The counselor at a clinic is always the sort of job I hope my students will get and indeed this woman was a women’s studies minor. She is wonderful, training an intern, so I dutifully answer all the questions. She then walks me through what will happen next. She tells me that tomorrow I will be giving cytotec, ironically the drug in both the abortion pill as well as the drug used to induce labor in pregnant women. She warns me that it can be quite painful, cause nausea or the shakes. The worst part is that in a clinic setting, you cannot take a support person back with you, so I will be alone during this experience, which can take up to four hours.
I am aware that the two day procedure involves the slow, gradual dilation of the cervix to about 2 cm and that before I leave today sea sponges will be placed in my cervix to begin dilation. However, What she tells me next is sort of surprising. She tells me that the shot of digoxin to stop the fetal heart will happen today. While I knew this would happen, I thought it occurred in the OR immediately prior to the abortion. I admit to being somewhat startled. My husband has returned home to pick up our children since the appointments have run so late. There will be no one there to hold my hand at the moment this pregnancy ends. It is a sobering thought, to know the exact moment, but perhaps that is how it should be.
The insertion of the laminaria is painful. No point in elaborating, but painful is accurate. Immediately menstrual type cramps begin. I am barely aware of the quick shot through to the amniotic sac. I am grateful for the distraction, but also happy that before the sonographer and the physician came into the room, I had taken a moment to say goodbye to this pregnancy that I had know for only 12 days. I thought I might share here exactly what I said, but I think I will keep that private for myself.
After that I return to the waiting room for my husband to return. I am now in constant pain. It is not awful, like bad period cramps, but definitely not comfortable.
The ride home feels long and I am grateful that our car has heated seats. I take a pain pill as soon as I get in the car. I am relieved that I had the foresight to put one in the car from an older prescription.
When I get home, I use the techniques they teach you for early labor. I turn on the heating pad and head for a shower. I let the hot water hit the small of my back for a long while. I then curl up in bed with the heating pad. It takes about six hours for the cramping to stop. About four hours in, I take another pain pill.
In the meantime, my husband cares for my children. After they are in bed he goes out to meet students, pick up my antibiotics, and get dinner for himself. I stay awake until almost midnight, drinking as much water as I can, and to take one last pain pill.
Miraculously I manage to sleep on and off throughout the night. I am not plagued by nightmares, but I am definitely restless.