I'm posting my experience of medical abortion having gone through it today

By anonymous on 31/07/2013
medical abortion abortion 8 weeks

Hi, I just wanted to post my experience of a medical abortion[1] after having gone through the final procedure today.

I feel like I owe it to other women out there about to go through with the procedure and probably doing what I did in the days before, which was trawling the internet reading all these stories and getting myself into a state

You shouldn't get worked up over abortion stories

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I tortured myself for days before I was due to go in for mine and you really shouldn't get so worked up reading all these stories on the Internet of what cramping pain you are likely to experience and how you will be doubled over for hours in pain.

I've learnt after today that you really just have to go in there with an open mind in terms of what you class as pain and exercise, especially a few runs up some stairs is the key to getting it over with quicker!

Maybe it was just me but I tolerated the whole thing pretty well without any painkillers at all.

So here goes...

Pregnant at 5 weeks

I found out I was pregnant at around 5 weeks. My boyfriend and I discussed the whole thing for days before deciding a termination was the right thing for us. I won't go into the details as everyone's reasons are different but believe me this was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life!

I went to see my doctor who referred me to the NHS clinic.

My first visit to an NHS clinic

My first appointment with the clinic was about 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. It was a little daunting going into the clinic but my boyfriend came with me and the staff and doctors who saw me were all really nice, non-judgmental and explained the procedure and my options to me.

I was never once made to feel like what I was doing was wrong. I even had a cry talking to the doctor but she was very sympathetic.

After you have a discussion with the doctor which involves your medical background, reasons for wanting a termination and future contraception options, you are then called in to see another doctor who will carry out an ultrasound scan to see how far along you are. Whilst you are having the ultrasound scan you do not get to view the screen.

I was too early and had to go back for another scan

Now on my first appointment, I was told that I was too early and had to go back for another scan the same day the following week. I found this very confusing because at this stage I would have been 7 weeks and didn't understand why they couldn't just start the process off. I've now learnt it's because when you opt for a medical abortion, the embryo needs to be at a certain stage so that when you pass it, it can be identified.

8 weeks pregnant at the second ultrasound

Anyway, I returned the following week and had my second ultrasound scan which confirmed I was 8 weeks pregnant. After this scan, I spoke to my named nurse who would be looking after me on the day I went in for the medical abortion.

She was really nice and again explained everything and took the time to answer any questions I had. She booked me in 2 days later to go in and take the first part of the medical abortion which is the mifepristone tablet.

Medical abortion - first appointment

When I arrived at the clinic 2 days later to take the tablet I had some blood taken and spoke to the nurse again who checked that I was still wanting to go ahead with the procedure. After confirming I did, she gave me the mifepristone tablet to swallow.

I had to wait half an hour after swallowing the tablet at the clinic in case I was sick before I could leave.

Luckily I didn't experience any sickness after taking the pill. I felt a little bit sad for the remainder of that day because I knew this was the tablet that effectively stopped the baby growing anymore but after you have taken this tablet you can't then decide to change your mind. I had no cramps or bleeding or any other symptoms after taking the first pill.

Medical abortion - second appointment

Another 2 days later I returned to the clinic (today) accompanied by my boyfriend. I arrived at 8 am and we were shown to a private room with its own toilet.

The nurse showed me how to use the bedpans on the toilet and explained that every time I went to the toilet no matter what you passed you had to pull a cord in the bathroom that alerted a nurse to come and collect the bedpan.

She told me everything including the toilet roll and any used pads should all be placed in the bedpan. Initially, I thought "this could get embarrassing later" but then I suppose the nurses are used to seeing all sorts. The nurse then left and my named nurse who I saw at my consultation then attended to me in my room.

I felt the onset of symptoms within half an hour

She explained what I could expect throughout the day and then proceeded to insert 4 misoprostol tablets into my vagina. She also gave me an anti-sickness tablet. I was told to stay in bed for 1 hour and then get up and walk about, run, any form of exercise as much as possible to help get things moving along quickly.

Within half an hour of the tablets being inserted, I started to feel the onset of some symptoms similar to when you first start your period. It was that initial bloaty cramp feeling. It started off fairly mild and then got a bit more intense.

I can't describe it as being painful

To be honest, I can't describe it as being painful, it's just got so uncomfortable that I actually couldn't sit still. I guess these were the cramps but I've been quite lucky with even my normal periods that I've never experienced period pain, just what I describe as a dull lower backache with some uncomfortable bloating.

About 45mins into it I did start to feel sick. I grabbed a sick bowl and had it sat in front of me but was actually never sick.

The uncomfortableness of the whole situation had me sat up with my legs crossed, head in hands over the sick bowl just in case and then I started freaking out more over the fact that I didn't want to be sick and started shaking and getting quite dizzy. I usually get panic attacks when I think I'm going to be sick because being sick makes me feel like I can't breathe and I don't like that sensation so I just ended up with a little panic attack about that really.

I actually couldn't wait for my first hour to be up just so I could stand and stretch a bit and go for a walk. Honestly, I was that fidgety I just wanted to be up. So as soon as my hour was up I immediately stood up and was pacing the room. I did sit back down a few times because I felt that uncomfortable but still not painful and I felt a bit dizzy.

After about an hour and a half, a nurse came in and told me to go for a walk to ease any discomfort. When they tell you to exercise and even if you think it's the last thing you want to do, trust me, force yourself and go and do it!! It really does get things moving quickly and eases the discomfort.

I and my boyfriend basically walked around the hospital grounds and corridors for half an hour and I even ran up and down the hospital stairs. After this, I returned to my room. This would have been about 10:15 am. I sat back down and my cramping had definitely eased off but I still hadn't begun to bleed.

Then it started

I was starting to think I wasn't going to bleed for a while but at 10:50 am it started.

The nurse came back at 11 am to give me my second dose of misoprostol tablets which I swallowed. She just said to keep exercising and drinking plenty of fluid.

I felt so embarrassed

I straight away got up and went for another walk and found some more stairs to run up and down. Unfortunately, the stairs I found were the furthest away from the ward I was staying on and it was at this time I felt a massive gush of blood which I knew was leaking through my pad. I felt so embarrassed rushing back to my ward thinking oh god I hope this doesn't leak through to my trousers.

I wondered if it was the foetus

I got back in my room, straight on the toilet and as soon as I took my pants off I could see there were two massive blood clots on my pad lining along with a lot of blood. The two clots were really very bloody and jellyfied with some greyish tissue in them which I did wonder if it was the foetus.

They tell you not to look but I think human curiosity does get the better of you. I carefully placed everything in the bedpan and put a fresh pair of pants and a pad on before calling the nurse to collect my bedpan.

The nurse came and took my bedpan and then returned about 5 minutes later to confirm that I had passed the pregnancy and the placenta. The time now was 11:30 am and I was really surprised how quickly it was passed.

What I saw didn't resemble a baby

I know it's not pleasant to look at what comes out of you but for me, I'm glad those clots I saw didn't resemble a baby. Obviously they were but you really just cannot tell so don't believe all that you read on the Internet. I was that person who researched foetal development on the Internet and was worried when I did pass it that I would recognise it straight away.

After passing this the nurse told me that I had to stay and pass a few more wee's with some blood in just so they could check what was now being passed but that after that I could go home. I was given the contraception that I agreed to, to take home too. 

At 12 pm I got a few more uncomfortable cramp-like sensations but nothing too bad. I still hadn't taken any painkillers for this. I was given some lunch (sandwich and a yoghurt). I couldn't really manage much. About half the sandwich forced down and half the yoghurt.

Take anything light you know you can hold down

I would suggest that when you go for the day to the clinic to take something like Lucozade or anything light that you know you can hold down and will give you a bit of energy.

At 12:40 pm I passed a wee in the bedpan and changed my pad, which by this time I had soaked through even onto my bed. The nurse came and collected this bedpan and then came to tell me that I was now fine to leave.

I was very surprised how quick it was all over

So by 1 pm, I was discharged out of the hospital and very surprised how quick it was all over. Obviously, I'm still bleeding at home now but I don't have any cramps. I'm told to expect the heavy bleeding for a few days and possibly some large blood clots.

I've had another huge blood clot since being back home that had some more tissue looking stuff in it but it's now 11:30 pm and the bleeding is easing off into a normal period like flow now.

Overall my experience has been positive

Overall my experience today has been positive. It really is true what they say about doing the exercise though. I think it's the force of gravity and perhaps the movement that maybe loosens things up and gets it out but even the nurse did say that if people work at the exercise then it is surprising how quick it's done.

My advice to anyone reading this, please don't get yourself worked up reading anything and everything you find on the Internet. It's why I wrote my story. I'm not saying some women won't find it painful but you really need to just keep an open mind about that side of things.

Yes take some painkillers in there with you, but I would have only taken them if it had got absolutely excruciating and it really didn't. Just get yourself prepared for the day.

Take about 3 sets of spare trousers like jogging bottoms or PJs and about 5 sets of fresh pants, maybe a jumper or hoody if you get the chills when you shake.

I never want to go through this again, mainly more to the mental agony it causes you.

I have never been pregnant before and I hope that the next time I am it is because I am ready to have children.

I feel sad but it was the right decision

I don't have any regrets about what has happened today. Yes, I feel sad but I know it was the right decision for me and my boyfriend.

I hope this story has shed some positive light on what is a difficult decision and situation for many.

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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.


Editor's comment

As you say this is a different experience for each individual. Sometimes it helps to read about other's experience so that you are more prepared, particularly if you read a wide range of stories. I hope you recover well and that you are never in a position where you have to go through this again. You can follow the link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

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