A Little More on the D&C

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I thought I’d try and go through what I posted yesterday and elaborate a bit.

First, yes, I hate to admit that, deep down, I wasn’t confident my pregnancy would go full term. I wanted it to so badly, but I can’t tell you how many times I looked in the toilet expecting to see blood or told Hubby I was worried about the baby. We made it through our eight week appointment with no problems at all so I thought maybe I was overreacting when I started having doubts closer to our 12 week appointment.

Even if nothing had been wrong with the baby, it would have still been a frustrating visit. My blood pressure was above normal. 140 over something. I hadn’t had it recorded that high since I started taking a diuretic for high blood pressure and water retention. This was a huge shock after my BP was about 100-110 during the pregnancy when I wasn’t on the medication anymore. The nurse told Mr Boots and I to be prepared to talk about bed rest.

Which we did. The doctor was ready to put me on a HBP pill, I’d have to buy a blood pressure machine and fax her my BP numbers every week, and she told me I’d be on bed rest when I got to be 8 months. I thought I’d still be allowed to sit up in bed. No. Sitting isn’t resting. I’d be spending the remainder of my pregnancy laying in bed either on my left or right side. I soon realized bed rest wouldn’t be as nice as it sounded. Humph.

Then the doctor took out her heart beat monitor (the exact name of the device escapes me right now). She couldn’t hear the heartbeat when she tried to hear it from my belly. I wasn’t too concerned then because I read that the doctor may or may not be able to hear it that way at 12 weeks. She sent me to see the ultra sound tech and I had to pee pretty badly so my bladder was full and the tech couldn’t see anything because of it. She said if she couldn’t see the baby after I emptied my bladder she’d have to look for it by way of a vaginal ultrasound. This got me worried and I asked if that was at all usual for 12 weeks. She said sometimes; it all depends on the woman’s anatomy. I wasn’t convinced.

No matter what doubts I had prior to my appointment, hearing, “It’s small for 12 weeks…It looks about eight weeks, four days” followed by the doctor’s hand on my knee and “There’s no heartbeat” was still extremely hard to hear. I think my hands flew up to my face and I began crying as soon as I heard the word “No.” I still don’t know if I was really shocked to hear the news or just really upset that I was right – this baby wasn’t going to make it. Or maybe it was both.

After giving Hubby and I several moments alone, the doctor came back and gave me the option of a suction D&C (dilation and curettage) or waiting for the baby to come on its own. Well, I had a pregnancy day-by-day book and knew the baby was big enough for me to notice it when it came out, and had sprouted arms and legs (that is, it was human looking) so I opted for the D&C. I didn’t want to see it. And it had been inside me for about 3 weeks with no indication that it was ready to come out. I would be an emotional wreck waiting for it to pass naturally. And I think I would have been absolutely hysterical when that time actually came. The doctor had two procedures at the hospital that afternoon and she was willing to fit me in that evening. I was, and still am, so grateful for that.

I realized when I was in pre-op that I was in shock. Literally. I couldn’t stop shaking. I thought it was because I was cold, but when the shaking didn’t stop after the nurse put two heated blankets on me and another cover to keep the heat in, I realized I was in legitimate shock. I’d be crying one minute and joking around like nothing was wrong the next, but overall I felt numb. I got some drugs to chill me out (and kinda knock me out I think) maybe about 10 minutes before the surgery. Those were nice. I didn’t care that someone I barely knew was going to open me up and take the one thing I had been waiting for most of my life. I remember being wheeled into the operating room and getting onto the operating table. Then that was it. Next thing I knew I was being wheeled back into to recovery area. I heard someone say they would get Hubby. Then I think I zoned out because I remember as I was coming to again I was crying. The doctor asked what was wrong and all I could say was, “I’m sad.”

Since I hadn’t had anything to eat since 8:00 that morning, Hubby asked the nurse if I could have a snack. Graham crackers and apple juice never tasted so delicious. Seriously, it was the best snack I’d had in a long time and the highlight of my day.

The procedure went well from what I remember the doctor saying (I was still a little out of it when she came to talk to me and Hubby). From what I understood, the longer a dead fetus is inside you the harder it is to remove everything and I think the doctor ran into a tough spot. But she said everything should have been removed. I would get a period in 30-40 days and would have some bleeding and cramping for two weeks.

The day reminded me of my wedding. Surreal. A bad dream. Everything seemed to happen so fast that I wondered if it had even happened. Then I’d move and cramp up and be reminded that yes, unfortunately it did. I was no longer pregnant. My baby was gone. It was so dreamlike that it took me two days to fully realize that we never said goodbye to our baby. We had spent two months patting my belly and talking to it (even though it couldn’t hear us yet), why didn’t we think to pat my belly and say goodbye? Then I felt like a horrible mother. I never met my baby, but wow – not saying goodbye?

I expected a lot of bleeding after the D&C. I really only bled for a couple of days before the bleeding changed to very light spotting – kind of like when my period is ending but lighter. I think some of the bleeding was because they had put a catheter in during the procedure. Everything was uncomfortable for the two days post-op. I wasn’t in severe pain, but was really uncomfortable. I took a couple of vicadin to help me take my mind off the discomfort and make me sleep the first two days. The light spotting lasted about 6 days, then there was nothing, then I bled for about another day and a half last weekend, followed up very light spotting, some ovulation-like mucus (fingers crossed that’s what it was), and cramping.

I felt good enough to start venturing out of the condo about 4 days post D&C. Hubby and I decided we needed to do something to say our goodbyes. We decided to get a couple of balloons and tie a copy of one of the ultrasound pictures to it. Then we went to a local elementary school playground (one that holds a special meaning to us) and let them go. It was a little weird since it was a nice day and a lot of parents were there with their kids. I had been keeping track of things with photographs so I took pictures of our balloons before we let them go. This is my favorite picture. On the back of the ultrasound pic I wrote the words “We will always love you.” I took two pictures and managed to capture each side of the ultrasound pic – Hubby was pretty impressed 🙂

yellow balloons for miscarriage via muddybootsanddiamonds.com
This is also my first attempt at doing something tricky in photoshop. I think I did pretty well

13 thoughts on “A Little More on the D&C

  1. I'm sorry about your loss … I too had a missed miscarriage, in January of this year, and it's horrible that the body can keep thinking it's pregnant although there is nothing still living. (I talk about it more here, if you're interested: http://bebesuisse.blogspot.com/2012/02/betrayed.html)What a lovely memorial idea – the ballons with the ultrasound picture – and congratulations on your upcoming arrival.

  2. I actually started following your blog yesterday after finding it on Stirrup Queens' blog. I've been meaning to introduce myself.I'm sorry about your loss as well 🙁 I knew there was the chance I could miscarry, I just never thought I'd have a missed miscarriage. Every day that went by that I didn't see blood I thought I was safe. It was such a slap in the face to find out I carried the baby three and a half weeks after I lost her. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that 2012 is your Year of the Baby!

  3. I'm very glad we could meet, despite the circumstances! It's a really great feeling to find others who have been there and who understand. And you are also an inspiration to me that one day my own blog will also include posts about a next pregnancy. A propos, thank you for the crossed fingers!

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