My abortion was NOT THAT PAINFUL. Don't believe in the horror stories!
2015 South Korea
I wanted to have an abortion that was as natural as possible (ironic I know!), as in letting my own body take the lead, not an outsider like a doctor. I was also against the idea of a surgical abortion because I thought it had a greater risk of damaging my uterus and cervix. Plus, the thought of the doctor "scraping" things out of my uterus disturbed me, and I also didn't want him/her to have to carry out such an unpleasant task for me, either. It had been exactly 7 weeks since the first day of my last period when I had an abortion, and it really WASN'T AS BAD as some of these horror stories make it out to be! In the end, complications ARE rare, and I was lucky/smart to have found out about my pregnancy fairly early on: 7-10 days after I missed my period. Something had gone wrong with the condom my partner and I used. The earlier you do it, the less painful it will be (I know that by the time you're reading this, you may have been pregnant for longer, but spread the word so your friends are informed!). So by the time the meds arrived (which I was also anxious about for no reason), I was 7 weeks pregnant, counting from the first day of my last period. Having never expected to get myself in this situation -- I considered myself a fairly responsible person with good morals -- I booked as many doctors' appointments as I could at some of the more prestigious institutions. The first doctor I saw was very enthusiastic and upbeat in welcoming me, and started asking questions like "Have you started taking folic acid?" "Are you on any medication?" etc. It wasn't long before I realized he was assuming I wanted this baby, so I alerted him to the fact that my pregnancy was an unwanted one. He remained to be in denial, and said "but you're still gonna have the baby, right?" I gave him a firm no. He appeared a bit disappointed and told me university hospitals don't carry out surgical abortions unless the mother's life is threatened by the fetus because, you know, abortion is illegal. In retrospect, I was stupid to have visited a "prestigious institution" because they tend to be too good for doing illegal shit! Some useful information I gleaned from the visit, however, was that I should make sure that I am able to see the gestational sac through an ultrasound (which any doctor should do regardless of whether you're going to abort the baby) prior to getting an abortion because the doctor knew of a case in which a woman went through a surgical abortion (basically sucking content out of your uterus) and realized she was still pregnant three weeks after. It's because she went through it too early when her gestational sac wasn't visible, and the doctor who performed the surgery targeted the wrong area in the uterus. So keep this in mind if you are considering a surgical abortion. At the time of my first visit, I couldn't see my gestational sac, either, so the doctor advised me to wait 10 days and get myself checked again. I didn't wait that long. I went to another doctor, my regular gynecologist in fact, a week after and confirmed that I was definitely pregnant, no questions asked. I did a blood test and an ultrasound (even though just getting the latter would have been wiser cuz it checks for your pregnancy AND the location of the sac. What a waste of money!). This time, I didn't tell the doctor I was intending to have an abortion. He was the one who asked, and when I told him I wasn't sure (as per the societal expectation, wink wink), he told me I should decide as soon as possible because the sooner you do it the less likely it would cause an irreversible damage on your uterus. Well, my meds hadn't arrived at that point. It'd been 8 days since I ordered it, and the tracking information, as Women on Web properly warned, was not very helpful. They did arrive though, exactly in two weeks on the dot, and since it was a Tuesday, I waited until the weekend to bring my plans to fruition (so I wouldn't have to take a leave from work). Also worth mentioning is that I'd been spotting on and off for two weeks since my first doctor visit, which delighted me at first because I thought I was naturally miscarrying, but they were all brown and appeared to be old blood. They never became a full-fledged fresh bleeding like miscarriage should be like. So while I briefly considered waiting to see if my miscarriage would occur naturally (I was also drinking alcohol and taking anti-depressants which are counter-indicated for women who want to maintain their pregnancy), I remained resolute in carrying out the medical abortion because natural miscarriage could take weeks and sometimes even months. I didn't want to have to take an unexpected "sick" leave from work in case there were complications. People in my country are extremely nosy and need to know WHY I need a sick leave! So being a working professional that I am in this conservative country, medical abortion seemed a good choice because I could schedule my own abortion. Fast forward to that Friday, I took the first pill, mifepristone, at 6:11 p.m. I chose Friday because my partner was only available for me on Saturday evenings and Sundays due to work. So by Saturday evening, I was able to be with him at his place. However (this is somewhat of a big however), I did experience some side-effects of mifepristone, which most websites rarely talk about! The moment I took it I could tell my breathing had quickened and become lighter. My body was having trouble drawing in air and I constantly wanted to yawn but somehow wasn't able to. I think either the pill interfered with my diaphragms or it was in my head (my partner thinks it's the latter). What helped tremendously, though, was using a heat pad. I lied down and put a heat pad on my stomach and within seconds I was back to breathing normal! I also slept a really good sleep that night, too, and woke up past noon the next day. Shortly after, though, I started experiencing a different side-effect of mifepristone. I started feeling nauseous, and this time, the urge to throw up was greater than that of morning sickness. I COULD, however, intuitively feel I was no longer pregnant. I wasn't nauseous at first, at least, which was a constant during my pregnancy, and I somehow felt lighter and more like the usual me. I'd also read mifepristone basically ends your pregnancy (but has a lower success rate than the mifepristone-misoprostol combination), so it all made sense. The nausea, however, was really unpleasant. I threw up for the first time in my pregnancy, and all that came out was Pocari Sweat, an energy drink common in Asia. Certainly, Pocari Sweat couldn't have caused my nausea because it is a harmless substance (an energy drink after all) and I still felt nauseous even after puking. That's when I knew something was up. I asked my partner to pick me up at my place so we could go to his place together. The cab ride to his place felt like forever due to my nausea. When we arrived near his place, we bought Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, the local version of Dramamine (for nausea) and something else the pharmacist recommended me for nausea (which seemed like oriental medicine). We also bought bananas because they're supposed to be easy on your stomach when you're feeling queasy, according to this wonderful website: http://healthcenter.indiana.edu/answers/vomiting.shtml, worth a read. When we arrived at his place, I tried taking the oriental medicine. It seemed to assuage my nausea at first so I ate three bananas (probably a mistake). I quickly went back to feeling sick on my stomach. I was close to throwing up, but this time I held in it because I knew throwing up wouldn't make the nausea go away, as it didn't previously. Also, I realized my partner's place wasn't all that relaxing or comfortable at all. It was cramped and the bathroom had a rough flooring, which would hurt my knees when I had to get on my knees and throw up. So we decided to book a hotel nearby that night, and we found a cheap one about 20 minutes away on foot. Strangely, 70% of my nausea went away as we walked there! I suppose exercise helps with these side-effects? So you may as well try walking fast, too, if you're experience the same side-effects of mifepristone as I did. At the hotel, I took four pills of misoprostol as instructed, under my tongue for 30 minutes, and swallowed. The pills don't taste bad at all. In fact, they don't taste like anything. This is also when I believe I caused anxiety attacks on myself. I sat on the toilet because that's where I felt safest, and basically waited for the hemorrhage to happen, according to the numerous apocalyptic stories on Women on Web. About 20 minutes into the tongue-dissolving phase, I started feeling the cramps. They were a bit stronger than my normal period but nothing unbearable at all. I put a heat pad on my stomach and prepared to puke because I thought I'd have to but I couldn't bring myself to somehow. At this point, I was a bit mad at my partner for downplaying my pain. I wanted him to be more attentive and hold my hand through the entire process, but he was busy watching shows on his phone because, in retrospect, he KNEW I was doing this to myself. After a few minutes of no-hemmorrhaging and no-puking at all, I decided to lie in bed and have a heat pad on my stomach. The cramps slowly disappeared and I fell asleep. It wasn't bad at all! So my advice is: don't freak yourself out! Everything is going to be okay. Complications RARE. Don't believe in the horror stories as if they're the absolute truth. Worry about the complications only if you notice any of the symptoms listed on Women on Web that require professional medical attention. My partner woke me up after four hours for the second batch of misoprostol, which I took the same way as the first batch, under my tongue for 30 minutes and swallowed. Just before taking it, though, I noticed gunk coming out of my vagina, so I went to the toilet to change my pads and alas, there was fresh blood on it, as it should. The amount, though, wasn't great. It hadn't even fully soaked my pad. It filled maybe 65-70% of it, like a normal period would. I changed the pads and proceeded to take the second misoprostol and continued to lie down with a heat pad. This time the cramps were minor, perhaps even weaker than the normal period cramps, and they went away pretty fast. So, here I am, writing this review at the hotel! Of course, I'd have to wait a bit longer to know for sure that my abortion is complete and there are no complications, but thus far, I totally OVER-FREAKED MYSELF OUT. So please, please, please don't take these horror stories as the absolute truth. Again, complications are rare, and considering millions of women do it all over the world, thousands are bound to experience some complications. My experience thus far basically felt like inducing my normal period. So in sum, my advice would be: 1. Relax. Everything is going to be OK. Why else would some countries have these pills legal? It's because many people have tried it and things went OK for the majority of the cases. Even if there are complications, you will have access to an emergency room if you filled out the Women on Web questionnaire honestly. 2. Find the most relaxing place you can. The most important criterion for me was a smooth bathroom flooring for optimal puking experience (which didn't happen). It doesn't have to be your home or your partner's home, either. 3. Read as much as you can about the pills, complications, what to do if they arise, types of food and drinks you can take if you feel nauseous (I shared a great website above somewhere) so that you are more or less fully informed on what to expect. 4. Have painkillers and a heat pad handy! It helps you calm down and numbs the pain. I wish you all the absolute best in your experience.
Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?
No. It was more of a moral question for me. It had been five week since the first day of my last period when I took the home pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant. I thought my world was crumbling down when I saw the two lines. I took one again the next morning but the two lines appeared again. Thankfully, my partner was there with me when I took the tests and comforted me, saying it is not a big deal, millions of women do it, it's not a rare thing at all, etc. Then after about a week or so, I somewhat developed feelings for the fetus inside me; the poor little creature was hanging onto dear life inside my womb, and I was going to let it go. I felt a tiny sliver of religious guilt (I was raised Christian), but I knew in the end I had to go through it because I was not ready at all to have a child and was not in good shape mentally or physically to have a healthy child either. Another factor that significantly influenced my feelings (or perhaps the most) was concerns about possible health complications. I am naturally a queasy person -- I sometimes cause minor anxiety attacks on myself by freaking out, so abortion definitely scared the hell out of me. I also read so many horror stories of excess bleeding, incomplete abortion and other terrible complications that I subconsciously thought were Definitely happen to me. It turned out, those fears were completely unfounded!
How did other people react to your abortion?
I only told two people about my plans for an abortion: my partner and my absolute best friend who lives in a different country. My partner encouraged me to get one because millions of other women in the world do it, including probably hundreds of thousands of women in my country who just don't talk about it in public because it is taboo and illegal (and not enough people use contraception due to poor or non-existent sex ed). My best friend was also supportive of my decision but made sure I wasn't doing it out of pressure, which I wasn't.
I had an abortion. And i know that was the best choice.
The best decision for me.
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