Yesterday I had a surgical abortion. I can’t stop reliving the whole thing in my head.
I feel really stupid as I have had an abortion before, three years ago and I told myself I would never go through it again. It was a medical one and it was my first pregnancy, I was seven weeks gone and it was with my first boyfriend. We were both 20 but I felt like it was too soon to start a family. We split up last year, I quit my job and I started taking anti-depressants. Then I met my partner who I’m with now and fell pregnant. We had only been together two months but we decided to keep the baby. So I swapped the anti-depressants for folic acid and, even though it was scary thinking about becoming a mother, I was looking forward to it.
Then I started bleeding. I went to the doctors and she told me a bit of blood is normal. Then a week later I started to bleed again. This time it was heavier and I was having stomach cramps. We went to see another doctor and she made me an appointment at the hospital for a scan. I remember looking at the screen and wondering what was taking her so long to point out my baby to me, then she turned to me and said she couldn’t find anything. I had my blood taken and was told I was miscarrying. Then around midnight that night I went to the toilet and there it was, my tiny baby. After staring at it in a state of shock, I touched it. It was so cold, I remember crying. That was only six months ago.
I searched the internet looking at pictures of embryos to find out how far on I was. I watched videos of how they grow and read all about foetal development. So at ten and a half weeks on, I knew what my baby would have looked like and I think that made me feel guiltier about aborting it. I found out at the end of January, I was pregnant and made an appointment with a doctor and told him I wanted a termination. He said to make an appointment with another doctor but did a pregnancy test. A week later, I went back for the pregnancy test result and talk to another doctor about a termination. He told me he didn’t believe in abortion and wouldn’t refer me but he made me an appointment with another doctor there and then. He asked how I was feeling and as I told him I was having some pains, he said he would make an appointment for me to have a scan to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. I had the scan that afternoon and the nurse said everything was ok and told me I was six weeks gone. I asked if I could have a look and she pointed out the tiny white moving thing was its heart beating. I was starting to feel different about the abortion.
When I saw my boyfriend again, he just looked happy and I knew I couldn’t just drop the bombshell on him, tell him how much I wanted to have this baby. He admitted he was feeling scared when I fell pregnant the first time and I think he was just being supportive, and anyway we both agreed having an abortion was for the best as we had no room for a baby, absolutely no money, he works night shift and I had exams and college.
I went back to the doctors and he referred me. I went to the hospital appointment and had a scan. By then I was nine weeks, which meant having a surgical abortion - something I was dreading as the idea of having something suck out my baby petrified me. Although I would be put to sleep I was still scared.
On the morning of the operation I was tense and nervous but my boyfriend came with me even though I was to be there at 7:30am! The nurse saw me first and I was given the vaginal tablets to loosen my cervix. Within minutes I was getting horrible cramps and had to wait about an hour for painkillers. I was in and out the waiting room and then I was told I would be going to theatre within two hours. Sitting there, I figured out there were quite a lot of women there going to go through the same thing. I felt a bit better.
This woman called me and I was confused as I thought I had seen everybody I was to see that morning but she introduced herself. I was still bewildered until she gave me a leaflet to read. It was for stem cell research and she asked if I would like to donate some foetal tissue and a sample of my placenta. She left me to think about it but after five minutes I agreed. She was really nice and I thought ‘Why not?’
When the nurse called me through to get changed, I felt as if my knees were going to buckle, then she told me my boyfriend would have to wait around for the next three hours. I felt so scared so alone when I kissed him goodbye. I got changed and I remember walking down the corridor with the nurse. I was shown my consent form. I agreed I still wanted the abortion and she walked me through to this room. It was really bright and there were all these people in it. I felt so small and vulnerable; I took off my robe and just felt so naked wearing a flimsy hospital gown. I lay on the table and I really wanted to cry. I didn’t feel like a person at all. One guy even patted my feet like I was some kind of puppy. If it wasn’t for the girl who was talking to me while taking my blood pressure, I think I would have freaked out. .I felt the needle and was told I’d feel drowsy. That’s all I remember.
I woke up in agony and was so confused. I was crying my eyes out, I felt panicky and shivery. As I lay there, I was deciding whether I was happy or sad. It was a weird feeling. I did feel relieved it was all over but sad. I was already missing my baby. Then I remembered the research woman and how a bit of my baby would soon be under a microscope and then I wondered if it was such a good idea saying yes.
By the time I had a cup of tea and a sandwich I felt better. Even though the ward was full of women who just been through what I had been through none of as spoke to each other. It was weird. I wanted to ask the girl who was opposite me if she was ok, but instead we just sat there and stared at each other. The nurses were nice but never had time for you. It wasn’t until I got to my boyfriend’s house that I started to get upset again, as I would sit on the couch and remember this is where I’d lie down when I was pregnant because I’d be feeling tired or have morning sickness.
I don’t regret what I have done, not really, not deep down. I do wonder though if under different circumstances things would be so much different and I wouldn’t be this sad. It will haunt me forever and I know I will never forget. I feel sorry for the babies I’ve lost and my heart aches for them. I gave them a false start at life and it’s something I have to live with. I know those babies were too small and not perfectly formed but I watched one of their hearts beating and I believe they all had a soul just like me and that hurts so much. Only my boyfriend knew about the recent abortion and even though he has been there for me it’s hard to talk to him because I don’t want to upset or annoy him by doing so. I’ve cried so much in front of him. I feel guilty but he is all I have really. I can’t talk to my friends because they all have kids and that would be weird. My dad doesn’t believe in abortion. That’s why I think I have so many brothers and sisters, and I don’t really get on well with my mum. I feel so alone and desperate. I even thought about going to church. I just feel lost and I have this feeling in my stomach. It kind of feels like total fear. I feel like I am desperately searching for something but I don’t know what.
Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you are really trying very hard to keep your head above water, having been through two terminations and a miscarriage in a relatively short space of time. I sense you are very muddled about what you think and feel about your experiences, with your head saying some things and your heart clearly saying other things.
It sounds as if you can see the benefit of this termination on account of your circumstances, but you also seem to be a little afraid of acknowledging what is going on at a deeper level in your heart. Hence your feeling of ‘total fear’. You have been deeply shaken and it may feel as if you're not sure if the ground is still there to walk on. There’s a nervousness that perhaps this experience didn’t quite do what you expected it to do for you, and that it has in fact left you deeply hurt and in pain, lost and empty. This is something we all do naturally to protect ourselves from what we’re afraid of, but it cannot continue if you want to stay emotionally healthy. You would benefit from talking to an advisor at your nearest centre, on the helpline or using Online Advisor. It’s early days for you, but you need some support to help you through this confusing time.