I remember the feeling of dread when I was told that a surgical abortion was done under “twilight sedation”. This means that you are not fully asleep, but you are very relaxed. This is beneficial to many people seeking abortions… but I could not get comfortable with the idea of it.
I remember googling and searching for if I had a right to refuse the medication and how painful it would be if I did. I want to share my story for anyone else with a fear of sedation.
You can refuse the sedation! You can refuse any medication that will make you drowsy or loopy. It is your choice. Talk to your nurses and doctor before the procedure.
Before the procedure I took an Advil and an antibiotic. I also had an anti nausea medication via IV. I took half the dose of the medical abortion pill and then waited for everything to take effect. I had some light cramping from the medication.
When it was time, I went to the procedure room. There was one nurse who stayed with me the whole time and the doctor who performed the procedure. They first disinfected the area with iodine, which felt very cold. They inserted the speculum which was uncomfortable but not painful. They then injected a local anesthetic to numb my cervix. This was painful, but not overwhelming.
It was at this point that I was the most scared. I didn’t know what the procedure was going to feel like.
The nurse was wonderful. She talked to me the whole time.
They have to dilate the cervix, which is done by using dilation rods. I believe there were 10 of them. This seems like a big number but the first 8 really weren’t that painful. It was uncomfortable… and not really like period cramps like I had been told. It was as if my cervix was cramping and being forced open. This sounds scary but it really was not that bad. Dilation rod 9 and 10 were painful, but quick.
I continued breathing and they were each done very quickly, a matter of seconds. There was an odd noise when the last two rods were being used. Almost like a popping sound. I never found out why that happened. When the suction device was used it caused me no pain. It was just a weird sensation, like a vacuum when you put your hand over it, but inside my pelvic area. I also had an IUD inserted during and I did not feel any pain. I felt immediate relief and like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
After the procedure, I went to the recovery room. I chatted with the nurse and almost felt euphoric. My abortion saved my life. It saved my sanity, and I was able to do it the most comfortable way for myself. I just remember saying how grateful I was to have been able to access this.
When I left, my friend picked me up and we got coffee. We talked about the procedure and I shared my feelings. I was having some bleeding and had to wear a pad for two weeks following. I didn’t feel much discomfort after.
A few days passed and I did end up having a less common side effect that was lactation. It scared me. I wasn’t informed that it could happen and had to google to find out if it was normal. It is. After a day or two the swollen feeling went away. Unfortunately, the lactation did continue. This could be distressing to someone who had an abortion due to the fetus not being viable for any reason. It was an uncomfortable reminder.
I am not saying that I enjoyed having this procedure done. It was a hard decision, but I knew I made the right choice when the procedure was done and I felt a weight lift off of me. I don’t feel traumatic emotions when I think back to it. All I feel is gratitude. I had an amazing support system, which was very important pre and post procedure. I feel strong. I feel blessed.
Submitted by: Bri
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