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Fri Sep 10, 2021, 12:34 AM

My abortion: Any ob/gyn (or other) thoughts?

I had an abortion way back in 1986. I believe I was 6 weeks pregnant when I first learned I was pregnant and went to an MD regarding an abortion. As I remember it, the medical folks told me to wait until at least the 7th week of pregnancy because it was safer to perform an abortion after 7 weeks. I am not dreaming this up and I also have no frigging' idea what the reasoning was. Maybe it was related to my age at the time (28), maybe it was related to how the procedure was performed in 1986. Maybe it was an odd notion in Massachusetts. Point is, I've been wondering about this in light of the new Texas abortion restrictions.

One more thing to note, which may be of interest to anyone getting an abortion in the future:

At the time of my abortion, I had a friend who was planning to become a midwife. She told me about laminaria, a type of seaweed that is dehydrated and shaped into a rod suitable for insertion in the cervix. The purpose of inserting the laminaria into the cervix --in the context of abortion -- is to dilate the cervix in advance of the procedure, thereby making it way more comfortable. I spoke to the MD about it and she verified that this was in fact true. However, they did not offer it unless women specifically asked for it. Why? Because once the laminaria is inserted, it diminishes or eliminates (I can't remember which) the option to change your mind and go forward with the pregnancy. This pissed me off. Here was something that significantly reduced pain and discomfort and that was all-natural and non-toxic, but it was not being offered because someone somewhere had decreed that women couldn't be trusted to know how they wanted to handle their unplanned pregnancy. That is bullshit. Anyway, I assured them I had no doubts regarding going forward with the abortion, requested the laminaria and had it administered. The abortion was fairly painless and all the medical folks were women. I felt supported and cared for and was not traumatized in the least. Despite my overall positive experience, I still think not offering the laminaria in advance was an insult to women.

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Reply My abortion: Any ob/gyn (or other) thoughts? (Original post)
CommonHumanity Sep 2021 OP
Tetrachloride Sep 2021 #1
Hekate Sep 2021 #4
NJCher Sep 2021 #2
CommonHumanity Sep 2021 #6
jpak Sep 2021 #3
CommonHumanity Sep 2021 #5
secondwind Sep 2021 #7
CommonHumanity Sep 2021 #12
CommonHumanity Sep 2021 #13
zuul Sep 2021 #8
WhiskeyGrinder Sep 2021 #9
Ms. Toad Sep 2021 #11
bluedevil4 Sep 2021 #10

Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 12:45 AM

1. I proofread 2 family medicine books by an Ob/gyn expat

in Yokohama in the early 1990ís. I do not recall such a term in the books. ( in fact, i donít recall abortion in the books either. i read both repeatedly.)

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Response to Tetrachloride (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 02:29 AM

4. Interesting. Were the books intended for Japanese doctors, or only Americans?

IIRC Japan legalized abortion after WW II, when overseas Japanese* came back in numbers and the islands were overcrowded.
(* there had been attempts to colonize conquered territories; needless to say, when the war was over countries like China and Korea wanted the Japanese to go back where they came from)

In any case, to have medical books on womenís health care simply ignore abortion seems ó odd. At a minimum a doctor needs to know how to do a D&C in order to make sure a miscarriage is complete ó anything left behind can cause hemorrhage or sepsis. It was a well-known procedure in my motherís generation (1924-2006), enough so that jug-ears here overheard things.

I wonder if the missing chapter had something to do with how conflicted the so-called pro-lifers made everyone feel. I remember reading (it may have been in the Ď90s) that young medical students were avoiding classes on anything to do with abortion procedures because of the bitter public controversy, and that the lack of knowledge going forward was going to end up being a hazard.

I was a proofreader myself at one time, in the mid-70s, and one of our repeat jobs was a medical journal on Leprosy research, which I found quite interesting. I would have enjoyed the OB/GYN books even more, as those were my fertile years

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 01:00 AM

2. Haven't heard of laminaria

Quite fascinating. I intend to read up on it.

Well, hereís mine. It was only a few years after roe v wade when I said what the hell? Iím not taking this damn pill the rest of my life.

Got an appointment for tubes to be tied. No one gave me any grief. Not the doctor, not even my then-fiancťeís mother-in-law. Everyone acted like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Never regretted it.

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Response to NJCher (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 02:37 AM

6. Good to hear

And as it should be!

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 01:11 AM

3. Laminaria is a large edible brown kelp (kombu?)

Never heard of this though

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Response to jpak (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 02:36 AM

5. Correct re Laminaria +Kelp

Yup.... You got it. It is indeed made from the same large brown edible kelp

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 03:43 AM

7. Am glad you had a safe and painless abortion.

However, I donít think it is bullshit because I was a greeter at Planned Parenthood in Boston. And I can tell you that occasionally there would be a woman who went in, and half an hour later went out, having changed her mind.

It happens.

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Response to secondwind (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 10:59 PM

12. I see your point

Perhaps I should say I thought it was bullshit not to mention the option of a helpful procedure they could choose if they were certain the day before their abortion. Women on the fence could decline, but I stand foirm in saying the option should be presented. The women who changed their minds could just as easily change their minds before Laminaria knowing THAT was the point of no return. Everyone should not be denied the option because someone might change their mind at the last moment. Well, I guess I just talked myself back into saying that not mentioning it for the reason cited was bullshit.

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Response to secondwind (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 11:01 PM

13. I see your point

Perhaps I should say I thought it was bullshit not to mention the option of a helpful procedure they could choose if they were certain the day before their abortion. Women on the fence could decline, but I stand foirm in saying the option should be presented. The women who changed their minds could just as easily change their minds before Laminaria knowing THAT was the point of no return. Everyone should not be denied the option because someone might change their mind at the last moment. Well, I guess I just talked myself back into saying that not mentioning it for the reason cited was bullshit.

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 06:34 AM

8. Interesting. I've never heard of laminaria.

No surprise there I guess. Glad you had a safe and positive experience!

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 06:58 AM

9. Laminaria is used more often for second-trimester abortions, when the need for an abortion

is more usually a medical reason, so it's not something the person changes their mind about. It's also contraindicated when the cervix sits a certain way, if the person has had a c-section before, and some other conditions. Dilating the cervix is not a comfortable procedure no matter how you do it, and some people find laminaria more painful than other methods. It's not for everybody.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 09:13 AM

11. It's also used for other procedures which require dilation of the cervix.

My OB/GYN used it on me in preparation for a hysteroscopic myomectomy (removal of a tennis-ball-sized fibroid).I

I don't recall it being particularly painful (certainly less painful than passing clots before i gave birth to my daughter).

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Response to CommonHumanity (Original post)

Fri Sep 10, 2021, 07:23 AM

10. same here

 

around the same time and in Ma. Maybe we crossed paths

The way I understood it, because it was a suction type procedure, was the further along you were the easier it was to make sure they got it all. With me they didn't get it all as I continued to bleed and eventually had to go back in for a D&C.
I also remember there were protesters outside the clinic which was very intimidating to me at that time. My boyfriend had to push through them to get me in. Then when I got in there I sat with a girl whose boyfriend came in and took it out. It was quite a trip that day. Just typing about it brings back memories I had put aside.

I thought things would get better as time went on and there are days when I think they have gotten worse. It wasn't an easy decision and I was so angry at those protesters because they didn't have a clue about my thought process or feelings.
A thousand years later and they still have no clue

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