Get me out of here

I needed to access an abortion under 10 weeks, living in the Republic of Ireland

I realised I was pregnant at 6 weeks. It was a complete shock. I knew a lot about the limit to abortion in Ireland but nothing about how to get one when I needed to. I was unemployed, there was no way I could afford to go to England, and I couldn’t ask family for help. I had known about womenonweb.com so I went to their website and the online process to order pills. My heart sank when I put in my address in the Republic, and a window popped up saying that they couldn’t deliver the pills across the border. I emailed them and they told me I could collect from poste restante- when the post office collects and keeps your post for you in Northern Ireland or have the pills delivered to a friend or hotel there. I ended up booking a cheap hotel near the bus station.

I phoned in advance to say I was expecting a parcel and it was there for me when I arrived. I stayed overnight in the hotel and took the first set of pills there. It was fine but I didn’t think about the side effects, and the next day on the bus back down I got sick. It was a common side effect, but if I’d had the time it would have been better to wait until I was home! I guess everyone on the bus must’ve just thought I was back from a heavy night. I took the second set of pills that night and the cramping.begun.

I took the pills orally. Apparently overseas it’s more common to place the pills in your vagina because it’s more comfortable, but that’s because the pills are legal there, so there’s no fear of residue left behind if you have a side effect and need to go to a hospital. It was uncomfortable and I had more pain than I expected. I vomited and had diarrhoea. This lasted about 20 minutes and after that I was able to sleep. I later learnt from.others who have had medical abortions that these were very common side effects.

Afterwards I had a heavy period which lasted about 3 weeks. This started a few hours after the second set of pills. The cramps lasted only a few days and were manageable, I was up and moving pretty quickly. I have friends who were working when they needed abortions they had to get sick notes from their g.p.’s to take time off work. Some went straight back and it was very uncomfortable for a few days but those who got notes stayed in bed. It was a stressful process, you need to try take care of yourself when it’s happening.

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