Medical abortion at home – a process of dignity and empowerment

by Amber

November 1, 2019

I have just completed a medical termination of pregnancy at home, at around 6 weeks along. I want to share this story, my story, to add another genuinely positive voice to the mass of negativity and propaganda available out there to anyone who needs to hear it. My experience was not daunting, guilt-ridden, or even overly painful.

When I realised I was pregnant, I knew immediately in my heart of hearts that I would not continue carrying to term. I am already a mother to an 18 month old boy. I have just completed a degree that I stopped mid-way to have him, and I feel as though my personal direction is taking shape once again. I am looking for a job in my field, and have plans of furthering my learning and education to become a more specialised practitioner. When I was carrying my son, I felt altogether excited, imagining life happening inside me. This time around, I felt utterly despondent. The nausea, the overwhelming exhaustion, the feeling of my wombspace not being solely mine anymore, there seemed to be no silver lining in sight. My relationship with my son’s father is also not one conducive to a prosperous life, and is complicated to say the very least.

I am blessed to live in a place where it is possible and not too difficult to access abortion. On the very same day that I took the test at home, I dropped my son at daycare, ran some errands and came home. I called a wonderful hotline called Women Have Options. The woman who answered my call spoke with me for almost an hour with honesty and unbiased information. I already knew that I’d prefer a medical termination over a surgical one, and she agreed it is a good option for early pregnancy (at that time I was predicting I’d be around 6 weeks along, which turned out to be the case). She gave me the names and numbers of several clinics I could go to for help, including one community health centre where the doctors and nurses are all bulk billed. I called them first, and was so warmed of heart by the compassion and care that I received from the very first moment. A nurse instructed me to obtain blood work and a dating scan as soon as possible prior to my first GP appointment. I did so post-haste, not wanting to delay this process by any means.

At my clinic appointment, I first spoke to a nurse, who had an easy going and empathetic nature. She offered me counseling, went through the procedure in detail and made sure I understood everything that would happen. I then saw the doctor, a woman who was also very friendly and understanding. She wrote the script for the 2 step pill, which I was able to pick up from a pharmacy nearby. She asked me to have more blood taken, and referred to to a pathologist once more for after the abortion, in order to check it has worked.

That evening at 5pm, I took the first pill (mifepristone). I experienced a little bit of nausea and a bit of a low mood, but nothing more. Around 36-40 hours later, I took some anti-nausea medicine and some paracetamol plus codeine. 30 minutes after that, I inserted the 4 misoprostol pills between my cheeks and gums and left them to be absorbed for a further 30 minutes. I put a thick pad on, and waited calmly, playing with my son. I swallowed the residual parts with water once the 30 minute window was up. Almost immediately I began to cramp and bleed. I soon began to pass clots, about the size of grapes, sometimes smaller. The cramps were comparable to those of a heavy period, but certainly nothing worse. I felt a little light headed and sleepy. I lay down in bed and slept for an hour or so. When I woke up I was feeling better in myself. I went to the toilet and passed more clots, and along with it, I passed the pregnancy tissue. It was not scary or alarming, in fact I personally felt very relived to be able to know that I had passed it. I looked at it for a moment (a small ball of whitish-grey tissue, containing the embryo) before making my peace and flushing the toilet. This was about 4 hours after the pills had been absorbed. The cramping lessened off quite a bit after this had occurred.

It is now a few days later as I write this. I feel quite good. I am bleeding as though I have my period. I feel my energy returning to me already. Maybe it is early days still, but I do not feel sad or regretful, and I don’t think I will regret this experience at all. It was certainly the right choice for me, for my life and for my son. To anyone out there who is unsure, take my story and so many of the others on this excellent platform as an overwhelmingly positive story of your rights and your options. The medical abortion process, for me, was altogether doable and not daunting nor depressing. Being in my own home, and being treated with such care and dignity was nothing short of empowering. I feel thankful to be able to have made the choice I made in the way that I did.


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