abortion, family, marriage, children, midult tale

‘Other people would make it work’ says the doctor

I have eczema on my eyelids. Spots everywhere. I want to hide. But then, I’ve had two abortions in the past three weeks – my expectations of the here and now are pretty low.

You’re probably thinking that’s a typo. You’re wrong. Two abortions. Three weeks. And still it’s not over. So here’s what happened – the story of how one Midult found herself sitting alone in an abortion clinic next to a teenager sobbing into her father’s anorak. At least I hope he was her father…

I mean, it’s really quite boring. I’m married, already have a son and am skint. Childcare bills, eh? They’ll take the romance out of further procreation for you. When I found myself pregnant with my second – don’t ask – there was no question. I could not have the baby.

But not having the baby is actually very complicated. There’s a lot of admin. First, you have to ask your GP’s permission. Then, you have to relentlessly call abortion providers and force the issue until they send you to the middle of nowhere to get it done. Fun fact: loads of people need abortions in January/February (thanks a lot, Festive Season). Even if you go private, you’re looking at a three week waiting list just to have a consultation over the phone.

Want another fun fact? Two doctors have to consent to your abortion and mine wouldn’t. My justification (breadwinner, no money) wasn’t ‘good enough’. “Other people would make it work,” they sigh, like we’re talking about leopard print.

So back to the drawing board – how to get this done? The manager of the clinic says she knows doctors in Manchester she can send my paperwork to. They’ll sign off on it, she promises, they always do. And bingo, three days later I’m back and have my medical abortion. Great.

Except despite a load of bleeding and pain, it doesn’t work. This becomes clear when I have a massive haemorrhage. I sit on the toilet as it happens – there’s blood everywhere and pads are pointless. “I just thought it would be easier than this, you know?” my husband says wistfully.

My abortion provider is unconvinced this wasn’t just a period (“are you sure though? Periods can be heavy…”) and so takes two days to call me back with a solution.

Four days later we are back where we started. Crying teenager. Anorak man. Middle of nowhere. Interestingly everyone is so much nicer when the abortion fails – unlike my last appointment, it’s not me who’s fucked up this time. We’re all in it together now.

Well, sort of. After an internal scan, during which the consultant and nurse point at “tissue” in my uterus and giggle (failed abortions – lols!) I’m given another round of pills. A week of bleeding and cramps later, the foetus pops out on a Sunday night when I’m doing the dishes. Five-ish weeks after this started, it’s over.

The hormonal hangover of eczema and weird mood swings is unpleasant and I’m knackered. But it’s better than the alternative – if those doctors had their way, I’d be three months gone with a baby neither I nor the NHS could afford. In 2017? Bonkers.

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