I would like to share my story, as it may help anyone about to undergo a medical abortion.
I immediately telephoned the Marie Stopes helpline who arranged a telephone consultation for me at a pre-booked time the following day. After a 25 minute medical questionnaire with a nurse, I was booked in for the first medical abortion pill the following week (due to a Bank Holiday weekend). That week was the longest week of my life. I could not eat, sleep or think of anything else. At my first consultation, I saw the nurse who confirmed my medical history and I signed a consent form. I had an ultrasound scan to confirm I was 5½ weeks pregnant. I also had to have an anti-D injection as I am rhesus negative. The nurse made me feel completely relaxed and in no way made me feel that by being there I was doing anything wrong. I took the first pill with a glass of water, was given information on what to expect at my next appointment, and also given the contraceptive pill, and a pregnancy test to take three weeks after the second set of pills to check the abortion had been successful. I had no side-effects from this first pill.
The following day I arrived at the clinic for my Misoprostol tablets. Again I saw a nurse, signed another consent form, and was given four tablets to put in my mouth at 12.10pm, in between my gum and cheeks (two each side). I immediately left the centre with instructions to let them dissolve for 30 minutes. My journey home took an hour. I was wearing a pad as advised, just in case I started to bleed. I had also taken two Paracetamol prior to having the tablets, to mask any immediate feeling of unwellness. I would say that after 45 minutes I began to feel slightly shaky. I was not sure whether this was due to the tablets or the fact that I was very nervous about what was going to happen. However, on reflection I think it was the chill and shivery feeling that was a side-effect. I continued to feel shivery for another two hours or so. I decided to lie down and rest.
At 3.45pm I began to bleed. It was like a heavy period. I sat on the toilet and as I passed urine, I was aware of a lump dropping in to the toilet. It was a small smooth clot. I immediately knew it was the embryo. I continued to pass a lot of blood every time I went to the toilet. I also had one bout of severe diarrhoea. The cramps were very low down and strong, and continued until about 9pm that night. It IS uncomfortable even with painkillers, but it is not unbearable. I did manage to sleep well, and the pain did not keep me awake. I felt relieved and had my first good night's sleep that night since finding out I was pregnant. I continued to bleed for nine days, just like a normal period, with some small clots and tiny pieces of tissue.
I feel relieved that it is now all over and I cannot fault the Marie Stopes Centre for their professionalism and friendliness at what was a very difficult time for me. I have not told anyone what I have been through as I did not want to confide in anyone, and had to hide this from my family as well as the father. I do not regret that I chose to have an abortion. I only feel regret for putting myself in that position in the first place.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your experience with us…many women understandably feel nervous about an abortion, so reading other women’s experiences can help to allay fears about what to expect, even though those experiences vary greatly. It’s good that you felt accepted and were treated with kindness and respect.
Underlying your physical experience is the fact that you saw this pregnancy as a punishment for your affair. That tells me that you acknowledge the affair as something that crossed your own boundary lines. Guilt can be a healthy emotion telling us that we have done something wrong and need to make amends in some way. The second thing about your pregnancy and abortion is that you have shrouded them in secrecy to protect yourself and anyone concerned, but living with a secret like this is stressful and will certainly create – or add to – barriers between you and your husband, taking away true intimacy from your relationship. You may not be feeling the pain of your situation right now, but if you ever do find yourself struggling with guilty feelings or any other emotion, contact your nearest centre for kind and confidential support. We’ll be thinking of you.