I wanted a medical abortion
I'd like to share my story as I hadn't found many like it in my original research. I tried to avoid the horror stories as I was already freaked out enough that I didn't want to add to that stress but I hope this helps others that might be going through the same situation. I am 23 years old and initially found out I was pregnant after going to renew my pill, I had told my family planning clinic that I had felt nauseous over Christmas and usually have some break through bleeding on my pill (cerazette) but hadn't had any in a few weeks. She suggested we do a pregnancy test to rule that out and I was completely shocked when she said it was positive. I was supposed to be starting a new internship in London the following day and it was an awful lot to take in, I immediately knew I couldn't keep it, my boyfriend and I have been together 4 years and at one point in the future I know I would love to have children, but as it is I am currently unemployed and my partner is only just about affording to live in London as it is, he has only just started a new job down here too. There was no way we could keep it. My initial appointment was in south Manchester as that's where I am from originally, I didn't want to risk losing my internship so decided to book an appointment at the nearest SMP clinic in London, which turned out to be a good hour and a half commute from my partner's flat. As I don't have periods on my pill there was no way of telling how far along I was, I was convinced I wouldn't be more than a couple of weeks, so I was quite shocked again when at the first scan I was told I was 8 weeks and 4 days, I had 2 days to make the decision whether I wanted a medical abortion otherwise it would have to be surgical which made me very nervous. I stupidly looked at the photos from the scan which were in the nurses hand, this really knocked my confidence in my choice to have the abortion. To be given a measurement in length and actually see a photo of the start of a baby really upset me. My partner was really annoyed I had looked at it, but I was curious and it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. If you're not sure of your decision I wouldn't recommend seeing the ultrasound, after being quite calm and decisive until this point I was then a wreck that evening, my partner was getting stressed as he didn't want me to change my mind after we'd decided on it together the evening before. I knew I still didn't want to continue with the pregnancy but I was then even more nervous to have the medical abortion. I had done a couple of days of my internship then I had to go back to the clinic for my first tablet on the Friday, followed by antibiotic tablet up your bottom (doesn't hurt one bit - not as scary as it sounds), for the following 24 hours I didn't have any side effects, I was not sick and didn't have cramps or any bleeding at all. The second appointment I had the misoprostol tablets inserted inside me, and a painkiller up inside your bum. Again, this was a little uncomfortable but it didn't hurt at all. As you're not allowed to use public transport we had booked a taxi which was going to take an hour and a half to get home. This was a nightmare through central London, I felt sick to my stomach after about 20 minutes, and had really bad shakes, and felt very cold. I think this was partly shock and stress but I would not recommend having to do a long journey back home afterwards, try and get a clinic as near to you as possible. After getting home I had quite bad cramps but didn't have any bleeding for about 5/6 hours, then I had a lot of very red blood and some small clots but that was it. Nothing that I could determine was the pregnancy that I had read so much about in others' stories. This continued the next day, less blood but no more clots. I was starting to get anxious as I badly wanted to return to work but couldn't until I felt it was definitely over. The pain was manageable with ibuprofen and paracetamol, but I think I have quite a high pain threshold. I had rung the out of hours nurse hotline a couple of times, but she assured me it was normal and that I probably hadn't passed the pregnancy yet. I was told to continue waiting. This went on for a week. I had cramps but the bleeding was lighter and lighter everyday - like at the end of a period. I was very very bloated, I looked more pregnant than I did before the treatment! I hadn't returned to work for fear of being caught off guard. When I rang the helpline continuously I was told to keep waiting. I had read online that some clinics offer a scan after 10 days, after practically begging to have this done (they were very reluctant, stating they usually wait for 3 weeks to do the test again), I wanted to determine where I was up to with the whole process, they booked me in for an appointment to see the doctor. The next step was an internal ultrasound examination, which to be honest was very unpleasant, given I was still bleeding and still had a very tender stomach. The doctor did this with a nurse in the room, and they were discussing what they could see, which left me feeling a bit left out as I didn't know what was good or bad. Afterwards he discussed the findings with me, he told me I hadn't passed the placenta and other surrounding tissues but there was no sign of the remainder of the pregnancy. This is why I hadn't experienced many clots. I was given two courses of antibiotics to prevent infection of the remaining tissue and more misoprostol to dissolve under my tongue this time (for 20 mins) then swallow what was left with water. This was quite unpleasant as it made my mouth ache a lot - not sure if that's normal but it wore off after a couple of hours. After about an hour I had very bad pains and a lot of red blood again, I passed several more clots quite quickly this time. Hopefully the process is now over for me ( I am still waiting for the 4 weeks to pass for me to take another test ), but had I left it with such uncertainty I would not have been prescribed the antibiotics and likely ended up with an infection of the remaining tissue. I felt like a pain but was so glad that I kept ringing and demanding that they see me again. I wouldn't wish this process on anybody and I have had a lot of ups and downs, but I am still happy with my decision, I know it was right for me and my partner.
Editor's CommentOne of the risks of medical abortion is having retained pregnancy tissue, and they should have gone through this with you when you signed your consent form. Sometimes it has to be removed surgically, but hopefully the repeated Misoprostal will have sorted the problem. If you still get pain or heavy bleeding you do need to insist on being seen. Don't be afraid to call the clinic helpline again.