A Personal Story

Submitted: Jan 2000

Name: VK
Success: No
Pregnancy test: Yes - I took a home pregnancy test on the 2nd of January, and was given one at the clinic on the 4th. Both were positive
Weight: 150 pounds

date of last period: December 4
date of fertilizing intercourse: December 15
date period was expected: January 1
when were herbs started: January 3

dosage info: I chose to use Vitamin C and parsley. I tried to get 10g of Vitamin C every day, and I drank parsley tea constantly. After five days I began taking Dong Quai, 1000mg every 4 hours. I continued that with the Vitamin C for another 5 days. I stopped taking the herbs after 10 days (last day with herbs - January 12)


For the first time in years I ovulated two days early (I should have ovulated on the 18th, but I felt myself ovulate on the 16th) so when my period didn't happen on the first I was fairly scared that I was pregnant. We had used a condom, but apparently it had a leak, because sure enough, I'm pregnant. On Friday the 31st I had awful cramping, and my breasts were very sore, and I thought surely this must mean my period was imminent! Oh well!

I came across your website before I even took a test (and I must say thank you for the advice on tests - I used "confirm" which worked very well), so when I went to buy the pregnancy test I also bought Vitamin C and parsley (dried) just in case. I couldn't find fresh parsley for another several days. I chose Vitamin C and parsley because it seemed like the safest option out of all mentioned.

Where I live there are no herbalists or alternative health practitioners of any kind. (There are vast areas of California that are very backward, believe it or not! I am a couple hundred miles from nowhere up here.) I figured since I couldn't get any good personal advice I should stick with something I could manage on my own. While I could find most of the herbs mentioned on your site I was very scared to try any of the stronger medicines without the go-ahead of an herbalist or midwife.

I began the Vitamin C and parsley tea at 12:15 a.m. on January 3rd. That morning I called to find out where in my area there were abortion clinics. It turns out there is only one within a 60 mile radius. I called around to other doctors in the area to see if I could get their recommendations as to whether I should use this clinic or make the trek to another one farther away. Not one doctor or nurse was willing to give advice in this manner! The area I live in is very Christian Conservative, and most of the people I talked to apparently considered me to be a murderer of some sort. This was very frustrating!

I went to the clinic on Tuesday January 4th, and was hopeful the herbs might be working. I had been experiencing mild cramping. When the nurse did the ultrasound, she found absolutely no signs that I was pregnant. She ruled out an ectopic pregnancy, and made me take another test. It did come out positive, so she told me to come back in two weeks. (This clinic is only open on Tuesday mornings - oh, and I had the joy of being confronted by abortion protesters on the way out of the clinic!)

As time has gone by my cramping lessened, and finally went away. I've had no morning sickness, but my breasts have gone up almost two cup sizes (my only real symptom). There has been no flow. I will go in and have a clinical abortion on the 18th.

I strongly believe the vitamin C, parsley and Dong Quai could have worked. However, I had problems keeping up the dosages through the night. I was taking 500mg of Vitamin C every hour during the day (and from day 5 on, I was taking 1000mg of Dong Quai every 4 hours), but at night I could not wake up every two hours. I would just sleep right through the alarm. (I sleep very soundly - I have slept through a 7.0 earthquake and a gas heater explosion in the next room...)

I did try taking larger doses of C (about 1500mg to 2000mg at a time) but when I did that I experienced stomach pains so severe I was doubled over. Since I smoke, and weigh 150 pounds, I believe it was incredibly important to have kept the dosage as high as possible, but my own body was conspiring against me! If I could have done anything differently, it would have been to find SOME way to get up every two hours. The only thing I could think of would be to have someone else physically wake me up, but I am trying to keep my pregnancy a secret. The only two people who know are my father (who is elderly - I couldn't see asking him to stay at my house for two weeks and wake me up every two hours) and my best friend, who lives a thousand miles away.

Another interesting side effect of C - I was using chewable C because I couldn't find pills I could swallow at first. (Finally, on the fourth bottle, found C in a decent shape that I could get down without chewing.) Well, the vitamin C completely deteriorated one of my ceramic fillings in three days! I'd had no problem with this filling before, but it's gone now - it dissolved bit by bit. So, if you value your dental work, don't chew massive amounts of vitamin C! I now have a big hole in my mouth that will cost several hundred dollars to repair.

Even though this attempt was not entirely successful, I don't regret it or feel badly at all (even though I lost a filling). I was thrilled to find any information on this topic on the web, and I have learned a lot. Just being able to take some control of my situation alleviated many of my fears. It made me feel I was doing something to help solve my problem, instead of having to rely on a doctor. That may sound strange, since now of course I have to go to a doctor for an abortion. Psychologically, though, the experience was worthwhile!

The experience has opened my eyes in many ways. I am 26 and have never been pregnant before. I am lucky to be a well-educated, professional woman who can afford access to the internet and can afford to travel to get an abortion if necessary. I had no idea how difficult it would be to find medical help in this area. Where I live, the vast majority of woman are under- or un-educated, very poor, and have no access to information or medical services. I'm sure many of them end up giving birth because they could not get birth control or abortion services, and they could certainly never find the information about herbs that I did. It was hard enough for me, in my position, to get information, and to find an abortion clinic and medical advice. How hard must it be for them? I was frustrated to the point of tears, but I was still able to solve my problem. What must they go through? This was an issue I had thought little about before. I am now considering becoming an activist in this arena, and am also highly considering changing careers - going back to school to get the training to become an herbalist!

Another interesting side note - none of the places I spoke with even mentioned the possibility of the methotrexate/whatever-the-other-medication-is route for abortion. Now, I am early enough in my pregnancy that it seems the medical abortion would work, but the topic never came up, and I didn't even know it was a legal possibility until I researched further on the web. Do you suppose this is because the abortion clinics make more money off of traditional abortions? I hate to be that cynical about it, but it's food for thought. I'm certainly healthy enough to be a candidate for that. I have no medical conditions that preclude taking methotrexate (and I know it's a strong drug with many possible side effects - my mother is on it for arthritis and I've read the paper work!) If you have any thoughts or information on other reasons the clinics wouldn't share this information, please let me know.

Thank you for your very informative website. I don't know if what I shared will help anyone, but I hope it does.

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