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Client story: the abortion pill process

Stories  •  3 July 2023  • 6 min read

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“Overall, I had a positive experience. I am so grateful that this service exists for women in the UK. I can’t imagine how my life would be and how I would be feeling if it did not.”

An MSI client tells the story of her medical abortion, talking through the process from her first phone call with MSI to her experience of abortion recovery and aftercare

When I first found out I was pregnant, I felt nothing but sheer panic. I wasn’t ready for a child, and neither was my partner.

Financially, emotionally, and practically, it just was not the right time in our lives. It wasn’t an easy decision for us to make, but we felt sure it was the right one.

The next day, I contacted several providers. I was given appointments that were weeks away. I was already considered to be seven weeks along, so time was of the essence if I wanted to be able to have a medical abortion in the comfort of my own home.

The following day, I found MSI Reproductive Choices online. The lady I spoke to on the phone was so nice and kind. She gave me a phone appointment for the following Tuesday, with a time slot of 7-8pm, just four working days away. This was perfect as I work office hours and so could take the call in my own time, in the privacy of my own home.

I was very anxious and expected the phone call to be late, or to not happen at all. It did, well within the hour time slot. The nurse was so kind, she really made me feel at ease. She asked me all the necessary medical questions and booked another appointment for me the following morning, first thing. I was so relieved about how quick the process was.

The following morning, I had my second appointment. Again, the nurse was so friendly. She asked me some questions to ensure I was safe at home to take the medication, and then she arranged for the pills to be sent to my home address.

The next day, I was so anxious all day at work. On my lunch break, I called MSI to see if I could have a tracking number for the package, just to see when I could expect them to arrive. The lady I spoke to was so lovely (again!). She gave me the tracking number but said she could see that they were due to be delivered that day! As promised, when I got home that evening, the pills had arrived and been posted through my letterbox.

I took the first pill the next day. I had absolutely no side effects and could go about my day, completely normal. The following evening (26 hours later), I took some paracetamol and ibuprofen (I checked this would be safe to do so), got myself a hot water bottle ready and put on a heavy flow pad. I got into bed and put on a film.

I waited ten minutes and then put the second lot of pills between my gum and cheeks. I let them dissolve and after 30 minutes, I swallowed the remainder with water. I didn’t experience any aftertaste or side effects from the pills. I waited and tried to let myself be distracted by the film. After a couple of hours, I went to the loo. There was some blood, but not a lot. I had some mild cramping, but nothing worse than my period pains.

After four hours had passed, there had been more bleeding – like a normal period (for me). I took the remaining two pills in the same way as the first ones, and waited. Around one hour later, I experienced much more severe cramping. Worse than my period pains, but I was not in agony. My hot water bottle really helped with the pain. I went to the toilet again and felt some clots. There was quite a bit more blood now.

For the rest of the evening, I was able to watch films and sit with my boyfriend quite comfortably. I went to the toilet a few more times and felt more, bigger clots pass. There was more blood than I usually have during my period, but it only came out when I was on the loo, not a lot was going on my pad. The pain started to ease at this point, so I managed to fall asleep.

When I woke up, there still wasn’t as much blood on my pad as I expected. I was able to move around today, just sitting on the sofa, making a drink, getting some lunch etc. There was still a significant amount of blood when I went to the toilet, but less than the night before. I took this day and the following day off work to make sure I was recovered, but this was more of a precaution as the worst had definitely passed. My morning sickness and general feeling of tiredness had subsided almost immediately.

By day three I was feeling a lot better, able to move around and felt almost normal, like I was just on my period. I went back to work and was able to go about life as normal. The bleeding continued for about one week, getting a little lighter each day. After one and a half weeks, I didn’t need to wear a pad at all. I only had a really small amount of blood occasionally on toilet paper after going to the loo. After two weeks, I noticed that the blood loss had reduced significantly and it was more of a brown coloured discharge.

I am so grateful that this service exists for women in the UK. I can’t imagine how my life would be and how I would be feeling if it did not.

Overall, I had a positive experience. The nurses were lovely and I felt very supported, and not at all judged. The pain was not as bad as I expected and it was over much quicker than I thought it would be. I am so grateful that this service exists for women in the UK. I can’t imagine how my life would be and how I would be feeling if it did not.

Read more abortion stories

Sharing stories is at the heart of ending the stigma that too many people still feel when it comes to abortion.


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