My experience of a medical abortion at 5 weeks of pregnancy at BPAS
I found I was 4-5 weeks pregnant
I am 23 and have been in a very happy relationship for around 8 weeks. We've been in that lovely stage where you love spending time together and miss each other when you're apart, we've all been there. I haven't been like this about anybody since I was a teenager so I've been very much enjoying the moment.
At the same time, we both don't want children any time soon. I made plans to go to the clinic and go back on the pill. Coincidentally, my workmate walked out of her job (I am a chef) and I was roped into working every day, until 21 days later (6th Sep) I couldn't work any more so I quit.
[You can find links to other stories organised by e.g. abortion providers (like BPAS, Marie Stopes and Planned Parenthood) on this page]
Whilst recovering from this, I started to get what I believed to be my menstrual cramps, so I was certain my period would come as usual on the 10th. On the day, I bought a pregnancy test just to be sure. You can imagine my dismay to find that I was 4-5 weeks pregnant.
I phoned BPAS
I was sure that I wasn't ready to bring a baby into the world, and I knew I couldn't go to my GP as my mum is a registered nurse there. I phoned BPAS and booked an appointment for the next day, for consultation and treatment. Once this was done, I was left with a difficult question - do I tell my partner?
In a way it seemed better not to tell him - everything was going so well between us, I didn't know how he felt about abortion (a lot of people I know are completely against it), I didn't want to hurt him, I didn't want to ruin everything. The reasons were stacking up, but the final thought that made things a lot clearer was this one - I'm planning on spending the foreseeable future, hopefully, the rest of my life with him. Could I really keep it from him for that amount of time? Absolutely not.
Then everything else started to stack up - it was his baby too, he had a right to know, if he didn't support my decision then I could hold my hands up and say I'd been honest with him. And I didn't realise how much I'd need support for what I was about to go through, better him than anyone else. It was scary, and I couldn't take the words back once I said them, but I made my choice to tell him.
As soon as we spoke that night he knew something was wrong, so I ended up blurting it out - "I'm f*****g pregnant". And then I burst into tears.
The first thing I felt was his arms around me, which was such a relief. I told him through my tears that I'd booked the appointment, I'd researched what would happen and what stage I was at with the pregnancy. He just kept on hugging me, and when I finished, asked if I'd like him to come with me. It was such a relief, I said yes. I asked if he had anything to say about my decision. He said he'd support whatever I chose to do.
The first appointment at BPAS
We went in for the first appointment on the 11th.
I had to go in alone for the consultation, where they asked me a few health questions, why I wanted an abortion, whether I was sure, what would I do about contraception in the future.
An ultrasound scan
I then had the ultrasound scan. The nurse said she could see the pregnancy but it was very small and she couldn't locate the sack, so I could come back another day or try the internal examination. I chose the second option. It was slightly uncomfortable but the nurse was very professional and treated me with dignity.
For the next part my partner could come in with me, this was just all to check my height, weight, BMI, blood pressure and blood sugar. Everything was fine, and we were informed about what would happen next, again the nurse was very professional and reassuring. We were told to try and get something to eat and come back in around an hour, which we did.
The third part was the big one - the pill. Once I'd taken it there was no going back. I took a deep breath and swallowed it with some water.
I then booked my appointment for the next day and was given a tablet to put up my bottom to prevent nausea. Once that was done, the nurse made sure I was okay and we were free to go. My partner then took me shopping to cheer me up, and also to get everything we needed for the next day.
Once the second part of the treatment was done, I'd have to get a taxi straight home and have someone to make sure I was okay. We agreed we'd stay at his house, but he would be at work in the evening, so when we got back that day we decided to tell his parents. Again they couldn't have been more understanding and asked if we'd like to be picked up when we were done. I'd never felt so lucky, as telling my family really wasn't an option.
The second appointment
So we went for the second appointment yesterday, where I was informed again about what to expect and how to look after myself.
I was given a painkiller to take orally, a pill to put up my bottom again (this time to prevent diarrhoea) and a box of antibiotics to take the next day to prevent an infection.
The nurse then inserted four pills vaginally. Not the most pleasant of experiences, but again she was very professional and treated me with dignity and respect. I put the bottom antibiotic in myself and thankfully accepted my partner's dad's offer of a lift home.
Agonising pain after 20 minutes
I was told the pain could start from between 30 minutes to 2 hours and could range from mild to severe.
After 20 minutes I was in agony and couldn't get out of the car, I thought maybe the painkiller hadn't kicked in yet. After about 10-15 minutes the pain subsided, and I managed to walk into the house, up the stairs and into the bedroom, where my partner got me into my pyjamas and his parents made me a hot water bottle and a cup of tea. I couldn't help but laugh at myself for thinking I could've done it all on my own a few days earlier!
The pain was a lot more like period pain at this point, still severe but bearable and not constant. I still hadn't bled yet so I got tucked up in bed with my partner, put the telly on and managed to get some sleep.
After around 30-40 minutes I woke up in agony again, I really wanted to go to the toilet but couldn't move. My partner did his best to make me comfortable, he held the hot water bottle to my abdomen and rubbed my lower back. Again after about 10 minutes, the pain died down and I stumbled to the loo.
As soon as I sat down the pain started again. At this point I was bleeding heavily, I had severe cramping in my lower abdomen, lower back and the tops of my thighs were almost numb.
A clot the size of a 2 pence coin
Eventually, when I felt like I could move again, I got up and wiped myself, looking into the toilet I could see a clot around the size of a 2 pence piece. I shuddered and flushed the toilet, changed my sanitary pad and then got back in bed.
The worst was over after that but it was still no picnic. Any kind of movement seemed to make the pain flare back up, so I lay as still as possible for hours whilst my partner brought me fresh hot water bottles, glasses of water and cups of tea.
His parents made me something to eat, I didn't realise how hungry I was until it was in front of me! He then had to go to work for a few hours. I had a bit of a cry when the time came, he'd been so supportive and lay with me the entire time, I really didn't want him to go. Before he left he made sure his parents would keep checking up on me, and he messaged me when he could to check I was okay.
His parents were also very supportive, they checked on me every hour or so for a fresh hot water bottle, more painkillers etc. At around 9.30 that night they went out for a few hours, so they gave me a number to call if I needed anything. At this point, I was able to stand and walk around a bit better, but my body felt exhausted and sore. I managed to get some sleep, by the time I woke up my partner was back, sat on the bed stroking my hair, still in his work uniform. He got undressed and into bed with me and we both got to sleep straight away.
The day after
We woke up this morning, again he made sure I was okay, reminded me to take my antibiotics and to start the contraceptive pills I'd been given. He had work again at 3.30 that afternoon, I felt strong enough to get myself home so I agreed to leave when he did. I was still cramping quite badly and bleeding so I took more painkillers and bought more sanitary pads.
I wish I hadn't gone home by myself. As soon as I got off the bus I felt dizzy and weak, so I walked home as quickly as I could. I rested for about half an hour after I got in but still felt really unwell. Nobody is home and won't be until tomorrow evening. My partner has messaged me when he can, but I think I should have stayed at his and rested for the day.
I managed to get some sleep earlier and woke up feeling sick and weak, and still in pain. I made myself eat a bowl of plain boiled vegetables (all I could manage) and went back to sleep. I woke up again and threw it all back up. I did feel better afterwards, I got rid of the vomit and have rested as much as possible. I'm starting to feel nauseous again now but hopefully, it will pass. I really wish my partner was here :(
My advice to anyone faced with the same situation as me - make no decision lightly, and be sure to tell someone what you're about to go through, and be sure to get the support you need because you really will need it.
Telling my partner was the best decision I could have made, it's scary to think what this experience would've been like without him. I consider myself lucky to have had the care of all the nurses I've seen, him and his parents.
Hopefully, it'll be over soon.