Detailed surgical abortion experience

by Aurelia (Australia)
I’m an Australian 19 year old and I found out I was pregnant three weeks ago. Once by a pregnancy test and then confirmed through a blood test done by the doctor. I’m studying at uni and was in no way ready to be a mother.
I was considering using the medical option of the abortion pill, however I decided to go with a surgical abortion instead.

The actual procedure was very positive for me.

First I booked my appointment and was told not to eat or drink 6 hours before hand.  I was told to bring a change of underwear and a sanitary pad as usually you have a bit of spot bleeding afterwards. Also I wore a two piece outfit, t-shirt and jeans. Dresses and skirts aren’t the best option.

When I arrived at my appointment (my mum came with me) I checked in at the clinic and paid. I was able to claim some of the costs back through my healthcare system however the bed cost of the clinic was 380 dollars.

It was a day procedure and I sat in the waiting room. It was just like a normal GP waiting room. It felt rather normal. The clinic was running late, but finally I was called for my pre-abortion consultation. They asked me basic questions about my sexual past, went over the anesthetic options (they let me choose) and did an ultrasound to confirm how far along I was.

This all took about 20 minutes and the nurse was lovely, kind, non judgmental, and treated me like a person, not like a anonymous girl who was about to have an abortion.

I then went back into the waiting room and waited to be called for the procedure. This took about 10 minutes.

The doctor who would perform the procedure called me up, and took me down the hall, introduced himself (was very kind) and led me into an undressing room. Here he went over the anesthetic, gave me a gown to put on. The standard practice is to leave your bra and t-shirt on, put the hospital gown on over the top. Then I placed all my clothing items in a plastic box and my underwear in a sealed plastic bag. There was a second door that led into the procedure room and there I met the anesthetist and nurse who would also be assisting.

I know people have bad experiences and I feel very lucky to have had such kind, comforting staff during my experience. From this point the doctor asked me to lie on the procedure table (it was basically the same as a dentist bed) but slightly longer and had the leg stirrups at the end.

Immediately they placed the oxygen mask over my face (this doesn’t put you under). The anesthetic was placed into my arm via an IVF (I think thats what it is called) I have never had an anesthetic and it was an odd experience. I was aware for about 2 minutes of what was going on around me, the doctor asked me to bring my legs up onto the end of the bed (not into the stirrups) and they began asking me questions about myself, general stuff about uni, travel etc. The last thing I remember was the nurse telling me to dream of paris, then I went under and almost immediately after that I woke up under a blanket, in the recovery room in an extended lounge/bed chair.

First of all I had a ‘twilight’ anesthetic or what is also known as a low dose of general anesthetic. It meant that I was out of it so to speak however not so much that I was completely unconscious. It did feel like I had blacked out. I do not remember anything. I did not feel anything and it was like I had gone to sleep and woken up almost immediately.

When I was in recovery they told me that I had been walked into recovery, this is standard procedure and something I don’t remember doing. I was still in the gown however they had placed my underwear back on with a sanitary pad.

I immediately ate the biscuits and drank the water that was next to me however I threw up about 10 minutes later into a sick bag. While it is possible this would have happened anyway – I think I also ate far to quickly and drank too much too soon. However I immediately felt so much better.

I did experience some very mild cramping pains however I’ve never really been affected by PMS so this may just be me. After a while I sat up and my clothes were at the end of the bed. There was a nurse checking in on me every few minutes. I must have spent about 30 minutes in the recovery room however I would have been awake for maybe 15 of those.

The nurse checked the spot bleeding on my pad which was minimal and normal, and then I was left to get dressed. She then escorted me back into the waiting room where my mum was.

Before my mum drove me home we stopped at a chemist (I rested in the car) and she bought the antibiotic tablets which I am taking for the next 7 days to help prevent any infection that may develop (the chances of this are very small) however a prescription is always given (at the clinic I went to) to ensure that this is at a minimal risk.

I felt really really tired in the car however once home I sat in front of the tv and ate some toast. I would recommend having dry toast with a light spread as soon as getting home. Also I was told to drink at least two litres of water that day and the following. The combination of fasting, anesthetic and the fact that it had been 30+ for the last week meant for the next two days I was constantly thirsty.

I slept that afternoon and then had dinner, read in bed and then slept that night. A few side effects I have noticed
- my chest (above my breasts) has been sore, sort of like I have an invisible bruise however this is getting better each hour
- I have had a few occasional twangs of mild pain in my lower abdomen (around the uterus) which again is very normal
- The feeling of being pregnant is gone, I not longer feel extremely tired, sick or have tender breasts

I had my abortion yesterday and it already feels like a distant event. It was significant however it was the right choice for me and I am so grateful that it was not a traumatic experience. When I was researching surgical abortion there was so much on women’s emotional turmoil. While this is very much a huge part of deciding weather to have an abortion or not I was always decided in what I was going to do. What I was wanting to find was information on the procedure to mentally prepare myself.

I also saw my GP today to touch base with what had happened and I also wanted to go over a few questions about the medication I’m on for the next week etc.

Choose the option thats right for you, no matter what other people say. Weather you choose to have a baby, have a termination, either medical or surgical…it is a personal choice and does not need to be justified or reasoned to anyone. There is support out there and doctors and clinics are a fantastic source of support and information.

I hope my story has helped even just one women in some small way. I was always looking for a story that would cover the actual day, what I would need to to do and what would occur from beginning to end.

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