Surgical abortion with iv sedation - what does it feel like?


Have opted to have the surgical abortion with IV sedation at Marie Stopes, but am very scared. What is the experience like - very painful? Would really appreciate some feedback from people who have experienced this, thanks!


Surgical abortion with iv sedation experience - marie stopes

I have just had this procedure two days ago with Marie Stopes. I won't give you a massive breakdown of my reasons as to why I decided to terminate my pregnancy and my background but I will provide some information because this forum has been a life saver during the last 10 days and I wanted to share my story with other women who are in this situation.

I am divorced and I have been with my partner for a year now in a loving committed long distance relationship. I already have a young child and I am transitioning through a job change. I came off the pill as it gave me headaches in the morning and I constantly felt bloated. I must have conceived pretty much within the few days of coming off it.

My periods seemed to be taking ages to come but I put it down to the 'hormones' leaving my system. I didn't have any symptoms apart from sore breasts which I again put down to my period on the way (no tiredness, sickness, cravings etc). I had some cramping throughout January but again I put that down to my period on its way. I found out I was pregnant on Wednesday 5th February - I was obviously very distressed but I instantly knew I couldn't go ahead. Circumstances, Finance and so many other factors all indicated that this was not fair on my young child. My previous birth experience was very traumatic although natural - everything was an intervention and I bled so much due to anaemia that I was in and out of consciousness straight after.

I rang the hotline who gave me an appointment for the following Monday. They estimated me to be around 5 weeks. It was absolute sheer hell waiting those days for my initial consultation. I really wanted to take the medical route because I was petrified of the surgical route and anaesthetics. However a few calls over those few days and I spoke to a lovely man called Jim at Marie Stopes who advised me based on my current situation to consider the surgical route. After reading and reading, I decided I would opt for the surgical route . It is quicker, faster recovery, professionally handled and with the IV sedation there is less pain and trauma.

It doesn't matter how much anyone says to you not to be scared of the procedure, you will be. I can't say it is without risks as all procedure carry risks but they are minimal and you have to remember you are in professional hands.

I had my appointment at 10am. They were running behind by about an hour. If you do opt for the sedation you must not eat either 6 or 12 hours beforehand but double check with your healthcare provider. I am not medically trained so you must check. Because my morning sickness had started to kick in, I set my alarm for 3:40am and ate a bowl of light cereal. When I had my consultation, the nurse was a bit dubious but because my treatment was delayed she said it was fine. I did ask her about having a numbing agent instead of the sedation and she said it will be painful and quite stressful. She also said once the surgeon starts, he cannot stop . If you are anxious just have the sedation. You are better off having the sedation because it allows the surgeon to properly complete the procedure. I spent days worrying about the procedure and all sorts of thing were making me anxious. My main fear was I wouldn't wake up, my heart would fail, my bp would drop - all quite severe if you think of it. Also I had the Mirena IUD fitted in the procedure.

I was called at 12:40 and asked to use the wc to empty my bladder. The nurse asked me to take everything apart from my top and bra off. He provided me with a sarong and slippers. He then came to collect me and led me into the treatment room. He introduced me to the team and I held a nurses hand and literally poured my heart out to her. They seated me on the treatment couch and made me comfortable. The anaesthetist was actually very amusing and worked very fast. He found my vein and was very quick. He then said you will start to feel dizzy and I smiled and said no I'm not and I was still very alert - I looked at the nurse and she gently reassured me by telling me the sedation was going in. I then closed my eyes feeling very sleepy. Thats it - I don't remember anything. I didn't hear anything. All I felt was a moderate cramping sensation when he obviously suctioned. The nurse did say the earlier you are, the less painful it is and they dated me at 6 weeks and 6 days. The next thing I remember was them putting me into a wheelchair and them helping me up to sit on the recovery chair. I just felt very sleepy so I didn't force myself to open my eyes. That sensation lasted a few mins. I would say I was just a little bit dizzy but nothing to the point where its distressing. I opened my eyes and just rested again for a few minutes. Then the nurse who did my initial consultation knew I wanted tea because I was gasping for my morning tea which she brought over - they offer tea, biscuits and sweets just to get your blood sugar levels back up. Once you feel alert and ok, they asked you if you want to get dressed. You get dressed, check your pad on mine there was a dot of blood. They gave me two pills to take - I don't actually know what they were for (pain killers or to reduce bleeding). They gave me my antibiotics to take home and a little handbook.

One of my best friends drove me there and stayed with me - she then drove me back home and we had a light sandwich and spent a few hours on the sofa watching tv. The tops of my legs felt a bit weak but thats understandable. The only thing I noticed was my heart rate was racing but that could have been due to adrenaline or the drugs. It calmed down by itself. My partner arrived shortly after because he had his final exams and then drive 3 hours to get here. (which I don't want people commenting on as I said, I was emotional due to the procedure and not attached to the pregnancy). We picked my little one up from nursery and even went to get some food. We got Nandos a bit later on and I then took some feminax. Went to bed thinking Id be bleeding and morning came and there was no bleeding. Woke up feeling fine. Took my antibiotics with toast and fried eggs LOL.

My bleeding was a little bit heavy nothing alarming and has now stopped. Apart from feeling a bit tender and my breasts are still sore and my shoulders feel tight due to all the stress and tension I feel nothing but RELIEF. Of course my mind flits back to the pregnancy and part of me feels sad that it ended this way. However I firmly believe it would not have been fair to my little one and that is my priority. I have learnt many lessons from this - mainly that if your spirit is strong you will get through this. I learnt to take the time out to appreciate my little one giggle instead of rushing around with life.

Trust your body and do what feels right. You may feel scared but deep down you know what works for you. Im sending you a big hug xx


13 weeks

Hello there! I know this is quite an old thread but I discovered it when researching information for my own abortion. I had a surgical abortion about a month ago. It cost just under $700 without any sedation whatsoever. When I found out I was pregnant I thought I was only maybe 6 weeks as I remembered missing two pills in a row then. So I made an appointment with a clinic about an hour and a half away from where I live. I intended to take the pill and pass the fetus at home because I knew I'd feel more comfortable with the situation alone. I got to the clinic early, it was actually in the same small building as a Starbucks! Talk about awkward to walk past! The woman behind the counter confirmed my appointment, and gave me a stack of paperwork and just told me to sign by the X's. If I had actually read it word for word I would have been there a good hour! Most of it was just an overview of the procedure, and having me release the clinic of liability. Another form I signed stated that if for any reason the procedure could not be performed, $240 would remain with the clinic. There was also a form for me to sign stating that I left the clinic against there recommendation of waiting at least three hours... Not once in my experience did anyone at the clinic even offer for me to stay until I felt comfortable to leave. Anyway I had an ultrasound, found out I was actually 13 weeks! So the pill was out of the question for me. One of the nurses told me that if I came back tomorrow with the rest of the money for the surgical procedure, that they'd apply the $240 towards it. I managed to scrape up the funds and returned the next morning for the procedure. I drove myself there again, I was pretty nervous but I knew it was the right choice. I filled out more paperwork, finally got called back to the room and a nurse gave me an ibuprofen. Then I was led back to a tiny room. There was a table similar to a regular gynecological table, except at the end where you scoot your butt down to had an additional portion like a tiny bucket. There was also a large machine with old looking plastic tubes and two giant glass gars on top I later learned was the vacuum. There was also a tiny sink with a handheld strainer laying in it. The nurse told me to take off my pants and underwear. She returned a moment later to take my blood. I still hadn't met the doctor. Nobody had actually told me what exactly they were going to do and I was starting to freak out a bit! When the nurse told me she was about to draw my blood all I could do was stare at her and shake! I wasn't so sure at the moment I would be able to go through with it. She told me repeatedly that I didn't have to do it and I could do whatever I wanted. She let me have a moment to myself and I finally calmed down enough to ask questions of her and the doctor when he arrived. She told me that I may experience mild to severe cramping, which I found vague. The doctor told me that there would be almost no pain. I asked him about the fetus because although I had seen many pictures I really didn't know how fully formed it really was. He assured me that what would come out would not resemble a baby whatsoever and even let me know that I could see it if it I liked. Oddly this was the most comforting thing I had been told. So I told him I was ready. He dilated me slightly with um a metal dilator? I don't know the technical term! Then he inserted a tube like thing and it began. He and the nurse talked to me the whole time. He actually asked me about my boyfriend and what we did for a living. It was just as comfortable as being at my own gynecologist. The vacuum was kinda loud and I could feel it slightly vibrating. For me it was completely painless! I only felt a small amount of cramping, as though something was tugging downward on my ovaries. It took less than five minutes to complete. I sat up and saw that one of the large glass jars was about half full with tissue. I expected to be bloody when I sat up, however there was no blood whatsoever. The nurse actually helped me put my underwear on and told me to get dressed as soon as I felt well enough to stand. I sat there for a couple minutes and the doctor came in to check that I was doing well which I appreciated greatly! After I dressed I was given a prescription stapled to a sheet of aftercare information and told to leave. This post is way longer than I expected it to be! Overall I had a good experience with my abortion. The hardest part was getting to the point of abortion! I've held off sharing my story until now because I wanted to let people know the aftereffects I've experienced physically and emotionally. Physically, I took the next day off work, but was perfectly fine to return after that. I made sure to take it easy and stopped going to the gym just in case. Mentally, I'm well. I still think about it often. Although I know I can talk to my friends about it, it's just difficult because while they listen they don't truly understand. Even my boyfriend doesn't really understand. I don't regret my decision whatsoever. Sometimes I try to feel something more than relief about it but I never can. I have yet to cry because of it. I don't know if I've just buried it that deep or what. I don't want children, at least not anytime soon and if I do I've wanted to adopt. Well thank you for reading my about my experience! I hope it gives someone useful information when making one of the most important decisions in their lives! It's not for everyone, but if you know the choice is right for you, you have nothing to fear!


Depends on how many weeks you are


I had a surgical abortion at the Ealing centre with IV sedation. The centre was fine, there were no protestors and the staff were lovely. Only criticism is I had to wait for ages but that was not there fault.

I went to have it done without sedation first (had to drive) and they refused saying it would be too painful. Thank god they did as it was painful. I do not remember specifics as your are out of it but I can remember pain. However, I was 13 weeks so it is bound to be more painful! I was told that below 9 weeks you do not feel much at all. So it depends on how many weeks you are.

The sedation knocks you out. I was surprised how much it did. It really confuses me as I remember small things that are all incoherent. At the time it was a blessing but be prepared if you are struggling that it will make you keep on going over it in your head.

But overall it was painful for 5 minutes but you recover physically quickly. Just make sure it is your decision and you are 100% happy with it, or you could live to regret it (like me).

I hope it all goes well for you and that it is pain free!!

Lots of love,

Belle x x



by: emskizzle

I was interested to note you regret your decision. 5 days after I am starting to feel less numb and more sad and feeling regret and guilt.
How did you come to terms with the decision? Xx



by: bellebea89


I am still more than 4 months on not getting over my decision. For me it has in fact got worse. However, I think this is due to my determination to try and pretend everything was ok when it was not, so it is only now that I am seeking help. It reach a point where I started having anxiety attacks and I asked for help and advice on here and I have been given some amazing advice. I am sure I will then get the courage to seek further help. If you would like you can private message me and we can discuss how we are feeling together and try and find away through this! The same happened to me, I was surprised how good I felt and then a few days later I crashed.

I hope you are ok and please contact me if you would like to talk more.

Lots of Love,

Belle x x



Hello there,

I had a surgical termination at the Marie Stopes this morning with iv sedation. I actually fell asleep during the procedure and some 8 hours on am experiencing period like cramps. The people at the Central London branch treated me with compassion and dignity (two weeks before I had been to the Ealing one and felt like cattle- truly awful)

At the moment i feel emotionally numb...how i feel tomorrow, well I will take that day as it comes.

Stay strong and if i can help at all please just ask xx


Many thanks for your reply....

by: parrot11

Thanks for your response! After they gave you the sedation did you just feel sleepy then? Did you feel no pain during the procedure? I'm terribly scared of anything medical wise and your response helps a lot so I can be prepared. Unfortunately I am going to ealing, but due to transport arrangements I haven't got much choice. I hope you're feeling ok too x



by: emskizzle

Its a strange sensation...I came round and just felt drunk. Not slaughtered but like I'd had a few vodka's. I have to be honest and say that it wasn't as bad as I had built up in my mind. For weeks I was wondering if I'd made the right decision, I cancelled 3 appointments but at the moment I feel that I made the decision because I loved my unborn child.

When are you having your procedure?

I would warn you though that the times I went to Ealing there was protestors outside- they're what made me turn up and then leave in tears... I know its hard but take no notice of them- they are small minded, ignorant people who have no right to make you feel bad about your decision. They are in the wrong, not you.

I too am a bit funny about needles and stuff but once the sedative was in my system I felt nothing, don't remember a thing and woke up feeling drunk.




by: parrot11

Thankfully there were no protestors outside when I had the initial consultation. I decided to wait a week for the treatment as the cells would be bigger and less chance of the abortion being missed. I am having the procedure tomorrow morning.

All week I have been worrying am I making the right decision too, but my instant reaction was that this is not the right time in my life to have children and I feel the same now.

I am now just petrified about the whole procedure but your kind words make me feel a little more at ease. The nurse said it would be over in less than 5 minutes and I would feel as you described and then it would wear of very quickly and I'd soon feel normal again, but it is much better to hear how it feels from somebody who has actually experienced it. It is very kind of you to share your experience.

Did the 'drunk' feeling of the sedative wear off quickly as they say it will? Were you ok to eat/drink after quite soon? I assume you didnt really feel anything they were doing during if you were out of it?

I hope you are feeling better about your experience now, and in yourself, I'm sure, like me, that although it is such a difficult time that deep down you know the best and right decision to make at the time. X



by: beherenow1

Hello there,

Glad to hear your experience has been pleasant so far, if that is the right word to use. You sound like a good person trying to do the right thing, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I do just want to gently advise you that if you are trying to get all the facts before you have the procedure, it's in your best interest to hear not only about how you will feel the day of the termination, but afterward as well. The thing is, it's not over in 5 minutes. Physically, maybe (although there is the real risk of physical complications as well.) Emotionally, it might not be over in 5 years, or more.

Maybe you have read some of the accounts on this forum or elsewhere of those who have gone through abortions and regretted it deeply. Also see


Even some women who were sure it was the right thing at the time end up being the ones who regret it the most.

I'm sure you have also done the research on fetal development so that you know what stage the little being in your womb is at. Also, make sure you exercise your right to see your scan before they do anything to you. Again, this is not to make you feel bad, just to help you make a fully informed decision. Youll hear all these facts at some point in your life, better to get them now, before you make a decision that cant be undone.

There's no perfect time to have a child, but its amazing what the human spirit, especially the maternal spirit, is capable of when its time for action.

If you are thoroughly convinced that this is not the time for you to be a mum, have you thought about adoption? This would be a way to get on with your life while giving another parent or family the happiness they dream of.

In short, you've already waited a week but that's not a very long time. Maybe it would be good for you to not rush, take a little longer to get more data and go over your choices in your head and heart.

Just some thoughts for you. Please dont take this the wrong way, and know that I sincerely wish you all the best no matter what you decide. Peace!

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