I'm 22, have just split up with my boyfriend and am due to finish my degree in a few months' time.
I went to my local family planning clinic on the way home from work for a pregnancy test. As soon as the nurse came back into the treatment room, I knew what she was going to say - I was pregnant. She spoke to me briefly about my options but as I already knew that I didn't want to go through with the pregnancy, she gave me a leaflet on abortion to take home and read. She passed me over to the doctor there and then. He did a scan, which showed that I was about 6 weeks pregnant. I chose to look at the screen so that I didn't always wonder what it would have looked like - all you could see was a light coloured circle towards the bottom of my womb with a small, dark blob in the middle of it. The doctor said it measured 2.5cm.
He then chatted a bit more about the procedures that were available to me (either surgical or medical termination) and rang the hospital to book my first appointment. I had chosen to have a medical termination (which involved taking two lots of tablets 48 hours apart) but had a 12 day wait before my next appointment. That was one of the worst parts - waiting. I was certain of my decision and so the wait just made me anxious that for every day that passed, I was getting more and more pregnant.
I went to the hospital in the morning before I went to work. The doctor had a quick chat with me to make sure I knew what I wanted to do and told me about the procedure and the risks involved. I had another scan (by this time I was nearly 8 weeks gone), an internal examination which sounds terrible and is a bit embarrassing but was nowhere near as bad as I imagined it would be (and it didn't hurt), and then had a blood test. I was told that I had to go back to the hospital on two more occasions - the first was in two days time and the next was another two days after that.
The first of these appointments was, again, before work. I had my blood pressure taken, the nurse made sure that I was certain about going through with the termination and then she gave me a tablet to swallow with a glass of water. She really looked after me and I didn't feel uncomfortable or embarrassed at all. I was asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving the hospital. I felt fine after taking the tablet - a little bit nauseous at first but only very slightly. When I got into bed that night I started to get some very mild stomach cramps - just like when you've just come on your period but it felt normal and wasn't anything to be worried about. I didn't have any bleeding after the first tablet.
I was back in hospital at 9am two days later. The nurse showed me to my bed and drew the curtains round whilst I got changed into my pyjamas and got into bed. She came back over, explained the process and inserted two small tablets into my vagina. Again, it didn't hurt and only took a minute. She told me to lie down on my back for an hour but that I could get up after that if I wanted to. After about the first 30 minutes, I started to get period pains and towards the end of the hour I felt that I had started to bleed slightly. I did feel a little bit faint but the nurse just said to stay lay down for five minutes longer before sitting up - I did this and felt absolutely fine again afterwards. I went to the toilet about once an hour after this, to change my sanitary towels and to give the nurse my bowl. She'd asked that every time I went to the loo, I wee in the bowl (anything I passed would be caught by it too) so that they could make sure everything was progressing as normal.
Two hours after the first two tablets, I was given another two in the same way. Again, I started to get period pains but didn't feel at all faint this time. The pains seemed to stay there until you'd been to the loo a couple of times and after about five hours, I felt absolutely fine and the nurse said everything had gone well. I was kept in for another few hours before being allowed to go home, just in case I started to feel unwell or had more bleeding. Since I've got home I feel ok - still got a bit of a tender tummy but it really is no different to my normal period pains and the bleeding has become much lighter now. I've taken a couple of paracetamol though which have just taken off the edge and will hopefully make it more comfortable to sleep. I'm due to go back to the hospital in a couple of weeks for a check up.
I felt relieved as soon as the nurse said that I had passed everything I needed to and I know that I've made the right decision. I don't have the security to be able to bring up a child right now and I think I need to be 110% sure that I can look after myself in any situation before adding a child to the equation. Like I said, I split up with my boyfriend the week before finding out I was pregnant because it wasn't working and I didn't see myself settling down and having a family with him. I didn't want a child of mine to be brought up in the way that his sister's children are. I chose not to tell him about the pregnancy or the abortion because I had figured it out in my own head, knew the decision was right for me and didn't want anyone to pressure me into doing something I didn't want. My friends have been fantastic and I ended up telling my parents (as much as I didn't want to and as much as I felt I could handle this on my own). They're not over the moon about it but I'm glad they know as I haven't had to pretend or put on a front after coming out of hospital this afternoon. But at the same time, I've chosen not to speak to them about the whole procedure because it's something that I still think is quite personal.
I don't regret having my termination and have managed to think quite realistically about it throughout the process, but I have cried a bit tonight since coming home. I feel ok again now though after I think about my reasons for having it. I'm not sure that'll be the last time I get upset about it though, I think it's something that will take time to get over but that's pretty normal I'd say. The hardest parts of having a medical termination, as far as I've found so far, have been the waiting times for the first hospital appointment and the initial embarrassment about the odd leakage I had whilst in bed. If you feel that a termination is right for you though then don't be put off by all the stories you read - I hate injections, hospitals, sick and blood but I've dealt with it all because I know it's the right thing for me to do at this moment in time and I know that I'm not in a position right now where I could bring up a child.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…Your experience was a very straightforward one physically which will encourage others who want to find out what a normal medical termination can be like. You seem to have tucked any emotion away behind your reasoning, but you may have some tearfulness in tired, lonely or unguarded moments. Going through with your abortion seems to have required determination, focus and strength, so you may find yourself a bit more vulnerable to the emotion of it when these resources get depleted. If, at any time in the future, your heart feels disturbed by what has happened, and you would benefit from talking it through, please get in touch.