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I'm a midwife who works in abortion care. AMA

(564 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

GlitteryPoopooplop Tue 23-Apr-19 19:58:58

Go ahead. I'll try and answer everything the best way I can. Sorry if this is boring (I love my job and can go on about it a bit.)!

miamamamia Fri 31-May-19 23:42:59

Thanks for this thread OP, it's much appreciated to read how it is from a HCP point of view.

Thankfully when I had a surgical abortion aged 17 I experienced nothing but kindness from the nurses on the day of the procedure. Going under GA (I'd been referred on the NHS by sympathetic GP and after a scan showed I was 14 weeks was scolded by an aged Consultant for being so shameless as to have sex and to refrain if I didn't want a baby and that there were no options and I'd have to have the baby. Me and my mam went back to GP who was disgusted but not surprised and pointed me in the direction of BPAS (forgot to say this is early 1990's)

My dad drove me down to the private clinic, I think it was called ?Danham Lodge, in Doncaster 4 hours drive away and I had a consultation with a doctor with no nurse chaperone. I was told to completely strip naked and lie on the bed where he did a breast and vaginal examination. I remember feeling traumatised but just assumed this was the norm?

I was booked into a B&B directly opposite for the procedure to be done the next day and I remember the kindness of the landlady - obviously she'd had lots of girls/women staying previously. She gave me an alarm call next morning and on my way out the door gave my arm a squeeze and said 'you'll be fine'.

After booking in I was shown to a 4 bed bay where by we all stated why were there (voluntarily) - only lady who had an obvious bump in the bed next to me was there because she'd briefly split up from her husband and had slept with a black partner so was worried the baby would be mixed race (she was scanned and too far to have the procedure). Another was a 14 year old whose brother had made her pregnant.

My most prominent memory is the lovely nurse who held my hand going down to theatre and reassuring me, she was so kind and stroked my face and wiped the tears away and told me I WOULD be ok. I'll never forget her.

When I woke up from the GA I was crying though I don't remember it and the same nurse held my hand back to the ward. We were given a cooked meal at tea-time in a canteen style set-up and my dad picked me up the next morning. Before this my dad and I were never very close but it definitely brought us together - I'll never forget how supportive mam and dad were.

Sorry for the essay but this has brought the memories of it all back to me - and I can absolutely say, even aged 17, I absolutely did not take the decision lightly or think it was a form of birth control. I was a naive 17 year old just out of an abusive relationship where he was finally jailed for violence and stalking.

Thank God for people like you OP smile

Maybeitsjustmeor Thu 30-May-19 09:07:55

Thanks. It was a long time ago so I'm hoping things have changed a lot since then.

TurquoiseTurtles Thu 30-May-19 08:07:42

@Maybeitsjustmeor I'm so so sorry you had to go through that. I'm glad you felt supported.

Maybeitsjustmeor Thu 30-May-19 07:56:55

I'm glad there's people like you doing this job it must be so hard. I was 12 to 14 weeks so had like the tablets inserted with a tampon was really hard.

Maybeitsjustmeor Thu 30-May-19 07:54:46

I had an abortion at 14 after being raped. Worst experience of my life I remember fainting and I was walked back to my room with my Robe open so everyone saw the back of me naked but they didn't care.

Was so painful didn't realise how painful it would be.

TurquoiseTurtles Thu 30-May-19 07:40:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tensun15 Tue 28-May-19 18:57:39

@GlitteryPoopooplop I have to go back in 2 weeks as the scan didn't show . All the ladies I saw today were really lovely and helpful. Due to the lletz I will have to have a GA so will carry on as normal (well try) until then.

Also I will be having the coil

Thankyou x

GlitteryPoopooplop Tue 28-May-19 15:16:00

Good luck. Let us know how you get on. X

Tensun15 Tue 28-May-19 11:47:45

@GlitteryPoopooplop I am at a Nupas now. Waiting for my consultation. Due to having a lletz last year they say I might need to have it under GA.

Will know more after the consultation.. but might also have to come back if internal scan doesn't show clearly .

Thankyou for getting back to me x

GlitteryPoopooplop Tue 28-May-19 11:12:02

@tensun15 It depends, 4 weeks isn't possible to see on scan generally, unless you mean 4 weeks since conception (which would be 6 weeks pregnant). You can definitely elect to have surgical abortion early, as long as its been confirmed by scan. It's slightly more complicated before 7 weeks because the pregnancy is so small so the dr just has to do some extra checks.

We put coils in at the same time as surgical abortion, in fact it's a great time to have one put in.

Local anesthetic really depends on the person. It's very very quick (5 or 10 minutes) so lots of people are fine, but also, some people find it terrible, and struggle to cope. Usually clients feel fine within an hour or so after the procedure.

Fixmygarden Tue 28-May-19 10:51:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tensun15 Mon 27-May-19 16:49:10

Is it too early to have a surgical abortion at 4 weeks? And do you think having a local anthestic is painful or ok... also can the coil be fitted at the same time? Thankyou

GlitteryPoopooplop Sun 19-May-19 13:07:00

You mentioned that you see the woman on her own and then admit whoever is accompanying her so that you can be sure she is not being forced into an abortion - if it turns out that she is, how can you safeguard her?

It varies depending on the situation. We have safeguarding forms which are designed to ask more details about what's going on with the client. We have have the police in before, in extreme circumstances. We have access to women's aid etc etc.

ChocChocButtons Mon 13-May-19 15:59:41

I personally wouldn’t ever have one unless medical. I’m pro choice but I have limits but their my personal limits and I’m not about judging people who’s circumstances I’ve no idea about.

I’m just glad their are lovely people out there like you supporting women who find themselves in this situation. X

MancaroniCheese Sun 12-May-19 22:46:08

Thank you for what you do OP.

You mentioned that you see the woman on her own and then admit whoever is accompanying her so that you can be sure she is not being forced into an abortion - if it turns out that she is, how can you safeguard her?

BusterGonad Mon 29-Apr-19 16:09:09

Thank you for this thread Op, I've never had an abortion but I did have a very premature child (28wks 1lb 10oz) and I'm pro choice.
No child should enter this world unwanted, there are far too many children who live dysfunctional lives and end up harmed, neglected, abused etc, as awful as it sounds I do think that to end a pregnancy in a humane way is by far the better option and that's before I even consider the life of the poor women who has made such a hard decision.
I know not all abortions are due to abuse, tape etc and the woman had decided it's not the right time etc and that too is up to her. Her body, her life, her right to choose.
Keep up the good work Op, you are much needed.

Smotheroffive Sun 28-Apr-19 21:25:00

Thank you again OP!

I think what I'm trying to say is whether vulnerable women are offered women medics (esp.in sensitive cases) purely because those women (and a lot of other women too) find it too confrontational to say no....so they don't actually have real choice.

Yeah, the drs are men hmm. I have heard endlessly just on here alone [MN] the women complying with actually unwanted procedures and by the opposite sex, also unwanted.

Bluebelliphant Sun 28-Apr-19 20:40:12

Hi. I had a termination over 20 years ago. I've never had any regrets, I was not in the right position to bring a child into the world.

I now have 3 much wanted and loved DC.

I am grateful how things turned out.

For some reason, I have v little (next to no!) recollection about any of it. It was surgical, that's all I have ever been able to recall.

Reading this thread has made me realise that I have some unanswered questions, largely how many weeks I was. I have always wondered, but this thread has really made me think.

Do you think that is something that I could ever find out?

Thank you @GlitteryPoopooplop for your compassion and understanding. I hope I was treated by someone as kind as you.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Sun 28-Apr-19 20:20:39

I've found your AMA very interesting and I'm so glad that women and girls in need have someone as compassionate and principled caring for them. Thank you.

Islaofsilly Sun 28-Apr-19 20:04:01

I hope this thread has helped at least one person to not feel shit about themselves, or their choices

It has helped me OP. It has been really interesting. I also definitely now consider myself completely pro-choice whereas before I am not sure I was.

GlitteryPoopooplop Sun 28-Apr-19 18:57:25

@Smotheroffive interesting questions! I guess you develop a knack for knowing when people are truly pro choice, so you can hopefully weed most people out at interview. I've definitely worked with one person who I'm sure wasn't, she didn't last long in the job because she found it really hard to cope with.

Most poems who are nurses or midwives in this job are women, but not all. A lot of the drs are men. In cases of trauma we would do whatever we could to arrange appropriate care. I've never had a women decline our male Dr yet, even in cases of rape. But if they did, we'd rearrange the treatment for them.

Smotheroffive Sun 28-Apr-19 17:07:19

It's how it looks from wherenim standing OP, and having to defend your wish to stand alongside women at some of their worst times and give, not only non-judgemental, but actively supportive choice. This environment of considerate and respectful support only exists in very small pockets.

I wondered how you prevent those with the pile opposite views from getting employment in this field (I am thinking of all the activists and what lengths some will go to - you mentioned one before whibwas negatively affecting women) does this happen rarely, or do others try this?

And is the role sex protected in terms of women not having to choose medical care from women because its already provided?

Does this only happen in rape cases perhaps, or do women ever have to have male medics despite rape or PTSD situations?

GoldenPineapples Sun 28-Apr-19 13:21:54

I'd imagine the amount of women who use abortion as a form of contraception are far and few between. I mean if judgy people knew the reality of it, including what it can do to you emotionally then they wouldn't just come out with such nonsense.

When I was 20 I had a surgical abortion. I remember going to the first appointment with my mum where they asked why I wanted an abortion etc. Then on the day it happened I went alone, I didn't have a clue what was going to happen or what they were going to do (whereas now I would ask about the process and what was going to happen.)

I had to put on a gown, lay on a bed and the lady gave me a general anaesthetic injection. Next thing I woke up on a bed, slightly bleeding and not really knowing what was going on. Then I got dressed and had to go in a room, eat a plate of sandwiches then I went out and walked home.

I look back at how bizarre it was, especially as a young adult on my own. It took me a long time to get over that (because my boyfriend made me get rid of it.)

GlitteryPoopooplop Sun 28-Apr-19 10:33:30

@Smotheroffive I wouldn't say I'm courageous (unless I get outed and lose my job I guess!). Thank you for sharing your stories. The thing which really solidified my opinion about any gestation for any reason was sending a woman away who I was sure would commit suicide rather than have her baby.

I hope this thread has helped at least one person to not feel shit about themselves, or their choices. Maybe given an alternative perspective to someone. I'm sorry if I've upset anyone with my extreme views.

Smotheroffive Sat 27-Apr-19 18:56:07

Glittery ! Courageous act to do the AMA, conducted very professionally by you.

Much credit to you for the kind and considerate work you have done here and undoubtedly dobe during your career.

The world certainly needs more women supporting women, like you and your amazing colleagues. I can't speak highly enough of you upholding choice for women and their bodies.

I have known girls of 12,13,14,15,16....need your services. Sadly they have all been terrified, highly emotional and above all, secret.

I have know girls, labour alone in silence locked away from any support. I have helped to support others to feel emotionally supported through choice and decision made, and parents not aware.

One who laboured in secrecy at term had no idea what was happening, terrified, and delivered alone the baby of her father's rape of her, awfully deformed and unsustainable. The baby suffered desperately and died. SA in families often results in such scenarios, or forced abortion, explained as other than.

Having had to face these choices for myself was horrendous.

I have also known women kill themselves as a result of being denied abortion, they made the only choice they felt they had left.

I have got the impression from some comments that it's easy to intervene in DA situations. Actually it's quite widespread.

Even where abusers are hauled out, they don't get actions that prevent further abuse and killings, and are given the care of DC!!!

Courts too frequently advocate fathers rights over vulnerable DC. DC get killed.

These are women's 'choices'

Grateful that in this area that you work, at least, women do get choice.

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