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. The story submitted are published as they are — no revisions, no corrections (typo and all) except for some words or phrases that may compromise the patient’s privacy . Here’s one reflection from Jace, an 18 year old single mom and a junior college student from Misamis Occidental, 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.
WARNING. This is a very long reflection so you might get bored and stop reading in the middle. I’m sorry if it is though, I wanted to write this reflection as detailed as I could for the other readers who share the same feeling of doubt and confusion. (Though even before contacting Project486 I already started writing this. Writing calms my nerves, so please, bear with me.)
I had the app called Flo downloaded as soon as I had a boyfriend. Not that I had plans or anything, for safety purposes, I guess, since I already had my first baby a few years ago.
My first baby was the product of rape, I was 15 back then and was oblivious to the real world. It happened on New Year’s Eve, I was invited to a party, got drunk and woke up feeling different. However, I was too naive to actually believe and convinced myself that nothing happened when I passed out, that it was okay to trust a bunch of guys from church. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew then that my initial thoughts of being touched while I passed out on New Year’s Eve was right. Nonetheless, I continued with my pregnancy with no thoughts of having abortion and had my first born child.
It was both a stupid mistake and a blessing I will never regret. I was young and didn’t think of the possibilities and after effects of the decision that I made, but I never regretted it.
Now, I face the same dilemma. Just that this time, it’s different. When I said ‘Yes’ to my boyfriend, I knew then of the possibilities of sex. I wasn’t sexually active and if it weren’t for that New Year’s Eve Party, my boyfriend would have been my first, not that it mattered now though. We were in college, both in legal age, and of course, in love. So I took precautionary measures and downloaded the app, Flo, to take notes and monitor my period and fertile days. In the first months, it worked. We were cautious and my boyfriend never failed to ask whether I was safe that day or not. However, there was one flaw on the app. It had to be updated every now and then, I learned that the hard way, of course. I put too much faith on the app, without realizing that it might be the reason of my breakage now.
I had my last menstrual period by August 23-28. When I checked Flo, my fertile days were from August 31-September 5. We were doing our best to stay safe so my boyfriend and I always made sure not to do ‘it’ on my unsafe days. We did it on September 6 and on the following days. On September 16, that’s when it hit me. I had access to the internet and Flo updated. When I checked, my ‘updated’ fertile days was on September 6-12 and not on August 31-September 5, the days when we had sex was unknowingly the wrong time to do it. Right then, I knew I’d be pregnant. I guess too much of everything being bad was right, I had too much faith in the app that I forgot to manually do the calendar method too.
My period supposedly arrived on the 23rd, but it didn’t. I was a regular, however, my period always came late, up to 3 weeks late sometimes. But this time, I knew it wasn’t late, rather, I knew it wouldn’t come, for some time atleast.
By the end of September, I already started feeling the early signs of pregnancy. I knew I had to do something, and fast. I wanted to do the herbal way to induce menstruation as early as I can, but timing was a bitch and life liked to mock me. I had an upcoming pageant by October 2, so I had to move all plans of inducing after the pageant.
Right after my pageant, I tried the Vitamin C method. I looked it up the internet, done it diligently, and stopped after a week. My body was already on toll, so I had to stop and use different methods. October 17, I started to do more research and found my answers. ‘She’ was the one who gave me full instructions on the method that worked on her to induce menstruation. It was the Dong Quai, Vit. C and Parsley combination. After 3 days, I stopped. It should have worked less than 3 days, but it didn’t. So I mustered up my courage and told my boyfriend about the dilemma. I was afraid, who wasn’t? You must think I’m stupid for hiding it when my boyfriend had all the right in the world to know. Well, I had my reasons. I had a boyfriend when I was raped and was pregnant with my first, I thought he would understand and help me go through with it. Sadly, he didn’t. So really, you can’t blame me if I couldn’t just say it up my boyfriend straightfaced, I had been through hell once, I wasn’t ready to face it again.
Luckily, I loved a man and not a boy. He was everything I needed, and more. He supported me, bought me the things I needed, called me when I needed support, checked up on me when he knew I wasn’t feeling well and did all the things I thought wasn’t needed but was helpful to me in the end. He respected whatever decision I made.
However, I was confused. Now that I was given time to think about it, a part of me still wanted the life growing inside of me. Yet I know it wouldn’t do us both any good. He is a graduating student, I am a junior and a single mother too. He wasn’t ready, and so was I. So we talked about it together and decided to undergo the process of medical abortion.
On the 25th of October I emailed the email address ‘she’ told me if the herbal meds didn’t work. I received a reply on the 26th. Took me 3 days to finally send a reply and finalize everything. Sir John was comforting. He had this soothing voice that made all my worries vanish. I called him on the 30th (we had an initial schedule for the phone call on the 29th, however my morning sickness kicked in and I felt nauseated that time so Sir John rescheduled our call on the 30th) and I was assured and had faith on the process Sir John was explaining to me. He was very patient and understanding, and that seriously helped me calm down, like a lot. After the call, he sent me messages of the important details I had to remember, the costing of the process, and everything I needed, both things to do and things to buy, to do the process right.
On the 3rd of November, I sent the payment through BDO. I got a text from LBC the day after informing that my parcel had arrived.
My boyfriend claimed the parcel on the 6th and I texted my consultant to inform him that I already have the parcel and that we planned to start the process on the 7th. However, unexpected events came so I had to stop my diet and fasting for the first day and moved it by 12am on the 8th.
By midnight (12am) on November 10, I performed the vaginal miso. You could ask your partner or companion to be the one to insert the miso, but I preferred to do it myself. I actually expected intense pain due to the contraction about 2 hours after the vaginal miso. Rather, I felt an “annoying and bothering” type of pain which caused my lack of sleep that night/morning. Nonetheless, the hot compress every now and then was helpful. Based on my experience, doing the process with your partner or any companion is a must, especially after the insertion of the vaginal miso since you would be stuck lying on the bed without moving for atleast 8 hours. My partner ensured to change my hot water compress every 20-30 minutes and made sure that I stay warm and comfortable despite being not able to move. And a quick tip, to be honest I had second thoughts in wearing the adult diaper and planned not to wear one, but my partner insisted so I bought 2 pieces and wore one after the vaginal miso. And believe me, it was one of the best choices I had done.
By 4 am on the same day, I had the buccal miso. I made sure the miso tablets stayed in the upper buccal cavity for at least an hour. By 5 am, I swallowed the miso tablets one by one. I had the urge to throw up but managed to keep my mouth shut and swallow the tablets. When I had these urges, I already felt the bleeding down there. So in short, every time I had the urge to throw up, I would bleed. Thank you for whoever invented the adult diapers, it was very useful indeed.
By 5:30 am, I had felt the “intense” pain I was hoping for. This was the start of the real deal contractions. This time hot compress and a partner really is a must. The hot compress eases the pain greatly, and your companion could do a great deal of help in your mental and emotional handling of the contractions, and a warm hand to squeeze too!
Having a eye mask and white flower was helpful too. Eye mask, to help you sleep and relax. White flower, for the vomiting urges and for relaxation and calming down too, just put 1-2 drops on your forehead and at the back of your ears.
7:30 am, I stood up and went to the CR and sat on the “arinola”. I urinated, then felt something fall off. After making sure the “drippings” had stopped, I washed my V with the feminine wash and mineral water, then called my partner to check what had fallen off. Wearing another set of gloves, my partner checked and cleaned whatever was there, while I sat on the bed waiting for him to finish. I already knew by then though, it was done. I just hadn’t mustered up any strength or courage to look whatever fell on that arinola. While my partner was inside the comfort room, I prepared the garbage bag sheet and layered tissue paper on top. After a few minutes, my partner confirmed the POC (we did thorough research on everything, so we already have an expected image of my POC). He managed to clean it as best as he could and placed it on top of the tissue paper. He didn’t want me to see it though, I wish I didn’t too. It made me feel horrible and emotional. I stared at it for a few minutes, trying to understand my feelings that moment, when I felt assuring arms wrapped around me and heard comforting words from my boyfriend. It took me a while to finally manage to calm down and took a picture of the POC to send to Sir Alex.
By 8 am, I sent a message to Sir John informing him of the progress. I also sent the pictures via email to Sir Alex.
By 10:30 am, I received replies from Sir John informing me of the end of my low-folate diet and fasting.
11:30 am, Sir John confirmed via text message that I am no longer pregnant. They have seen the pictures I sent and congratulated me for the success of the procedure.
I could say, I never want to experience this again. Not only because of the physical pain one has to go through, but also of the mental and emotional pain one has to handle after the “successful process”. Though despite all the things I had experienced to let go of my supposedly second baby, I could say I was relieved when the procedure ended well. Project486 helped not only the me today, but also my boyfriend and I’s future, as well as the life that we could have given to our baby, seeing that both of us weren’t ready yet.
Having the abortion, whether herbal, medical or surgical one, may be a sin in the eyes of others. But what others see of you and feel of you is nothing, because what matters is that what you think will be right. Yes, the abortion could be considered wrong, especially in our country and our religion, but if you continued the pregnancy just because you believe that is what is right, do you think you could be able to provide the needs of your child? Do you think you are ready to secure the future he or she is asking from you as their parent? Do you think you could protect him or her in a young age from all the judgements of the people that surround him or her just because you had a child that wasn’t welcome in the world of others? I am a Roman Catholic by paper, but an atheist at heart, however that wasn’t why I chose to do the abortion. I chose to do it because I know that no matter how many times you ask me of the questions written above, even if it pains me, my current situation’s answer would be a no. I may had chosen to end his or her chance of living in this world, but I also ended the hard life on the streets, the misery of an orphaned child and the hatred the world could have given him or her if he or she was born.
– – Jace, 18, student and single mom, Misamis Occidental, Philippines
“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 LII (54th entry)