Susannah’s Story

Just over four weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. I was only a day late on my period, but I felt something was wrong. I had been walking around with a pad on for a week, expecting my period to arrive any day – awful cramps, horribly painful breasts, anxious, tearful and just generally feeling weird. When it didn’t arrive I took a pregnancy test and the 2 little lines popped up immediately. I lost it – cried, cussed and dragged my fiancé out to buy more tests. Surely it had to be wrong? Six positive tests later there was no denying it. I was pregnant and utterly petrified. I should have been happy – in my thirties, engaged, due to be married, lovely house etc. But I wasn’t. Neither was my fiancé. Yes, we had the lovely house – we also had the huge mortgage, no insurance, my job on the line, a roommate and did I mention before – no insurance. Plus I just was not ready – I felt absolutely lost, frightened and knew in my heart that I could not go through with the pregnancy.

Fortunately I had the support of my fiancé. I had always been pro-choice, but never in a million years thought that I would have to make such a decision myself. All I can say is I am so thankful that I found this site, for giving good, informative, first hand experiences and secondly that I have Planned Parenthood in my area of California. They were wonderful. After I took the 6 pregnancy tests I walked into Planned Parenthood and took another one (just in case). Of course it came back positive. I started to cry. The nurse was so kind and understanding. I was around 4 weeks and 3 days pregnant (from the date of my last menstrual). I had researched medical abortions on this site and Planned Parenthood’s and I was well within the time frame to have one done. The worst part was that I had to wait another 2 weeks to get in. It was the worst. I wrestled with my choice for a few days, but by the time the day arrived for my next appointment I was 110% sure of my choice to abort.

On the Friday I went to Planned Parenthood and waited and waited – the waiting room was full. I started with an ultrasound and vaginal ultrasound. I was just over 6 weeks gone (counting from the first day of my last period). I asked not to see the picture, nor find out if I was having twins. I then had a physical to make sure I would be ok to have the medical abortion and then counseling with a wonderfully understanding and helpful woman. Finally I was in to see the Dr. who made a few jokes and gave me the first pill to swallow. It was strange, I thought I would hesitate, but I didn’t. I took it without hesitation. The first pill basically stops the embryo from growing and the second pill (Misopristol), which you normally take between 24 and 36 hours after taking the first pill, causes the uterus to expel the embryo. He then gave me a week’s worth of antibiotics and the Misopristol to take the following day and a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine and an Anti- Nausea medication. I felt fine and relieved leaving Planned Parenthood. Some protestor tried to hand me leaflets as I left, I just drove by.

I planned to take the second pill around 6pm the next day, when my fiancé would be back from work – I would definitely suggest having someone be with you after you take the Misopristol. The next evening I was frightened about what to expect. I knew I would have some cramping. I followed the regiment that had been given to me and 30 minutes before taking the Misopristol I took the Tylenol with Codeine and the anti-nausea stuff. Then placed the 4 tables of misoprostol between my gum and cheek to dissolve for 30 minutes and lay back in bed waiting for the effect. After about 45 minutes I started to get terrible, terrible cramps and fifteen minutes after that I began to spot a bit. The cramps were very painful and I lay with a hot water bottle on my stomach. But then they finished. I couldn’t believe it. I thought “was that it? – How easy was that?” But then they started again. I won’t lie – it was really, really painful, especially as the next Tylenol 3 I took made me really sick and I threw it all up. Without any pain medication it was a lot worse than period cramps. I tried to take more Tylenol later but threw that up as well. I had bad cramping for a good five hours and during that time passed a few large clots and was extremely tired, shaky and sweaty. I did feel really ill and weak. I did drift off to sleep in between the waves of cramps, but they were very, very strong – I kept wishing for them to end. All I can recommend is that you eat enough during the day to coat your stomach so the pain medication does not make you throw up. But fortunately the worst of it was over by about midnight. The next day I woke up so relieved and I have not had one second of guilt over what I did. I bled for about a week and I had regular period style cramps for about a week as well – nothing that a couple of Motrin couldn’t cure, or some time spent lying on the couch watching reality TV couldn’t help!

By the second week I was feeling back to myself. Compared to how I imagine the pain of childbirth to be, this was really only a few hours of very painful cramps so nothing in comparison! Today I had my two week follow-up, which consisted of another pregnancy test and a vaginal ultra-sound. My medical abortion was successful. Please do not be scared by the ‘information’ you read on pro-life websites. They would have you believe that you will be writhing around on the floor in agony, slowly bleeding to death! Yes, for a good five hours it was very painful, but I am glad I caught my pregnancy early enough to choose the medical abortion method. For me it felt more natural, as though I was having a miscarriage. I feel nothing but thanks for the choice we have in having abortions that are safe and legal and that I had Planned Parenthood. I know one day I will hopefully have a child – for now, it is not the right thing. It would have ruined us financially and emotionally. So, I am not sorry.