Ordinarily, I’d consider myself to be a sensible person. I track my cycle and tend to know when I’m ovulating and I use condoms. I don’t use any other forms of contraception, for personal reasons - but, quite frankly - my body my choice. Unfortunately, being sensible (along with every other contraceptive) does not guarantee absolutely zero chance of pregnancy. If you’re having sex, you can get pregnant. 

I had the thought: maybe I’m pregnant. At first, I felt fine. It was difficult to keep to myself, I told one of my close friends and my boyfriend was by my side throughout. I read up online about which pregnancy tests were the most accurate and affordable, followed by which kinds of terminations would be possible and what I’d experience if I needed one. 

The test was positive. Two blue lines. I immediately knew what my choice was. I’m a woman in 2018 and I have plans, and there was no room for alterations. The day after taking the test, I went straight to a sexual health clinic and booked an abortion assessment for the following day. Everything was explained in black and white; this was going to entail taking tests, answering questions, and eventually, an ultrasound. I was determined: I was going to get this done efficiently and be back to normal as soon as possible. 

I received a call a couple of hours before my appointment. I was told it had been cancelled. I was distraught. This meant I’d have to wait another week for a scan and then a few more weeks before the termination itself. I could see the next month of my life being stolen from me. I called my mum and I cried. We found a private clinic closer to home, got in touch and managed to book an appointment for two days later. 

The clinic was strange. I didn’t know what to expect, though anonymity was obviously a big part of it. The waiting room was full and I had been told I’d need a full bladder for my ultrasound so I was sat there, desperate for the toilet, trying to mind my own business.

So far, I’d had several different medical professionals saying “okay, so you’re around six weeks” which I was sceptical of - I was sure it was four but I didn’t bother to argue. When I was called in for my scan I was asked how many weeks I thought I was, only to discover that being ‘that early on’ did not require a full bladder as I wouldn’t be having an abdominal scan, it would instead be internal. The scan could have been worse, it was slightly uncomfortable and the room was cold but I was just pleased to be back in charge.

The next thing I was told is that ‘this time not enough can be seen on the scan to permit doing anything further as of yet’. I stayed in the clinic a little longer, having various assessments with different nurses and talking to a doctor about the procedure and my medical history, and I was booked in to go back in one week for my procedure: a surgical abortion.

All the while, I was experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. I was hiding nausea and dizziness and trying to distract myself from what my body was doing. I was much more tired than usual, I had terrible lower back pain and was experiencing unpredictable mood swings. 

When I attended my appointment the following week, I had my bag packed with home comforts, including my cosy dressing gown, ready for what was going to happen. I went for my second scan, which returned the same results as the previous week. Nothing could be made out. I was pregnant but for some reason, my body had rejected the pregnancy. I had been bleeding for a few days prior to my appointment and as nothing could be seen yet again, I was booked in to see a Sonographer first thing on a Saturday morning.

At this point, I had kind of pieced together what was happening to me. Having spoken to my mum, we assumed it may have been a miscarriage, also known as a ‘spontaneous abortion’. I was in a lot of pain in my abdomen, like period pain but a whole lot stronger and with a larger loss of blood. On the Saturday morning I got to the clinic first thing and saw the Sonographer who confirmed that there had been no growth and that the bleeding meant I was miscarrying. I was then sent to another Doctor, who confirmed what I had just heard, but added that I would still have the pregnancy hormones and symptoms for a while. 

No one actually explained what having a miscarriage would be like. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. I bled constantly and heavily for two weeks, experiencing horrific abdominal and lower back pain. Though I know I have explained that I wanted a termination I was and still am so upset by my experience. At first I was annoyed, why had my body done this? A surgical or medical abortion would have been a lot less painful, and it would have been my decision. I was disappointed in my body for doing this without my permission. And then I was just sad, as I believe I would have been had it been an abortion. I believe that I will always be sad about my experience, but each day gets a little bit easier.  

When I was going through all of this I did endless google searches and online reading and I never found anything that hit home in the right way. There was no explanation of what was happening to me that I could relate to and nothing I could resonate with. I was incredibly lucky to have a small group of people who took great care of me and were looking out for me, though I think of others who may not be able to say the same thing. 

I’m slightly disappointed that I am publishing this anonymously, but I think it is the safest thing to do for myself considering the controversy of abortion. I hope that one day there is no stigma and that I can put my name to this with confidence that there will be no cruel words sent my way. For now, I just hope that my experience can help somebody.