This is a warning because I realize the details of my D & C may bother some people. I refuse to be embarrassed because someone out there may need this information. I’ve been talking about my miscarriages, here and in my life. I’ve been asked plenty of questions, several of which revolve around the procedure itself. Its all the same questions I had back in September when this first happened to me. That said. I hope maybe this can help someone else or can give some peace to someone having to go through it. I’m going to try and be as open and honest as I can about the actual experiences with both of my D & Cs. This post will probably be long and will most likely be more information than you ever wanted to know about me.
So Monday, July 14th, was my scheduled D & C…we did make it. I can add one final thank you to my little Thing Two for holding on long enough. The procedure went well. I’m doing okay. Better than I thought I would be. I’d also like to thank everyone again for the thoughts and prayers. It took a little while for me to be able to write this.
Last time I wrote about this, I was extremely emotional. There were several reasons. My first miscarriage. I was in a bad place with my grief. Several women I work with were announcing their own pregnancies. My jealousy knew no end. My anger was solid. I was afraid. I will be talking about that first procedure some. However if you would like to know more about that experience, as I wrote it then, you can look back at my post from last October, My Wednesday Child.
Two pregnancies. Two missed miscarriages in just under a year. Two scheduled D & Cs. Both experiences had similarities but each was also unique. I had both procedure scheduled through the same OBGYN. Both of my procedures were done same day patient at an ambulatory surgery facility. For what it was, my medical experiences were fantastic. They were kind, professional, and could not have made the whole ordeal easier.
Because both if my miscarriages are what’s commonly referred to as “missed” miscarriages, my experiences are not the same as women who have experienced “natural” miscarriages. I did not experience the typical symptoms that come with a miscarriage. The first time I had no symptoms what so ever. This time I had some cramping and spotting two days leading up to the surgery. Other than that…I didn’t know. Everything screamed pregnant. I found out both times on a table while watching an ultrasound. The second time I was expecting the heartbeat I’d seen the week before.
A D & C is short for “Dilation and Curettage”. My paperwork said D & E, which is Dilation and Evacuation…more commonly used for second trimester procedures. It’s pretty much the same thing with slight differences. They are so much alike that some medical facilities use them almost interchangeably. You can find plenty of information on either term through Wikipedia or Web MD. I personally found the Mayo Clinic‘s site helpful.
I was asked to sign in at the surgery center one hour before my appointment…like the airport this was a highly recommended and required function on my part. No nail polish, jewelry, make up, or contact lenses. Bring someone with you to take you home…no driving yourself. I also couldn’t eat or drink anything after 12 the night before. As much as this was a same day procedure, it was still surgery. I was going to be under general anesthesia. All of this was true both times. You just know that at 12:01 I was drying for a tall glass of chocolate milk, right?
After some paper work, I was taken into prep where there was even more paperwork and a costume change. I got a stylish hospital gown, hair cap, robe, and slipper socks. They took my vitals. They placed my IV line. My husband was allowed back at this time. I then met with my nurse, anesthesiologist, and my OBGYN – who was performing the D & C. This is also true of both experiences.
I was walked back to the surgery room and asked to lay down on a table with my legs out on bent extension stirrups and my arms out in a T shape. The doctors spoke to me. The nurse belted me in…her term which is much nicer than strapped down…and I was told I’d be sleepy. They never asked me to count. This too was pretty much the same both times. I then was out. I can’t share this part. I know nothing of what happened. I remember nothing. I might as well have been abducted by aliens for all I know. I’ve got lost time and I’m pretty sure I was probed. According to X-files, alien abduction is the most likely cause. Well, that or surgery to end my miscarriage. I rather like the idea of alien abduction.
So…this is what I’ve been told happens during a D & C:
1. The doctor inserts a speculum into the vagina to see the cervix.
2. The doctor will insert a series of rods into the cervix in order to slowly dilate and open it.
3. A curette is used to remove uterine tissue by scraping or suctioning.
4. The whole thing takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
I woke up in recovery not long after. I was out maybe an hour. Like I said. Alien abduction.
The nursing staff monitored me for another hour. The doctors came and checked on me. My husband was allowed to sit with me. They gave me breakfast choices…both times I chose corn muffin and cranberry juice. I’m not very creative when it comes to breakfast desires. They kept asking me my date of birth, my name, who my favorite Avenger was. Not kidding. Although the first time was my name, date of birth, and favorite underwear model. I think my nurses had senses of humor I couldn’t fully appreciate while being drugged. Shame really. I enjoy a good joke. When the staff was happy with my vitals and responses, I was allowed to get dressed and somewhat cleaned up. One suggestion for you ladies…bring your own maxi pad. The ones the medical staff give you might as well be diapers. Sadly that is my greatest wisdom to impart. I grabbed Always Supers and was so much more comfortable the second time because I planned that in advance. So your own maxi and really comfy clothing. Your going to be uncomfortable, make the best of it. Pack your favorite pjs or yoga pants or fat jeans or even a house dress…whatever makes you comfy. It’s better than the alien abduction wear and you’re probably going to be sleepy on the way home anyway.
The after is where my experiences differed.
1. I was crampy on and off for about a week. This part sucked.
2. I bled moderately for seven days, with one or two heavy days.
4. Spotted for several day.
6. Went to my OBGYN for my post op follow up two weeks later.
7. Got my first period 37 days later.
8. Emotionally, I was angry and devastated. Think stages of grief.
1. I was crampy first and second day.
2. I spotted for 2 days.
4. Tiny bit of spotting.
6. Went to my OBGYN for my post op follow up two weeks later.
7. Waiting for my period but it’s early yet.
8. Emotionally, I’m eh. I’m okay most of the time but I’m getting headaches and I find I can’t sleep.
Physically, I did much better the second time. It was a breeze this time as far as pain and my body went. While I’m not finding my grief to be so dark this time…I am finding I’m more depressed and blah this time around. Everything seems duller this time. The pain was duller and so was the grief.
That’s my experiences. Like all things, your own may vary but I find it helps to know a little about what you might be facing. You’re not alone. I wasn’t alone. We are not alone…there are aliens…sorry couldn’t help that. Weird 90s tv references aside…if you find you need it check out websites or ask your doctor for the details. Ask friends who have been through it. Sometimes knowing these things can help a sad situation be a little less horrifying.
If you need this info, you’ve already been through Hell…you don’t need the procedure to be scary as well. I swear I’m being truthful. For what it was…the D & C wasn’t that bad. It was the easiest part.