I was happy with the procedure just the side effects were so severe.By anonymous on 08/01/2010
In July 2009, I unexpectedly fell pregnant due to failed contraception. I decided almost instantly I wanted an abortion. I am 18 years old and have been with my partner for 2 years. We always practice safe sex and this time contraception failed us. I felt I was too young and nowhere near ready, responsible or mature enough to carry on with the pregnancy. The day after I found out I went straight to my local family planning clinic to schedule my abortion. The woman who examined me was very rude and condescending. She rolled her eyes when she thought I wasn't looking, as though she was sick of seeing this type of situation, and seemed bored and judgemental whilst asking me questions. She also kept insisting that I'd had unprotected sex which was not the case. I was very annoyed and quite upset about that experience but I'm a strong young woman and I knew not to let it get to me. When I asked her how this could have happened she gave me a reason which, when I told my doctor after, was completely untrue! I don't even know if this woman is medically trained, she certainly didn't know what she was talking about to me. Anyway, next I had an appointment for a week later at the same clinic but to see a doctor and have an ultrasound, then to book my procedure. I was told I was 6 weeks. The first lady had given me two leaflets on both types of abortion and after much research and consideration I chose to have a medical TOP. I think my main reason was the lack of risks associated with this procedure, it being almost risk free. I also spoke to a friend who had previously had the procedure and she told me how it was painful, etc. Nevertheless that was my choice. Also because the waiting list for it was around 1 week, whereas the surgical procedure was around 2 and a half weeks. I was in the middle of my A level exams so I wanted to deal with it as quickly as possible. 1 week later I went into the hospital to receive my first tablet orally. Then I waited half an hour to make sure I didn't vomit and was sent straight home. I had no nausea or cramps inbetween that date and the time my procedure was booked for, 2 days later. On the day, I arrived at 8am with my partner. The women who worked in the department were absolutely terrific, they were so nice and made you feel as comfortable as possible in that situation, the exact opposite to my first appointment at the clinic! Within half an hour I was given my next batch of tablets, and a suppository for pain relief. Around an hour and a half later I started to get cramps, and as many have said before me it is extremely painful. I don't know if its because I knew what was coming and expected the worst, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. However, that could be to do with the fact I was only 6 weeks along? Anyway, I went to the toilet about half an hour into my extreme cramps and that's when I passed the pregnancy. The pain lessened instantly and all I could feel was normal period-pain twinges after that. I stayed for another hour or so with regular checks to my bedpan. I'd been fed and watered inbetween then I went for a final examination with the doctor. She got rid of any remaining pregnancy and I was sent home. For about 3 hours after I had quite bad cramps then after that I felt fine. The day after I went to a mini gig for my partner's birthday and was fine all through that too, just heavy bleeding. I have really heavy periods anyway so it wasn't much different.
However, 2 days after my procedure I started to get extremely painful abdominal pains and painkillers just didn't seem to work. i was taking really strong co-codomol very regularly and it seemed to wear off after half an hour. That night I woke up screaming and crying in pain, and I'm usually a very tolerant person painwise. My partner had to carry me to the bath to try and ease my stomach cramps as I couldn't walk. I decided to go to the doctor the next morning to get some stronger painkillers. All through that day I was in constant pain. I would clutch my stomach with a hot water bottle, and curl up and just cry hoping it would go, but the painkillers never seemed to work. The next morning I arrived at the doctors. I was once again in very bad pain as soon as I woke up and she told me that sometimes this is just how the womb heals itself, and its just a reaction to the procedure. She did tests and nothing was wrong medically. Also co-codamol makes you constipated so that was making the pain even worse. She gave me some stronger painkillers and sent me back home. These took around 2 and a half hours to kick in but when they did I could not feel a thing. Every morning though I woke up crying and dragged myself to the bath to wait for the medication to kick in to stop the pain. It lasted for about a week. I was also supposed ot be doing 2 of my final A level exams that week in the mornings and had to miss both because of the side effects from the medical TOP. However with my doctors notes and speaking to the exam board this was all sorted out with mock exams and predicted grades and I still did really well. My whole experience has left me terrified that I'll fall pregnant again, and if I do I think I'll have the surgical abortion if I decide to have one. I was happy with the procedure just the side effects were so severe. I have never been in that pain before and I've battled with illnesses most of my teenage life. The other thing was that I did not want my mum and dad to know about what was happening, though I wouldn't recomend this to everyone who's around my age or in the same situation. It wouldn't have been a wise choice to tell them and my partner is very mature for his age and I trust him completely. I don't think I could have done it on my own or without him. He helped me through every bit and I could talk to him about everything I was feeling. It can be a very hard thing to go through, and not having someone to confide in and talk to I think could be very damaging. I have never once regretted my decision but always do your research and talk to somneone you trust, they should be there for you no matter what!
The pain that you experienced following the medical termination sounded quite severe. Although it is a relatively safe procedure, it's important to understand that sometimes it is not fully completed, and for some women they need a surgical procedure afterwards to remove retained products of pregnancy. This can also lead to heavy bleeding and infection, so I would not say it is 'almost risk free'.
The experience is different for each person and could be very frightening without support.
If you are anxious about another unplanned pregnancy it would be worth talking through your contraceptive options at a Contraceptive and sexual health clinic. There are some very reliable long acting methods such as the Implant, injection and IUS.