I'm 31 and my partner and I chose to have a medical termination yesterday at 8.5 weeks on the NHS

By anonymous on 22/05/2009
united kingdom medical abortion

The facts about a medical termination at 8½ weeks: I am 31 years old and my partner and I chose to have a medical termination yesterday at 8½ weeks on the NHS. We found out I was pregnant 3½ weeks ago and have had an agonising wait leading up to the termination. I found very little information about what would actually happen on the day but read a lot of reviews on this site, which was really helpful.

However, I found a lot of the stories so horrifying and at one point I wasn't going to go through with it as I was so scared by the stories I'd read. In hindsight, I realise that for every one bad experience there are probably nine good ones and it tends to be people with the bad experiences that will go out of their way to log their views.

[Go here for more stories organised by abortion type, provider and weeks of pregnancy.]

Fortunately, I was one of the good experiences, so for the sake of other people going through this agonising decision, I wanted to try and put people’s worries at bay. My experience was completely different from a lot of those I've read. Firstly, the nurses at the hospital were absolutely fantastic and made me feel so at ease, they have my utmost respect and praise; they were very attentive and came straight to me whenever I called for assistance.

I had the first tablet on Tuesday, nothing happened after that although I had a restless night with little sleep, stomach cramps and cold sweats. I went into work on Tuesday afternoon and also on Wednesday. On Thursday, I arrived at the hospital for 8 am where the nurse I'd seen on Tuesday met me and showed me to my bed on the day unit; there were five other women on the ward with me who, from what I could tell, were all there for the same reason.

Everyone's curtains were closed for the entire time so anonymity and dignity were maintained, which had been a big concern for me. At 8.30 am the nurse took some swabs from my mouth, nose and bottom (which you do yourself) to test for MRSA. She then took me to the bathroom, which is in the ward, to show me what I needed to do.

There is a stock of bedpans which you must use each time you go to the toilet, and then pull the cord for the nurse to come and take the contents away. She gave me four pessaries, which she left for me to insert myself vaginally. I decided to put a sanitary towel on straight away; so that I wasn't caught out. (I wanted to keep everything as dignified as possible!) Once I’d put the pessaries in, I then returned to my bed.

Within about ten minutes, I vomited and severe cramps started; there was a huge surge of pain for approximately half an hour. I was then sick again and that was when the first contraction came (from stories I’d read, I thought I would be waiting 4-5 hours before anything happened, so I certainly wasn't expecting this to be it).

I felt some blood gush out of me, so I rushed to the toilet and put a bedpan under the seat, some blood came out and then the weirdest feeling of two objects coming out of me. I could tell by the feeling of the size that one of these must be the foetus so I made a conscious effort not to look. The feeling to push subsided and immediately the pain and cramps disappeared!

I cleaned myself up and called the nurse, who came within about thirty seconds to take the bedpan away. She informed me that I had passed something and I was halfway there (it was only 9.15 am!). The contractions and cramps returned repeatedly over the next hour and a half and I passed a further four pieces of tissue (or products, as the medical staff refer to them), the last being the sac, which the nurse confirmed.

Each time, you feel an object coming out of you into the pan and, each time, I made sure I didn't look into the pan (I definitely think by doing this, it makes everything far less traumatic. I know for a fact if I’d seen anything, I would have been hysterical).

I then went to the toilet for the last time, where it was just pure blood which I expelled and the nurse confirmed the termination was complete so I could go home. I was discharged by 12.30 pm!!!

All in all, it was an uncomfortable few hours, the cramps are painful and I did shed a tear at one point with the pain but because I was vomiting, I couldn't take any painkillers. I have got a very very low pain threshold so if I can cope with it, then it mustn’t be that bad in the grand scheme of things.

The cramps continued all afternoon yesterday and last night but today I'm a lot better. There is still a bit of cramp but nausea and the morning sickness I’d been suffering for the past four weeks has vanished immediately, which is great.

I have no regrets for what I have done; my partner and I have our reasons for not going ahead with this pregnancy and I know I’ve done the right thing. I'm grateful I live in a society where we have this choice and I am pleased I chose the medical rather than surgical termination. This felt right for me.

If anyone is considering an abortion, don't be put off by the other stories you've read - it wasn't anywhere near as bad for me. Don't get me wrong, I would never want to go through this again, but mainly for the emotional factor. I am going to have the coil fitted at my GP’s next week. This is my first and hopefully last pregnancy scare.

If and when I fall pregnant again, it will be when we are ready to bring a child into this world, which at the moment isn't the right time. Good luck to anyone else going through this experience. I hope my story has helped anyone who is considering the medical option.

Terms mentioned in this story

  1. Coil

    A coil, also known as a "copper coil" is an intrauterine device (IUD) which is a small T-shaped device fitted into your womb (uterus) by a medical professional. The coil is made of plastic but also copper which alters the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg and survive. It can also stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant itself.

    Sources (open in a new tab/window):

Editor's comment

Thanks for sharing your experience with us... As we have said many times before, every woman’s experience varies with regard to the pain levels. Your story may help to allay people’s fears, or at least add to their information about the sort of thing to expect. You seem to have come through the experience quite well and seem sure of your reasons for having the abortion. However, you do allude to how difficult it was emotionally even though you don’t say much about that aspect in your story. What you say about not being able to look at the ‘products’ – about becoming ‘hysterical’ - suggests that you were actually feeling more than you wanted to say. If you feel you ever need any support with regard to those emotions, engaging with your experience from the heart rather than your head, you can visit your nearest centre where they'd be happy to help.

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