Well, it's done. Yesterday I had a medical abortion.
We spoke about it, and while he was supportive, we both knew that it's not really what either of us want right now. It might sound selfish, but no-one can know how they feel in a situation until they're in it, and this just felt all wrong. So we decided on a termination. My GP is not very helpful, so I referred myself to a clinic. They were wonderful. Helpful, non-judgemental, caring. I had a scan which put me at seven weeks and six days.
They outlined the options open to me and we decided on the medical method. It seems less invasive somehow, and I wanted to be at home with my partner when it happened. They made me an appointment to go back for the first pill, which was on Monday. I had to wait for quite a while to be seen as they were short staffed. Eventually I went in, had a blood test, another scan to confirm the dates and a chat about what to expect. I am exactly eight weeks and five days. I took the first pill, along with something else to stop me feeling sick. Then I went home. I felt numb at this point. But still felt I was doing the right thing.
The next day (yesterday) I went back to the clinic for the second part. It took less than fifteen minutes. I chatted to a nurse who gave me some codeine painkillers, a patient sheet and two condoms in an envelope. Then she gave me a plastic cup and led me to the toilet and told me to insert four vaginal tablets. We went back to the office and she told me to expect some pain, heavy bleeding, and maybe some clotting within four to six hours. Then I went home. This time I cried as it felt so final.
Nothing happened for three hours, and then I started getting cramps. I took some codeine and went to bed, started bleeding about twenty minutes later. I filled three pads in an hour and in the end my partner put some old bath towels under me. Then the pain got much worse, I had a heat pack on and was curled up in bed. They were more like contractions coming in waves, and with every one I passed a lot of blood. It seemed to ease off in between them. I went to the bathroom and my legs gave way; I ended up kneeling on the floor on more towels. I'm sorry if this gets too graphic for people but I truly wish I'd known what to expect. I was bleeding so heavily that I took the pad off and just knelt over a towel, holding on to the side of the bath for support. Then I passed the pregnancy. I was told to expect clotting, but this was beyond clotting. There was so much tissue that I panicked and started crying. My partner tried to come in but I wouldn't let him as I didn't want him to see me like that. I actually passed out for a few minutes, I think with shock. When I came round, I couldn't stand up to begin with, so just sat on the floor. The clot I passed was easily eleven inches long and almost as wide. Although the clinic was wonderful, they didn't warn me about the next part.
As the tissue had landed on a towel, I thought the best thing to do would be to tip it down the loo. However, as I lifted the towel up, the 'clot' rolled slightly and there was a perfectly formed yet tiny baby lying there. It was almost as long as my thumb, and was perfect. I was told that up until nine weeks, I would not see anything except maybe a 'grey gestational sac'. This was a complete baby. I could see eyes, feet, arms, and the worst - or most vivid part - was that I could clearly count its fingers. It has perfect little hands. I wrapped it in tissue, cleaned myself up and called my partner, crying lots by now. I told him what I'd seen, and I don't think he believed me, because he looked for himself. Then he broke down with me. The bleeding has slowed down now, the clots I'm passing are a lot smaller but I feel drained. I'm weak and dizzy when I try to stand and the cramps are still pretty painful. We cried ourselves to sleep last night. I'm still numb.
While we made our decision for the right reasons, I wish I'd been told what to expect by someone who has been through it. I could never go through something like this again. We both feel guilty. He's scared that this will come between us. I'm scared that he will hate me. And after all this, I have a tiny baby wrapped in tissue and I don't know what to do with it. After all this, there's no way I can flush it down the loo. Keeping it feels strange. So what am I supposed to do with it? I'm sorry if this is too graphic for some people. But I've written an honest account of my experience. I wish I'd read some like this before I went through with it.
Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing your story with us…You have been very brave in sharing the details with us. Although you had good reasons for making this choice, the reality of it has shocked you. You weren’t properly informed, not only about the procedure, but also about foetal development. With medical abortion, seeing the foetus is a very real possibility - and many stories here testify to that - but it can be a shock if one is not told about how far a foetus can be developed, even at nine weeks. It is perfectly understandable that you do not know what to do with it now. If you haven’t yet done anything, you can contact the centre in London, Newham. It's a very good place to find some support for knowing how to be with this. Please get in touch as soon as you can.