‘Rachel’ (not her real name) shares how abortion pill reversal treatment was able to help bring her out of the guilt she felt for trying to abort her pregnancy.
Having met her partner only a few months before, Rachel was surprised to found out she had fallen pregnant during lockdown.
“I always wanted another child,” she says. However, given the circumstances, she was unsure whether having a new baby was really the right thing to do. “We’d only known each other for such a short time. Matters were complicated further because we lived so far apart. We felt that we wouldn’t be able to give this new baby a solid foundation because of our existing families, our other commitments and the distance between us. We were also having some time apart, so I made a decision that I couldn’t go through with the pregnancy on my own. We really wanted to have a child, but perceived pressures were just too much.”
Although Rachel wanted to keep her baby, she says that because of the pressures, she impulsively made the decision to go for an abortion.
“I impulsively made an appointment one evening and the next morning went to the termination clinic. I couldn’t stop crying and was in hysterics at the clinic.”
As she was under 10 weeks pregnant, Rachel was given pills to take rather than having surgical intervention.
‘The staff seemed unconcerned – and pressured me to abort’
Rachel explains that the level of care she received from the abortion clinic was lacking.
“When I arrived in the waiting room, I was tearful. Whilst they were scanning the baby, I was crying and couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen. The staff seemed unconcerned about me crying and nobody asked me why I was so upset.
“Whilst speaking to the doctor, I was crying and asking questions about what would happen if I changed my mind later. The doctors and nurse seemed frustrated, and at one point the doctor asked me, ‘well, are you taking the pill or not?’
“I received no support, no guidance or even compassion as to what I was feeling and about to do. Nothing about the termination clinic was supportive and I felt like the clinic wanted the abortion to happen.”
Due to the pressure that Rachel felt in the clinic, she took the first pill there and then – but instantly regretted it.
“I asked the doctors again what would happen if I changed my mind and whether the pill was reversible. They said that it was not. They told me that even if I went tried to make myself sick, the pill would still work.
“I did contemplate trying to make myself sick to bring the pill back up, but the bathroom was so close to the waiting room and there were so many people around that I felt so embarrassed.
“Needless to say, I was devastated, and my situation was seemingly hopeless.”
Trying to save the pregnancy
Heartbroken and hopeless, both Rachel and her partner started looking to see if there was any way of trying to save the pregnancy and reverse the effects of the abortion pill.
“After I left, I spoke to my partner and we both started researching to see if there were any means of saving the pregnancy. I looked online to see whether the first termination pill was reversible. All of the UK based articles said that it was not. I called some doctors and clinics in the UK and I got the same answer that it was not reversible.”
However, unwilling to give up hope, Rachel kept searching and eventually came across an American charity that looked like it could offer help.
“There was a charity website in the US and the data on the termination pill reversal was totally different to what I had been told by the UK health professionals. I made an enquiry and they called me instantly; they could not have been more supportive, compassionate and non-judgmental (which was not the experience I had at the clinic when taking the pill).”
A volunteer nurse from the US explained the procedure of reversing the effects of the abortion pill to Rachel, but was honest that it didn’t always work: “She explained that the first termination pill can be reversed most of the time as long as the second pill is not also taken. She told me that without taking the second pill, a lot babies still survive after taking the first pill, but that the chances of survival were greatly improved by taking progesterone. She said this was common procedure in the US but not the UK. But they were able to identify one doctor in the UK who could help me.”
Supported and cared for
The US clinic put Rachel in touch with Dr Dermot Kearney, who was able to send her a prescription for progesterone tablets almost immediately.
“Dr Kearney was absolutely incredible. He explained further the benefits of progesterone and the data around percentage of survival. He did not make me feel pressured and equally was realistic in setting expectations. I only felt support and genuine kindness. He was able to get a prescription sent to my local pharmacy and we picked it up within the hour.”
Rachel has since given birth to a healthy baby.
“If it wasn’t for Dr Kearney, our child wouldn’t be alive. We have not once regretted the decision to reverse the termination and we are grateful to Dr Kearney for being there for us.”
Find out more about Dr Dermot Kearney