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My Surgical Abortion Experience

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I wanted to share my experience for those considering an abortion.

I'm 22 years old, a college student graduating in May 2012. I found out I was pregnant on 8-23-11. I took a home pregnancy test like I have several times before...except this time it came out positive. I then went to Planned Parenthood and took a pregnancy test...which came out positive. The nurse gave me a packet of information on my options. It had information on Prenatal Care, Adoption, and Abortion. She told me to start taking pre-natal vitamins so I went to Walmart and bought some for $4.

I told my boyfriend (of over 1 year) that "I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive". I have always been pro-choice, not "pro-abortion". I think a woman should have the right to choose what she wants. My boyfriend and I have discussed what we would do "if" I would ever get pregnant. I told him I would probably want an abortion, but he is more conservative and disagreed with that. After talking about it for a couple days, he said that he thought an abortion would be the best for both of us for a couple reasons:
1. By the time the baby would be born, we would both be facing about $50,000 in student loans each.
2. I have found myself to be in a very difficult legal situation which has caused me credit card debt due to paying for a lawyer. The fate of my future is also in the hands of the state at the moment, which I won't find out for months.
3. I am under lots of stress due to this situation.
4. I have never really wanted children. I still feel this way. My mind could change in the future, but at the moment it hasn't.
5. Lots of other small details.

So after deciding to go through with an abortion, I researched lots of information on the internet about Medical (the pill) and Surgical abortions. I IMMEDIATELY decided I would use the pill, since I was 5 weeks pregnant. I read lots of stories about experiences, and although I understand that this is the internet, it sounded like it would be painful and time consuming. I decided this was the way to go because I could do it at home.

I called every clinic in Minnesota that offers abortions and asked them on their prices and how soon I could make an appointment. Planned Parenthood said it would be $640 (on a sliding scale!!) for the pill. I made an appointment for this. I then called every other clinic to see their prices and it turned out EVERY place was CHEAPER. During a phone call to one particular clinic, she told me the price for surgical/pill would be $500. She also said that with the surgical abortion I could pay $20 for a valium IV sedative. This is what changed my mind to have the surgical abortion. I made an appointment for 9-2-11

I made my appointment for 8:00 a.m. My boyfriend drove me the 2 hours to the clinic. When I got there, there were about 5 other couples with appointments as well. I filled out paperwork saying I understood the risks and my medical history. I gave them a sample of my "first morning's urine" which they test to make sure you are pregnant. At about 8:30 a.m. I went back to have a vaginal ultrasound. They use a wand and insert it into your vagina. They check how far along you are (at this point I was 6 weeks 2 days). I voluntarily looked at the ultrasound...it looked like a foggy blob. She then told me I looked "about 5-6 weeks pregnant". I got dressed and then went back out into the waiting room.

At about 9:00 a.m. I went back into a room again where a counselor went over the procedure with me. She told me what to expect and then gave me a bottle of antibiotics to take 2x a day for 7 days. She also gave me a prescription for a medication that I would use ONLY if I was experiencing heavy bleeding (she told me not to fill it unless this happens). She also gave me a prescription for birth control. They had me read/initial a packet of papers describing the risks and what to expect from the procedure. She answered my questions of "How soon will my breasts go back to normal?", "How does the IV valium work?". She then pricked my finger (doesn't hurt) to check if I was Rh+/-. I was Rh+ so I didn't need an additional shot (an extra $45). She also gave me 600mg Ibuprofen (this is the pain reliever they offered). I then returned to the waiting room and paid for the procedure $520.

Throughout this whole time my boyfriend was sitting in the car. Although he did agree to wanting an abortion, he still wasn't comfortable with the whole thing because "it goes against his morals". So I wasn't going to make him sit there, I told him he could stay in the car. There was 1 protestor outside that my boyfriend found entertaining.

At about 10:30 a.m. a nurse called me back and said "We are ready for the procedure." I was told to undress from the waist down, put a pad in my underwear, and sit on the table with the paper sheet over me. I sat in the room for about 15 minutes while waiting. I was bouncing a lot and looking around the room. I noticed the chairs/cabinet was outdated (not the best quality). But then again, I doubt they are making enough money to keep the facilities in top-notch condition. The room was just like a normal doctor's appointment room. The doctor came in at about 10:45 a.m. and asked if I had any questions. I told her that I have difficult veins and begged her not to miss the vein! The hate needles. She told me to lay back and she gave me a shot of valium (it wasn't actually an IV, just a shot in the vein). I felt the effects RIGHT away and the needle didn't hurt, only slight pressure in the area. This was a sedative to make me feel less anxious, but I was still fully awake and responsive. I felt like I was buzzed on alcohol (like when you know you are drunk and are slurring your words, but you can't help it). I felt much more relaxed/care free. She then inserted the speculum into my vagina. She gave me local anesthetic to my cervix (a shot). I felt pressure, but no pain (just uncomfortable). There was a nurse standing next to me the whole time. She then dilated my cervix with a rod, about 7mm she said, which is about the width of a pencil. I didn't see, I kept my eyes closed the whole time and focused on breathing calmly. She couldn't find the opening at first, she said sometimes in early pregnancies they are tight. So the nurse put pressure on my lower stomach so the doctor could find it. I made a joke about "good thing I went to the bathroom before this". The whole time I could feel pressure, no pain. The doctor then told me she was going to start the abortion. She turned the machine on and inserted the vacuum hose inside my vagina. It sounded like she did 3 separate swipes of the vagina and then said "ok, we're done". I felt mild/moderate cramping as soon as she took everything out. Exactly like period cramps. I layed there for a couple minutes since the valium was still in effect. The doctor was only in the room for about 7 minutes TOTAL. The nurse asked if I wanted to see the fluids that came out, and I told her sure. It was nothing like I expected...just clear fluids and some brown flakes. I was told to get dressed when I felt ready. I had only a dab of blood. My cramps were about moderate, but very tolerable. I went into a "recovery room" where I was told to drink a Capri Sun and eat some candy. I sat in the room for about as long as it takes to drink and eat that. They gave me a phone number that I could call 24/7 and the doctor that did my abortion would answer any questions I had. I then walked out and got in the car and left at 11:15 a.m.

On the drive home the cramps got slightly stronger, but after 1 hour they decreased to light cramps. The bumps on the road were irritating and I kept telling my boyfriend to be a better driver! When I got home we ate lunch because I was starving. The valium had completely worn off. I wore a pad the rest of the day/night. I really could have worn a panty liner if I wanted. I had a few spots of blood and that was all. My lower abdomen is slightly sore today, but that is all. I have gone on with my daily tasks just fine.

I was never concerned about how I would feel afterwards. This is a complete relief. I must say that I did get pregnant while taking the pill. My only concern throughout the whole thing was the pain because I am a complainer. The build-up to the whole thing caused more anxiety than necessary, but I kept thinking it would be worse than it was. I know that some people might not have had the same experience as I did and I am sorry for that. This clinic was excellent and the women their were amazing and caring.

I hope this helps someone out there. If you have questions, I will try to answer them the best that I can.

-Joy
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First Helper Joy22
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replied September 20th, 2011
surgical abortion advice?
Hi Joy -

I am 22 years old also and just found out im preg. My last period was august 21 and i had sex 2 weeks ago, and i took 3 home preg tests the day my period was due and they were all positive. last night i went to the doctor and took another test which was positive. I am almost positive this happened a couple weeks ago then and that i am only a few weeks in. I have no doubt about having an abortion, the guy who i had sex with i am not dating and havent known for that long, but we do talk even though he lives about 500 miles away. I have an appointment on friday to have a consult with my doctor about having an abortion. I too think i want to do the surgical one since it is quicker and i need to be sedated because i dont want to be all nervous during it. I have a job that i can't take a lot of time off of and if i was to do the pill abortion who knows how long it will take plus the traumatic pain...ive been reading a lot of horror stories about how bad the pill abortion is. this was an accident and i always thought "oh it will never happen to me but it did" and i am glad i found out so early. how are you feeling now? i really just want to get this over with and get on with my life. do u know if there is a possibility for general anesthesia where they put you completely to sleep? i must say the anxiety building up ever since i found out on saturday is horrible....like i said i just want to get it over with. any advice u can give me? thanks you
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replied September 21st, 2011
Well it's been 2 weeks and 5 days since my abortion. I had some minimal bleeding/clots for the first 2 weeks after. I wore a pad or a panty liner every day. There was one point on the 9th day after my abortion where I thought I was going to die. I had such painful cramps when I was trying to sleep. I put a ziploc bag of hot water on my lower stomach and took some pain reliever and waited it out. That was the last day of cramping for me. I lived on pain reliever during those 2 weeks!

I feel absolutely fine now. My body is "back to normal". All my pregnancy symptoms are gone. I forget that I was ever pregnant and had to go through that. It is kind of funny to think that it wasn't even 3 weeks ago!

I do believe that you can be completely knocked out for the procedure, but I think it depends on where you go. The place I went was a simple clinic that didn't offer that. The sedative was fine and the procedure it quick. I have a couple tattoos and piercings and at the time I was thinking "If I can sit through and 1.5 tattoo, I can make it through this."

Remember that our minds get the best of us. The "thought" of sitting through an abortion is generally much more traumatic than the abortion itself. But I am only speaking from my experience. I can say that I do not regret it and my boyfriend feels the same.

I do know that the clinic I went to wouldn't do the surgical abortion until 6 weeks, so I was 6 weeks and 2 days. It could be different other places. Make sure you ask all the questions that you have. It's their job to answer them!

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Joy
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