Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: R H

Yesterday morning I had a surgical abortion with local anaesthetic, at around 6 1/2 weeks pregnant. I just wanted to share my honest experience for anyone who is worrying about going through the same.

My period was a few days late and as I am usually very regular I panicked straight away and went to get a test within a few days which came back positive. I was shocked but not really suprised, I’d been convincing myself for days this was the case. I instantly told my boyfriend, even though I already 100% knew I was not ready for a child, but I just needed his reassurance, and he said he was undecided and would support whatever decision I made, but I already knew what I wanted to do, so I instantly looked up my nearest clinic (a NUPAS clinic) and rang up and they got me in a few days later.

On the first appointment they did a scan, but as I was so early they couldn’t see the yolk sac clearly so also had to do a vaginal scan to see this (this didn’t hurt at all). They then talked through the types of abortion and which one I wanted to pick, before checking my blood type, blood pressure, height, weight etc. And booked me in for an appointment for the abortion for the next week, as it had to be on a certain day of the week as they only have the surgeon on certain days. As my clinic was so small they had to send me to another clinic about 50 mins away, which made me question whether or not to just have the medical abortion, but I had convinced myself I wanted a surgical one and was scared of the pain and bleeding at home, I just wanted to get it done with in a short procedure, I also did not want my family to know, even though I knew they would be supportive I was worrier they’d think I had been irresponsible, so having it done away from home seemed the easiest way to avoid this. So, I eventually stayed with the surgical one and agreed to travel.

On the day of the procedure I drove to the clinic with my boyfriend. I was worried about how I’d be feeling to drive back, but as the clinic was quite far away so any other form of transport was a hassle, and they had said I would be ok to drive.

They called me in first to discuss the procedure and its risks and get me to sign the consent form. They wouldn’t let my boyfriend in for this bit. And then when I asked if he would be allowed in for the procedure/aftercare they also said no, which suprised me as I had read other stories where you were allowed someone with you. I felt bad for bringing my boyfriend along when there was nothing he could do and was also panicking as I felt like I was relying on his support.

I then got took into the surgical area, where they placed me in a reclining chair, with curtains round it. They asked me to go to the toilet and place a painkiller up my bum (they will do this for you if you would rather), and then I had to come back and get changed into my gown and put a pad on my knickers.

They then took me through to the surgery, they covered me over and asked me to take off my pants and put them under the pillow on the doctors table which I was going to lie on. I lay down and they put my legs up in stirrups and then began. A really friendly nurse held my hand through the procedure and tried to talk to me to distract me, I actually think a nurse is better at knowing what to say than what a nervous boyfriend would be. The doctor was also very friendly. I couldn’t really see what was going on as my legs were up and in the way, and I was also covered over with a sheet. But they first injected me with local anaesthetic into my cervix and then began the suction. I will not lie, the stomach cramps during the suction were very strong, a fair bit worse than normal period pain and even with the nurse talking to me it was too much to distract me. But luckily the procedure only lasted about 2 or 3 mins. After it was done they asked how I was feeling and I was sweating and a little faint from the pain, so they gave me some oxygen for a minute and I soon felt fine! They allowed me to lie til I was ready and then slowly got me up and slipped me back into my knickers.

They then brought me back to my chair which I had been in before, checked my blood pressure and gave me some tea and biscuits and let me sit for half an hour. Within literally a few minutes my cramps had virtually stopped and I could relax. I then had to take 4 antibiotics and they then told me I could go to the toilet and then leave. When I went to the toilet I was suprised at how little blood was on the pad, only a spot.

I left feeling in high spirits, relieved it was over, and was completely fine to drive home. At the time the pain of the procedure felt bad but in context it was very quick and easy, with such an easy recovery. I definitely think I made the right decision not having the medical one, as that level of cramps for a number of hours would have been horrible, along with the hours of bleeding and not being with a medical professional.

I relaxed with my boyfriend all day, feeling absolutely fine and have not really bled at all since I came home, hopefully this continues but I expect to possibly get a small amount over the next few days, we will see. I have also not really had any cramps since the procedure yet.

They sent me home with 4 antibiotics to take after my evening meal. After some reading up I found these antibiotics are used for many things, one example being to treat chlamydia. I read some horror stories that these antibiotics had made people have severe sickness and diarrhoea. After an hour or so they did make me feel slightly nauseous and my stomach felt a little dodgy, the worst I had felt since the actual procedure, but I was not sick or anything and this passed within an hour or 2.

Today I feel completely fine and have gone back to work as normal.

While at the clinic they also sorted me with contraception, I opted for the combined pill and they said I could start taking it the next day, so I have taken the first one today. However if you would rather have the coil (IUD) they can easily fit this after the abortion procedure while you are still on the table.

Overall I have had a really positive experience. All the nurses I was seen by were so friendly and supportive and made me feel really at ease, I couldn’t have asked for any better and would absolutely recommend using NUPAS if you have one near you (it’s in the UK). And despite the pain for that 2 or 3 minutes being fairly intense, in the grand scheme of things it seems so small and looking back the whole experience was so quick and easy! I can now barely remember the pain.

I hope this has given people an honest and positive view of surgical abortion and can put your mind at rest, as I know I was panicking and trying to find as many peoples experiences as possible as I was scared what to expect.

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after-abortion support.

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