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 Flow, a 26 year-old therapist from Manila, 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
It all started last December when it was almost Christmas time. I was very busy at the beginning of the month because of certain projects at work that’s why I did not notice that I missed my period. Furthermore, I was not sure if my last period was on the first week or third week of November. I also started feeling the heaviness of my breasts on the second week which made me think that I will be having my period on the next week because that’s normal for me whenever I am about to have my period. All of these factors made me ignore the fact that I’ve already missed my period. I only started worrying around the 19th-20th of December but I only thought that I was only delayed because of all the stress that I am experiencing at work and the Christmas Buzz. I was already telling my boyfriend about it but he told me that there is nothing to worry about because he is sure that he did not do anything wrong but I was still worried and started to feel scared. I started to search on how to induce my menstruation. I remembered 5 years ago when this happened to me around Christmas time also. My period was also delayed and I searched for the internet and found articles saying that if you are anxious about your period it makes you more delayed. I thought that is what’s happening to me. 5 years ago, my period was also delayed for more than a week and I took one tablet of “cortal” (aspirin) on New Year’s Eve and I got my period the next day. I kept on thinking that this is the same situation that I am just too stressed and anxious. I tried to stay positive and I did not think that I am pregnant! Honestly, I don’t want to think that I am pregnant. So, I tried to ignore it and just waited for my period.
After Christmas, I still did not have my period that is why I searched for ways on how I can induce my period. I read about aspirin again and decided that I will take aspirin to induce my menstruation. I remembered before when my friend told me that it was already hard to purchase “cortal” so I just bought a different brand of aspirin. I took 5 tablets of aspirin for 4 days until New Year’s Eve but I still did not have my period! L I even took parsley infusion with it every 4 hours and Vitamin C. I read the blog about herbal abortion but I did not follow it well. I really just wanted to induce my period because I was in denial and I did not want to think that I am pregnant. Sadly, nothing happened after my intake of aspirin. I decided to stop taking it because I was also scared of the side effects. I also thought that maybe my last period was on the last week of November that’s why it hasn’t come yet. I don’t know, to be honest I was really in denial and I kept on thinking of excuses on why my period got so delayed.
When January started, I was feeling more frustrated and scared. I read the herbal abortion blog again and I decided to message “Sis” and ask about the Dong Quai tablets. I was not fully decided on it because she said that if the herbal procedure wouldn’t work, I should continue with a PLAN B. The plan B is a medical abortion and I thought to myself that I am not pregnant so why will I proceed to this but deep inside I have a fear that what if maybe I am. I should really proceed to the medical abortion. I did not want to think that way. I asked my boyfriend about it and we thought about it really hard. We talked about our future plans and how we will survive if this happens. He asked me if I think that I am pregnant. I did not know what to answer, I said 50-50 but I said that NO, I am not. He said that he did not think that the situation is already serious and he also thought that my anxiety is just making my menstruation delayed. We decided to just induce try the Dong Quai tablets to induce my menstruation. We just thought that maybe I am just really delayed although my period is usually normal and this is the first time that I got delayed for so long. We still tried to think positive and tried to convince ourselves to what we want to believe. L It was really frustrating everyday but we just tried to continue on with our lives normally but the symptoms of pregnancy started to bother us also. I started to feel nauseous all day. I searched for the side effects of aspirin and nausea is one and thought it might just be an effect of it. I even vomited one morning when I got so hungry. Then, when the Dong Quai tablets arrived, I also started the routine with Vitamin C OVERDOSE and Dong Quai. Honestly, I did not take the parsley infusion again because it tasted too gross for me and it made me want to vomit whenever I drank it. I tried the routine for 7 days but it did not have an effect. This was the turning point where I thought that maybe I should just accept the fact that I might be pregnant and I should stop making excuses and stop denying it. I told my boyfriend that Dong Quai did not have an effect and he told me that my menstruation is DEFINITELY not delayed. I decided that I should accept it and that he’s right, I’ve been feeling nauseous everyday and I’ve also been vomiting almost every morning since I started the Vit. C overdose which is not normal for me.
I messaged Project 486 on the 14th of January and I immediately received a reply. One of the requirements is to submit a photo of the pregnancy test which I haven’t done yet. My boyfriend told me before to do the pregnancy test to stop being anxious but I did not want to because as I said before I believed that I was not pregnant and so I didn’t need it. I was so in denial every time.
That night, I decided to think about it thoroughly, I was on my way home and I thought of ways on how I can tell my parents that I am pregnant. I am working and I have a stable job but my salary is not enough. It’s too low and won’t be able to support a family. My boyfriend is also the same because we have the same job. We also have plans on working abroad and the processing is already ongoing. I contemplated on this and I thought that maybe my family would accept my pregnancy. I thought that maybe I can continue this while waiting for my papers for abroad but then I remembered all those medications that I took. To be honest, I never thought that it will come to this point or maybe that’s what I really wanted to think that I am not pregnant so I am not harming anything inside me but I was wrong. I am really sorry for being so in denial, I was just really scared. I really don’t know what to feel.
The next day, my boyfriend and I went to work and we bought 2 pregnancy tests from Watson’s. It was my first time to use and buy it. I did the test after we had our lunch and I knew deep in my heart that I will see those two lines. We talked about it and we decided that we should message Project 486 for professional advice. He said that we should ask about the effect of the medicines that I took, if it can cause abnormalities or congenital problems to the baby if we decide to continue it. If this will be the case then we decided that we should not continue it. Moreover, we know in ourselves that we are not ready for this that’s why we were so in denial especially me.
I sent the photos of the pregnancy tests to Sir Alex and I received the files that I needed to read and also my consultant’s number. The files were very informative and I’ve read the “reflections” of their past patients which made me really trust them and believe that they really know what they’re doing. That night, I also had the phone consultation with Sir John and I asked him everything that I wanted to ask and he explained everything to me. It was a really informative conversation and I also felt at ease because I felt that he was so professional and he also made the conversation light. Of course, I asked him about the medicines and he told me that the aspirin was really bad especially for me. It really has bad side effects and it was a good thing nothing bad happened to me. He told me that I can continue the pregnancy if I want but if I decide to discontinue it; I should make up my mind as soon as possible because TIME is of the essence. I might already be 10 to 11 weeks pregnant and the medicines are only effective up to the 12th week. After our conversation, he sent to me the fees and other important messages like the time table and the diet. I told my boyfriend about our conversation and that’s when we decided to push through with the procedure.
I paid for the medicines on the 18th of January and received it on the 19th . The transaction was really fast and hassle free. I told Sir John that I will be starting the procedure on the 20th. I went to work on Day 1 and started the low folate diet. It was really hard because I have a very physical job and I tend to feel hungry a lot. I also feel nauseous whenever my stomach is empty and I always had the urge to vomit. I only drank coffee for my breakfast and had fish fillet (with no rice) for lunch. Then I had to do overtime at work so I was not able to eat at 5. It’s okay because Sir John told me to just fast for 6 hours prior the intake of Mifepristone. I ate chicken for dinner at 7pm and that was my last meal for the day. I went home to my family that night. I took Mifepristone at 1:30 and slept afterwards.
On Day 2, I woke up early at around 5:30AM and did not feel anything weird, just a little nauseous like the usual. I left our house and arrived at our apartment at 8:00AM because that’s where we’ll be doing the procedure. I was alone for the whole morning and afternoon and still did the low folate diet. I only watched movies and series for the whole day. Sir John told me to be relaxed and stress free because that’s the key for a successful procedure. Day 2 was really easy because you don’t have to do anything yet. My boyfriend arrived in the evening with all the things needed for the procedure.
Day 3 is the actual procedure itself. I started fasting at 12 MN and woke up at 5:30 to take a full bath. At 6 AM, the 2 misoprostol tablets were insterted by my boyfriend to my V. I did not feel anything after insertion and I asked Sir John if I can sleep and he said that it is much better. He also asked if I am with someone. We did the pillow maneuver and slept. At around, 8 AM, I woke up because I was already starting to feel the cramps on my lower abdomen. It felt like I wanted to urinate and defecate but nothing is coming out. I was also wearing my diapers that time and all I can do was twist and move my legs because I am not allowed to stand up or lie to my side. My boyfriend applied hot compress to my lower abdomen which helped ease the pain a little. It was a very uncomfortable experience and it felt like something is being tugged from your stomach. I can’t really explain the feeling but it was extremely uncomfortable. I took Ibuprofen at 9 AM and felt a little relief and it also felt good to have some water. Few minutes after, I also felt something warm come out and the pain or cramps were gone. I slept again while maintaining the position and pillow maneuver. I had an alarm at 10 AM for the buccal misoprostol. I thought the medicine would taste bitter but to my surprise, it did not have any bitter taste at all. Actually, it didn’t have any taste at all. Unlike the vaginal misoprostol, I did not feel any pain during the 10 AM buccal miso. I was just watching Korean Series the whole time I was lying down and just relaxed. My boyfriend was also with me and just played PS4 beside me. I tried to relax and be stress free. At 2 PM, I took the buccal miso and was able to sit up. Upon standing up, I also felt something warm come out again and I went to the comfort room to check it. I sent the pictures to Sir Alex and Sir John told me that they will check it. They sent me a modified schedule at 4 PM where in I can start to eat normal food. My boyfriend and I decided to eat chicken so we had food delivered. It was rewarding after a tiring day. At 4 PM while I was walking I felt something come out again and it felt like it was a lot. I checked my diaper again and there it was, the POC. I knew then when I saw it that the procedure was successful. I did not show my boyfriend anything that came out from me because he has a weak stomach and he told me that he might vomit if he sees any blood or POC. I took the pictures and sent it to Sir Alex. I felt sad when I saw it because it already has eyes and I did not expect it to be well-developed already. I thought I will just be seeing a lump of blood or something. It was so tiny and I felt really sad because I had to let it go but also I felt relieved because gone are the days were I am feeling scared and nervous all the time. I did not want to look at it much because it made me feel guilty. I promise not to do this again and be more careful so that this won’t happen again. At 9:44 PM, Sir John texted me and told me that although it may be apparent to me, but I was then officially NOT pregnant. He sent me the reminders after the procedure and I asked him about my work because it is really physical.
I really want to express my sincere gratitude to Project 486 (Sir John and Sir Alex). Thank you for all the help. Thank you for giving us professional advice and for giving us the freedom to choose. Thank you because I felt that I was in good hands while doing the procedure and I did not feel that there is something that I should worry about.
I guess, I should not just say that we decided to do the medical abortion because I took medicines that might cause problems although it is a factor. However the fact is, I took the medicines because I kept on denying the fact that I was pregnant and I kept on thinking that I was not because WE WERE NOT READY and this is the whole truth. We do the medical abortion because of UNWANTED PREGNANCIES and because we are not ready for the responsibility, for the baby and for the CHANGES that will happen in our lives because of this. I am really sorry for this and of course I want to ask forgiveness from God. My boyfriend and I plan to go to Vatican someday to ask for forgiveness. Hopefully we will be able to go there but for the mean time, I’ll just say sorry every single day to the Lord and to our angel. My boyfriend and I decided to bury it in a pot and we planted flower seeds on it. It will be a simple reminder of our angel. We also light a candle in the altar every day. These simple gestures remind me of it but I just feel relieved that it is over. I feel guilty but I feel more relieved because I am really not yet ready. I won’t do it again and be more careful next time. Thank you again to Project 486 for everything. Sorry my reflection is too long.
Flow, 26, Therapist, Manila
“Take hold of your future or the future will take hold of you” – P. Dixon
Patient’s Reflection on Her Medical Abortion Procedure (Abortion Pills: Mifepristone and Misoprostol or Cytotec) in the Philippines LXIII (63rd entry)