A surgical abortion with general anaesthetic.By anonymous on 17/12/2014
I want to tell my story because the three weeks I knew I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time reading "experience stories" to help me decide what I wanted to do; these stories proved immensely helpful and now that I've had my experience I wanted to do my part in helping other women decide by explaining what happened to me. To add a quick spoiler: it all ended up as positive as a situation like that could've been!
I found out I was pregnant (I'm 20 years old, and a student) after being suspicious for a few weeks -- I'd noticed some small body changes.
When it was soon enough to take a test, it was clear for the first minute and I was happy and threw it out. But a bad feeling led me back to the bin 20 minutes later and, sure enough, there was a faint line. I took one more just to be sure, and sure enough, I was pregnant.
There was no doubt in my mind I wanted to have an abortion -- I am in full-time university education, the child of strict Christian parents, an ambitious young woman, and, worst of all, the child was the child of a man I had an abusive relationship with. I went to my boyfriend's flat (a supportive, new boyfriend) and told him what had happened. I immediately called up the doctor and scheduled an appointment.
My emotional reactions swung wildly during this time -- from complacent acceptance ("it can be done with in 3 weeks and it will all be okay") to self-blame ("I'm so stupid, why wasn't I more strict about condoms? I'm usually so diligent") to paranoia ("my parents would disown me!") to a general depression that I couldn't shake. I have a history with depression/anxiety and, for the first two weeks of knowing, drank a lot in hopes of forgetting about the situation. I also knew I was on a strict time frame and wanted the abortion done soon... I was researching online a lot and decided a surgical abortion with general anaesthetic would be best for me. The medical abortion stories seemed traumatic and painful (and I'm a baby when it comes to physical pain!) and the quickness of the surgical abortion appealed to me, especially as I'd have to hide the abortion from my conservative parents. I was sure on surgery. I also knew I wanted general anaesthetic as it seemed easiest to just be sent to sleep, then wake up in recovery.
Unfortunately, I had to wait 4 weeks for this to happen. I went to a local doctor for 3 ultrasounds in this time. The first time, he couldn't find the pregnancy and almost convinced me I could have an ectopic pregnancy as I occasionally smoke. Luckily, the next week I went in, he was able to find the yolk sack on the ultrasound. I was happy to go forward, but he said I had to wait another week, as he couldn't find the heartbeat and I was too early for an abortion. I ended up just calling a Marie Stopes clinic and making an appointment with them, as I heard they were good, was tired of waiting, and the doctor was trying to pressure me into a medical. I was told I could go to the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing and receive exactly what I wanted -- a consultation and surgical abortion with general anaesthetic -- within about three hours. The woman on the phone was nice and made me feel comfortable. I was so happy to be able to get the issue sorted!
Unfortunately, during the week leading up to this, morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks. I suddenly felt too nauseous to leave the bed for most days. I was unable to eat much, felt constantly ill, and hence depressed again. Things I usually didn't mind (the smell of smoke) suddenly made me throw up. My boyfriend was lovely (always making me ginger tea and trying to help) but little made me feel better. Luckily, before I knew it, the day of the procedure came, and I went to the clinic with a supportive friend.
The place was running a bit behind schedule that day (which I was prepared for). As we walked in, there were three old protesters who tried to talk to us, but they were easy to ignore and not that intimidating. Before I knew it, I had my consultation. The woman was very adamant I get an IUD placed though I did not want one, but once the birth control discussion ended, she was nice and understanding. I got my finger scraped to check for iron levels in my blood, and an ultrasound that confirmed I was 7 weeks pregnant. I signed the consent form and was taken to a waiting room. The waiting was the worst bit -- I was in a chilly room with 3 other girls who were all complaining about how long they'd been there. I ended up waiting for an hour and the anxiety started to build up. I also hadn't eaten for about 12 hours to prepare for going under anaesthetic, so I was getting hunger cramps and nausea! Soon enough, my name was called. I was asked to remove my trousers, panties, and shoes and put on a blue gown. I was taken into the operation theatre, where there were about two nurses, and anaesthetic man, and the surgeon. I was told to lie on the bed and, though I confessed to needle anxiety, the anaesthesia was plugged straight in and before I could even put my feet in the stirrups available I was fast asleep.
I woke up minutes later in gauze, white underwear, thinking I had just woken up that morning. I was led to the recovery room and felt disorientated, but not in a bad way. They took my blood pressure, made me tea, and gave me some biscuits. In my woozy state, I was unable to text my mum to tell her I was with friends, and got the nurse to send the text. They gave me some antibiotics then, and some antibiotics to eat with dinner.
It was simple from there: I changed into my clothes and they asked me if there was an excess of bleeding (there wasn't), they bandaged up the bit where the needle had been put in, and I was sent off. Later that night, I had some cramping, and continued to have light cramping in waves for the next few days. But what I thought was most amazing was how much happier/relieved I felt immediately afterwards. The morning sickness had immediately disappeared. I started to enjoy things I loved before like coffee with milk, a glass of wine, sushi, etc. within a few days! Before, they'd made me sick to my stomach. I recovered quickly, both physically and emotionally. I saw the pregnancy as burden -- something that kept me from all the productive things I was ready to achieve.