I had a medical termination at 7 weeks at the end of June. I am still struggling to come to terms with my decision.
I had decided to have a medical termination before I spoke to the doctor as I wanted to retain a sense of control throughout the procedure. However, if I had to choose again I would go the surgical route.
Two days after my initial consultation, when they did a scan, took my details, and gave me the first tablet, I returned to the ward to complete the termination. At 9.30 am I was shown to a bed on a ward of women recovering from hysterectomies. My initial reaction was one of absolute horror. I had assumed I would be on a ward of people having the same procedure. The prospect of having to have an intimate internal consultation and then passing the foetus in front of people an arm’s reach away reduced me to tears. When I timidly asked the nurse if there was anywhere more private I was curtly told that I shouldn't expect a private ward.
I sat and waited for an hour. At 11 o'clock, when the doctor came, the curtains were drawn and she and the nurse asked me to strip off from the waist down. The doctor was a pleasant young woman with a kind manner. She explained she would insert four tablets into the top of my vagina and one into my back passage. I was expecting this, but to lie there whilst knowing the other people on the ward could hear this, then be roughly shoved full of medication was humiliating. After, I was told to dress and put a pad on, whilst the nurse lay a giant pad onto the bed. I was told to expect some period pains.
Over the next hour, the tablets took effect. I lay in bed in extreme pain, sweating and shivering. My legs went into a kind of spasm and I felt extremely sick. After 40 minutes of this agony I asked my boyfriend if he could get some pain killers. I was given Paracetamol and Codeine. Ten minutes later I asked the nurse if I could go to the toilet. She said yes, and then loudly told me to use a bedpan and then to press the alarm so someone could come and collect it.
During my first toilet trip, I sat in agony clutching the rail whilst I had a wee. As yet I was not even bleeding. I felt dizzy and sick. I stood up and pressed the bell. As the nurse arrived, I realised I was going to be sick and said so. I was told to use another bedpan and left alone, vomiting in the toilet. No one came back to check on me, but after five minutes I felt able to stand. Unsure what to do, I carried my bedpan of vomit back to my bed and tearfully told my boyfriend I didn't know what to do. He went and asked someone to take it away, which they did after a quarter of an hour.
At about 12.30, I felt something come away inside me. The pain had become less intense now and I felt more comfortable. I went to the toilet and repeated the process with the bedpan. I actually thought I was having a wee until I looked down and realised it was blood running out of me. Then some large lumps fell out. I looked away. The smell was dreadful, like burnt rubber. I had already decided that I wouldn't look at what came out. After everything was out, I cleaned myself up with wet tissue and rang the bell. I tried to cover the bed pan with paper towels without looking at what was in it. However, I couldn't help but see a small flesh coloured kidney bean. My baby.
I staggered back to bed. Ten minutes later, a nurse came and said I had passed some tissue, but there would be more to come. For the next seven hours or so I made hourly trips to the toilet to repeat the process, until the bleeding had all but slowed to a heavy period and the pain had subsided to cramps. I was given some oral antibiotics and an injection of anti-D because I have a negative blood type. My boyfriend had returned home after the initial passing of the tissue and had returned with a change of clothes at around 5pm. Finally the doctor returned and signed me off. At 8pm I got changed and we left.
All in all, it went as well as I could have hoped, I suppose. I had no complications, but it was an awful, awful painful and haunting experience that I wish I could have avoided. Four weeks on, I am feeling stained by the experience. It was hard for my boyfriend too. He had to watch me writhing in pain and staggering back and forth to bleed out our baby. Do it if you must, but I would say to have the surgical procedure if you can bear to.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us...As with others who undergo a medical termination, you seem preoccupied with your experience of the procedure rather than what the experience actually means. The physical experience is quite a shock and many women seem to relive it in their thoughts as they have been deeply affected by it, but this can also mean that any negative emotions about the loss of the pregnancy can be hidden for a while. It may help you to visit your nearest centre and talk to someone about the physical procedure in order to alleviate some of the shock you feel, and then to allow any emotions you have about the loss involved to surface in their own time. We’ll be thinking of you.