I had an abortion 2 weeks before my 19th birthday.
I had just started university and I had met a new boyfriend. It was around early December and I wasn’t on the pill yet, as I hadn’t really had any sexual relationships before. I had an appointment booked with my GP. We were using condoms, but this time it snapped. I did go to the pharmacy to get the morning after pill, but it was at the end of the 72 hour window and, as you probably know, the later it gets the less effective it is.
When I went home for Christmas I started to notice that I was feeling sick when I was on the bus for too long and the train journey home was really quite unpleasant. I didn’t really think too much about it because the train was cramped, and I generally avoid sitting backwards as it makes me feel unwell under normal circumstances. I was also starting to notice that I was wee-ing a lot more often.
When I came back from university, my friend convinced me to take a pregnancy test. I wasn’t too worried as I was still bleeding a little each month. (I had never heard of spotting)
The night I found out was pretty awful. My friend did the best she could by trying to take a pregnancy test too to make sure it wasn’t a false positive (she was a virgin at the time). I was actually quite rude to her at this point, as to my mind she was trying to take the piss.
The next day I told one of my module leaders and she gave me some guidance (and an extension for a hefty assignment I was trying desperately to finish). Then I went to see my boyfriend in the student bar.
It wasn’t really a decision at all. I’d just started university. I wasn’t giving that up. I’d never wanted to be a mother. What choice was there? Adoption was out too because carrying full-term meant telling my own mother. I still haven’t. I come from a fairly relaxed religious background but abortion is one of the things she definitely doesn’t agree with. Despite my certainty on the matter, I waited nearly a month to call the clinic. I was scared out of my mind at the thought of it, even though I knew I wanted to. This whole time, my friend kept telling me that it would all be fine if I kept it, and telling me how we could manage it between the three of us. She says this was for me to know my options, but I think it was because she was nearly as terrified of me going through the procedure as I was.
The first call went as well as can be expected, and the over the phone consultation was pretty similar. A few days later my boyfriend and I took two trains and a tube to get to Stratford where I had an ultrasound and answered some questions for the nurse. She told us that I had to have it done in the next few days if I wanted to avoid a surgical procedure – and I most certainly did! She also told us that there was a much closer clinic in Richmond and booked us an appointment for the following day.
I had not expected the procedure to be so soon, but I definitely did not want to sit around and wait.
The next day we went to the Richmond clinic and I had the first part of the abortion procedure. I took a pill called mifepristone and had an injection in the top of my leg as I have an o- blood type. The following day we returned and I administered the misopristol. We had taken the bus to the clinic, but I told my boyfriend that we would be getting the taxi home as the motion sickness was getting worse as the pregnancy went on and it would take us over half an hour to get home. I can’t imagine how I would have coped if I had had to go back to Stratford.
We had to stop the cab half way home so that I could throw up the pain medication I had taken at the clinic. This wasn’t overly important as no pain medication I took for the rest of the night had any effect.
The previously mentioned friend was around for about two hours and lent me her hot water bottle. Another friend who lived in the same flat as me in halls also came round. He had worked out I was pregnant when I stopped drinking. He glared the whole time he was there, although I think more at the situation than at any moral judgement. I phoned my mum shortly after getting home, I needed to talk to her, and hadn’t in a while. I told her it was a bad period. She said that she hoped that my boyfriend would treat me like princess the next day which was Valentine’s.
I was bleeding more than the clinic said I should, and after four hours I phoned 999 as instructed by the clinic previously, and an ambulance was sent for me. I waited for around 3 hours to see a doctor. I finally managed to sleep during this time. I was given two sets of different tablets and was discharged at around 6 am. It was still dark, and definitely not my favourite Valentine’s Day memory. We walked to my boyfriend’s house which was fortunately only 2 minutes from the hospital. I then spent three days with him and grossed out his two flatmates by washing my bloody knickers in the bathroom sink.
I’m 20 now, and I feel like I’ve moved on quite well. I have only just started going to counselling for this and other things that have happened before and after. I haven’t got much to go on as to how I’m coping as I don’t know anyone else in the same situation. I don’t regret what I did; really I only feel guilty that I don’t feel guiltier.