I should probably post that this is a potential trigger and I will not be offended if you stop reading now. I hesitate to even post it but I would have appreciated a step by step going in so I share for the women in need of such a thing.
We were 10w6days pregnant when we found out that the heart had stopped beating. I was 11w1d when I went in for the procedure.
I had a lot of worry and angst about the procedure so I figure I will share my experience in case any women out there who, tragically, are experiencing something similar and are wondering what it will be like.
D&C stands for Dilation and Curettage. Essentially they dilate the cervix and scoop, suction, empty the contents of the uterus.
For my OB, they wanted me to sign paperwork at their office first. My OB would be performing the procedure and wanted to see me before hand. I am not certain that this step is ALWAYS necessary so it may or may not be something another OB would do. So I went to his office the day before the scheduled D&C.
I signed a paper in front of a witness that basically asked for my approval to receive a blood transfusion if necessary. I was assured that this is VERY UNLIKELY but docs have to cover their rear’s. The waiting at the doctor’s office was pretty short and the OB answered a lot of my questions there. The IP’s had some specific requests so I wanted to make sure the doctor was aware and he said he would do his best to respect their wishes.
From there, I was sent over to the hospital. My OB’s office shares a parking lot with the hospital so it was just a quick jaunt over for me. I checked in at the front desk and was eventually taken back to register (which seemed stupid to me seeing as I was just there the day before doing the EXACT same thing to have the second U/S). After the paperwork was filled out, they escorted me back to the outpatient area and I was taken into a room with a very sweet nurse.
She got my weight, blood pressure, temperature etc… all the normal stuff when you go see a doctor. Then, helped me register for My Chart. Another nurse came in to draw some blood. I asked why they needed 4 vials and she explained that they wanted to make sure that biologically I was healthy enough to undergo the procedure. The vials decipher my blood type in case of the rare need for transfusion, Vit. D levels, white blood cell count in case of infection, etc. Just routine stuff I was assured.
The first nurse proceeded to ask me TONS of questions. Again, all routine health stuff. Family history, vaccination history, recent medications, any other past surgeries… stuff like that.
Once all the history part was out of the way, she walked me through what the next day would be like. I appreciated her a lot in this moment. She started from the very beginning: When you drive up, park out in front where you parked today. Then check in at the front desk, just like you did today. Tell them you are here for outpatient surgery and someone will escort you back here where you are now. You will be put in a room that is very similar to this… same equipment on the walls, same sounds etc. The only difference is there will be a gurney. Your spouse will come with you for all of this. Once you are undressed, the doctors (OB and anesthesiologist) will come and visit with you and explain their end of things. If you have questions, they will be happy to answer. Once they are all set up, they will come and get you to take you back. Your husband will have to go to the waiting room. The procedure will take about 20-30 minutes and then you will wake up in a recovery room. You will have a nurse there with you to help make sure you are comfortable. You might have some cramping that is similar to after birth or a really bad period. Once you are stable and everything is alright, you will go back to the outpatient room and your husband will be brought in. Once you can stand, go pee, and get dressed, you will be discharged. Do you have any questions?
I can’t explain how much it means to me that she was so precise. I did ask if she knew how much it hurt or how long recovery would take. She was very upfront and explained that it “wasn’t all that bad at all” and told me that she had to have it done a few years ago. For her, she was “back to normal the next day.” That was a relief to hear.
She told me that my appointment was at 1:00pm and that I was to shower with a special soap the morning of and I was not to have any food or drink starting at midnight. In complete honesty…. THIS was the hardest part of the whole thing and technically the most painful. Hunger pains suck y’all!
The next morning we kept our normal routine (minus the yoga, I slept in) and I dropped the kids at school. I went back to the house and decided to finish cleaning and doing laundry to help keep my mind off it all.
At 1, we checked in and things happened JUST LIKE the nurse said they would. I got undressed, was brought a bunch of warm blankets (it was REALLY cold that day), and Jesse and I sat around and chatted for a bit. Doctors came in, I signed another piece of paper, this time it was the hospital’s approval sheet saying I was okay with a transfusion if needed and they drew more blood to double check my blood type. Then they put in my IV which was REALLY hard because I hadn’t had any water in over 12 hours! I still have a bruise from where she had to put the IV up near my elbow. Ouch.
After that, Jesse and I talked for a little longer while they got things ready in the surgery room.
And then it was time. Jesse and I kissed and they escorted him to the waiting area and they wheeled me back into the surgery room.
There were TONS of huge lights on the ceiling and 6-8 people all dressed the exact same way, blue scrubs, face masks, paper robes, hair coverings, shoe coverings. Each had a particular task throughout the room. Machines were all on my left shoulder by my head but were silent. I was still on the gurney and the nurse that took me back was very sweet and again explained everything.
They moved me on to the surgery table that had a bottom that would drop out. They wanted me to position myself “kind of like I would sit on a toilet” and then lay down with my arms out in a T position. They stuck a bunch of heart monitor pads on my chest and, since I was shaking cold, they brought in more heated blankets. The warmth and the heaviness of them helped a lot. They Velcro’d my arms out wide on the table and the anesthesiologist explained that in a minute he would give me some medicine that would put me to sleep and that I would wake up in the recovery room with a nurse who would take great care of me. I didn’t see my OB come into the room, but I felt him. He was down by my feet and just after hearing the anesthesiologist say he was giving me the meds, I could feel him gently rubbing my toes. It was a comforting gesture. I blinked once and then again. The third blink I struggled to open my eyes after and then I was out.
I woke up to beeping and cramping. There was also a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth and I could smell metal. The scent was overpowering, bleh. The pain was VERY similar to the cramps following child birth. Way more intense than a period but not excruciating. I should also mention that I rarely cramp during my period anyway. Physically, my periods aren’t rough. I do get cranky as hell though, just ask my husband.
I was very groggy and the nurse asked how I was feeling. She brought in another warm blanket and then checked my blood pressure and asked about the cramps. I told her that they were pretty intense but not unbearable and she gave me some demerol. I was in the recovery room for about 20-30 minutes and she asked me again about my cramps. They had almost entirely disappeared. I had a GIANT pad between my legs and the nurse checked to make sure I wasn’t bleeding too badly. I don’t think I was bleeding at all.
She moved me into the outpatient recovery room and they put a blow up blanket on me that was filled with warm circulating air. It was glorious. The new nurse brought me some apple juice and my husband. Both of which made me very happy! From the time we checked in to the time Jesse was back with me it had been 2 hours.
Eventually the nurse helped me up and to the bathroom. I expected to feel a gush of blood upon standing, but I didn’t. And, when I peed, there was just a little bit of red in the toilet. The nurse explained that I shouldn’t see much more than that for the next couple of days and to watch out for fever. I shouldn’t sign any important paper work for 24 hours and I shouldn’t pick up my kids or anything over 5-10 lbs for a week. Then, I would need to see my OB in about a week to be released for sex and to make sure all is well.
With Jesse’s help, I got dressed, and I was wheeled to the car.
We got ALL THE FOOD on the way home and after kids bedtime Jesse and I snuggled in a watched a movie.
I was 100% the next day and only wore a pantie liner… but I didn’t even spot. I never had any more cramping and physically I was fine to go to work but decided to follow doctor’s orders and take it easy- more for my emotional state than anything.
I did consider my options very carefully before deciding on the D&C. I was far enough along that I didn’t want to take the pill that would induce a miscarriage at home- emotionally I don’t think I could handle that. And, I really didn’t want to wait for my body to figure it out on its own. It took my body a week to realize the first transfer didn’t work before I started bleeding… who knows how long it would have taken to figure out the pregnancy was no longer viable. Plus the idea of walking around pregnant but not seemed torturous to me. The D&C, I think, was quick and virtually painless and has helped me get in a place to be physically better faster which I think has helped me emotionally as well.
So, long post over. There’s the details. I hope anyone reading this finds at least some comfort in knowing that it isn’t so bad and recovery time, physically, is VERY quick.
UPDATE- 3 weeks post procedure:
Alright-I’m updating just about 3 weeks post D&C. For 8 days following the procedure I had ZERO bleeding. Then, I started spotting. But it was so light I didn’t even need a panty liner as the spotting only occurred when I was going to the bathroom. I had zero cramping, but this isn’t much of a surprise because I don’t cramp on my period either.
The spotting continued for about a week but I figured that would be the case. I did pee on a pregnancy test and it was still positive so I knew my body was still dealing with it all.
THIS GETS GRAPHIC- WARNING.
Then, about 16 days after the surgery (can you call it that?!) I was standing in the kitchen and felt a gush. Not wanting to get my underwear dirty, I rushed to the toilet (the feeling was similar to postpartum bleeding so I wasn’t that startled). But, as I went pee, I felt a LOT of stuff coming out so I looked down and freaked out. I think I screamed for my husband. There was a lot of blood in the toilet and a huge clot. Before I could even call for my husband again, I passed another huge clot! And right as my husband arrived outside of the door I passed another one. THREE ENORMOUS CLOTS. my husband, having been granted entrance (we are not an open door couple), looked just as startled as I did.
I felt completely fine (no fever, no cramping, no light headedness, etc.) so we were both worried that so much came out soooo suddenly. Was I hemorrhaging?!?
This is totally disgusting, but I truly worried that I might need to go to the ER stat! So I decided that I needed to know exactly how big the clots were. I reached in and grabbed one of the clots and it was as large as the palm of my hand. 😳 oh god. (After child birth, the parting info from docs and midwifes is essentially to watch your bleeding. Big clots=bad and filling a pad every hour = bad. They essentially don’t want any clots larger than a golf ball. This ONE was the size of three golf balls and I passed 3 of them that were ALL that size!) My husband immediately called his mom (a nurse) and made me lay down and drink some water. Other than being scared, I felt 100% okay physically though I was now hyper aware and could feel the cramping that had started. He showed his mom the picture (all humility goes out the window when you’re afraid you’re dying) and she said it was worrisome but the fact that I felt fine meant that giving it a few minutes was probably okay. I went to the bathroom again and the bleeding had stopped- completely. Not even a spot. Again, feeling fine, we decided, with the advice of his mom, to take it easy the rest of the night and to monitor the situation. I’ve had a bit more spotting but since but as quickly as it happened it stopped. I will do one more update after my next cycle starts and this is all done so it will be complete.
FOLLOW UP POSTS:
Here is the post about HCG around 2.5 weeks out
Here is the test just over 3 weeks and about 5 days after the clot scare.