I'm sharing my surgical abortion experience as there were few realistic, informed and comforting stories online by Alison
I had a surgical abortion at 9 weeks in the south of England, a few months ago.
I feel as though I should share my experience, as there were few realistic, informed and comforting stories online.
I accidentally became pregnant when I took the morning after pill too late- a costly accident.
I found out immediately, as my period was due around that time, and it never came. I was referred by my GP to the hospital in my area, where they told me they could perform a medical, but not a surgical like I'd hoped.
I did some searching around, and discovered I could have a surgical performed if I was prepared to wait. I ended up leaving the pregnancy until 8 weeks in order to have a surgical procedure.
Hyperemesis gravidarum was enough to make me want to end it
During my wait, I had the worst morning sickness ever. Even if my pregnancy was planned, the hyperemesis gravidarum I was experiencing was enough to make me want to end it. I spoke to my mother, and she said she'd had the same.
For me, this was the most traumatising part. I lost a lot of weight and became very ill, unable to eat anything other than ice and watermelon, and was endlessly vomiting.
The doctor was confidential and professional
Before the abortion, I had to go in twice, to fill out forms and be checked over. I also had an ultrasound, to show how far along I was. I suggest if you are emotionally fragile, you do not ask to see the screen. While you are pregnant, your hormones are not normal, and seeing the foetus may trigger you.
I was swabbed for STDs, asked to give a urine sample, and prescribed cerazette (contraception). I'd previously had a blood test too. Then they weighed me. The process was non intrusive and the doctor was confidential and professional.
On the day of the operation, I was asked to leave my mother behind at the ward entrance. This was a bit scary, as I'd read many horror stories online and didn't want to be alone. However, once I settled into the ward, I was allowed to pull the curtain around my bed to give me privacy and lie down, which made me feel better.
The nurse came in, took my temperature and asked if I was okay. in my ward area, the nurse privately inserted a pill into my vagina, which was well lubricated. This was to soften my cervix. It wasn't uncomfortable at all- not even as bad as inserting a tampon, but extremely cold.
About half an hour later, I experienced some mild cramping- a little like period pain. I was allowed to take paracetamol and ibuprofen, which helped. Then I had to wait a few more hours.
In theatre, they were all extremely nice and understanding
When it was time to enter the operating theatre, they wheeled me in on my bed. There were around six or seven people in the theatre. They were all extremely nice and understanding. One nurse held my hand and chatted to me as they gave me pain relief and the anaesthetic. I was out seconds later.
The next thing I remember is waking up and being wheeled back to my ward. I was a little groggy but felt no pain whatsoever, which surprised me. I also had a massive appetite, which almost made me cry with joy- it had been weeks since I'd wanted to eat food. I was given some sandwiches and some biscuits.
After a little while, I was able to get up, get dressed, and my mother came to pick me up. It was very relieving to all be over.
That night, the painkillers wore off, and I started to bleed and ache a bit. I had to put towels in my bed. The blood was unlike a period- less heavy, more red, not as much pain as a period.
After two or three weeks my life resumed as normal
My breasts also leaked a little milk, which bothered me. It was a nasty, painful papercut kind of pain. Thinking about it now, I cringe. I now sympathise deeply with ladies who breastfeed!
My hormones were like a rollercoaster, and I experienced about two days of anger and depression. I hated my boyfriend for putting me through it all! However, this feeling of anger and negativity subsided quickly, and after about two or three weeks, the bleeding stopped completely and my life resumed as normal.
I sometimes forget I ever had an abortion at all, and we're still together (and a hell of a lot more careful.)
I understand that I have been extremely lucky to have such good care, and that this isn't the case for everyone.
The NHS in Bury St Edmunds made the experience not so scary
The NHS in Bury St Edmunds were professional, understanding, and made the experience not so scary. I was in and out very fast with little pain, and able to continue my life without it permanently affecting me.
My advice to women seeking an abortion:
- Understand accidents happen, and that you cannot be too hard on yourself.
- Know it's going to be okay, and your life will return to normal.
- Realise that the things you feel while you are pregnant are irrational. Your hormones are not right, so do not let the things you feel at this time affect you.
- Be strong, and drive through any negativity. It helps to not delve into the opinions and experiences of people online, although it helps to understand the procedure.
- Try to get a surgical (vacuum aspiration), and under general anaesthetic. I can't speak for medical abortions, although surgical seems quicker and possibly less painful.
- Try to get it done as soon as possible, but be prepared to wait. During the wait, don't panic! -Remember that any pain or problems you experience through abortion do not compare to the permanent and life changing decision to give birth.
- If you regret having an abortion, remember you can choose to have a child in the future when you are ready.