You wouldn’t want to wish upon your worst enemy the experience of a medically induced termination. When I went for my first I had no idea what to expect and there wasn’t much on the forums except incredibly heart wrenching stories of mothers saying goodbye to their little ones. I have now had three 2nd trimester terminations. I wanted to share my story so any scared googlers knew what to expect.
I was told at 13 weeks that my baby had a genetic disease. The decision to terminate was long discussed and a painful one to make when you really really want a child. I had two options. I could go to a clinic for a D&C but it would take 7 full days before you could be admitted. The only other option was medical termination using the drug mifepristone. It would be over in 3 days. Once you have made up your mind you don’t want to be pregnant for a minute longer.
The doctor gave me two mifepristone pills to take on a Thursday night and I would be admitted to hospital on a Saturday morning for the termination. Taking the pills wasn’t a drama. There were zero side effects but you are driven crazy by thoughts in your head about what is going to happen. I didn’t go to work on those days as you are an emotional wreck and it is best just to exercise and focus on a quick recovery. I don’t recommend it but I also downed half a bottle of wine to deal with the news. I packed a bag with magazines and movies to keep me entertained.
On Saturday morning at 8am we went to the hospital and met the doctor who would be looking after me. I pleaded my case to have a D&C as most other countries in the world did.. But he wouldn’t budge, He thought it was safer for me to have the baby as this would cause less damage to my uterus. We started with rods placed in my cervix to dilate it and so the baby would be ready to come. He then told us to wait. Fast forward four hours of mind numbing boredom. Glad I bought those DVD’s to watch. Tip: watch the ones that require concentration in the morning!
12:30. My next set of rods were inserted as nothing was happening. Within 5 minutes I felt a little bit of pressure. It didn’t abate, it just stayed. I asked the nurse if I could have some painkillers and she gave me aspirin. She advised to get an epidural early as the pain could get worse all of a sudden. I had no idea what to expect so I opted for the pain free choice. The anaethitist came to administer the epidural at 1pm. By this stage I was feeling more pressure. The epidural worked only on one side for me so they gave up and left. All the doctors had filed out of the room by 1:20 and my husband and I were sitting alone, he was eating lunch.
At 1.30, I all of a sudden had the greatest urge in the world to push. (Not unlike pushing a fart out!). Something happened but I was too scared to look. My husband was mid chew and he didn’t want to look either. I rang for the nurse. She confirmed that I had delivered. All pressure I felt had suddenly vanished and now only one side of me was numb from the epi. We chose not to look at the baby as we didn’t want to personalize this. (I know this is not what others choose but it was the way we chose to cope with this experience). I think I was in shock a little bit as the whole experience was rather horrific the first time round.
The doctor confirmed the placenta hadn’t fully come out and therefore I would need a D&C. I was livid as this would have all been over hours earlier if I had just had a D&C at 8:30! The doctor said the D&C was less invasive as it is just to get the placenta. They couldn’t find an available OR or doctor. More movies, more sleeping…
10pm I am prepped for the operation and I am wheeled into the OR. I am confused as I can’t understand the Dutch but I’m too tired to care. I look forward to the sleep. 20 minutes later I wake up to alarms in recovery room as my heart beat is lower than normal levels. This is normal for me as my heart rate is low but it is still scary to wake up to alarms! I am wheeled back to my room so we can sleep over night in the hospital. There was blood loss during the night that I worried about so I called the nurse and she said it was normal.
I fell asleep exhausted. I could quite possibly chalk this up as the most horrible day of my life so far. I saw at least 20 doctors and nurses in my one day in hospital. I spent only 1 hour in light discomfort from the whole 24 hours there! and I was quite ready to leave by 7am the next day. It was uncomfortable for the next few days, but not painful. I still managed a few good bike rides in the first week. I needed to recover quickly so we could try to get pregnant again! In the subequent terminations I chose not to have the epidural. (You only need aspirin!)