My medical abortion was one of the more positive experiences
I had a medical abortion last week at 6 wks of pregnancy.
I want to share my story in the hope that it will reassure other women facing the same very difficult decision.
I found this site and read as many of the stories as I could and am very glad to say mine is another to add to the more positive experiences. I think there are several reasons why it was not nearly as bad as I thought but the two main ones are the early stage of the pregnancy and my having experienced labour pains in the past.
A bit of background
First of all a bit of background - I am 34, separated from my husband for over a year (with intention to divorce), I have a 2½ year old daughter and am 5 months into a new relationship.
My partner also has a toddler from a previous relationship and neither of us is interested in having any more children. I was using contraception but it failed.
I did not make this decision lightly but we both knew it was absolutely the right one and I have no regrets. I also suffered PTSD from the trauma of my daughter's delivery and this was partly the reason why I could not go ahead with the pregnancy and also partly why I feared the abortion so much. I had heard the pain was very bad and worried it would give me flashbacks to the delivery.
Bad period pains at the front, contractions at the lower back
Having been through it I can confirm the pains are like bad period pains at the front of your body, mixed with contractions at the lower back but, it is only as bad as very early stage labour which is really not that bad at all, perfectly able to cope with, with paracetamol.
I had the pregnancy confirmed by my GP and was sent to the Women's health Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
I had two appointments, the first took all morning last Monday and involved several steps.
First off I had an ultrasound scan. I was very worried about this, I did not want to see the screen or hear any details. I did not have to request this, the woman knew my intention was to not go ahead so she simply remarked she wouldn't be showing me the screen and that she'd seen all she needed to see (and that I was 5 wks & 6 days).
I then saw a doctor and signed consent forms to go ahead with the medical procedure.
He took swabs to check for any infections and I also had height, weight and blood test taken. I think this is just the NHS taking checks on your health while they can, if you went to a Marie Stopes clinic they wouldn't take all those tests and you'd be sent home to miscarry the pregnancy by yourself (as was my friend's choice and experience).
I can't speak highly enough of the care I received
I preferred a hospital setting and can't speak highly enough of the care I received.
The final stage of the first appointment was to orally take the drug that blocks the pregnancy hormones. They explained there was no changing my mind once I'd taken it but I was 100% certain of my decision.
The staff were all very sensitive and helpful
On the whole the staff were all very sensitive and helpful, I just had one minor wobble when one of the nurses made it sound like I might not be able to go ahead straight away. I really could not have faced another week of building up to it so was very relieved when she booked me in for 2 days later to complete the process.
A sensitive burial
She also upset me by talking about the products of the procedure receiving a sensitive burial. I had read this might be the case but hearing it made it all the more real and did make me cry even though I knew I was making the right decision. I am just sharing this as you may not be prepared to hear this.
After reading all the info, having all the tests and signing the forms (all with different staff, all with periods of waiting in between) it was time to take the tablet and sit for half an hour in case I was sick (I did not feel sick at all) I could then go home.
Just as they said, not much happened that night or the next day. I went into work as normal (though I did feel quite sick that morning I could not tell if it was morning sickness, the anxiety, or the drug I'd taken; I think it was probably all 3) and just had slight spotting that night.
The second appointment
48 hours after the first appointment I took a taxi back to the hospital and they put me in a really nice private room where I waited for my partner, who was taking my daughter to nursery for me.
The nurse explained the procedure and left me in peace.
She had inserted some vaginal pessaries and asked me not to get off the bed or move around too much for an hour. Within 10-15 minutes I had strange bubbling like sensations but it wasn't painful, just a bit odd.
I was still very nervous but never felt sick (I read on here that some were really quite sick with it, I wanted to reassure that I wasn't) and ate small amounts of plain biscuits to keep something in my stomach. I watched tv and read magazines to distract me.
I didn't need to ask for painkillers until about 3 hours had passed, by this stage there was quite a lot of running blood but no large clots and the pain was only as bad as very early stage labour/period pain.
It helped so much to have my boyfriend with me, I am so glad I didn't go through it on my own. I did not panic or cry with it, it all felt ok and I got off the bed and walked round a bit to see if that helped get things moving.
I had to have more pessaries 3 hours later and they monitored all the loss in bed pans (each time I needed the loo I held a bed pan over the toilet so that I caught everything in it, and added the toilet paper I used as well). I then had to call the nurse via the buzzer each time so they knew to come and check it.
I have to admit I did get quite bad diarrhoea (I had read this could happen and expected it to because I have IBS so I knew my tummy would react to the drugs) I shouldn't have done but I admit I was too embarrassed to present the bed pans to them that had a mix of blood and diarrhoea in them!
Satisfied that there was nothing of the pregnancy to see, I just flushed those away so I didn't feel that they were missing anything as the blood was purely liquid at that stage.
It turned out though that I could have been wrong because about 6 hours after the treatment began, they checked my latest offering and confirmed I had passed the sac and the placenta.
I was so relieved but also hugely surprised as it really can only have been a cm wide at most. To me all I could see was liquid blood with one or two tiny spots in it.
Other women's experiences at 8 and 9 weeks
Having read some of the other women's experiences at 8 and 9 weeks, who saw a recognisable foetus, I found it and continue to find it so much easier to get my head round what I have done knowing that it was such an early stage of the pregnancy and it was really only a collection of cells.
I was sent home an hour later and my boyfriend took very good care of me, which I needed because the pain continued for another 36 hours (a hot water bottle helps a great deal) but mainly because I was so light headed and felt like I could barely get up and down the stairs to the loo.
I took the next day off work (essential to rest) and felt 99% back to normal by the Friday.
It is now 6 days since I was in hospital and I'm still bleeding but can tell it's almost done.
I had to go back the next day because they'd forgotten to give me an injection of Anti D (you will need this if you have a negative blood group) but other than that they were great.
I want to reassure you that you don't need to be afraid
Mainly I want to reassure you that you don't need to be afraid, it will be a hard thing to do but you have much more strength than you think you do. It is just a few hours out of your life to get through. I don't feel that I will need any counselling because I was so sure of my decision.
I hope others can take comfort from my story and be less frightened about what you are facing.