Surgical termination at 21 weeks in BPAS clinic

Surgical termination at 21 weeks in BPAS clinic.... Six weeks ago I was laying in bed on my back with my hands resting in my stomach and was idly wondering whether I should go on a diet in prep for the festive season; pressing my stomach about 3/4 cm below my belly button, it felt slightly firmer and then 'dropped off' to feeling normal. Thinking I was being crazy, the next morning I took a test.... "3+ weeks pregnant"... and then burst into tears! Not the result I had expected when my periods were coming months and I had no symptoms! I contacted a doctor that afternoon who gave me the BPAS number, they asked me how pregnant I thought I was, I said not very as my periods were still there. They booked me into an appointment for 4 days later. I then started to worry.... Whilst I definitely had no bump (and was only a size ten so not like there was space to hide one), the fact my stomach was harder made me google forums and facts about when you can feel a harder belly. They all said 16-22 weeks because before this, it's so tiny it's hidden in your pelvis. I started to become very worried and the night before the appointment had 2 panic attacks. I started to think of symptoms, if I was that far along, had I missed them... And if so, could I now see them? No.... The only things I could remember was drinking a lot of water which I just thought was me being healthy in the summer and needing to wee more, which I thought was related to the water!! Other than that, nothing. At the appointment, I had a meeting with the admin assistant who checked my details, then a meeting with a nurse who gave me an overview of termination options and asked what I thought I wanted to do. Having looked online before, I knew a surgical one was a preference as I thought it would be less traumatic. The doctor then did the ultrasound and said it was a big pregnancy but the picture was poor so she was struggling to see how big. I started to panic but she said she thought it was under 24 weeks so not to worry! She then confirmed I was in fact 20 weeks pregnant!!! I was horrified and in shock. It made no difference to my decision however. She took my bloods and then another nurse booked me into a local clinic. There were dates almost every day so I only waited a few days, they were also keen to get me booked in soon which I was fine with. They gave me my notes to take to the clinic. The night before the termination I looked at my notes... And was really upset. They hadn't told me that in the envelope was the scan pictures of the baby. Had they told me, I would not have opened the envelope. It upset me because I felt like that was something I should have seen with my boyfriend when we are ready to have children, not to see it by myself. I felt (and still feel) sad this special moment was tarnished slightly for the future. On the day, I got there at 8am, a nurse rubber stamped the decision, then checked whether I wanted a sandwich after the operation and what type. There was about 20 girls in the room, some with partners, most avoiding each other's eyes. I read my book until they called me upstairs to the ward at 11am. I was asked to change into a gown, slippers, take out my contacts and put all my stuff into a locker. There was about 3 people in the room, and one by one we were asked to go to the toilet and then go into the pre op room. It was horrible every time someone left or joined as all you could think of was what was happening in the next room. When I went in, they asked me to get onto a table and loosen my gown, because I was over 16 weeks they needed to dilate my cervix with sticks before the main op, while I waited for the person in front of me to finish my hands were resting on my hard bump. Luckily I never had felt any movement so the time felt calm and reassured me my decision was right. I was wheeled in fully awake and put my legs into stirrups. The doctor said he would then put the sticks in, and that it would feel like a smear test. There is no way it felt like a smear test, I instantly burst into tears because of the pain and couldn't help a scream come out. The nurse wiped my tears and I have a vivid memory of her being sympathetic as tears went in my ears. The doctor stopped after about a minute and said he had 2 sticks in not the 3 needed and asked a colleague whether I should be sedated as my cervix was tight as I had not had children before. He said no and that 2 would be fine. They wheeled me into a recovery room, put a pad in some net knickers and them walked me to a ward a floor up again where one lady was already with her partner behind a blind. He left soon and a nurse checked my blood pressure etc. I then was left for 4/5 hours with the odd check up. Despite being one of the first in, I didn't go back into the operating room until 4.30. They didn't tell me why but googling told me the two sticks needed a longer time to dilate me than three would so I was seen later. I slept most of the time. There were girls in local rooms who I could hear in pain with cramps but I was fine, just mentally exhausted and bleeding from the insertion, although with minimal if any pain from this. The nurse checked my bleeding and said it was fine, which reassured me. When I was due to go back in, they took me down to the op room, then the anaesthetist and doctor (uncomfortably good looking and my age which made me feel awkward but he was very friendly) put the cannula in the arm and the heart monitors onto my chest. They were both relaxed with me, but to be honest, I was already happier than the morning because (surely) the worst was over with the sticks and the termination was almost done to allow me to go back to normal life. They wheeled me into theatre, injected me..... And I woke up 30 mins later in a recovery room with 3/4 other girls curtained off. The anaesthetic made me cry a lot which the other girls were doing too and I felt weak/disorientated. After 5-10 mins this subsided, the nurse checked my blood pressure again and asked if I was ok. I was in a bit of pain so more as a contingency I asked for painkillers which they gave me. I was taken back to my little room then and slept on/off for an hour before they checked me over and was discharged. In the 2 weeks after I had minimal bleeding, I had bought night time/maxi pads but didn't need them after the first day, pantiliners were fine after. I hope this has been helpful, for me the worst moments were the panic about how pregnant I was, seeing the scan pictures and the horrible pain from the sticks. The best, the sense of relief and the speed with which everything happened. I've since gone on the implant because not knowing I was pregnant for 5 months scared me a lot, you hear about it but who seriously believes these girls didn't know? All I can do is thank my lucky stars that I was under 6 months so could still do something about it.

Editor's Comment

I can understand the shock you felt finding out you were 20 weeks pregnant when you had not missed a period. Late abortions are not very common because most women miss their periods after a couple of months. Please contact CareConfidential if you would like some post abortion support. You can call the national helpline, log on to Online advisor, or follow the link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

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