This topic is for personal experiences or dilemmas; to debate the ethics of termination, please go here or here.

Surgical Abortion

(15 Posts)
Rosespink Sun 10-May-15 16:32:28

I had a surgical abortion yesterday at 8+2. The decision to have it was fairly straight-forward. Without going into masses of detail I have health complications and another pregnancy wasn't advisable right now. Our contraception unfortunately failed. I am sad. Not regretful or guilty as such, just a deep sadness that it wasn't to be. I think this is probably normal? What I feel I do need to talk about is the experience of the abortion itself. I keep playing it over and over in my head.

I chose a surgical abortion- awake, with local anaesthetic (I have a fear of GAs). I don't know what I was expecting really. From what I had read, I understood that hopefully the pain would be limited- and over fairly quickly. I was given a tablet prior to dissolve under my tongue and painkillers about an hour before. But during the procedure, I was in terrible pain. I felt everything. It was over quickly, but it was pain like i've never experienced.

I don't mean to put anyone off this method. I doubt the level of pain is normal. But I just needed to talk. I felt exposed, it felt raw/primal. It was in a proper theatre which scared me a little. The staff were wonderful though. I am not explaining it very well. Is there anyone else for whom the surgical option was not as they expected/painful? Does anyone know why this could be? I must add that although I was a bit uncomfortable afterwards this was manageable and today, I am feeling almost physically normal. It's the procedure itself that I cannot process properly.

myermay1 Sun 10-May-15 21:16:53

How awful for you, sounds horrific. Did you have a local? I have no experience, I had a general as I wouldn't want to remember a thing about it. Hopefully someone will come along who has had similar experience to yourself. Sorry you've had such a rough time

TheLastPickleInTheJar Sun 10-May-15 21:37:43

Hi Roses

I too had a surgical abortion although i had a GA. I can kind of understand about your feeling of exposure. I couldn't stand to think about the procedure afterwards and what they must have done. I felt weirdly embarrassed, exposed and violated.

I didn't have any pain afterwards but i would imagine the procedure to be a fairly painful and uncomfortable experience if awake. They have to be sure to do a thorough job.

It's an unpleasant experience on so many levels.

Rosespink Sun 10-May-15 23:22:10

Thank you both. I think it was just a shock. I never expected this to be easy- emotionally or physically- but I can't stop replaying the procedure. I am sure there is a local anaesthetic involved. I know the tablets they gave me earlier were supposed to soften my cervix, making it easier. They dissolved fine, so I don't think that was a problem. I don't know if the local was done just before the procedure started- either way, I feel that it may not have worked effectively on me. I was so grateful for the nurse who held my hand throughout.

ArabellaStrange Sun 10-May-15 23:28:17

Did you not get offered sedation? Sounds horrible, I wish for your sake that you didn't have to go through that pain.
Is there any chance that some kind of counselling could be made available to you?
I hope you feel better soon.

TheLastPickleInTheJar Mon 11-May-15 07:58:44

It must have been really awful for you op. Do the hospital offer any kind of debrief?

Rosespink Mon 11-May-15 09:44:47

Thank you- it was done through BPAS and the option they offered within a reasonable driving distance at my gestation was the surgical treatment with local anaesthetic. Not sedation unfortunately. But at the time I was fine with this option because from the research I had done, I hadn't expect it to cause the level of pain that I experienced.

BPAS, I believe, have an aftercare line so I will use that if I feel that I need to over the course of the next few days.

I do have a fear of hospitals due to past experiences and I wonder whether I was too tense and that didn't help. I had my initial consultation with BPAS in a different building. It was like a doctors room with a bed. The nurse who led my consult said that my procedure would be on a bed "a bit like this one". But on the day of treatment, when the time came, it was very much a hospital setting. I realise how stupid and naive this sounds but I was told to wear loose clothing. So I thought that meant that I would remain in my own clothes (bar the bottom half of course). But I was given a complete set of theatre wear to change into. I started to shake at that point. And the 'doctors couch' type bed I had expected was actually an operating theatre with a hospital trolley surrounded by oxygen cylinders and monitors.

Logically, I know that to be safe and sterile this is a suitable setting. It just wasn't what I expected.

Thank you for listening.

GreenFeathers Mon 11-May-15 11:10:13

So sorry you had such a bad experience op.. Do you think counselling would help? Bpas should offer you free counselling if you ask. Could be worth calling the aftercare line just to find out if what you experienced was normal.

I also had a GA when I had a surgical termination so I can't really help.but, when I had stitches after giving birth, the local anaesthetic didn't work and it was really painful. They topped it up and said that for some people a higher quantity is required.maybe that would explain a bit why it was so painful for you?

Autumn2014 Mon 11-May-15 17:35:08

I hope you don't mind me posting, I've just had a mva for a mmc which sounds like a very similar procedure to what you have experienced. The procedure was done with local anaesthetic but I was also allowed gas and air to suck on. I could feel them in my insides and although I wouldn't describe it as pain it was an awful feeling and not very dignified. I could also feel it when products were coming out of me because they were body temperature warm. I was glad of the gas and air to help me control my breathing as I started to panic and shake uncontrollable like my body took over. I was very calm until the point that the doctor had to go inside and then I couldn't hold it together. I choose the mva.rather than the ga as I have a young child and wanted to be able to have a quicker recovery. I hope you don't mind me posting I just wanted to be able to.empathise with you. I'm sorry you.weren't offered the gas and air as I'm sure that would. Have helped you.cope with the procedure.

TheLastPickleInTheJar Mon 11-May-15 19:37:42

I wondered if gas and air could javelin been offered to the op. As well as relieving pain it gives you something else to concentrate on.

Sorry for your experience Autumn.

TheLastPickleInTheJar Mon 11-May-15 19:38:43

I don't know why but my phone always seems to offer the word javelin up before have hmm

Rosespink Wed 13-May-15 22:59:38

I really appreciate you posting Autumn. I'm sorry you had to go through that. It does sound similar and I also shook uncontrollably. I do think gas and air could have helped- it wasn't mentioned as an option though. Thanks again to all who have posted.

madamginger Wed 13-May-15 23:05:36

I had a similar experience at Marie stopes in 2002. I felt everything, it was awful, they couldn't give me any sedation because they didn't have an anethetist on site.
I relived it for about a week but never regretted my decision and barely think about it now

Rosespink Thu 14-May-15 08:01:32

madamginger - thank you for describing your experience. I am glad that it has faded from your thoughts now but sorry that you had the same. Did the team that cared for you say anything regarding your procedure? i.e did you tell them how much you could feel? Like you, I don't feel that I will regret the decision as it was the right one for me and my family at this moment in time. But I am sad that it WAS the right decision if that makes sense. I am also struggling a bit this week with the fact that other people's lives are carrying on as normal around me- on the school run, people making small talk, my parents telling me all the details about their new neighbours, etc etc and I feel like screaming out and telling them all exactly what has happened and that I don't need to hear about these things right now. But of course I won't because I really don't want to share this with anyone in real life- apart from DP.

It has also occurred to me that it might be helpful to others reading this board to give a few more details about my experience of the actual process of arranging things as I know that I trawled this part of Mumsnet for several days while waiting for my appt.

My main piece of advice would be that if, when you find out you are pregnant, abortion is something you are considering as an option- it is advisable to at least phone up to make the initial appointment with the provider you have chosen as soon as you feel able. The process will depend on your gestation, the area you live in, how close you live to certain cities/clinics etc and how far you are willing/able to travel.

My experience was- I chose to phone my GP on the day i discovered I was pregnant (didn't find out until 7+1 weeks). I panicked and wanted to speak to someone familiar relating to my health issues. In that phone call, I also explained that abortion was something i was considering. GP was great, really understanding, and said he would make an appt for me at Early Pregnancy Unit but being a Friday and Bank Hol weekend, didn't know how long this would take but he would start ball rolling urgently. After a few hours of thinking about this I called BPAS later the same day to start the process with them as well and they were able to give me a concrete appointment for consultation for the following week. The GP, when I spoke to them again, advised me to keep this appointment rather than go through the hospital as they felt that there was no way i'd get an earlier appt than BPAS.

There was nearly a week between the initial phone call and my Consultation. This gave me time to think, and I could have cancelled at any time.

On the day of consultation, the staff were great- there was no pressure and they did not assume I had made a final decision. I was asked several times if I was sure. There was a short counselling session before medical evaluation.
Due to my gestation and available appointments (I would have been slightly too late for the medical termination by the time an appointment could be offered locally for this) the only procedure i could have had done in my area was the surgical with local anaesthetic. There were clinics much further away that we could have travelled to but as we were not telling/involving anyone else i wanted to stay local to minimise disruption.

Between the consult and procedure (only two days!) I was made aware I could cancel at any time and even up to the time of procedure i was asked if I was sure.

Sorry for the epic post- I guess what I am saying is that in retrospect I am glad I made initial steps quickly. It doesn't stop you changing your mind but it does keep more options open to you.

madamginger Thu 14-May-15 09:44:11

Yes I told them, the nurse got me a wheat bag for my tummy and held my hand through out to keep me calm. They gave me a co-codamol and a cup of tea once it was over and I sat for half an hour to calm myself down. They were all so lovely.
I had a week between seeing the GP and going to the clinic and it was done on the same day. I think I was there about 3 hours all told. I took my mum for support.
I had surgical because I would have needed to go back for the medical on a different day and I couldn't get the time off work, I was 6+5 weeks.

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