My experience with medical abortion was so much better than I thought it would be and I just want to reassure anyone reading this that you will get through it fine!

I am in my late 20s and I found out I was pregnant the first day my period was late (I am usually very regular). I’m in a long term relationship and my partner and I have always felt strongly that we don’t want to be parents. We were disappointed in ourselves for getting into this situation but both immediately knew that we did not want to be parents now or potentially ever.

As soon as I found out, I made inquiries to various clinics for a medical abortion and was told that I would need to be at least 5.5 – 6 weeks along before I could be prescribed the pills as this was the earliest time that they could confirm via ultrasound that it was not an ectopic pregnancy. The 9 day wait was nerve wracking and stressful but in a way I am grateful for it because it gave me time to really solidify my feelings about the pregnancy and not wanting to be a mother. By the time my appointment rolled around, I had 0 doubt that this was the right decision for me.

The day of the appointment went as planned – I confirmed my decision to my doctor and she gave me an ultrasound that confirmed there was a gestational sac there. I was 5 weeks 4 days along. Along with the abortion pills, I was given a prescription for anti-nausea medication and codeine for pain relief. My doctor also told me that I could take ibuprofen along with the codeine as they both work in different ways. I took the first pill that afternoon and felt mostly fine, although I could not sleep at all that night and found out later that this is one of the side effects of Mifepristone. The next day I did feel slightly nauseous for most of the day – though this could have been from the pregnancy itself.

Two days after the first pill, I woke up in the morning, had a light breakfast and then took 2 of the codeine tablets, 2 ibuprofen and one anti nausea pill. At about 8am, I slotted the 4 Misoprostol between my cheeks and gums and settled down onto the couch. Half an hour later, the pills had softened against my gums but they hadn’t really dissolved much so I decided to leave them in my cheeks for an extra 15 mins before swallowing what was left with water. Light cramping started within about 20 mins and I started bleeding lightly within an hour. I wasn’t really leaking much onto my pad but every time I went to the bathroom, blood would pass as I peed. The light cramping continued for the next 3-4 hours and I was really surprised at how chill it was. I would describe the pain level to be 1 or 2/10 at most, though this would obviously have been affected by the pain medication.

About 4 hours into it, my pain medication started to wear off and the cramps felt a bit more intense – they were painful but still very manageable. I took an additional ibuprofen and codeine pill at this point. Around this time, the cramps intensified. The pain medication was working so I wasn’t in much pain but I could feel my muscles seizing strongly in my stomach. I believe this would have been when my body passed the gestational sac, though I never saw it because most my bleeding happened when I was on the toilet.  This lasted maybe about 45 mins max and then cleared. I didn’t need any additional pain medication and was relatively pain free for the remainder of the afternoon/evening. The bleeding reduced to a light – normal period level.

It’s now the next day and I still have some light bleeding (I changed my pad when I woke up this morning and am still wearing the same one now at 2pm.)

All I can say is that I am equal parts relieved and grateful that this option was available to me and that I can now continue on with my life. If anyone reading this is nervous about their own abortion, take it from me – it is NOT as bad as all the horror stories make out and you can do it!

My top tips to making the experience as comfortable as possible:

  • Ask to be prescribed codeine if you can and juice yourself up – 2 pills before and the top up again 3 hours into it. Might as well make it as pain free and comfortable as possible.
  • Keep fluids up on the day
  • Have a heat pack on hand  – it was very comforting to cuddle
  • Have warm, comforting food on hand for the day
  • Put on your favorite movie and try to relax while your body goes through the process
  • I’ve been told that the earlier along you are, the easier it will be as there is less to pass. So try and arrange your abortion as quickly as soon as you’ve decided that this step is right for you.