I am 26 years old and had an abortion through the NHS this week.
I took a week to decide I would have an abortion. Due my understanding of their feelings and thoughts about abortion, I have not told my parents, my sister or my friends about this decision. I felt very alone and isolated. I started suffering from early pregnancy symptoms which my mother and sister began to notice. I denied it and claimed illness. I hope sharing this story will help people open their minds to pro-choice to stop others feeling as isolated as I did. As a result my partner was the only person I could speak to who, though he tried, can't understand symptoms, feelings, emotions and reservations regarding the choice I was making.
As I had recently moved into the area, I did not have a GP so went to a Family Planning drop in session to explain I wanted to terminate my pregnancy. Throughout my experience, the only person who made me feel bad about my choice was the nurse I saw on my first visit. I must explain that I do not think it was her intention to make me feel this way however she did go on about the many preventative measures I should have taken and at this stage, it did not help me. Nevertheless, she referred me to the Gynaecology department within the local hospital and advised me to call the following morning. When I called the next day, the receptionist was great and booked me in for consultation the following week. If you have been researching it, I’m sure you understand that , at least in Scotland, it is a three step process. Referral, consultation and in-patient care. I have heard stories of woman allowed to take a pill and leave however this was not the case for me. I’m not sure if this was due to the fact I’d be nine to ten weeks pregnant at the point of termination. I’m not good with hospitals however my partner came with me to hold my hand. Unfortunately, to ensure it’s my decision, he’s not actually allowed to hold my hand. Firstly I was given a scan, the nurse confirmed I was 9 weeks pregnant and she was so considerate and thoughtful ensuring I did not see the scan on the screen and everything was gone when I got up. The next stage was the doctor who confirmed my reasoning and asked what my precautions would be going forward. At this point I signed the paperwork. I then saw another nurse who explained the procedure and took blood for testing. The nurse explained clearly that on my next visit to the ward, 4 days later, I would take one pill and leave. This would stop the pregnancy hormones. Two days later, I would be an in-patient to the ward where I would have four pills inserted high into my cervix. I was dreading it. When I arrived at the ward to be admitted as an inpatient I was nervous, anxious and terrified. My partner was there to support me but nothing he could say made me feel any better. A young nurse arrived and explained she would be administering the treatment. She was friendly, polite and professional. To my disbelief she spoke to me about my work whilst administering the treatment. (my partner was asked to leave during this) I was amazed at how relaxed and comfortable I felt. The nurse took time to explain anything I was confused about. She gave me antibiotics to take throughout the day and asked my partner to return. He was surprised , I think, to see no tears or embarrassed face. I cannot credit the nurses enough who looked after me throughout the day. They regularly asked if I need pain relief, sickness medication or water. They were happy to help and I felt relaxed and reassured that I was not making a mistake, I was making a choice.
The experience itself is of course unpleasant. I experienced cramping pains and there was heavy bleeding. I was unfortunately sick; however the nurses treated my symptoms as soon as I explained. They did everything they could to make me comfortable. I was in the hospital from 8am until 5:30pm as I experience heavy bleeding however the abortion itself was over at around two in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I was being sick when the foetus passed and could not avoid seeing it on the floor. This was the aspect I was dreading the most. I was determined not to see as I felt I would regret it all instantly. It was upsetting but not devastating. I wished I had the option to walk out without seeing it however it was too late and with the damage done, I took a deep breath and gained my composure. My partner buzzed the nurse and brought me a change of underwear so unfortunately he saw it too. I apologised profusely to the nurse cleaning the floor and explained I was sick at that point. She assured me it was ok and gave me everything I needed to clean myself up. The nurses were fabulous and I honestly cannot praise them enough. I apologise where any of this has been too much information however I was terrified about my decision so I hope reading this helps others to be calmer if possible. I am not writing this to encourage, influence or convince any woman about the choice of abortion.
I now feel relieved and content with the decision I made. I will never repeat this action however I know it was the correct choice for me. I do not regret my decision and I believe I never will.
Editor's CommentThank you for sharing your experience of a medical abortion in Scotland. I am glad that you had so much support, and that the nursing staff were both kind and professional, as they are trained to be. It sounds as though you are at peace with your decision and making a good recovery.
This story was sent in on 26/02/2014