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Not For The Feint Hearted #GuestPost

Posted on 16th March 2011 in abortion pill/ levonelle/ Marie Stopes/ medical abortion/ miscarriage/ termination

My guest poster wishes to remain anonymous.

This post is not intended to offend and I hope that you will offer support if you can. If you find the post offensive, I would really appreciate it if you opted not to make a negative comment. Let’s respect each other and our differences.

Medical Abortion

Yes that’s right, that really is what this post is about. Need to say that loud and clear up front. If you don’t wish to read on then please don’t.

Thank you to @CoffeeCurls for running this post which I appreciate will be contentious.

I want to share with you my experience of a medical abortion, not to shock but to share, I hope you’ll see the difference.

Having found myself in a position where I wanted to terminate a pregnancy, I was surprised at the lack of available options. It isn’t something I have ever thought about before and I think it’s one of those ‘things’ that I’ve probably pretended doesn’t go on. I have said to friends many a time that ‘I could never have an abortion’.

I don’t want to explain my reasons. They are private and not relevant to this post. Except to say that I did take a morning after pill (Levonelle) which wasn’t quite as reliable as I had hoped. I made my choice after much soul searching and I am at peace with it.

After doing a positive test I went to see my doctor. I’d hoped they might bring up the subject of whether or not I wanted to keep the baby but they didn’t. It was an immediate assumption that I did. It took me a week to pluck up the courage to phone them back and say that I wanted to know the options for a termination.

I rang on a Friday and was told (by the doctor) that the earliest she could see me was the following Tuesday. At the that appointment she said she would discuss the options with me and then make a referral to the local hospital who would then do a consultation appointment and scan before booking me an appointment to have a termination. At 7 weeks pregnant I was concerned at the length of time this would take. I asked the doctor what she thought the timescale would be and mentioned that the decision was growing harder with every passing day. She said the appointments at the clinic were ‘hard to get’ and it would be a couple of weeks.

I couldn’t wait a couple more weeks.

I turned to my old friend google. I felt ashamed typing in ‘private termination’. Several hospitals and clinics appeared in the results. I began ringing them – most of them didn’t actually offer the service and it was a very uncomfortable conversation to have with the reception staff.

Most of them asked if I’d rung Marie Stopes. After exhausting all the local options I rang Marie Stopes. It was clearly a call centre but the staff were sensitive and helpful and I was offered an appointment the following day to have the procedure.

So I had the option of doing this via the NHS for free – but waiting at least 2 weeks.

Or doing it privately, at a cost of £530 – the next day.

It was a long way from home, but I had a supportive partner who came with me. I was really quite scared. The staff at the centre were lovely, everything was clearly explained. There was no pressure and absolutely no judgement.

The procedure itself was 2 tablets at the first appointment. Followed by 4 tablets at the second appointment. They then cause a miscarriage. Being a long way from home, the staff did warn me that this process may well happen in the car. They told me it would be painful with heavy bleeding and that I may also suffer sickness and diarrhea. Between the two appointments we bought tissues, wet wipes, water and bags in case I was sick on the way home.

There were lots of other people in the waiting room. Couples much older than me and couples much younger than me. One girl (with her mum) was so young it was almost upsetting. But the atmosphere was one of support.

The pain did start on the journey home, I got shivery and just wanted to get to bed to be warm. I took the nurses advice and as soon as I got home I took painkillers and got into bed with a hot water bottle. Once the initial shock and shivering had passed I came down stairs so as not to worry my children.

It was painful, there is no way of denying that. The pain kept building and building, then there would be a sharp cramp which was almost intolerable but lasted only seconds. The bleeding when it came was very heavy, clotty and unpleasant – as you would expect.

Overall though, as hideous as it was. From making the decision to going through with it. I would have to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought that it would be. If you are contemplating it, for whatever your own reasons are, I just want to say that it was ok and that Marie Stopes were great.

I know I chose this. I know that millions of women suffer miscarriages every day through no fault of their own. I know that most of those women would hate me for choosing a termination.

Gestational Diabetes

Posted on 13th October 2010 in blood sugar/ diabetes/ endocrinologist/ fainting/ gestational diabetes/ pregnancy/ thyroid/ thyroiditis/ underactive thyroid

This is a post for @diabetesuk

I was 26 when I fell pregnant with my first son, although I had unfortunately had a miscarriage a few months before. I have suffered with an underactive thyroid since around the age of 17 so I was used to feeling tired and having a myriad of vague ‘not quite right but not enough to bother anyone about’ symptoms.

During the pregnancy I suffered migraines and bouts of fainting but as I have always had symptoms (as mentioned above) I’ve learnt not to mention them too much, my GP at the time said both the migraines and the fainting were common in pregnancy so, although it was difficult never being able to stand in a queue, I learned to live with it. What I didn’t realise at the time was the close connection between endocrinological disorders.

The first indication of there being anything else wrong was at my 20 week scan when it was noted that my baby was large. I had further scans at which it was noted that the head and stomach circumference were larger than expected. Due to my thyroid condition I was under the care of a consultant endocrinologist and it was during these check ups that my gestational diabetes was discovered. At a routine appointment to see my consultant the nurse did the usual urine test and then scurried off rather than chatting reassuringly, I can’t remember how far along I was but I think it was around 34 weeks.

I was quickly taken into see my consultant who order blood tests and a further scan – they determined at this point that I had gestational diabetes. I was quite shocked and scared at this diagnosis but it was comforting that the my thyroid doctor was the same man who I was then to see for the diabetes. He was very calm and reassuring and with the assistance of a nurse talked me through the whole process of monitoring my blood sugar. Unfortunately it wasn’t picked up until late into the pregnancy so although they induced me at term my son was still quite a large baby at 8lb13. I developed oedema during the latter stages of the pregnancy to my hands, legs, ankles and face to the extent that I can hardly recognise myself in the photos taken directly after the birth.

After the birth I had to take a gloucose tolerance test which involved reading an entire book in a waiting room while occasionally drinking incredibly sweet drinks and then having blood tests! The result of this was deemed to be that I would almost certainly develop stage 2 diabetes at some point in my life and that if I were to get pregnant again then I would develop gestational diabetes again during the pregnancy. I also noticed rapid weight loss after the birth and was told to stop taking my thyroid medication as I had developed postpartum thyroiditis.

Before falling pregnant with my next son, I suffered a further miscarriage.

As soon as I knew I was pregnant with my second son, I was immediately referred to see the endocrinolgist. He discovered that the diabetes had already kicked in – but he said to me the diabetes should begin and end with the pregnancy. This time the diabetes was more severe and I had to test my blood 3 times a day at home and administer injections to try and control my blood sugar levels.

The migraines and the fainting were much worse with this second pregnancy, my Obstetrics consultant said to me that the migraines were probably due to an oestrogen intolerance (but I’m a girl?!) which actually did make some sense as I am unable to take the pill due to migraines and had an unfortunate incident with the Mirena coil which we won’t go into just now.

The fainting proved to be a very difficult issue as I had an active one year old to look after and so wasn’t in a position to ‘rest and relax’ as I was often advised to do – I fainted each and every single time that I went shopping. If there was more than one person in front of me in a queue I knew I would faint – I once fainted in a shop and in the split second before I passed out I managed to fall sideways in order to avoid my bump and my baby in the pram – this resulted in a tyre mark bruise across my stomach as I caught the pram wheel. That occasion sticks in my mind because no one helped me. When I came round I got myself up and left the shop, cried all the way home with a banged head and a terrifying bruise on my tummy.

This prompted a visit to see my consultant who said they were ‘simple faints’, probably exasperated by low blood sugar but mainly due to low blood pressure. He suggested drinking more water, sleeping with my legs fractionally higher than my head, wearing support stockings and sitting with my feet up as much as possible.

For the diabetes itself I had to follow a basically good diet, concentrating on low sugar foods and low GI foods. I soon found that some unexpected foods sent my blood sugar sky high – things like white bread and orange juice for example sent my readings higher than coca cola! However I also found that by swopping types of food – white bread for english muffins or crumpets I was able to eat things I liked without upsetting my blood sugar.

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