I am 28 years old and two days ago I experienced an extremely traumatic medical abortion at six weeks pregnant.
I found the whole experience disappointing from beginning to end. Despite questioning staff at the abortion clinic throughout the whole process, I was left feeling very under prepared and felt that the whole experience was extremely rushed. I was given contradictory information by different staff members and, when reading through different pieces of information, the nurse talked so quickly I could barely take anything in - she may have read through them a hundred times before, but I certainly had not.
Despite feeling severely nauseous from the very beginning of my pregnancy, this worsened considerably after taking the first part of the medication (mifepristone) to the point that I could do very little and I did not get any sleep that night. Needless to say I found it incredibly difficult to get to the final appointment the following day and I made the decision to take the 2nd lot of tablets (misoprostol) home with me instead of inserting them at the clinic as I was terrified of anything starting before I could get home and was already finding it increasingly difficult not to be sick. (I would not recommend this to anyone but I do feel that, if clinics deem women capable of passing the pregnancy at home then women should also be deemed capable of taking the tablets within the comfort of their own homes. So many appointments seem unnecessary especially when women may be so unwell). After arriving home I inserted the tablets and within a very short time I was experiencing quite severe pains.
I spent the first hour trying to cope on the sofa, but with the worsening pains and more imminent sickness I moved to the toilet where I spent the next 3 1/2 hours in absolute agony experiencing waves of 'convulsions' of vomiting, diarrhoea and passing the pregnancy simultaneously. My boyfriend was desperately trying to hold a bucket for me whilst I was sat on the toilet whilst at the same time trying to empty the bucket ready for the next wave.
After 3 hours I was absolutely exhausted and increasingly worrying as I'd felt I had already passed the pregnancy yet the sickness, pains and diarrhoea just kept getting worse. Liquid and blood was flowing from my back passage like water and I was beginning to really panic as I did not know how much more my body could take.
Looking back I think I was beginning to be in a state of shock and I was probably close to passing out. At times my boyfriend had to sit on the floor in front of me whilst I was on the toilet so that I could lean on him, as I was so weak I could barely support myself anymore. I eventually begged my boyfriend to telephone the after hours support service but the girl we spoke to was absolutely useless. I begged her to go and ask advice which she said she would do but when she called back, and when I asked her if the person she spoke to was concerned, she admitted that she had not actually spoken to anyone. This was absolutely disgraceful and should not be allowed to happen and it really scares me that anyone else might find themselves in a similar situation to me. Luckily shortly after this, the convulsions stopped and I was finally able to get off the toilet and lie down on the sofa. The nausea and pains continued, only starting to subside a couple of hours later. During the whole 3 1/2 hours I only managed to get off the toilet twice for about a minute each time where I would be writhing around in absolute despair trying to regain some sort of energy for the next wave.
In all, this has been the most awful experience of my life and I would recommend anyone to opt for a surgical abortion instead of a medical abortion. I would definitely recommend the hospital rather than one of the private clinics as in my experience their service falls far short of what they advertise. No women should ever be left to go through that experience on their own with no medical support. This experience has scarred me for life and has left me with a very real fear of actually bearing children in the future. I hope my story gives women a more realistic view of what might be expected as the information provided on abortion websites are in my view absurd.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It is clear from the stories written on this site that women’s experiences of the physical aspects, and the care they receive, vary hugely. Information given clearly is important for a woman to feel she can go through this without fear, as fear makes pain much worse. What you have highlighted is the need for more careful preparation and it is worth feeding back your views to the clinic concerned, so they can review their practices.
What strikes me about your story is the fact that you have been so preoccupied with – and upset by - the actual procedures involved, that you have not mentioned anything about what the abortion means to you on an emotional level. That is understandable, given the immediacy of your negative experience. In time, you may feel you need some support for either the physical or the emotional aspects. You are angry for yourself, as well as others, in reality, and anger can often mask the fact that you are in pain. Do get in touch if and when you feel the need to, and we’d be happy to talk through how you feel.