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Bad harmony result, devastated, and confused about termination options at 15 weeks

(42 Posts)
BigCorrieFan Tue 05-Mar-13 16:37:36

I have just had some bad news back from my harmony test and will almost certainly be opting for a termination, followng a CVS confirmation (which is pretty much a formality as false positives v rare on Harmony apparently). Am really devastated and scared.

The consultant says because I am 15 weeks I will not be able to have a surgical termination and will have to be induced and go though labour; does anyone know how long that would take, only I have a preschool DS so DH will have to look after him and not be there with me.

Also the consultant said the NHS won't do surgical termination but I could go private - anyone know why it isn't available on NHS but is privately, is it cost or are there other implications? I don't want to risk damage and jeopardise future pregnancies.

Can't stop crying and so terrified of what the next few days hold. DH is away down South at the moment with work so I have nobody to talk to.

Anyone got any experiences of either type of termination at this stage and able to help at all? If I go medical, will I have to push/see the fetus, will I feel it coming out I don't even know how big it will be, the calendar says 70g and 11cm.

This is so awful, I can't believe this is happening (but then again logically someone has to be the 1 in xxx I suppose...)


lozster Tue 05-Mar-13 18:31:04

Oh my goodness, just read your other thread and wanted to say I am so sorry you are going through this and that you are currently on your own.

There's a thread on here about termination that may be useful to you. In answer to your other thread, I had an amnio. I was weepy but the process was ok and I felt ok afterwards and probably could have driven myself. I was however very grateful to have my partner there and I feel for you coping on your own. I hope your ds is a positive presence for you in a difficult time.

Hang on in there - there are many women on here who will be thinking about you and there may be someone along soon who has direct experience of both cvs and termination.

BigCorrieFan Tue 05-Mar-13 18:34:44

Thanks for the reply and for sharing about your CVS. I bet I will be in floods of tears during the CVS, I can't seem to stop bawling, hopefully they will be used to this at the clinic sad

insanityscratching Tue 05-Mar-13 18:48:28

So sorry you are going through this. I can tell you my experience although it was a few years ago and procedures may be different now. I had had a missed miscarriage so the baby had died at 19 weeks. I went to hospital at 9 am and had a pessary inserted and then later a drip to stimulate contractions. It was quite painful but I was offered as much pain relief as I wanted. I didn't need to push, the baby left my body with the waters. I then went to theatre to have an ERPC and left the following morning.

BigCorrieFan Tue 05-Mar-13 19:40:59

Thanks Insanity for your reply, really sorry to hear about your MMC. I am scared of the pain, was the pain relief adequate, did you get morphine type stuff rather than epidural? I am terrified of hospitals which doesn't help. Did you have anyone with you?

Thanks x

Pizdets Wed 06-Mar-13 07:57:22

Hi BigCorrieFan,

So sorry that you're going through this, it's an awful situation to be in.

I had a surgical termination at 18 weeks last summer (although the baby was measuring small). It was on the NHS, although I was very lucky to get this as I live in London and think there are only a couple of consultants who will do surgical terminations so late as you have to be very expert, obviously.

I was on a ward with other women who were terminating (mostly younger girls and all at a much earlier stage than me) and my husband wasn't allowed onto the ward, although the nurses were very kind and supportive. It was hard to wake up alone and without my baby, but it was a straightforward process with no complications and I was home by about 2pm (went in at 7.30am, husband left me about 9am).

The best thing I did was to call the ladies at ARC (ante-natal results and choices) to talk the options through with them. I'd highly recommend giving them a ring to find out more about your options.

It's horrible, an impossible choice, you don't want a termination at all and yet you have to pick between the frying pan and the fire.

It has to be your choice, but I will say that for me, surgical termination was the right option. However, I'm now pregnant again and god forbid if we found ourselves in the same situation, I don't know which one I'd choose.

It will get easier, though. You won't just bounce back but be kind to yourself and it will get better.

Sorry, I've really rambled but wanted to give you as much info as possible. do feel free to pm me if you want to ask more questions. I had some great support and advice from ladies here last year when I was in your situation.


lozster Wed 06-Mar-13 19:05:15

Hope you are ok and resting up after the test. smile

Ishtar2410 Wed 06-Mar-13 19:43:19

I am so sorry to read that you are going through this.

Five years ago I had a medical termination due to chromosomal abnormalities. As I was at 18 weeks gestation I wasn't offered a surgical termination and at the time I was very upset that I would have to labour and deliver my baby. I was told that the body heals much better after a medical termination, as this is what it is designed to do a full term pregnancy.

Afterwards I was grateful (if that's the right word) that I had been through the process as it gave me time to come to terms with what was happening.

This happened five years ago and the procedure may have changed (and of course may be different depending where you live) - I was given a tablet that would halt the production of pregnancy hormones, and told to come back the next day to be induced.

Overnight I went into labour and was advised to go in. Labour halted when I got there, so they gave me pessaries to start things up again. I was offered pain relief, including sedation, but only had gas and air - I wanted to be 'present' throughout the whole process. It took 14 hours from start finish. My little boy weighed 165g and measured around 15 cm. He was a breech delivery, which is normal at earlier stages, and I found the pushing stage lasted a long time.

At every point the midwives totally respected our wishes. They will be guided by what you want and you will not have to see your baby if you don't want to. I would urge you to accept any offer of photos, which you won't have to look at if you don't want to - they can be held with your notes, just in case you want to look in the future.

Sending you strength.

Take care

RufousBartleby Wed 06-Mar-13 20:14:32

Oh you poor thing - how awful.

I had a surgical termination quite recently and although at the time I couldn't understand why on earth anyone would choose a medical termination if there was any other option I can now see I might have oversimplified. I think it is definitely less emotionally traumatic but waking up not pregnant is very strange, and I bled for ages - far longer than you would after delivering at full term. I also ended up back in hospital due to heavy bleeding and an infection and passed bits of placenta/baby many weeks after the operation, because of course with the surgical process the baby is not leaving you in one piece (sorry I know that is horrible, but it wasn't something I considered at the time).

I have to say though, that I do know people who have had this procedure with absolutely no problems, but I did have an extremely experienced consultant perform the operation so I think it might just be a very difficult thing to judge.

I might be wrong about this, but I think if you really wanted to take the surgical route later you might be able to push for it and the NHS outsource to other organisations. It may be worth asking as I'm pretty sure its something some trusts do. The downside being that you would then probably end up in an environment where most people were terminating through preference and I think that might be difficult too.

For what its worth I chose the surgical option having seen a close family member have a very late medical termination. I would make the same choice again. Unfortunately I think there are people on these boards who have experienced both and are in a much better position to advise you than I am.

I'm so sorry you find yourself having to think about this and facing these hard and horrible choices.

SomeDaySoon74 Wed 06-Mar-13 21:12:27

Hi BigCorrie, so sorry you're going through this, it's just the worst thing ever getting the bad news isn't it and then having to deal with all the medical procedures can be quite a minefield. I agree with Pidzets that a call to ARC is the best first port of call. I spent ages on the phone to them when I was in your situation. They talked me through the pro's and con's of surgical v medical (risks sounded very similar, so they recommended I go with whichever option freaked me out the least) and ai went for surgical at 13w4d on NHS. Any later and it would have had to be done through Marie Stopes or BPAS (free, but requiring a GP referral) who do them much later. These clinics do mainly deal with unwanted pregnancies though so can be a bit insensitive in their questions (e.g. by offering contraception advice) but they do fill a need.
Good luck with the next few days/weeks. There are lots of lovely ladies on here full of wise words so just ask away about anything you're worried about. xx

LittlePoot Wed 06-Mar-13 22:15:03

I'm so sorry to hear your news - you must be devastated. Sadly, I remember it all too well. On the plus side, I now have a happy, healthy 2 year old asleep upstairs, but on the downside it took a termination (following a 1:4 nuchal result and CVS) and then a MMC to get there. Ultimately, you need to make the decision that you feel would be best for you, but I can tell you about my experience of both medical termination then surgical removal of the miscarriage and what I think about them both.

My termination was at around 14 weeks and I was also told that I couldn't have a surgical termination at that point (my hospital stop surgical terminations at 12 weeks). I was terrified and had all the same concerns you mention - about pain, pushing and having to feel or see the fetus. The reason for stopping surgical terminations that early was that they believe the risk of damaging the cervix (which could then risk incompetent cervix for a future pregnancy) is too high when the fetus is that big and so it is safer to deliver following induction. Although the procedure was traumatic (or rather, the whole situation was traumatic), it was not as bad as I had expected. I was given morphine on demand as soon as the pain started (which started as period like pain but ramped up pretty quickly), and was also given the option of an epidural but I didn't want to have to stay in hospital long enough to let that wear off. The pain probably started around 12pm and the morphine meant I wasn't massively with it for the afternoon. It was all over by about 6pm. The staff were amazing and completely supportive and respectful of my wishes - which included essentially not talking about or seeing the fetus at any point. Some people want to go through the birth and see the fetus, spend time with it, take pictures etc. I just needed to completely detach. They will support you through either option, or anything in between.

For my MMC, which was at around 10 weeks, I had the surgical option - quicker and possibly a little easier - but then it was my second pregnancy and I didn't have the 'choice' element to deal with because the pregnancy had ended on its own. So overall the whole thing was less traumatic. Both times took me a few months to get over, but as I said - I did eventually have a happy ending.

A friend had a surgical termination at around 13 or 14 weeks and as someone already suggested, had to be referred to a Marie Stopes clinic. She found it a horrendous experience and did not feel any of the kindness or supportiveness I had experienced at the hospital (although of course that could be a difference between her and I). She also miscarried her next pregnancy but then had a child a day older than mine.

I'm sorry this is such a long message! But I hope some of that information is useful. I am happy to tell you anything else you think might be useful. There's no easy way to get through the next few days/weeks but you will get through. And there are many here who can empathise and help you with that.

Antidote Wed 06-Mar-13 22:36:46

Just posted on your other thread about the CVS, I didn't realize that you had a harmony done first so I am really sorry if what I said was insensitive.

I had a medical termination at 15 weeks in the summer.

It was managed very sensitively by the hospital, who were kind, supportive, and really professional. I was given pills after counselling & consent, then came back the following day for the pessary. I was in a side room and DH was with me the whole time.

Our lovely nanny kept DS overnight so DH was able to just focus on me.

I spent the night & was discharged next morning.

Those are the good bits.

The actual process was upsetting. It all started very fast, which meant the painkillers didn't really work. I opted to look, which was distressing, but now I'm glad I did because it would have been worse in my imagination.

I had very intrusive physical "memories" for about 2 months which then gradually faded.

I'm now 14 weeks, and this time opted for an early CVS which was normal.

I hope that helps.

ghislaine Thu 07-Mar-13 01:14:51

I'm so sorry you're facing this, it is a really awful and harrowing time.

There are lots of us here who have faced/gone though this; please ask any questions you need to. For my own part, I had a surgical termination on the NHS at 14w1d for T21, but I know other people who've had them on the NHS later. I did find the waking up not pregnant distressing, but on the other hand, I was never offered the option of a medical termination (of which I was very afraid, both because of what was involved but also because I have a medical condition that means I need to have a c-section to give birth and I was worried about the consequences of that). There isn't any good way out of this, only the least worst you can stand.

Wishing you lots of support in the days ahead.

PatButchersEarring Thu 07-Mar-13 18:44:15

So sorry that you're going through this.

I had a medical termination yesterday (yes, yesterday!) for a chromosomal abnormality. I was 16.5 weeks.

I have to say, these last weeks have been truly awful, but yesterday was not as bad as I had envisaged.

The pessaries went in at 4pm, and I had delivered by 7pm.

We chose not to see the fetus, and although we (me in particular) wavered over this decision, I now feel that this was the right option for us. I have however, asked for photos to be retained on files, just in case we change our minds.

Physically at least, less than 24 hours later, I now feel fine. I have bleeding, but only as bad (or possibly less) than a normal period.

Emotionally, I feel that we have done nothing but grieve for the last week or so, and just now at least, I'm relieved it's over.

I have also contacted ARC, who were great. They have told me that medical terminations after approx 13 weeks is the only option available on the NHS as the NHS don't have surgeons routinely available which are sufficiently skilled to perform the procedure after this time. However, according to ARC, there is no additional risk to future fertility etc after 13 weeks when procedure is performed by a specialist surgeon- but usually, this is only available privately through Bpas, Marie Stokes etc. What the NHS don't like to tell you, however, is that often these organisations have arrangements where the NHS will pay for your treatment through them.

Hope that makes sense.

Hope all goes as well as it can do for you.

manitz Fri 08-Mar-13 09:37:02

hi so sorry you are in this situation. Like Ishtar, I felt my medical process helped me come to terms with what had happened. I have not had a surgical termination but I think I would dislike having stuff done to me. I almost felt proud that i had got through the labour.

I have now had 2 terminations, one at 26 weeks and one at 14. I was told that bone develops or hardens from 12 weeks so there is more risk to the cervix and womb after 12 weeks with a surgical for example ashermans syndrome etc. It might be worth asking if that would make a difference to you as I had a lot to take in at that time and may have misunderstood. I saw each fetus and found it helpful in the weeks after to have photos of both of them. I have a memory box with certificates, medical reports and photos. I don't really need it now but it was useful to have that stuff to refer to.

I found the labour was much less traumatic than making the decision to terminate. I hope you are ok. x

BigCorrieFan Fri 08-Mar-13 18:51:31

Quick reply from phone. Thanks so much for all your replies they have been really helpful. I just got CVS results back and, as expected, not good news, just trying to take it all in at the mo, will be back with questions soon no doubt. Thanks for all the wonderful support x

lozster Fri 08-Mar-13 20:38:29

I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope your husband is around to support you this weekend. Take it easy.

BigCorrieFan Tue 12-Mar-13 16:54:15

I have had a horrible few days. We have made the decision to terminate but are struggling to find anyone who can help in this regard. Unfortunately my BMI is over 35, and I went to BPAS today and was advised that I could not have a surgical termination due to this, fair enough. But they could only offer me a medical termination in 2 weeks time and over 200 miles away from where I live! I tried Marie Stopes and they have the 35 BMI limit and only do medicals up to 9 weeks. Spires only do them up to 12 weeks. So I am not really sure where to turn. I have been in touch with ARC about the whole situation but didn't think to ask about practicalities, I wonder if they can help in this regard.

BPAS today was horrible, I would strongly advise anyone in this awful situation to advise at all costs. The staff were cold and indifferent, they had no empathy whatsoever and furthermore were unhelpful to boot - I feel quite shocked and upset after the consultation (and pissed off at the waste of £65 and an afternoon off work!) They were also over-keen to offer contraceptive advice even when I explained that the baby was planned/wanted. I guess they are just not set up at all for this type of situation.

I have contacted the consultant who did the amnio for me and am hoping he can help me or I really won't know where to turn. The impossible logistics are making an unbearable situation even more difficult.

I just hope I can sort something out and somehow get through the next couple of weeks, it feels nigh on impossible at the moment but I will have to somehow.

Husband is home and being very supportive thank goodness.

I really found all your replies so helpful, I will be re-reading about your experiences with medical termination now in order to prepare myself for what lies ahead. It was also great to hear happy endings and good pregnancies after sad outcomes which gives me some hope for the future.

I really hope it happens quickly, medics have been quite vague and sometimes seem to suggest it could take over a day. I am quite scared of the physical pain, I have a lot of trouble with VEs so not sure how the pessary insertion is going to go - had to have gas and air for these when induced with DC1.

Please could anyone who had a medical termination reassure me regarding pain relief? Bpas was quite vague about it and muttered something about pethidine, I was hoping for a morphine drip if needed (or is that the same thing? - I didn't think so) and gas and air. Bpas were very non-committal and didn't seem very clued up on the answers to our questions.

Oh one other thing that has really upset me, when I spoke to the Spires she said what I was looking for was a late termination - is it really classed as late at 15 weeks? Shocked/upset me somehow to hear it termed that.

I suppose the one plus side of not being able to have a surgical is that I don't have to choose as the decision is made for me. I just hope I can access a medical termination somewhere nearbyish and soonish and get it out of the way. Starting to feel desperate and panicked about this.

ghislaine Tue 12-Mar-13 17:11:08

BigCorrieFan I am so sorry to hear about this. I am racing out the door but I wanted to ask if it's not possible to have a medical termination on the NHS? Unfortunately lots of the women on the two termination threads (I will link later but they are easy to find in this section) have done so and could help answer your questions. I don't know of anyone who has had to have a late medical termination privately.

Pizdets Tue 12-Mar-13 18:33:00

BigCorrieFan, I'm sure the NHS should offer you help with this, please don't worry, you'll get this sorted. Can you contact your midwife/fetal medicine unit is the consultant doesn't get back to you in time? I also recommend contacting ARC about the practicalities, they will be able to advise and hopefully help you to feel calmer about it all.

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time and it's the last thing you need. Fingers crossed you get things sorted soon.


LittlePoot Tue 12-Mar-13 19:29:07

Absolutely recommend contacting your NHS fetal med clinic and sorting this through the NHS, where they will treat you with the respect and sensitivity you deserve. Pain relief wise, on NHS I was offered anything I wanted from paracetamol, morphine drip all the way up to epidural. 15 weeks is only late compared to termination of unwanted pregnancies, which would normally be before the 12 week scan. For abnormalities, that's pretty standard and sadly, many people don't find out until much later when the whole thing takes on an extra layer of trauma. Good luck getting something sorted soon. x

BigCorrieFan Wed 13-Mar-13 17:54:22

Thanks very much for the advice. I have been on the phone to the local hospital and finally spoke to the right person, she was very lovely and understanding and I am booked in for a medical termination starting tomorrow with the tablet, and then Saturday for the pessaries etc. Feel so relieved to be booked in, but a new sense of dread at what I am now facing. I hate anything medical, blood, examinations, hospitals, pain, so no idea how I will cope. Just so sad that things have turned out like this. Just had my 20 week scan appointment through too which hasn't helped.

LittlePoot Wed 13-Mar-13 19:23:05

Oh sweetie-I know. And there's nothing I can say that can make the next few days and weeks any easier for you. But you will get through the other side-I promise. The pills for me were also a trauma then a really uncomfortable wait for the inevitable. Saturday, my advice is to get straight on the pain relief and take whatever you need to get through. Then be gentle with yourself-don't expect anything. You'll have good days and bad, ups and downs-just take it slowly and allow yourself to grieve. It is desperately sad, and there's no eat way through but there are many here who've been exactly where you are and can offer some helping hands. x

FattyMcChubster Wed 13-Mar-13 19:37:10

Big I just wanted to say I hope it goes smoothly for you over the next few days.
My thoughts are with you.

BigCorrieFan Thu 14-Mar-13 22:01:47

Well I have taken the first pill this morning sad Had to wait an hour and a half too as consultant was busy. The staff on the fetal medicine ward were really kind and understanding. Just need to try and keep busy now until Saturday. When I will be accepting all the drugs they offer me!

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