to be sh!tting myself after a traumatic termination experience

(86 Posts)
oikopolis Tue 29-Nov-11 17:53:59

**Please don't read this if you're easily upset by the idea of abortion/termination, or ob/gyn trauma

apologies in advance for length, don't want to drip feed

It was really difficult to decide where to post this. can't put it in infertility or conception for fear of upsetting people, can't put it in pg loss because it covers infertility... hope this is ok.

DH and I have just started TTC. It's exciting, we're ready for it emotionally and financially, no worries there.

When i was a teenager 10+ years ago, I was forced by my family to have an abortion. it was incredibly traumatic not least because it was performed without anaesthetic (i grew up outside the UK). after i left my family and started life on my own, i had a lot of therapy and it's behind me now. I am still extremely sad about it, but accept now that i was innocent in the situation, and the baby is in a better place, whatever that place may be iyswim.

it was a d&c-type abortion. I was given medication that opened my cervix and then the Dr performed a D&C with a sharp instrument (not vacuum extraction).

(**This is the upsetting part, please don't read if easily upset)

When I was on the table initially, i was being held down across the shoulders/chest. I was moving my pelvis trying to get away from the Dr's hands. The Dr told me to lie still, and if i didn't he might cut me and I would be made infertile. out of fear of what might happen and having realised this baby was not going to have a chance, i lay still for the rest of the procedure.

During recovery i bled for slightly longer than normal iirc, but had no infection etc. Since that time i've been on the pill. when went off it for six months a few years ago, and had normal clockwork periods, just as before the pg. I've just stopped the pill again last week so obvy no natural period yet.

THe problem is I am terrified that this doctor scarred me as he said he would. I now know about Asherman's syndrome (adhesions caused by D&C, leading to infertility) and I am so afraid. I'm probably more afraid of how angry and desolate i will feel if it turns out i can't have children & that terrible memory is all i will ever have, with no baby of my own to hold.

it's very hard to talk about this because a) it involves abortion and ppl don't like to hear about that, b) it's horrific and ppl don't want to believe it happened to me. I am even afraid to tell my current Dr what happened, and to ask his advice, because he may not believe me. MN seems like the only place I can ask.

AIBU to be deathly afraid that i may never get pregnant again, or carry a baby to term? and what on earth do I do to keep going through the fear?

i have told my therapist what happened. She is lovely, and she tries to help me...she actually specializes in infertility counselling (i didnt choose her for that reason, only found out after i started going), but she's from a different world and i know she just can't understand what i've been through. DH furious with my parents (has been since I told him, it was not his baby that was terminated btw) but there is always that touch of helplessness... he can't go back in time and save me, there's nothing he can do. he tries to support me, but there's only so much crying I can do before I put him into a place of stress and worry. which is not going to help TTC.

Also: In the meantime i'm doing whatever i can to gather info about my fertility (temping, charting, OPKs) so that if we have no luck TTC after a year, I can go to the OB with a full complement of info and will be able to push for immediate investigation. If anyone has suggestions about what else i can do, please do let me know.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oh god, you poor, poor thing. I have nothing to add to the great advice that's already here, but I am nearly in tears at your story. You are so amazingly strong.

duchesse Tue 29-Nov-11 19:39:57

You poor thing. What happened to you is horrible beyond words. You have a lot to process. Your counsellor sounds excellent. I suggest you keep going to her until you can feel more at peace with what was after all inflicted on you. Your termination was blatantly done that way to inflict maximum humiliation, pain and guilt on you and is nothing short of abusive, even from the medical personnel. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about. You would not even if you had chosen to have the termination.

You might have to process that as well, and find a really understanding, kind midwife for your ante-natal and labour care. I suggest you tell her once you have found her what happened to you so that she can look after you compassionately. I suggest that maybe you have a bit more counselling to do before you can cope with a pregnancy and the intervention/examinations that will entail. I hope you manage to find peace about what happened to you.

Dawndonna Tue 29-Nov-11 19:42:15

You poor thing, I'm so sorry that this happened to you.
I am also pleased that you are going to see your g.p. Perhaps dh would go with you, to support you and to confirm things so that your gp fully understands. I really wish you all the best for the future.

pranma Tue 29-Nov-11 19:46:48

it may be possible for you to have some sort of scan or even ultrasound or laparoscopy to see whether there is any significant scarring so at least some of your fears could be allayed.Do talk to a doctor soon and all the best re ttc.

otchayaniye Tue 29-Nov-11 19:56:40

very quickly as just feeding but i have had Asherman's Syndrome (moderate to severe) and have been through years of no periods and trying to find out what was wrong and in the end self diagnosed. i had surgery in asia and a coil and hrt and got pregnant at age 36 straight away after the coil was removed. i have since had two daughters.

if theres anything you want to ask, please do. a friend has also had it and it can happen after a d&c (mine was after a miscarriage)

sorry for what you have been through

oikopolis Tue 29-Nov-11 19:59:25

CailinDana thanks for saying that about Ireland. that gives me a bit of courage that I am perhaps BU about fearing speaking to the Dr. I'm sure I sound an utter mess and completely unready for pg. In some ways I am very ready (I see my therapist twice a month and despite being sort of gobsmacked by what i've told her, she's said she has confidence in me being ready. and tbh i have confidence in myself too).
In others of course i am just as unready as I appear, but i feel like that's how everyone feels.

I can say that I have always had stable moods & have never had trouble coping with the trauma (which people thought was a further sign of my delinquency of course). i cried lots for about three months, then i grew a very hard shell to get through things, and then at 22 I left home and went to therapy and started healing properly emotionally. Therapist reckons i am lucky(?) to be more self-aware than average & therefore more able to assimilate trauma.

Re: examinations, I have gone to all my paps religiously since age 16 and i don't fear internal examinations. (Again people think that's strange) I only fear that moment where i realise the Dr is not on my side iyswim. i feel that if i can get good care i will be 100% confident.

duchesse you're right about getting a midwife onside, I have a mild health issue that might preclude me from being under a midwife, but if i can get assessed as low risk i will take that route. either way, if i have to go the OB/GYN route I'm ok with that provided i trust the person.

Right now it's the uncertainty that's getting to me i think. I need to get on and talk to the Dr(s) so that this isn't like a monster lurking under the bed.

otchayaniye Tue 29-Nov-11 20:00:07

i have had a termination and a terrible ob/gyn experience in russia after having been raped so i empathise.

oikopolis Tue 29-Nov-11 20:08:50

I'm so sorry otch sad
I'll PM you in future if the Dr suspects I do actually have Asherman's. Congrats on your DDs, how lovely that you had such a happy ending.

otchayaniye Tue 29-Nov-11 20:16:26

please do, but if you're are having normal periods you should be ok. i know lots about ashermans if you ever do need help.

incidentally, my ob/gyn held me down too and i can never shake that feeling. she was angry with me.

but my experience of ob/gyns since then has been largely fantastic, and that, and my daughers have exorcised my demons.

love, and luck to you

So sorry for your awful experience sad
i WOULD DEF FIND A NICE GP AND DISCUSS WITH THEM, I THINK IT WOULD BE REASONABle to see a gynaecologist straight away for assessment and reassurance. Once pregnant (which will very much possibly not be an issue) you will have a named midwife and obs appts will be in addition to this so you will have lots of support from both directions.
I hope it all works out well for you x

wrigglerstea Fri 02-Dec-11 00:12:49

Going to out myself here, and may end up name hanging in future but I think it is really important: I am a GP. If someone came to me with this story I would be shocked but wouldn't be hugely surprised and wouldn't be disbelieving. It hasn't been like this in the uk for quite a long time (certainly decades), but it has been in other countries, surprisingly western ones, until really quite recently, and most Drs have met British ladies who had an experience like yours in the 1950s and early 60s.
I feel terribly sorry that your family put you through this, and that someone with a medical degree agreed to be complicit in it.

Ashermans is really quite rare, and it is unlikely to have happened, so I would try to reassure you about that, especially as your periods were normal when you came off the pill before, however most GPs would be quite happy to arrange for you to have some basic tests and possibly to speak to a gynaecologist to further reassure you, and to support you in the extra help you may need with the emotional aspects of a pregnancy when you do conceive.

It is very useful, for a number of reasons, to have stories like this in people's notes, as your experiences will inevitably colour both your attitudes and reactions to changes in your own health, and your contacts with other health professionals.

oikopolis Fri 02-Dec-11 18:02:22

wrigglerstea thank you so much for posting even though you might out yourself. It really helps me to have a professional's perspective. I feel sick thinking that many girls/women have had the same experience as me but at least it makes me feel a bit braver to talk about it.

I realised a few days after posting this thread that logically it IS unlikely I've had permanent damage, but at the same time, I know these fears reflect the emotional/psychological damage. and as you say I do need to have all this information in my notes to prevent me from kicking some innocent OB in the face if he barks a bit too sharply at me to get my legs into the stirrups or some such. Once I know people know about what happened, my fears seem to reduce (this thread being a case in point)

oikopolis Fri 30-Dec-11 17:46:37

update: just been to GP.

Told story briefly, managing not to cry, asked to see an OB to put my mind at rest re: trusting another Dr., getting advice re: the effects of the termination. He said no, that i needed to be pg first before any kind of referral.

he then started nattering about how "i know abortion is hard but you have nothing to be ashamed of, you had a choice, it was the right choice at the time, it's ok to exercise your choices" and I was like "NO, i didn't have a choice. this is not what this is about." and he was like "eh?" and I was like "let me explain again. please listen carefully..."

He then interrupted me (again. so i don't even know if he heard/understood even then), wanted to know where this happened etc. He was incredulous. I started crying then, a little bit, but controlled myself. he then asked a whole load of questions about my family & where they are & how could your parents do that to you, aren't they supposed to love you? (i was like I DON'T FUCKING KNOW ALRIGHT?? well i didn't say that, i remained calm and said "i think you would have to ask them about that")

...anyway in the end, it was him saying to me i need to live in the present and i need to leave the past behind and now i live in a different country where all doctors are wonderful and what's done is done and people suffer terrible things all the time and life is cruel but you just get on with it etc etc. etc. and it's not an OB that i need to see, i need to see a psychologist... talking to me like i'm a fucking halfwit, i wanted to punch him. I am the last person to live in the past. ffs. if i did that, i would be fucking catatonic.

while i just looked at him. & told him to put my story in my notes if he wasn't going to do anything else, then i left.

I had a little cry on the way back. then Ozzy Osbourne came on the radio singing "No More Tears" (lol) and i just thought, fuck all of this, i'll make do with what i have, like i always do.

thank you again for all your support. hopefully those who wanted an update will find this.

oikopolis Sat 14-Jan-12 18:35:58

And another update. Got a positive pg test this morning. I laughed out loud in shock. I guess it's back to the GP for a referral to the OB after all. I am just amazed... I like to think your good wishes and support helped me get this far. smile

BIWI Sat 14-Jan-12 18:42:39

Wow! Congratulations!
grin

QOD Sat 14-Jan-12 18:52:52

Fab!!! I just read this thread thinking oh no hope she's ok and then saw it was oldish and then your post!!

Congratulations !!

bumpsnowjustplump Sat 14-Jan-12 18:55:53

Congratulations that is fantastic news.

ohmeohmy Sat 14-Jan-12 19:52:27

Great news. Might still want to swap Gp though! Best wishes for the future.

oikopolis Mon 16-Jan-12 17:05:57

Thank you for the kind wishes. Back to GP today for referral to OB/GYN, so hopefully I won't have to interact with him very much from now on. Fingers crossed smile

AnyFucker Mon 16-Jan-12 17:17:07

I don't know how to put into words how badly I feel for you, and how much I wish that this pg goes well

I think your GP was spectacularly unimpressive, and I would urge you to change him/her

I have hope that your obstetric team will be much more exprienced in dealing with non-straightforward cases (sorry, didn't know how else to word it, hope you know what I mean) and they can offer the support in the way you need it

all the best x

Congratulations! That's such wonderful news. Here's hoping for a truly fantastic, love filled future for you and your baby. grin

I wasn't on your earlier thread, but congratulations. Fingers' crossed for an uneventful confinement wink

oikopolis Tue 17-Jan-12 00:40:56

Thanks for the congrats again smile

Just back from the GP once more, wanted to get my referral in motion.

I thought I should take one more step to ensure my story is understood, and that the OB that I'm referred to is made aware of my experience in advance if possible. The GP had made it clear previously that he had the listening skills of a garden shed, so...

I wrote a letter detailing my experience, as factual as possible, no backstory just facts. Went to GP, they did a confirmation urine test, still positive, he congratulated me, then realised who I was (hadn't recognised me) and started wittering something condescending to me about how I hadn't needed to worry after all etc.

I fielded all this as calmly as I could and then gave him two copies of the letter, asking him to put one in my notes and to keep another to forward to the OB. He agreed. While filling out requisition forms for me, he kept glancing at the letter. Then he suddenly stopped, looked at the letter again, and sort of went grey, then looked at me and said "did this take place without anaesthesia?"

I replied yes. He then went from grey to white and started spluttering things like "this is barbaric" and "this is monstrous" and "no wonder you were so afraid" and "this is horrific, how could this have been allowed to happen, they treated you worse than an animal" etc. etc.

I just said (a bit bitchily) "yes. I know. I didn't come here for nothing initially"
He had only read the introductory paragraph as far as I could see, where it said "i underwent a forced abortion without anaesthesia" I cannot imagine how he will feel once he's read about restraints and escape attempts and so on. I realised then that he had thought that by "forced" I meant "my parents made me consent, but i did consent eventually, and I regret that". Whereas that's not actually what I meant at all.

Anyway he carried on like this for some time. Eventually I said "you must understand, I'm not afraid of pregnancy and birth, this is a trust issue really, I have been treated like I was not human"

He said "I understand and I give you my word that we will take care of you and respect your wishes throughout your pg. I will never do anything without your consent. I will always treat you with respect and dignity. I have such sympathy for you, I am so sorry this happened."

I had a short cry at that and thanked him for his words, and left. I feel vindicated and positive. In a weird way, the cuntishness of the GP and his subsequent reversal and relative humility has actually caused me to feel some trust for him. I was feeling more serene than expected before, but now I feel actually fairly confident.

Glad I stood up for myself and my story. The support here helped me to do that, so thank you.

NannyPlumIsMyMum Tue 17-Jan-12 00:47:14

I'm so happy for you I feel really emotional after following your story.
You have such courage and you are amazingly strong to survive your experiences .
I wish you all the happiness possible with your family .

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