To cope with the range of emotions that our patients undergo after the procedure with the 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 identities kept confidential). A “reflection” will help them unload much of that emotional baggage. This activity will surely help them a lot as they embark on the road to a full recovery and to a new beginning.
Here’s one reflection from Coka, a 23 year-old student of medicine from Antique, Philippines. Coka was about to do the procedure with misoprostol pills (no mifepristone) she got from another online seller when she decided to avail of the free phone consultation from Project 486. Her assigned consultant talk her into doing the procedure with the right combination of medicine.
She and her boyfriend almost risked failing the procedure by considering to do it with misoprostol tablets only but thanks to their sharp judgement, they heed the advice of the people who truly care and ignore the misinformed online seller who was willing to compromise his/her clients’ well-being in exchange for a higher profit margin. Misoprostol is very cheap in the international market and by selling purely misoprostol packages, online sellers are able to maximize their profit margin to the detriment of their clients (higher risk of failure and incomplete abortion). Majority of failed attempts at Medical Abortion are caused by non-standard procedures such as the use of misoprostol only. These patients also make up the majority of those who need to undergo Dilation & Cutterage (D&C) or “raspa”, an invasive procedure that translates to more physical and financial costs and may have negative effects on future pregnancies.
Very admirable was the support and assistance given to her by her boyfriend (also a medical student ) during the procedure.
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.
This is our story…it all happened in one week.
LMP-October 24, 2017
On the day I expected my period to come(Nov.24), it didn’t. 3 days passed since the 24th, I just noticed my boobs were bigger and my nipples were sensitive – which are what I usually feel and notice during my PMS. Now that it came after my expected day of menstruation, I was a bit alarmed. So I texted my boyfriend about this and he told me that my cycle may have been moved to another day ‘cos this happened before when I was under a lot of stress. But I had a different gut feeling, so I told my boyfriend to buy me a pregnancy test kit that night so I can take the test that following morning.
Nov. 28 – When I woke up I immediately went to the bathroom to take the test. And
there, I saw two lines. I have already tried home pregnancy tests before but those came out negative. This time, it was positive. I was in grave disbelief and told my boyfriend to buy another PT kit hoping that the one I just used was faulty. The same day I took another test and this also came out positive. At that time, I could not believe what happened. It felt like all my emotions stopped working or rather were also confused as I am. I sat down and talked to my boyfriend about it and discussed about what to do. It wasn’t a very long discussion because we know what our priorities are and how this will affect our future. So we decided to do the abortion. Selfish as it may seem but we don’t want to raise a child when we are not yet ready.
We then went to the internet to find online help. There were a lot of shady sellers and truth be told, Project486 was not our first contact. We found a site that also sells abortion pills and so we contacted them. They replied immediately and gave us their different packages and prices. We settled for one that did not include mifepristone, and since we were too eager to get this done we decided to buy from that seller. But on that same day, we stumbled on Project 486’s blog and learned that they gave phone consultations. And just by reading through their reflections, they seemed to care so much for their patients. So we sent Project486 an email and waited for them to reply. But as the day passed, we just decided to pay the previous seller for their package through a certain bank.
That night, Project 486 replied. We thought that they might have replied too late, but we were still in doubt about the previous seller. So, we took the chance to seek their free consultation. Sir Alex gave us Sir John’s contact number as our private consultant. So we texted him that night and he replied right away about having a modified consultation. But since we already bought the misoprostol pills, we were faced with a dilemma whether to tell Sir John about it or not. In the end, we decided to tell him. We did not expect that he would still accommodate us despite having already bought from another seller. Instead, he was very relentless in convincing us to take mifepristone together with the misoprostol. So, we decided to call Sir John since it was part of the protocol to have phone consultation. He was very knowledgeable and we felt very secured with his words. As medical students, we were convinced that this was indeed not a scam for Sir John explained to us the mechanism of action of the pills and how the abortion will take place. And he kept on telling us to not go through with the abortion without mifepristone. Having talked to him, we definitely knew that by seeking their help we would be in good hands. So we bought the mifepristone from them and placed our utmost trust in them. After the phone consultation, communication with Sir John was constant. Even when my boyfriend got so annoying with his questions, he remained patient and answered all of them, hahaha.
) – We paid for the meds. My boyfriend went to BDO that day but
unfortunately, all their branches were closed due to it being Bonifacio’s day. So the payment was done through Smart Padala.
Dec. 1 – I started my low-folate diet cos we already expected the packages to arrive tomorrow(Dec.2)
Dec. 2 – We got the meds from both Project 486 and that other seller. The other seller still sent their instructions but we completely disregarded it at this point.
That night at 7pm we started the procedure. I took the Mife. I felt a bit nauseous at first but I was able to sleep it off.
Dec. 3(Sunday) – Low folate diet and fasting before 7pm.
7pm – First dose of the miso pills. 4 pills vaginally inserted. It was a bit funny seeing my boyfriend wear my 6 and a half sterile gloves though, hahaha. They were so small they barely fit his hands. As he inserted the pills though, it stung me a little bit down. It hurt a little but I would soon realized and experience the pain brought about by the misoprostols.
Sometime around 8pm – I felt some cramps here and there. My boyfriend was kind of worried at that time that the meds might not have worked since he read somewhere on the internet the side effects of misoprostol would be intense cramping pain. The pain then gradually increased as time passed by to a point where it felt like my entire inner organs in the lower half of my body wanted to crawl out of my skin. The pain was so excruciating, it was definitely the most painful physical experience that I have gone through.
Dec. 3 – At around 11pm, I finally asked Sir John if I could take ibuprofen as the pain was already unbearable at that point. He gave me permission to which I was very thankful of.
Dec. 4 – At around 12am, I told my boyfriend to get some rest. He was up all night and wasn’t sleeping enough the past days leading to this one. So I told him that I was fine after the ibuprofen and that he could rest for now. He snored like a hibernating grizzly bear that night. Kind of like how Darth Vader sounds under his mask, hahaha.
Dec. 4 – My pillow maneuver was scheduled to end at 3am, but sometime 2:50 am I had the uncontrollable urge to go the bathroom. I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I was already about to poop. I knew that this would be plenty and that it might fill the diaper that I was wearing. The moment I stood up, I felt an enormous amount of blood gushing out of my V. I made way to the bathroom and finished my excretions on a pail. However, I was also peeing and pooping at the same time so it kind of mixed along with my blood. As soon as I checked the pail, I noticed a bigger clot that separated itself from the rest. It looked like a fat worm so I took it out and washed. I remember Sir John saying that blood clots would disintegrate when washed with water but this one didn’t. I knew that this must be it.
My boyfriend was already awake at this point. In fact, he already woke up when I was still about to go to the bathroom. After so, we contacted Sir John and he told us to send our POC evidence. He said that my assessment would take a while as I had an early pregnancy. I decided that I had to go back to sleep while my boyfriend was inside the bathroom scouring the pail and laundry basin for more POCs that might have mixed in with the my urine and feces.
Fast forward to Dec. 5 we finally got Sir John’s confirmation that I was officially NOT PREGNANT! It felt like a huge load off my shoulders. Sir John told me that I was 3.5-4 weeks pregnant and that early pregnancies were very tricky as the embryo had just evolved from a mere blastocyst. Me and my boyfriend decided to eat out and celebrate. Now a celebration may seem ‘calloused’ but we had just gotten through something so emotionally draining and to be finally out in the light from a long, dark tunnel was just refreshing. And this was both our decision, we told ourselves before everything started that we would have no regrets. And we plan on keeping it that way. We do feel guilty about this, but not because we did the abortion. But because we failed to prevent this. We are both firm believers in God – we know that we have displeased and disobeyed Him. But all we can do now is to ask for His forgiveness and move on with our lives. We always reminded ourselves on whether to let a mess stay as a mess, or turn a mess into a message. Maybe this was God’s way of giving us a lesson to learn – we take it as this.
So, to all women out there who are in the same crossroads that we, in this blog, have been. The choice lies with you. What happened may not be your choice, but what will follow is. If you are confused as to what has to be done, then read our reflections on this page. It’s not an easy decision, but it is a decision that will give you a second chance in life. A decision that will free up the future that is ahead of you. A child is the greatest gift indeed– there is no doubt about that – but to receive something so great but you, yourself, are not ready to face the responsibility then you would only have wasted the greatness of that gift by being unprepared to nurture and give your utmost attention and love. Whatever decision you make is a risk so don’t ever think that going the abortion route is cowardice. Bravery is defined by your choice. And whatever choice you make, as long as you stand firm in your conviction and decision and rise up from the low point of where you are right now then you have become the bravest that you can be. There is no shame in making a choice; instead shame comes by not standing for what YOU believe and know is right. Whether you choose to birth or to abort, do know that there is no shame in both and that you are and will always be a woman of bravery and conviction.
Trust in Project486, you are in good hands.
-Coka, 23, Antique 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.”
Patient’s Reflection on Her Medical Abortion Procedure (Abortion Pills: Mifepristone and Misoprostol or Cytotec) in the Philippines LVI (57th entry)