I'm 28 and had a medical abortion three days ago. I had unprotected sex and took a morning after pill on day three which means it is only 58% effective.
Anyhow, I made my decision for an abortion after talking to family and friends who were all very supportive; whatever I decided was right for me. When I went to family planning, they did an internal scan and informed me I was about seven weeks pregnant and could choose between surgical dilation and medical abortion. I chose medical abortion since I preferred a less invasive approach and no after-effects. I had no noticeable side effects from the first tablet which kills the foetus, I think, and was relieved to have started the process.
Two days later, I went into the day clinic for the second part of the process, basically flushing everything out. I was given the option of doing this at home but I would not recommend this because you really need the nurses there to guide you through what is happening unless you have done it before, and in case you end up needing more than one set of tablets. The nurse inserted my first set of tablets using gloves, fingers and lube (she did not give me the option of doing it myself - what happens depends on the nurse you get, I think). The tablets are very small and this was quick and painless. I then waited.
After a couple of hours, I was being sick and had diarrhoea, but no bleeding. The pain was like severe period pain or the start of labour contractions, I think. I was pacing about like those women you see in labour on the telly. Lying down made it worse; walking and sitting made it better. I also had hot and cold sweats. The nurse gave me an injection in the bottom for the sickness which stung. After an hour and some strong painkillers the pain had subsided considerably. The worst pain lasted maybe an hour and only starts after about an hour/an hour and a half. The nurse inserted some more tablets after four hours since I wasn't bleeding yet. The pain had lessened a lot since the painkillers were working, and I expect it hurts more perhaps when your cervix is first starting to dilate or something?
After an hour or two she came back and said I needed to walk more and to push. So I walked round the ward a couple of times and then pushed and the foetus came out straight away into the bed pan. I had to ask the nurse if that is what it was. It was very small and beige. I was surprised it was so small since it had caused so much pain to get it out. Anyway, the nurse said that was half of it and I still had to pass the placenta. So I walked around the ward a couple more times and then pushed and passed the placenta which looked like a red biscuit for want of a better description. I was pleased because I was getting worried that it wouldn't work and I would have to resort to the surgical route. But later on the nurse said that some women need even three of four lots of the tablets. I wish I'd known this before! I suppose if I'd had those, I wouldn't have had to push but then it would have taken much longer so it depends how you feel about pushing and the whole thing, I suppose. I then had to wait around for a few hours to check I wasn't bleeding too much and that it was safe to go home. I felt a bit light headed but very relieved since I knew I'd done the right thing for me.
During this time two large egg-sized blood clots also came out, presumably part of the womb lining. I've been having what I would describe as a light period pain since then. I've not had any pain since then, just light bleeding and just an awareness that my womb is a bit more sensitive than normal, like very light period pain I suppose. Today my breast/nipple area has been a little sore too. Initially the nurse offered me two paracetamol for pain relief and then codeine, neither of which even touched it. You should ask for whatever normally helps with your period pain, or take that with you. I took ibuprofen with me which maybe helped a little. But after I moaned a lot because I was in a lot of pain they finally gave me a stronger drug which I think worked. It was either that or the ibuprofen.
I rang my friend to bring me flannels and ibuprofen gel. She also held my hand and distracted me by talking and playing silly games, for about thirty minutes. This was when I was in the worst pain. I didn't tell the nurses about my ibuprofen or gel because it probably not really recommended what with overdosing but I had it for peace of mind and because I know that paracetamol has never ever worked for my period pain and I didn't know what pain relief I would be offered or allowed. I would recommend making enquiries about this beforehand so you know which one is the strongest so that when you feel you are in the worst pain you can demand it! Also make sure you read several of these descriptions since it is different for every woman, and probably also depends on what your period pain is normally like. I would imagine if you are younger it might be more painful, and if you've had kids less painful. Good luck and don't worry it'll be over within a few hours either way. The body is an amazing thing.
Editor’s note: thanks for sharing your experience with us…Once again, your experience is unique to you. It is a good idea for you to consider your pain threshold and talk to the nurse who interviews you at the hospital or clinic, so that you know what pain relief is available.
Your description of your experience reveals very little about the emotional aspect of it. Perhaps you felt relief to have it all sorted, given that your circumstances weren’t conducive to pursuing the pregnancy. You sound very matter-of-fact, even when you describe the expelled foetus, but I wonder what effect this had on you. If you ever do find yourself feeling negative in any way, please do get in touch for some support.