There are so many medical abortion horror stories out there that I wanted to share mine
There are so many medical abortion horror stories out there that I wanted to share mine, in the hope that it calms the fears of those preparing to undergo the process. So here goes.
I never thought I would be the kind of person to terminate a pregnancy. I just didn't have it in me. My son was an accidental pregnancy due to contraceptive failure (used perfectly, just one of those things) and there was no doubt in my mind I was going to have him. Since he's been born, he is the centre of my world and I can't imagine life without him.
I think back to when my partner first found out I was pregnant and his immediate reaction was 'well, we don't have to keep it'. I knew my choice and he wasn't going to sway me. And sure enough, he came around after a few days and the shock wore off. Now, we are a happy family of three and everything is as we feel it should be (for now).
Fast forward, and my son is 6 months old. I have been on edge a while, worrying I might be pregnant as a few weeks before, I'd been called to a family emergency, ended up staying 4 days and forgot to take my pill with me. We were careful when I came back, but it wasn't until it was too late that I remembered about the times in the week leading up to me forgetting the pill that we weren't so careful (we were covered by the pill, or so we thought).
So now I find myself with a six-month-old child and 5'ish weeks pregnant. As much as I want another child in the future, I knew immediately that we couldn't have another one now, and it broke my heart to think that.
But I had to be realistic. The only reason why I have done this is so I can give my son the life he deserves. To have another child so soon (he would be 14 months if we'd gone ahead) would deprive him of the things he deserves and my maternal instincts kicked in. I HAD to do this for the benefit of my current child.
So I made the appointment at BPAS and it filled me with a sense of relief like I was taking back control. I was nervous making the initial phone call but the lady on the other end made me feel at ease, there was no judgement in her voice and she didn't ask me anything I felt uncomfortable with ((name, DOB, address to locate nearest clinics), if I had an NHS number (so treatment was free), if I wanted my GP consulted (no)) and everything was ok.
She booked me a consultation appointment, which I was disappointed to have to wait 8 days for, but at least the wheels were in motion.
The consultation was as good as something like this could be. The receptionist quietly asked my name and DOB, ticked me off her list and directed me to the waiting Room - 8 other women waiting, from teenagers to in their 40s.
I was called through to have my height, weight, BP, temperature and finger prick test done. So far so simple. I then returned to the waiting room.
Next I was called through to a nurse who asked me was I sure of my decision, I wasn't being pressured into it, did I know how far I was, did I feel safe at home, was there any violence at home, who did I live with and then went over a few points of my medical history and my future contraception plans.
The next thing, she asked me about which treatment route I wanted to take, went over pros and cons and risks etc and signed me down for the medical option. She then directed me to the toilet to empty my bladder and do the chlamydia test (standard for under 25s).
She then took me to a scanning room and did an internal scan. (I expected this time to be embarrassing and awkward and uncomfortable - it was none of these things). The nurse turned off the light, directed me to remove the clothing on my lower half, told me where to lie on the couch and gave me something to cover myself over with to protect my modesty. She turned her back until I was ready and faffed with some things in the corner so it wasn't weird.
The scan itself was ok, it was cold going in (lots of lube) but other than that it was fine. (if you're worried about the size of the scan probe, don't be. I can guarantee you that the guy who got you pregnant felt bigger than this, so please don't worry).
The scan took all of about five minutes, she turned the screen so I didn't have to look (it probably would have broken me) and that was that. She left the room with her images and files, told me to clean myself up, get dressed and to go back to the waiting room.
The third and final time I was called in was to the same lady that did my height, weight etc. She reiterated the risks etc that the nurse pointed out, reassured me that if I changed my mind between the appointments then that was absolutely fine and then booked me in for my treatment. Again, I was annoyed I had to wait another week, but at least things were moving.
A week later was treatment day.
I opted to have the tablets simultaneously (mifepristone first, followed by the vaginal misoprostol at the same visit). When I was called through, it was to a nurse. she checked the details I gave last time, asked my consent again and got me to sign it off again to make sure all bases were covered. She took my BP and heart rate and then talked me through the pills and aftercare.
The mifepristone was first and I was to take that in front of her while we were talking. I thought I would hesitate, but I didn't, which came as a surprise to me in itself. She talked through the one-off dose of antibiotics I was to take before bed, the codeine I was provided in case the pain became too much and gave me a special, highly sensitive pregnancy test to take in two weeks to check everything had been successful as I opted to not have an in-person follow up.
She gave me the necessary paperwork and helpline numbers for aftercare and sent me to the waiting room while she typed up my discharge papers. She then called me through to a private room (happened to be the same one I had my scan in on the last visit) and laid out the four internal tablets and some gloves for me as I opted to place them myself. She told me to take as long as I needed and then as soon as I was ready I could leave and that was that, I never had to go back in. So I did exactly that. Quick, easy, painless and off I trotted back home.
Now, I'd read the horror stories, I read the 'what to expect' and prepared myself for the worst - pain (I kept thinking, I handled labour with no problems, this will be a breeze, but you know, those little doubts always niggle in your mind especially after reading everything online etc), lots of bleeding and nausea, diarrhoea and all sorts of unpleasantness. Nothing.
Not one of the things I read about, actually happened. It took about 4-5hrs for the bleeding to start, and even then it was only light. I heard a clot fall into the toilet, but I'd already promised myself that I would never look. The bleeding continued but still light, like the fourth or fifth day of a week-long period. There, but nothing heavy. I didn't get pain or cramps, I didn't take so much as a paracetamol.
Next morning, things were still the same. I actually phoned the clinic back worried that it wasn't working. She said 'there's still time' and that I could ring back in the afternoon if I was still worried... so I did. She told me there was nothing they could really do right now, but to keep an eye on things. And to calm my worry that it wasn't working, she booked me in for the in-person follow up (another internal scan) a week after my treatment.
I wasn't convinced, but I went with it. On the third day after the pills, my bleeding actually increased a bit, to like the first day of a period, but nothing more and no cramps or pain still. I became a bit more convinced that it was working at this point and carried on with my day.
After a day and a half of heavier bleeding, I went back to my lighter only-need-to-change-the-pad-because-I-like-to-feel-fresh, bleeding.
Check up day comes around and my biggest fear was that she was going to tell me it had failed and I needed to take the surgical option. Following the same process as before for the scan, she did her thing and lo and behold, it had actually worked.
I was so shocked. It was NOTHING like I expected it to be. Zero pain, minimal bleeding, no sickness or side effects... It is now two weeks on and although I have a little spotting, it really isn't much and every aspect of my life has returned to how it was 'before'. I have since felt relieved that it's over and we can move on.
I'm sad I had to make the decision, but not sad that I did it. I shower my son with love and give all of myself to him as, ultimately, we chose this route because of him and so we can be the best we can be for him. Every day that passes, I know I've done the right thing. The time will come when it is right for him to have a sibling, but now is not that time.
I hope that my story can be one of the ones to give you a little hope that this may not be the way so many have posted about. My theory is that there are more like me, but people rarely post when things are good or go well, only when things are bad or horrible.
Good luck, if this is where you find yourself. I'm sorry you find yourself making this decision but I'm sure that what you choose is right for you.
This story was sent in on 24/07/2015