Renee’s Story

My boyfriend was an only child. His mother had 12 miscarriages before she finally gave birth to him. At the time, she was given a drug to prevent miscarriages which was later found to cause birth defects in offspring, such as infertility. My boyfriend was such a child. I’d always assumed that the term “infertile” meant that he was unable to fertilize an egg- but clinically, the term “infertile” means that you have less than 40 million sperm. That’s still a lot, and after three months of fairly regular unprotected sex, I got pregnant.

I was young, in college, so I did not want children… and I was very very nauseous. By 7 weeks, I had lost several pounds due to my inability to eat. The only thing I could stomach were cucumbers, and to this day I can’t even look at the vegetable without feeling nauseous.

I went to Planned Parenthood and got my abortion scheduled. Because the doctor only came so often, I didn’t actually get the abortion until about 8, 8 1/2 weeks. I decided to go with a medical abortion, also known as a chemical abortion. Originally I was worried that if it was unsuccessful I’d have to pay more money for the surgical follow-up, but PP said that if that happened, I wouldn’t have to pay anymore money (Interestingly enough, it had only just been approved past 7 1/2 weeks- if I had been there a few months before, I would have had to have a surgical abortion.)

The people there were very nice. I got my packet of “required materials” from the state of Michigan, which of course contained a lot of propaganda and inaccurate information. I had to sign that I had received it.

I went to PP and got my dose of RU-486. In the presence of the doctor, I swallowed the pill. He told me that this was to soften the cervix, so that when the pregnancy was terminated, the material would be expelled more easily.

He also gave me Misoprostol to take home. At home, I inserted the pills high up into my vagina as instructed. I also took a Tylenol with codeine.

With the codeine, the abortion was as painful as some of my worse periods. There was a lot of cramping, but after the bulk of the material had been expelled, it went away immediately. They tell you to wear pads, but at least with my abortion, a lot of material came out, so you really just have to sit over the toilet like you’re defecating. I threw up a couple times when I tried taking a second dose of codeine, (it was very bitter) so I just inserted it in my vagina like I did the Misoprostol, and it worked wonderfully. If I ever do it again, I won’t even bother taking the painkiller orally.

The whole process took a full day. When I woke up the next morning, I felt perfectly fine. It basically felt like a 7 day period crammed into one day- more intense, but at least it was over with quickly.

When I went in for the follow up, they said that there was still material left in my uterus, so they sent me home with another pill. I took it, but nothing happened- there was no bleeding, no cramping, and no nausea. I went in for another follow up, and they said I looked fine. I probably didn’t need to take the second dose of the pills since it probably would have taken care of itself naturally anyway. Since I was on the very tail end of when medical abortions are allowed, it probably just took more time for the material to get reabsorbed into the body than with an earlier term fetus.

If I ever have to have an abortion again, I’d probably try the surgical just to compare the two. Also, it really helps to have your own apartment and your own toilet as I did when I had the medical abortion. I would not recommend a medical abortion to anyone living in a dorm, because people will probably notice, and that sort of eliminates the privacy advantage of having it done that way. Since I had my own place, it was nice to just hang out and watch TV all day while having the abortion. It was very comfortable for me, since I like most people aren’t found of hospital settings.

All in all, it was a pretty neutral experience. I haven’t experienced any emotional problems. Although I’ve experienced depression in the past, the abortion didn’t cause a resurgence of it at all, and I don’t feel any guilt. I’ve studied embryology, so I look at the entire process from a more medical/scientific view than I do from a religious/ethical view.