital for the termination and what might happen to me. However, I was really glad I waited for the medical abortion on the NHS, rather than going to a private clinic, as I was very well looked after.
I had the procedure 6 days ago
The first appointment consisted of taking a tablet. As I felt very sick, without question they gave me an anti-sickness injection (which was a little painful!) which helped so much.
I was extremely nervous about taking this tablet and needed some reassurance from the nurse, who was lovely and after some discussion and emotion, I swallowed it. I was told I had to wait in the hospital for around an hour to ensure that I wasn't sick.
Fortunately, I wasn't and was able to go home and await the next part of the process 48 hours later.
During those 48 hours, I experienced some bleeding (which I was told was unusual, but not unheard of) and fortunately the ward at the hospital was staffed 24 hours a day, so I was able to call and speak to someone. They advised to still attend my next appointment, which I did.
The second appointment
I arrived at the second appointment shaking with nerves and emotionally unstable. The staff were amazing; they gave me time and space to discuss how I was feeling and reassured me about what might happen that day. I was alone and whilst I was able to bring someone for support, I didn't feel that I could ask anyone to be there. This was very difficult, but the staff on the ward were fantastic and available to me whenever I needed to talk.
The nurse inserted some tablets vaginally and described how these would work and what I may feel. She also offered me a suppository (a painkiller inserted anally)which she told me was highly effective in dealing with the physical pain. I accepted this and some co-codamol orally. I was really glad later that I had done this, as other women on the ward who had not accepted this pain relief, appeared in some pain (but not unbearable) during the process.
I remained on the ward and began to walk about after the hour lying on my bed and spoke to the other 3 women in my room. They were calm, but all a little nervous about what may be ahead of us. One woman passed the pregnancy sac very early during the morning and was in some discomfort.
However, I had not even started to bleed (all of the previous bleeding I'd experienced had stopped). The nurses reassured me that this was completely normal and not to worry.
I shouldn't have done, as around an hour later, I started to bleed and pass clots. Every time I went to the toilet, I had to use a bedpan. This was so they could check what I passed and when.
They kept advising me that I was only passing clots and after almost 5 hours, I had still not passed the pregnancy.
I felt a very strange sensation
However, around half an hour later, I started to feel very sick. I had not vomited during the process, even though the nurses advised that the medication can cause some women to do so. I thought my luck had changed, so I grabbed a cardboard bedpan and sat on the toilet, clutching it in my hands.
The sickness disappeared and I had the urge to push. I quickly slid the bedpan underneath me and felt a very strange sensation. I felt a 'plop' and then another.
I couldn't look. This felt very different to passing the blood clots and I had a feeling this could have been the pregnancy sac. I pushed the buzzer for a nurse to come and inspect the bedpan and shuffled back to my bed area. Around 5 minutes later, a healthcare assistant nodded to me through the window.
I knew I had passed the pregnancy
I knew I had passed the pregnancy. I was so relieved.
I had very little pain, but quite a large amount of bleeding, so the nursing staff left me for around two hours to monitor this. I was told this was perfectly normal.
After several hours, the bleeding had begun to subside and a nurse called me into a treatment room for an examination. She told me that there was quite a bit of tissue around my cervix, which was probably causing the excess bleeding and she removed it. This was not at all painful. She then discharged me.
I was extremely grateful she did this procedure, as since then my bleeding has become more like a normal period. It's just a little heavier when I go to the toilet! But no clots or pain....only a little discomfort when I try and do too much (like a long walk yesterday - probably not a good idea!).
I hope that this helps someone, as when I was reading different articles and posts, I became increasingly nervous and afraid... I spent a great deal of time looking at every internet site and working myself into a frenzy of fear.
Please don't look at them if you can - the information on CareConfidential is much better and more informative.
So where am I now physically and emotionally?
Well, I'm slowly getting back to my normal physical state... it's taking time and I have to listen to my body. It takes a little while for things to settle down and I have to try not to rush myself. I've taken this week off work, which has definitely helped.
Emotionally, I feel better than I have done in the 9 weeks I was pregnant!
I am much more stable, less tearful and know I have made the right decision.
I had some fantastic support from CareConfidential and I'm pretty sure that without this, I would have felt much different. I feel that I have been able to grieve for my loss and with the support from the advisors, my GP and the staff on the ward, I have come through this a much stronger and determined person.
Following my abortion, I have been able to talk to family and friends about my experience and was surprised at how many of them were supportive and understanding.
They were a little shocked (which is understandable!), but talking to them was not as hard as I imagined. I feel that I am able to share my experiences, in the hope that it might help others in a similar situation.
If I could suggest anything to someone in my position it would be to take all the help and support available
It prepared me for how I might feel and what to expect, and to be as sure as you can be about any decision. No decision in life is easy, but it's the process of coming to terms with what has happened to you which is important.
I hope this helps.
Thank you once again to everyone at CareConfidential; you helped to make a difficult decision a little easier and were there for me when I thought no-one else was or would understand.
Terms mentioned in this story
- 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.