First sex in 2 years got me pregnant.

by BL

July 15, 2022

So I’m a student in the UK doing her masters, in the middle of exam season, finally got back into the dating scene and made an easy mistake. However, I got the morning after pill within 12 hours so I thought it would be super effective. I was wrong. Turns out it doesn’t work when you’re ovulating! The pharmacist failed to mention that part to me, lol. I only realised two weeks later as my periods are extremely heavy and regular, that they had stopped very abruptly after a tiny bit of spotting the day I was due on. I take tranexamic acid for my bad periods which makes it slightly lighter anyway, but this was completely abnormal for me, but I put it down to the fact that I’d been out drinking recently and maybe the morning after pill hormones had messed up my cycle a bit. I also still had all the other period symptoms: cramps, fatigue, cravings, bloating, moodiness etc. I assumed my period would continue shortly.

After about 5 days of no period and not being able to concentrate on my uni work, I decided I needed to do a test to put my mind at rest as I couldn’t afford to waste any more time stressing about it. Honestly within the first drop of pee touching the stick it came up with a bright red positive cross. My heart dropped. As if. You idiot. All I could think was how could I be so stupid! It was so preventable! But people have unprotected sex all the time and never even get the morning after pill. People try for years to get pregnant! I was so frustrated, especially after paying for the morning after pill. What’s more, it was the first time I had sex in two years – and it wasn’t even remotely good!!! Definitely not worth getting pregnant over.

Thankfully I was with a friend when I took the test so I didn’t get the news alone. Considering I was in the middle of my studies, had absolutely no money, and most of all did not want a baby, especially not from a one night stand, an abortion was my immediate decision. I didn’t have a second of doubt. I immediately rang a friend who had been through an abortion herself a few months prior to see what I should do next. Unfortunately, I took the test at the start of bank holiday weekend so I knew it would be a few days at least before I could do anything. I tried ringing the doctors, the hospital, all said they didn’t provide any care of this sort. The only clinic that does do them was closed for maintenance according to the phone line. I managed to find an online form to complete to request a telephone consultation.

I received an appointment time for next week within 24 hours which put my mind at rest. However, I was due to go on holiday at the time, and was worried that the call would cost a huge amount via phone from Europe, which would flag up on my dad’s bill. Thankfully it would be free. The telephone consultation with bpas was actually very reassuring – the nurse sounded around my age and we managed to make light of the situation at times, and she answered any question I had and was honest and upfront but comforting.

As I was only about 3.5 weeks gone, I didn’t need to attend a clinic in person to do a scan or to take the pills. In fact, they arrived at my door within 24 hours, days before I even got home! Despite having a cry on the flight home, partly fear and partly hormonal, it was a huge sight of relief to know that it would all be over within the next few days. I decided to wait until after the weekend so that I wouldn’t be home alone, as my medic house mates could look after me. My friend from home came up to support me throughout the procedure and was my saving grace.

I took mifepristone when I was home alone, as this is just a hormone blocker. I didn’t get any side effects from this. I’d heard from friends that the misoprostol is agonising. A friend said that within ten minutes she was projectile vomiting and had an awful stomach. The nurse told me that inserting the tablets instead of swallowing would reduce the risk of side effects. As someone with emetophobia I opted for this method, 24 hours later. It took a few hours for the cramping to begin, which gave me some anxiety as I expected immediate results and feared it wasn’t working. However, The clinic provided codeine and I had been well on top of my medication for a few hours before to ensure I was dosed up, which I think helped massively. Just as I came to the end of a codeine cycle I felt some huge cramps which felt as if my body was ripping in half. It was deeper than period cramps and incredibly sharp, for about half an hour. I managed to force some more codeine down in between cramps despite thinking they would come straight back up. After taking the codeine they subsided pretty quickly. After this set of extreme cramps the bleeding finally started which was actually reassuring, albeit disgusting, as I knew something was working.

I expected blood clots the size of lemons to be pouring out of me non stop. In fact, it was light that my unmedicated periods used to be. It must be because I was so early. The bleeding continued lightly for about 10-14 days, where I was unable to wear a tampon or moon cup which made it worse as you could constantly feel the sensation. I’d say this was the worst part as you feel like you are carrying this little sign around saying I’ve just had an abortion and not on your period. You’re worried in case it starts being heavy again or the agonising cramps come back. Thankfully I only had semi bad cramps for 2 days afterwards. I was pretty lucky with how the actual procedure went.

BPAS were incredible. They have a 24 hour aftercare line for patients, which says on the phone has a 2 hour waiting time but they hear you within 2 minutes. I used this a few times and the nurses every time were really reassuring and helpful and informative. They also offer post-abortive counselling and you can use this several times. I personally suffered with the hormonal fallout a little. Upon googling I found that the flood of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) rushes out of you and you are left with effectively postpartum depression due to the drop. The combination of hormone fluctuation, being on so much medication, not being able to do anything and the stress of exams really took it’s toll and I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t regret my decision at any point, but the abortion acted as a catalyst for everything else becoming way more stressful. I never told my family about the procedure because I was worried they would be disappointed in me and not view me the same. However, I still feel guilty about not telling them, especially my mum. I will tell her one day. But this was also making me emotional.

Now that I know the abortion was effective, I’m so relieved. I am so thankful that abortion services are so readily and equally accessible in the uk. You don’t need a trauma story to have a valid reason. Not wanting to be pregnant is a reason in itself. I am also so thankful for my friends. They gave me a hug as soon as I found out, brought me food, cooked my tea, changed my pad, kept track of my medication, and supported my decision. I feel the need to keep talking about it and want to talk to others who have been through the same thing. It feels a little like when you had to keep your period a secret in school but now that it isn’t so taboo as an adult it’s so interesting to get to discuss and see how women experience things, after being silenced for so long.

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