Not My First Abortion: A positive medical abortion story

by J

July 17, 2020

I’m 34 years old and this was not my first abortion.

It was not my second.

It was not my third.

This was my fourth abortion.

Before I missed my period I could already tell that I was pregnant. I had experienced the same symptoms before: fatigue, frequent urination, constant cramping, increased appetite. The positive pregnancy test just confirmed what I already knew to be true – that I was pregnant. And despite my age, having a great job and being in a long term relationship, I still wasn’t ready to become a mother. There are many things that I’d like to do before having a family like traveling, trying out a different career for a year to see if it takes off and working on being a better version of myself that I wasn’t ready to have a child. My boyfriend was supportive and reassured me that we have plenty of time to have children so there’s no need to rush anything. We’ve also had our fair share of ups and downs and we both know we have a lot to work on. This would be our second abortion together.

As soon as I discussed this with my boyfriend I went online and scheduled the appointment for the abortion at Planned Parenthood a week later. It was something I wanted to go through quickly and not have to think about for weeks on end. My first 3 abortions were all surgical. For me they were slightly uncomfortable for a few minutes but over rather quickly and what I would prefer. But living in New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic, I didn’t want to risk spending more time than necessary in Planned Parenthood. I wanted to be in contact with the least amount of people as possible so I opted for a medical abortion. From all of the stories I read online a medical abortion sounded incredibly painful and scary. In fact right up until the day of my appointment, I was still contemplating whether to have a surgical abortion knowing it would be over quickly.

The morning of the appointment my boyfriend drove me to Planned Parenthood. Because of Covid-19 I wasn’t allowed to have anyone with me so he sat in the car outside and waited. After checking-in I had an ultrasound, then met with a woman to go over my options and my health history and finally I met with a woman who would give me my medication. The first pill I took in the office with her was mifepristone which stops the pregnancy. She then gave me anti-nausea medication, 800mg of Ibuprofen and the 4 pills of misprostol that I would take at home to expel the pregnancy from my body. I normally take 800mg of Ibuprofen when I have my period and sometimes find that I still experience bad cramps despite being medicated so I asked her if she could prescribe something stronger after explaining this. She prescribed Tylenol with Codeine which I was able to pick up at my local pharmacy. Then she explained the follow up appointments I would need to make to ensure that the pregnancy had ended and after about 2 hours in Planned Parenthood I was on my way home.

Saying I was nervous is an understatement. I was terrified because of all the stories I had read online. It got so bad that my boyfriend took my computer away from me so I would stop frightening myself. I was glad he did this. That night I barely slept. I was anticipating being in so much pain the next day and I wasn’t able to relax.

The next day I woke up and felt some minor cramping which I thought might have been from the mifepristone. I ate some breakfast and as directed took my pain meds and anti-nausea meds around 10:30 am. I took both the Ibuprofen (800mg) and the Tylenol with Codeine (300/30mg). At around 11:00 am I took the misoprostol. I put the 2 pills in the pockets of my cheeks and waited for them to dissolve. 30 minutes later I still had a lot of the pill left over in my cheeks and swallowed the rest with a gulp of water. The pain meds seemed to make me pretty tired and I laid in bed napping most of the day. Around 12:30 pm I woke up, went to the bathroom and checked to see if I had started bleeding- nothing yet. I didn’t start bleeding until around 1:30 pm which was about 2 1/2 hours after I had taken the misoprostol. Throughout the day I felt some minor cramping and took my pain meds every 4-6 hours. I laid in bed and used a heating pad. The blood clots I passed were never bigger than the size of a grape and I never bled a worrisome amount. At times I couldn’t tell if I was nauseous or if I was nauseous from being hungry. I ate some crackers and toast here and there but wasn’t able to eat anything more than that until about 10pm that night when I had some soup. My boyfriend and I live together so of course he was with the whole day making sure I was okay and getting me anything I needed.

Overall, the pain from cramping that I felt was maybe a 4 out of 10 and I attribute this to the pain meds that I took. I’m glad I was prescribed the Tylenol with Codeine because I think this helped tremendously with pain management. My experience was not like what I had read online. Was there discomfort at times? Yes, of course, but it wasn’t anything unmanageable. It felt somewhat like a regular period. The next day I bled lightly and felt the slightest cramps here and there but that was it. Prior to this I had psyched myself out.

I remember reading only one story about a woman who had a medical abortion saying that if she had a positive experience she would share it and so that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m sharing my story to let others know that it’s okay if you’re not ready to or don’t want to have a child. I’m sharing my story to let others know that a medical abortion for me was not as scary or painful as these other stories I had read about. I’m sharing my story to let others know that they are not alone in having more than one abortion. My life is mine to dictate and I’m grateful that having access to abortion services at Planned Parenthood has allowed me to do this.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!