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To cope with the range of emotions that our patients undergo after the procedure (Medical Abortion with Abortion Pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol or Cytotec) , we encourage them to make a reflection about their experience and share them with us and the world ( their personal data kept confidential). A “reflection” will help them unload much of that emotional baggage. This activity will surely benefit them a lot as they embark on the road to a full recovery and to a new beginning. Here’s one reflection from Ren, a 25 year-old working professional from Cebu, Philippines
We always practice maximum restraint in publishing pictures of POC’s (Products of Conception) from our patients even if consent is given. The default position is not to publish any pictures at all. However in this case and possibly more in the future, the decision to release the photos online is more for the benefit of women contemplating such a life-changing decision. It is best to do the procedure in the first first 4-7 weeks of pregnancy for lesser emotional and physical strain on the patient. We asked for the consent of the patient and she gave us the nod. UNLESS CONSENT/PERMISSION IS GIVEN, WE DON’T RELEASE ANY PHOTOS from our patients.
31 August 2017
It’s been a week since I successfully induced my miscarriage. I am a 25 year old working professional with much to expect from life especially since I just landed my dream job abroad. Subjecting myself to anxiety and my body to physical stress and emotional pain made me stronger, and never have I been more confident in my choices than when I decided to terminate the pregnancy early. I wish more women will have access to this opportunity of making an informed choice.
Reading the blogs of all these strong women helped me in confirming that the procedure is safe as long as you follow everything Sir John says. There were brief moments when I thought this could all go wrong, but Project 486’s professionalism and genuine concern made me believe that their advocacy is true, and that we should not take it for granted and make the poor decisions again.
Here’s how it happened for me:
July 3 – first day of last menstrual period
July 9 – sexual intercourse
July 12-17 – estimated fertile window
July 29-Aug 3 – expected first day of menstrual period (cycle is at least 27 days)
- I record everything on my calendar app. My boyfriend and I are sexually active and we enjoy our sex lives such that we don’t bother with basic contraception (my only regret). I stopped taking pills because I didn’t like how it messed up my hormones.
Aug 10 – took first pregnancy test at 5am: faint positive
- I spent the first few hours of my morning researching about how to induce menstruation. I wish I had done it weeks earlier – if not for my older sister who gave birth a month before. I thought it was just an effect of being around her pregnancy hormones.
- I came across a blog about natural abortion – Vitamin C overdose, parsley tea/pessary, and hormone supplements. Bought them immediately and decided to terminate the pregnancy.
Aug 11-17 – worst week of my life
- I overdosed on Vitamin C and consumed 1.5 bottles of Dong Quai.
Aug 18 – took second pregnancy test at 7am: faint positive again
I emailed Alex of Project 486 and spoke with Sir John that same night.
Sir John couldn’t spend the usual 2-hour consultation so we opted for a 30-min call. Alex sent me all the files to be read. It’s overwhelming at first but Sir John allayed my fears and I immediately decided to push through with it the next weekend. I was already 6.5 weeks pregnant by this time.
Aug 22 – made payment for package B
- I prepared and bought the materials needed for the procedure as well as the prescribed foods. The medicines arrived 2 days later.
Aug 24 – Day 1 (Mife day)
4am-4pm: low folate diet
10pm: swallow mife with 1 cup of water, then start fasting again
- I was nervous about feeling nauseated because Sir John told me I that if I vomit the medicine within 2-3 hours after intake, I’ll have to retrieve it and swallow it again.
- I suffered from an increase in body temperature, weakness, and abdominal cramps. The pregnancy symptoms are real and they suck.
- The mife intake is the easiest and also the most important part of the procedure.
- I wore a sanitary pad in case of discharge or spotting. I didn’t have either in my case.
Aug 25 – Day 2
4am-4pm: low folate diet
10pm: vaginal miso (2 tabs), make sure that you’ve defecated and urinated before then
- My boyfriend helped me insert the tablet in my vagina. The first one was relatively easy but when he started to insert the second one, he had to be careful not to dislodge the first tablet that was already inside. Sir John suggested a pillow maneuver to help in doing this.
- It was my first time to wear an adult diaper.
- After a couple of hours, I was having severe cramps. My temperature was normal but my back and lower abdomen kept hurting. The pain was tolerable if you put hot compress.
- The bigger problem was my empty stomach due to fasting. I also had a poor appetite doing the low folate diet so I practically didn’t eat anything the whole day. I wish I had eaten more of the prescribed foods to avoid suffering from bile reflux (which I did).
Aug 26 – Day 3
2am: buccal miso (2 tabs) for 90 minutes
- I set an alarm for the second set of miso tablets, this time buccally. I was able to sleep for the first 30 minutes but then I kept waking up because of the cramps. Sir John told me to not move even from side to side.
- At around 2:45pm, I started to feel discharge but my boyfriend was asleep so I couldn’t check right away if it was blood.
- At 3:30, I was already dehydrated and asked Sir John if I could drink water upon swallowing the miso. He said I couldn’t. I started bleeding a few minutes later.
- Before 5am (1 hour before the last miso intake), I passed a big clot on my diaper and when my boyfriend changed it, he said it might be the gestational sac. My boyfriend cleaned it and we took a picture to send to Alex. I immediately informed Sir John so he modified my schedule – I could start eating normal food again. By this time, I was just focused on standing up, drinking water, and taking pain meds for the cramps.
- At 5:30, I passed the rest of the POCs in the bathroom. By this time, I was almost sure that the termination was a success but I still had to send all documentation to Alex and wait for their confirmation and further instructions.
7:30am: Sir John confirmed that I was officially NOT pregnant.
I felt nothing but relief. The past weeks leading to the procedure took a toll on my physical and emotional well-being that I was just glad it was over. Unlike the other women who wrote their reflections on this blog, I didn’t feel compelled to say sorry to my “baby”. Sir John said it was because the embryo (at less than 8 weeks, it will be as big as two 5 peso coins side by side) is still basically a lump of flesh that formed inside me. What helped me move on faster was the knowledge that my boyfriend and I are both not ready for a baby. It’s insane how one act can potentially change your future, but after my safe abortion, I realized that it’s more tragic to not be given a choice.
If I were to give an advice to the women considering abortion in the Philippines, I would tell you to mentally prepare for the procedure. What’s your motivation? What will you do differently after successfully terminating your pregnancy? How will your outlook change with regards to yourself, your partner, and others?
I was deeply comforted by the thought that the soul of our babies already exist. When we conceive, their soul enters our body and becomes the embryo, the fetus, the baby. It is possible that the baby you could have had when you opted for a medical abortion will still be the baby you will give birth to when you are finally ready. It’s also possible that he/she may never come back. Nevertheless, your baby would be proud that you have chosen yourself during the time that really mattered. Babies are an unselfish bunch. Lastly, we’re also only human. We make mistakes and we suffer the consequences, but we are in control of how we live our life and move on after learning our lesson.
Thank you so much to Project 486, Sir John and Alex. I know you are putting yourselves at risk for all Filipinas who want access to safe abortion. I wish more women knew about your services and the comfort you bring to all of us patients.
- Ren, 25, Cebu, Philippines
“Take hold of your future or the future will take hold of you” – P. Dixon
“Getting the right information is winning half the battle.”
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PROJECT 486: A Patient’s Reflection on Her Medical Abortion Procedure (Abortion Pills: Mifepristone and Misoprostol or Cytotec) in the Philippines XLIX