D&C · grief and loss · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

On D&C

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I elected to have a D&C for my missed miscarriage. My rationale for this decision was mainly that I didn’t want to wait it out and deal with the emotional toll of being pregnant with a baby that had died (and potentially the surprise of things starting at an inconvenient time in my workday) and then having to go through the trauma and pain of watching my baby be born; and I was concerned that taking medications to induce at home would include all the above elements (except the surprise) and that I could risk it being incomplete and having to have a D&C eventually anyway.

I went in under the assumption that I would be sedated…which would essentially eliminate most of the pain and the trauma. In light of this assumption, I didn’t eat anything all day (which will play into the story later).

Our particular health care network does not typically do D&C’s under sedation. I did not know this. I suppose I could have changed my mind yesterday when I found it out during the initial evaluation, but we were already there, we’d already taken time off work, and I guess I figured maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

———-

I cried a lot on Thursday. It suddenly got very final; obviously now I’ve known for a week that the baby is gone and the pregnancy will not continue. But reading up on ways to prepare for the surgery made it real and I began to grieve anew the loss of the baby that we had wanted so badly.

I cried a little more on Friday morning for the same reasons; just not wanting to go through with this but also knowing it was the best option since what I really didn’t want to go through had already happened.

We made it to the first appointment, the ‘pre-op’ appointment. Blood pressure check, then a repeat ultrasound to confirm the status of the baby. No change. No hidden twin that decided to show up healthy on another side of the uterus (the tiniest sliver of hope). Doctor reviewed our options again, then explained the procedure. She starting talking about having to take some norco an hour beforehand for the pain; then explained that she’d numb me ‘down there’ and give me an additional shot just before. I then realized that it wasn’t being done under sedation. I confirmed this with the nurse as well. But again, we were already there so we proceeded.

We were sent down to the pharmacy to collect cytotec (to take immediately), norco, and doxycycline (both to be taken about an hour before). I started sobbing again as I held the cytotec in my hand; just not wanting to actually have to start the process of making my body deliver this precious baby.

We waited around outside for a couple hours; I started to get pretty uncomfortable once the cytotec kicked in and I felt a gush of fluid the first time we got up to change seats.

We returned to the office; I was taken back again for a repeat blood pressure and the shot of toradol. I asked if my husband could come in with me (as I wasn’t going to be sedated I really wanted to have him there) and the nurse said we’d have to ask the doctor. While waiting for them to prep the room, the tears started again. They didn’t stop until well after everything was finished.

I was taken back to the procedure room and left alone to get undressed and onto the table. The basin below the table with the red biohazard bag did not help the tears. I just held my hand over my belly and told the baby that I loved it so much.

Doctor came in, and said that my husband couldn’t be in the room. Nobody had even thought to tell him that I was already being prepped and the D&C was starting; I had to ask them to send someone to tell him (he’d basically already figured it out by that point and he was furious at both the lack of communication and their refusal to let him be with me since I had to be awake for it).

It started out mostly just uncomfortable; thankfully the numbing shots were not as bad as I had anticipated. More of my pain was emotional at that point. One of the nurses came over and held my hand, which was very sweet of her. Once the doctor actually started the D&C the pain got really bad. Again, the emotional aspect of hearing and being aware of everything that was happening (without my husband being able to there) did not help my perception of said pain, but it was definitely intense.

Finally it was over and they let my husband come in. He held me and I sobbed for several minutes more.

I got dressed, we went back to one of the exam rooms for discharge instructions. Pain was still pretty bad but improving at that point, so after she finished, we were allowed to leave.

We’d almost gotten home when the pain got really severe again; I think that combined with all the medications and the lack of any food in my system made me really nauseous and I vomited in a cup; I legitimately thought I was going to pass out in the car at that point as well.

Once we got inside I went to the bathroom, almost fainted and almost puked again; then managed to get into bed. My husband tried to get some food in me I was in so much pain I couldn’t even eat or sit up; finally was able to take more norco and naproxen and after another 30 minutes or so the cramping finally eased enough for me to eat (all of which came up an hour later when another round of nausea hit).

By the time our friends came over with dinner, I was feeling a lot better (just super sleepy) and was able to keep some food down and visit with them for a while.

I went back to bed after they left, took one additional norco and a sleeping pill and woke up Saturday morning feeling almost completely normal again.

I still had a couple gushes of blood when using the bathroom overnight, but the bleeding had almost entirely stopped by the end of Saturday and there was no more cramping. Even the intense emotions had subsided some; strangely enough having everything be done gave it a finality that is enabling me (us) to just grieve the loss itself instead of the combination of the loss and the anticipation of the loss. Saturday night I did get pretty sad and tearful again; but I don’t expect those moments to just stop. This was our baby; we loved it, we wanted it, we rejoiced to see and hear it’s little heart beating; and even though it was early it is still an unfathomable loss.

——-

I wish I’d known ahead of time that I would not be sedated. I also wish I’d known how painful it was going to be without any sedation (and I also think I wouldn’t have had the severe pain/nausea that I did at home afterwards since I would likely have still been in post-op recovery under some degree of sedation). Knowing all that now, I would have likely chosen a different option; I wouldn’t have risked all the possible complications to still have to experience all that pain and trauma and intense grief.

So hopefully this informs someone else; just be sure to find out how your provider typically performs D&C’s before making a decision.

 

 

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