After my NHS abortion I feel empty inside and don’t think I'll ever feel the same again
Here's the story of my medical abortion
Two weeks ago, on the third anniversary of my mum's death, I found out I was pregnant after doing a home pregnancy test.
I already knew I was pregnant
I already knew I was pregnant before I even did the test. I was being sick and had sore breasts. I recognised all the signs from when I had my daughter. I found out I was pregnant on the Monday and I made a doctor's appointment for the Thursday.
I contacted the baby's father. We weren’t together; we were just friends who had slept together a few times but we had always used protection. He said the decision was up to me but he thought it would be for the best if we got rid of it and I agreed with him.
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So many reasons to get rid of it
I had so many reasons to get rid of it, such as the father and I weren’t together. He has a dangerous job in the army and is away a lot with work. I’m at uni and I live on a student loan. I would have to give uni up to look after a baby and I would have no money. I already have a five-year-old daughter and I didn’t want to be on my own with two kids by different dads. The list goes on.
I wanted my baby
But as soon as I found out I was pregnant I wanted my baby. I fell in love with it. I guess that's motherly instinct. I went to the doctor's on the Thursday and told them I was pregnant but didn’t think I could go ahead with the pregnancy. She said, ‘Was it for social reasons?’ and I said it was. Then she said she would refer me to hospital for an abortion.
Later that day I got a telephone call from the GP receptionist telling me I had an appointment at the local hospital gynaecology outpatient department for the following Wednesday. By this time I was having lots of doubts about whether I was doing the right thing having an abortion as I was getting attached to the baby.
Appointment & scan
I went to my appointment on the Wednesday to gynaecology outpatient's department which also happened to be the antenatal department full of pregnant women. I had to go and see the nurse, get weighed and answer many questions about my health, and then I had to go and wait in the waiting room with all the pregnant women for my scan.
I just wanted to cry because I wanted my baby. I went in for my scan. The consultant asked if I was sure I wanted the abortion and then asked me to lie on the bed. She showed me the baby on the screen. It was so small. I was only six weeks and four days pregnant. I fell in love with the baby there and then. I then had to go and see another nurse and get bloods taken, blood pressure checked and wee samples for chlamydia.
It would be a medical abortion
Then she told me I would have a medical abortion and explained what would happen. She then gave me an appointment for the Saturday (2 days later) to come back for phase one of the treatment.
The first tablet
On the Saturday I went back to the hospital to the gynaecology ward and I nearly walked out when I was waiting to be seen. I was taken into an office and asked if I was sure. I said yes then they told me to take the tablet. I was sent straight home and told to come back at 9am on the Monday .
I went home on the Saturday and cried all day. It was horrible knowing I had a dead baby inside me. I didn’t have any pain or bleeding.
Next appointment and more tablets
On the Monday morning (two weeks after I found out I was pregnant) I went back to the hospital gynaecology ward and was taken to a side room with its own bathroom. At 9.30 am, the nurse gave me four tablets to insert myself and an antibiotic to insert in my bum. She also took some swabs. Then I was left in the room alone until1.30 but nothing happened.
I had no bleeding, no cramps, nothing. At 1.30pm, I was given two more tablets, this time to take orally. At 2pm, I went for a wee (in a bedpan over the toilet). There was a little bit of blood and I was getting cramps. They were just like period pains. Then at 2.10pm, they got really painful so I was walking up and down the room. At 2.15 pm I went back to the toilet as it felt like I needed a wee and as soon as I sat down, I felt something slide out of me.
I knew it was the baby
I knew it was the baby. It didn’t hurt and there wasn’t very much blood. I quickly cleaned myself up and left the toilet to go and ring the buzzer like they told me to. I was determined not to look but I had to. I went back and looked and there was a big red clot with a little tiny white thing. I looked closely and realised it was my baby.
It wasn't a bunch of cells - it had little arms and fingers
No one can tell me that was a bunch of cells - it had little arms and ten tiny little fingers. I told it I was sorry, that I loved it and that my mum would look after it in heaven. Then I went and rang the buzzer for the nurse to take it away. They came back and said it was complete and I could go home in an hour. But at 3pm, I went to the toilet and lots of blood and lots of clots all came away.
I rang the buzzer and another nurse came and said that it looked complete. I told her I was already complete; that I’d passed my baby, but she said there was tissue so I don’t know what it was. They said they would have to keep me in till my bedpan showed less blood loss but I wasn’t bleeding. I’d only used one sanitary towel all day, less than I would with a normal period.
Eventually at 5.30pm, the doctor came to see me, checked my blood pressure, talked to me about contraception and gave me the pill. I was discharged. I asked what would happen to my baby and they said it would be sent to the laboratory and destroyed sensitively.
I wish I’d had more time to think
I only had my abortion yesterday. I haven’t cried yet. I’m not in any pain and there isn’t much blood loss but I feel very guilty. I can’t help remembering the little arm and the tiny fingers. It's an image I will live with forever.
I wish I’d had more time to think about things. I would never have another abortion. I still think I did the right thing. Maybe I will regret it one day because I already feel extremely guilty.
I want someone to talk to but I don't have anyone. The baby's father is in Afghanistan and my friends don’t understand. I feel empty inside and I don’t think I will ever feel the same again.
This story was sent in on 29/05/2008