My high BMI meant I could only have a surgical abortion without sedation/anaesthetic
There were few experiences of surgical abortion without sedation/anaesthetic
I went to my GP and got referred to a sexual health clinic, all staff members were lovely.
I did presume that the procedure would take place there but it didn't.
Referrals were to the nearest Marie Stopes
I spoke to a Dr who took my details and history and details surrounding the pregnancy and my reason for terminating the pregnancy. This clinic refers ladies to the nearest Marie Stopes clinic. Mine was approx 25 miles away in Birmingham.
My BMI was too high for surgical with sedation
The Dr worked out my BMI and informed me it was just slightly too high for a procedure under anaesthetic unless I went to a hospital, however, there was no BMI limit for the procedure with no anaesthetic/sedation.
The next appointment available was in a weeks time at 2 pm. You must not eat, drink or smoke at least 6 hours before the appointment time.
I travelled to the clinic on the day of the appointment with my close friend. I got there at 1:45 and checked in at reception and was shown to a waiting room where there were other ladies with their respective accompany.
I was in there for 3 hours
However, when you are called in, you must continue the day alone and your accompany can wait in a visitors reception area or they can go and come back later etc (it was 3 hours before I was back out).
When you are called, you go to another waiting room and wait to see a nurse. I was waiting about 30 minutes before I saw someone.
The nurse will go through your details, medical history etc, check BMI, blood group and anaemia test and you will also have a scan to determine how far along you are. The scan showed I was 10 weeks that day. You do not see the monitor or printouts.
The nurse explained it would be 'uncomfortable'
The nurse did explain that because my pregnancy was quite large (10 weeks) and I was having no sedation it would be rather 'uncomfortable'.
I was then shown back to a waiting room where I spent the next 2 and a bit hours. It feels like forever. My advice would be to pick a comfy chair, take a book with you and don't pass up an opportunity to chat with other ladies. There are ladies in there from all walks of life and you will be surprised just how many there will be.
Finally, I was called for the procedure
Finally, I was called by a nurse. I was shown to a 2 cubicle changing room, one of which was already occupied, and given a basket and asked to completely undress from the waist down and put my things in the basket and then to put on the slippers and sheet provided. The sheet is to be wrapped around oneself like a sarong and covers you completely waist to knee.
After a while, the nurse came back and directed me and the other lady to the recovery room.
In this room, there are 3 nurses, and 10 reclining chairs divided across 2 sides of the room. Each recliner has a table next to it with a bowl of individually wrapped biscuits for after the procedure. You will see ladies coming straight from the procedure and all the ladies I saw had had anaesthetic/sedation so all looked just very groggy and disoriented.
After about 20 minutes I was called into the surgery room by one of the two surgery nurses. As with all the staff, they were lovely.
In the room, there is a sort of hospital table but it's half the length of a normal one, it has a tray at the bottom and stirrups.
I was absolutely not prepared for what was about to happen
I was introduced to the dr who would be performing the surgery and to the other nurse. I was helped to lay on the bed and my legs were put into stirrups. The nurses were either side of me and were holding my hand and talking to me throughout.
I was absolutely not prepared for what was about to happen. I can honestly say, for me, the pain was horrendous. The only way I can describe it is that you have the worst period pain multiplied by a million and you can feel your insides being pulled out. I still cannot comprehend just how painful it was. I couldn't control my crying and the noises I was making.
Thankfully the whole thing is over within maybe 3 minutes but it feels like longer.
A state of shock
Afterwards, I had just really really really bad period cramps and I was just in a state of shock. I was shown back to the recovery room where I was given a drink of water, asked to eat some biscuits and given some tablets (antibiotics and painkillers).
I was back out and on my way home within 10 minutes of having the procedure.
Upon leaving I just broke down in tears. The following hours were a complete rollercoaster of emotion.
Firstly I was in shock about the pain, then I became a little bit sad and then I just felt really uptight and irritable and couldn't relax or sleep.
The period pain lasted for several hours but did subside and my bleeding was very minimal.
I'd advise anaesthetic/sedation
I do not intend to put anyone off having a procedure. I would advise anyone, certainly those whose pregnancy was as far gone as mine was, to have a procedure with anaesthetic/sedation though.
I wish I'd had honest/upfront information
The staff and clinic were absolutely wonderful, however, I wish I was given honest/upfront information about what exactly was going to happen and how it would feel so I could be more prepared, which is why I have shared my experience