“I was 6 weeks pregnant and was booked in for a termination for 11 am on a Friday at the Marie Stopes clinic in East Melbourne, Australia. Following this appointment, I had extensively researched the processes involved, researched the risks and looked into every other woman's story just to see what I was in for, and to know, that I wasn't alone. For those of you who read this, you will be in the same position as I once was. Know that there is an ending to this and know that you aren't alone. I cannot stress this enough. Did you know that 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion? And until you vocalize this you will never know these statistics. I didn't just find this out by researching, I found this out by talking to people close to me.
Sure, I was judged by my local doctor for even admitting I wanted a termination, sure I was judged by my mother who was prolife and gave me the ‘you can make it work’ line, but in the end, the ones I knew I could trust ended up having a similar story to me. Unfortunately, there's such a stigma to it, and we are made to feel a certain shame about our decision. Yes, I had an abortion, I have a loving and supporting partner and we want kids in the future, but other situations couldn't and wouldn't allow me to continue with this pregnancy, and I don't regret this at all. All I can say is that surround yourself with people who support you, and you will and can get through this. Also do your research, but not enough that it will scare the living daylights out of you. I'm not saying that's what I did, but I expected the worst. Oh, and be careful when you do your research, there are prolife trolls out there who will make up a story or two. I chose to write this for you; to the woman who is going through all of the emotions right now, the woman who is scared beyond belief, know that I am with you. One last thing—be sure to look at the TED talk on Youtube by Leslie Cannold, ‘I had an abortion, or maybe I didn't’ because this view not only helped me through it, but it encouraged me to share my story.
I'm not going to tell you about when I found about about my pregnancy, because I just found myself skipping through all that, I wanted to know what I was in for already. So, I chose a medical termination at the Marie Stopes Clinic in East Melbourne, and funnily enough, it’s located right near a church. Although this church had a fire run through it not too long ago. The clinic is hidden away in a building amongst many other businesses, and you buzz in to avoid any potential hasslers. It seems almost impossible for any protesters to protest there without disturbing the 30 plus businesses in that building. I walked in with my partner, glanced around the room and there were other couples and a couple of solo women. This was when I started to feel comfortable. Knowing I wasn't alone going through the process. The wait was long, but necessary, you will read this in your information pack you get, the wait could be up to 2 hours. During these 2 hours, women would see the nurse and other women would come in for their appointments.
Women from all walks of life came into this clinic. The nurse called me in, gave me a scan, and talked about the tablets and pain killers they were going to give me. They were very informative, showing you on a diagram, the different amounts of blood you could expel on a pad, the side effects (which you are well aware of already, am I right) and other information. Make sure you ask the nurse the questions you want to ask, and have googled already, just to get that second opinion. (Note, there is a bit of a wait until you see the doc - Intermission.)
I was called in to see the doctor, and there I was administered the Mifepristone, the one pill, at 2 pm. It’s the anti-hormone pill that stops the effects of progesterone. Once this is taken, basically you can't look back. The doc then went over risks, information about the counselling hotline and if anything went wrong to ring their care center. Also, another perfect time to ask any questions you might have! She also gave me the Misoprostol and painkillers, to take the next day. If you are worried about the times to take these, don't, they label everything, so everything is super easy to understand. I thanked her and walked out. I didn't feel anything for the rest of the afternoon, some people according to my research and booklets, feel minor cramps and bleeding after this first pill, but I didn't. It wasn't until the next day, I woke up feeling extremely weird.
I'm not going to lie, I wasn't in pain or anything, I just felt a little numb and lost. Please note this feeling wasn't at all about my decision, as I do not regret it, it was the feeling of a pregnancy hormone coming to a halt. So, it was my body basically freaking out from the lack of the hormone that would once make me cry every night, I also start to spot a little and had minor cramps not long after. But really, I was freaking out about the pain I would soon be in, or potentially be in because of all the research I did prior. Basically, I prepped for the worst. Knowing all too well, I already get severe cramps and heavy bleeding from my usual period, so you can imagine how I would be when they state ‘cramps and bleeding will be a little more intense than your usual menstrual cycle’ or however they worded that. So, leading up to this time, I was freaking out I guess. 30 minutes prior to taking the Misoprostol, I took my nurofen, as instructed. When it hit 2 pm, I placed all four Misoprostol tablets in four different areas between my gums and cheeks in my mouth. I sat there for a good 30 minutes, timed as they recommended, and then swallowed them. They don't really dissolve much, just note. About an hour later I started bleeding a little and cramping a little.
When the cramps became a little more intense, I then took the heavier painkillers. So, it was pretty much like a lighter period when it first started. This stayed the same for about 4 hours. The cramps did get a little more intense, but nothing I haven't felt during my usual period. The information we get is that the pregnancy should expel within 4-6 hours and the cramps should lower, but in my case, this wasn't the process. The flow got a little heavier around the 6-hour mark, but not enough to fill a pad. Cramps remained the same. I feel as this will be the full 24-hour thing to be honest. Blood clots were small, something like a normal period. I haven't had any fevers, haven't felt sick, just feel like it’s been a mild period, so far. It’s now been 8 hours and I have some mild cramping. This is half a story, but hopefully you get the picture. It effects everyone so differently. Do your research, surround yourself with people who care, and stay strong. If I can help at least one woman, then I've done my part.” —Anonymous