I hope my abortion experience puts someone's mind at rest

By Rebecca on 28/05/2015
surgical abortion bpas

I had read loads of stories on this site about abortion. I had literally terrified myself over all of the horror stories and had spent endless nights reading stories and crying myself to sleep.

I just wanted to share my experience in the hope that it puts someone's mind at rest.

My appointment was on Thurs at 9:30am, I had booked in for a consultation with the possibly of treatment on the same day.

The BPAS clinic waiting room was packed

I arrived at the BPAS clinic at 9am and was given a medical form to fill in.

I walked into the waiting room and was quite shocked to see how packed it was.

I found a seat and filled out the forms which took my mind off things for the moment. I then handed it back in and went back into the waiting room. There were stacks of magazines but nobody was really reading them, a radio was playing in the background. Most people were just quietly whispering to their support person.

I would recommend bringing someone with you if you can as it was nice to have someone there to talk to.

The ultrasound put me at 8 weeks, 2 days

At 9:45am, I was called into a room for my consultation. The nurse was nice and she gave me my ultrasound first, this put me at 8 weeks, 2 days. I couldn't see the screen and the nurse didn't ask if I wanted to either, which suited me.

She then correctly identified that I needed the toilet and gave me an STI test to do at the same time. She said that this was routine and everybody had to do it.

I went to the toilet and took a swab inside my vagina whilst I was in there. I then went back into the room and gave her the test. She said they would text me the results in about a week.

She then pricked my thumb for a blood test (which was positive so this meant that I didn't need an extra injection), checked my blood pressure, weight and height.

She asked which method of abortion I wanted

She then had a chat with me and asked me which method of abortion I wanted. I said surgical awake and she just responded with, "why?" She said doing it this way would be extremely painful so she would advise general anaesthetic.

I just explained to her that I was scared I wouldn't wake up but she said that was extremely rare and I would be in safe hands. I decided to follow the nurse's advice and go with surgical asleep.

She then explained what the whole procedure would involve and asked me to sign the consent form. She then placed a wristband on my wrist with my name, DOB and clinic ref number on. She then sent me back into the waiting room.

Waiting was the hardest part

The waiting was the hardest part for me. Every time the door opened, my heart skipped a beat. Names were being called out about every 20 mins. The waiting room started to filter out and I knew it wouldn't be long until it was my turn to go through.

My name was called at 11:45am, along with another girl's name. We followed the nurse up some stairs and we were asked to get changed into our night dresses but keep our socks on.

When I came out of the changing room the nurse gave me a blanket to wrap around me. She then placed some sticky pads on my arm (2 on one arm and one on the other). I waited in this small room with the other girl for about 5 mins until I was called through.

The nurse asked me to lie down on the bed in the corridor. She asked me to clench my hand several times whilst she lightly tapped at it (which I assume was to make me vein visible for the anaesthetic injection).

The surgeon asked if I had any questions

The anaethetist then introduced himself followed by the surgeon who asked me if I had any questions. I said no and was asked to close my eyes as I was wheeled into theatre as the lights were extremely bright.

The anaesthetic wires were connected to the sticky pads on my arms which the nurse had placed on me earlier. The injection was then inserted into my hand and a strap was placed around my upper arm to check my blood pressure. I felt something going up my arm, smelt a strange smell and then I was asleep.

I woke up in the recovery room

I woke up in the recovery room with other girls. After a few minutes I was helped into a wheelchair and wheeled into another recovery room where I was sat in a recliner chair and given a glass of water.

After about 10 mins, I was asked to get up and get changed and put my own sanitary pad on. I was then taken into another room and offered tea, coffee or hot chocolate. I had hot chocolate with some biscuits.

Other girls were saying they had some cramping pains and were given co-codemol. I didn't have any pain nor did I feel dizzy.

I was discharged after 20 minutes

After 20 mins, I was given a leaflet to fill out about the care I received. I was then taken into another room where a nurse discharged me.

She told me all about my recovery process, answered my questions and gave me a helpline number to call in case I needed it. She also gave me 2 antibiotic tablets which I had to take orally before leaving the clinic. I then left the clnic at 2:30pm.

On my way home, I experienced some cramping but nothing more than a period pain.

When I got home, I was very hungry having not eaten anything since midnight. I had some spaghetti on toast but this might have been a bad idea as within 5 mins of eating it I was sick 3 times. Not sure whether it was the after effects of the anaesthetic or because I ate too soon.

I rang the BPAS helpline

I rang the BPAS helpline because I was concerned that I might have vomited up my antibiotics. The nurse said there was a possibility that I might have but they only give them as a precaution anyway and if I notice any signs of an infection to go to my GP who will prescribe me with some.

I am writing this a few hours later (7pm) my cramps have lessened (I've not taken any tablets to ease this as it's bearable), I am bleeding like a normal menstrual period, I don't feel groggy (just a bit tired) and I have eaten a boiled egg with toast (which has stayed down).

I hope this helps somebody

I have tried to be as accurate as I can with my recount and I hope this helps somebody and puts their mind at rest. It was nowhere near as bad as I first anticipated it would be. 

Editor's comment

Thank you for telling us about your experience of a surgical abortion under general anaesthetic. I know that each person's experience varies a lot, and I am glad that you felt that yours was not as bad as you had anticipated. I hope you are making a good recovery, and if you need extra help or support it is available through BPAS or a pregnancy centre.

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