My story of a medical abortion 2011

By anonymous on 16/08/2011
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. Not only because it was so unexpected but I knew that I was going to terminate and destroy a life that didn't ask to be there. It was through plain ignorance that this happened and I regretted that.
I wanted really to write this as an update for those who are about to experience a medical abortion and really as a way to deal with what happened. (Some things are better out than in and there's no better way to talk about what happened to someone who is in the same position).
The time frame from finding out I was pregnant to actually going through the procedure is very short.

On monday I found out I was pregnant and by saturday afternoon the pregnancy was gone.

However whilst some may think that I had rushed into it, I had talked this through with my partner of 3 years many many times that lasted hours. The only thing that I would say was bad about this (or good it really depends how you see it) is that as it was over in less than a week, I hadn't come to terms that I was pregnant and now, 3 days after my abortion, it still doesn't seem real.
I had been feeling pretty run down and sick for a couple of weeks but as I had started a new job working full time, I put it down to the early mornings and being rushed off my feet all day. When I missed a period I didn't really worry as they are quite irregular and have a mind of their own. I decided to do a pregnancy test when my normal eating habits had a big effect on me. Firstly, if I hadn't eaten within an hour of getting up I would feel sick and faint and when I did eat I could barely touch a thing on my plate as eating even made me feel sick.

I did a pregnancy test, and then about 5 more after that and it was without a shadow of a doubt that I was pregnant.

I instantly booked an appointment at my doctors but was then asked to provide a urine sample and come back a couple of weeks later for the result. I found this quite frustrating, I knew I was pregnant and wanted to terminate but I didn't want the pregnancy to progress a further 2 weeks!! (The morning sickness was bad enough) it just wasn't fair on me or the foetus. I then searched the internet for someone that could help me and I found a crisis intervention team had been set up by my local council that helped me straight away. I called them on the tuesday morning and saw an advisor on tuesday dinner time. She talked me through everything and booked me an appointment at the local hospital to get the ball rolling.
My appointment was booked for thursday - just a day away. In this 24 or so hour period I kept myself busy with work and other things to try and distract me from the whole situation. Although some may say that I did wrong, this helped me by preventing me to become attached to the thing growing inside me- its the last thing I wanted. However I did feel I had a duty of care and I should protect it but this was out of the question, I had nothing to give it, and it simply didn't deserve a life living on benefits.
On the thursday I went for a scan to determine how many weeks pregnant I was. The sonographer stated that I was 6-7 weeks pregnant. Which was a relief in my eyes as I knew that the foetus didn't have any form of living and no way of thinking, it was still a cell in my body. That helped me become detached and that I was doing the right thing. After the scan I was told to see the doctor there and then which was a relief as I didn't have to drag it out even longer. I was told, in detail what each procedure involved and that the choice was completely up to me. I could start the first stage of a medical termination that day or have a surgical abortion on the tuesday. Because of this, I chose to go with a medical termination as I did want the whole ordeal over and done with. I was then told about the procedure of a medical termination in even yet more detail and was taken to a room where I had a couple of bloods taken and also my blood pressure was taken. I would've liked to know why they had taken some blood tests but I didn't wonder this until after I had left the hospital. Additionally, I took 3 tablets when I was at the hospital that began the first stage of the abortion. I was told that this would block a hormone that continues a pregnancy and also opens my cervix to make the termination easier when I had the next lot of tablets. The final stage of the termination was booked for saturday morning. I had roughly 36 hours for these tablets to take effect.

A few hours after taking these tablets I would like to say that I didn't feel pregnant anymore - the sickness and the tiredness had gone and I was feeling a step closer to my usual self. On the friday, I did have morning sickness but that had quickly passed and I began a normal day. I did have some discharge. It wasn't bloody to say the least, it was more of a mucus - a sign that the tablets were working.
On saturday, the day of my termination, I had to go to the hospital for 8am ( not before having morning sickness of course) but when I arrived I was shown to a ward which had 4 other girls in (presumably going through the same thing as me but the curtains were drawn around each bed for total privacy. As I was last to arrive I was last to have the procedure done (at around 10.45) but before this happened my notes were brought up to date and I had to sign another consent form (you may need to sign a few on your first visit to the hospital) after this I had my temperature taken and also my blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. At this point I was feeling scared and nervous as it showed in my heart rate. When the nurse came in to do the procedure she asked me if I wanted to do it. However I declined as I would be worrying I hadn't done it right. She then placed 4 tablets inside my vagina and told me to lie down for half an hour so they could take effect.
I am going to explain what happened next in a lot of detail as I think that parts of the process were 'muted' down.

After the procedure I did feel that what happened to me should've been explained to me a bit more.

So, the tablets took effect rather quickly. I started having slight pains in my abdomen after about 20 minutes which did grow as time went on. I was offered some co-codamol (pain relief is available at any time all you have to do is ask for it) which did make the pain subside. After about 30 minutes (11.15ish) I had a sharp pain ( I would say it would resemble a contraction) and felt a pop. I didn't think anything of it until I felt a liquid trickle down. I would say that the pop and the watery bloody liquid was my waters breaking and I think this bit was the worse thing about the whole process (it was just the pop feeling inside me that made me feel this) shortly after this (about 11.30) I had another sharp pain (it did feel worse than the first) and then I asked to go to the toilet and was given a bed pan. When I was in the toilet I felt something come down (I thought it would be a clot) and this is where the pregnancy had ended. I couldn't really explain what I saw in the pan but there was a foetus and what would be the placenta. At this moment I did feel sad and wondered whether I had made the right decision. The pregnancy was over with and I didn't know what to think. I took the bedpan to the nurse where she examined the contents whilst I went back to my bed. The whole process from where the tablets were inserted to the evacuation of the foetus took about an hour, which was quite fast as I was told it could take between 3-6 hours.

However, even though I had a relatively 'easy' abortion I developed a complication.

I started to bleed very very heavily (I have associated it with some heavy vaginal bleeding I had a few years ago) which happened almost straight after the abortion. The nurses were very helpful, (even though I brought 3 pairs of pj's I had bled through them all) and provided me with the appropriate items to help make me comfortable. I was given a gown and some sort of bandage type underwear (I didn't want to ruin the others I had brought) and also some giant nappy-type pads as the pads I took with me lasted a matter of minutes. This bleeding lasted for quite some time and I passed huge blood clots as well (they were bigger than my fist) but because I had experienced this type of bleeding before it wasn't really traumatic. I was worried, yes but I wasn't scared. The bleeding did subside at about 3.30 and the clots were a tenth of the size so it was okay for me to go home. They provided me with a few industrial pads and bed mat things so I didn't get blood on my bed linen.
The nurse did say expect heavy bleeding but I didn't know how heavy ( I prepared for a heavy period type bleeding if I'm honest) but this wasn't the case. Every termination is different and I would like to stress that the type of bleeding that I experienced could be due to what happened to me a few years ago so please don't let this put you off.

I am happy that I chose to have a medical abortion and wouldn't change my mind given the chance now

(and that is an honest truth) it could've easily happened in surgery and I would have no control over it what so ever. And that's why I am confident I made the right decision.So, its 3 days after my termination and I have to have another scan and see a gynaecologist today at 10.30. I am still bleeding (now its a heavy period type bleed) but it isn't showing any sign of letting up -I know it will do eventually. Also, I am in some pain but co-codamol does help. I am going to say that I feel it is getting worse and I will bring any concern I do have to my appointment and get it cleared up.
Even though I suffered that heavy bleeding I am 100% sure I made the right one. I was comfortable throughout and monitored every couple of hours. The nurses were on hand to change my bedding when the heavy bleeding started and I was not embarrassed what-so-ever. I was treated with respect and dignity and didn't feel judged because I had chosen to have an abortion. Its best to come to terms with what happened and writing this and sharing this experience has helped a lot. Even though an abortion may go a bit wrong/ not to plan, the person who 'suffered' this (and suffered is too strong to describe the experience) is still confident that she did the right thing. The termination happened 13th August 2011 so this is really as up-to-date as you can get.

Editor's Comment

You have given a detailed picture of your experience which often helps to process what you have been through. Heavy bleeding, or haemorrage, is one of the risks of abortion and should be explained when you are signing the consent form. I hope that your aftercare is thorough. It might be worth asking if they could check for anaemia if you lost a lot of blood.

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