Surgical termination at 8 weeks

After reading countless stories on this website, I feel as if it's time that I share my own story. I started going out with this guy in summer 2013 after I gave my virginity to him. He was my friend's ex and was really keen on me so I was willing to give him a chance, despite a few warning signs. I had been seeing this guy for only a couple of months when we had a few careless moments. Normally he used contraception at my insistence but on those occasions we threw caution to the wind. My period hadn't come the previous month so I thought it was delayed because I took the morning after pill twice within two weeks. I eventually decided to go for a pregnancy test at the walk-in centre in early October. When I found out I was pregnant I was in a state of disbelief. I kept asking the nurse to check again, then when it sunk in I became a mess. I blamed myself for allowing myself to get into this situation. I was also confused, as I had taken the morning after pill after each episode of unprotected sex. Ironically, I kept telling my then boyfriend that I didn't want to get pregnant, now the worst case scenario had happened.

From the moment I found out, I was certain I had to terminate.

I am only 19 and still in university, so I had nothing to offer a child at this point in my life. Yes, I wanted to be a mother but only when I could give my kids the best start in life. If my family knew, they'd make me continue the pregnancy as they are devout Christians. While I didn't tell them, I told a handful of friends about my situation and my housemates helped me go through my options. A couple of my friends suggested other ways around the situation but I had already made my mind up. After going for another test at a clinic the next day, I told the nurse that I wanted a termination. She was sympathetic and I had to book a scan afterwards. I was less than pleased to find out that the nearest date I could be booked in was the 23rd October, but a few days later I managed to get a scan booked for the 18th October instead. I hadn't told the father until he called me at the weekend. The first thing he said was "are you sure"? This annoyed me as you can't be more sure after three positive tests! He begged me to continue the pregnancy and offered to support me but I told him that I was going for a termination and I wanted to break up with him. At this point, I didn't see a long-term future for us even with a child in the picture.

He would often pressure me into having sex when I didn't want to.

I told him that I was leaving him because I wasn't happy being with him, which he accepted reluctantly. I haven't spoken to him since. I was missing out on uni work due to nausea associated with the pregnancy. When I told my tutor about my situation, she was really supportive and she emailed my lecturers about my illness. On the day of the scan, I brought a friend from uni along with me for moral support, where I found out I was 7 weeks pregnant. The pre-assessment appointment was booked for the 22nd October. I emailed my lecturer that I would be missing class that day (but I didn't go into detail about my situation) and she was ok with it. The pre-assessment appointment consisted of me signing medical forms, having my blood pressure checked and having my bloods taken as well as booking to have a surgical termination for the 28th October when I would be 8 weeks pregnant. **I had chosen the surgical method as I would be asleep during the procedure and I would be detached from the whole process.** Also, I wasn't too keen on the idea of passing the contents of my womb into a bedpan if I went for the medical option. 28th October. The day arrived and I just wanted to get it over and done with. Up till this time, I only had a vague idea of how I'd feel when it was done. I was advised to stop eating at midnight and to drink clear fluids until 6am that morning. After being admitted to the Day Surgery Unit and changing into hospital clothing, I was being seen by doctors and nurses who would explain what would happen. Before the surgery, I had to insert two pills up my vagina to soften the cervix. After I was collected and walked to the operating theatre, I lay down on the hospital bed. Everything was moving fast around me. One doctor was placing heart monitors on my chest while another was supplying the anaesthetic. I felt a rush down my arm, then I passed out. When I came to in the Recovery Unit, I was still groggy from the anaesthetic and it took a while to realise what had happened. At the same time as the termination, I had arranged to have a Mirena coil fitted as well to prevent another unplanned pregnancy.

I felt a sense of emptiness as I had replaced a foetus for a bunch of plastic sitting in my uterus.

While I was recovering, I decided that I would NEVER allow this to happen to me again, and that the next child I conceive I would keep. I was given some biscuits, sandwiches and hot chocolate to consume while I was recovering, while another doctor talked to me about the Mirena, checked my blood pressure and allowed me to be discharged once I was well enough. My uni friend came along again for the whole day and once I was discharged, I went to her flat to stay overnight. I cannot thank the doctors and nurses enough for their conduct throughout my experience. Not once did I feel like I was being judged, and they explained everything clearly to me in order to make sure that I was doing the right thing. I also owe a lot to the friends I had around me during my time of need, as I never felt alone during this time and that they would stand by me whatever I decided. Having someone with me at all of the appointments helped a lot too. My family don't know anything about the situation, and I doubt that I will tell them soon because of how they'd react. **The last few days have been tough emotionally.** I have cried every day since the termination, and I feel a huge sense of loss. Although I chose to end the pregnancy, it hasn't stopped me from expressing my grief and I am still trying to get on with my studies. However, I have found comfort in believing that my late mother is taking care of her would-be grandchild for me, and that I will be reunited with them in the afterlife. I'm sure that in time I will heal emotionally, and that I can see that what I did was for the best. Only then can I move forward with my life.

Editor's Comment

It is the right thing to do to allow yourself to grieve for your loss. I think it is common to feel that you should not be grieving since you chose to end the pregnancy. However, we often put a wall around painful emotions in a situation like this, and it is exhausting to keep that defence mechanism in place. Emotions are bound to seep out and can be very painful. It would probably help you to have some post abortion support so that you are able to heal emotionally and move on. A programme called The Journey is designed to help women to process the emotions they are feeling and come to a place where they can move forward.
It is sad that you feel you have had to keep this secret from your family particularly as Christian principles are to love and care for each other unconditionally, and to be non judgemental. I hope that if you are ever able to tell them you are surprised by their response! 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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