The D&C: Aimee’s Story

They said a D&C was the best option at this gestational age. They said at 11 weeks the risk of bleeding with a natural miscarriage, or one induced by misoprostal, was high. They were especially concerned about bleeding at home because I had been on Lovanox shots again this pregnancy. They said going through labor and delivery, as I did with Baby Faith, could be very long because of how small Baby Aimee was. Everyone I talked to who had experienced miscarriages advised going for the D&C. So I did it.

I had never had surgery before, other than wisdom tooth removal, so I had no idea what to expect of an operating room. The procedure was done in the regular O.R. With all the remodels throughout the hospital, and the new buildings that have been added in the past few years, they seem to have neglected the surgery suite. It looks like the oldest part of the hospital.

There was no privacy in pre-op. I was separated from young Dustin in the next bed by a thin curtain. He was having arm surgery because of a wrestling accident five days prior. The woman across from me was having surgery on her vocal chords. Behind closed curtains we heard nurses discuss workplace drama amongst themselves. When my emotions got the best of me, as they did many times that day, every other patient heard my grief. Some of the nurses in pre-op were not as compassionate as others I have run across on my journey. I was just another patient having just another procedure that day.

The Hubby was by my side, and yet I felt so alone. With no privacy I felt we couldn’t talk freely. He was in a chair right next to me while I laid on the bed. He tried to make me as comfortable as possible, but how comfortable can you really get when you know your baby is about to be taken away? We were in pre-op for at least an hour as we had to wait for them to get a room ready for me. Just before they took me back I removed my contacts. As they began to blindly wheel me away I grabbed on to the Hubby and cried. I wished he could have come with me. I still cry thinking about our separation.

When I woke up I was lying on the ground in the goat pen. I could see grass and goat berries. I urgently told Little Monster, “Quick, go get Daddy!” At least I thought that’s where I was. And then I opened my eyes. Everything was blurry but I was clearly not with the goats. I was alone. I could feel a puddle of blood under me. I tried to speak. They told me the breathing tube would make my throat scratchy, but it wasn’t. I had no voice and any attempt to talk sent me into a coughing fit. My lungs were congested. The tears poured again.

The nurse came around and asked if I was in pain. “No, I just remembered where I am,” was my response. Hubby was by my side just a few minutes later. He told me he could see all the patients who had surrounded us in pre-op. We were all in post-op together again. He left to get a prescription from the pharmacy and another nurse came to help me get cleaned up. She wheeled me to the bathroom so I could dress. I put my contacts in so I could see again, although details are all still a little fuzzy.

We were eventually moved to a discharge room, and by room I mean a hole in the wall without a door. The discharge nurse was bright and bubbly. From there we went to the discharge lounge as we waited for one more prescription to be filled by the pharmacy. We waited 30 minutes for it, Hubby checked on the status a few times, only to find out they were out of stock. So they sent it to my regular pharmacy, which was out of the way on our way home, but we needed it. However, they were out of stock too. We wasted an hour getting home on this Methergine that was out of stock. It’s supposed to help my uterus shrink and stop the bleeding. Seems pretty important in healing from the procedure, but I wasn’t about to try another pharmacy that night. I decided to take my chances and wait until my mom could pick it up in the morning. I just wanted to go home.

After not eating for nearly 24 hours, arriving home at dinner time I wasn’t dreadfully hungry. The cough that I acquired from the breathing tube didn’t help my hunger. But the reheated chicken and dumplings that a friend had delivered the day before hit the spot. It warmed my belly and my heart.

The next day I woke up so sore. I had been told recovery was like a bad period. There would be cramping and bleeding. But this was not what I experienced. I hardly had any cramping, but my back, shoulders, rib cage, and neck were all extremely sore. Sore muscles, sore joints. It was painful to sit up in bed. Only after I started taking the Methergine did I experience more cramping. Still, the body aches have been the worst part of this recovery. Monday and Tuesday saw a lot less pain. I haven’t been taking the pain meds as much. The chiropractor really helped fix things. But Wednesday, a week later, I may have done too much with two of our normal outings and a lot of chasing and carrying Little Man. Discharge instructions were to not lift over 15lbs for four weeks. Little Man is 24lbs and still needs his mama a lot.

Each of our births have held some element of surprise. None of them have gone according to plan. However, they have all been empowering. Until now. I thought for sure if there was a surprise element to this one it would be a c-section. I thought that was the only thing I had yet to experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My childbirth resumé now reads as such: 1. Homebirth with a transfer afterward. 2. Unassisted car birth. 3. Stillbirth, induced in hospital with morphine. 4. Induced high risk hospital birth without pain meds. 5. Miscarriage with D&C under sedation.

Thankfully I was fully sedated for the D&C. As much as I cried before and after the surgery, I can’t imagine what I would have been like had I been awake and aware, even if I was fully numbed. I wish I knew what they did to my body while sedated though. I don’t like not knowing why I’m in so much pain. Hopefully I never have to go through this again, but if I do, I would seriously consider labor and delivery over another D&C. Going through the process was a big part of healing with Baby Faith.

With Baby Faith, the hospital sent her body to the funeral home and we received her ashes. We have something tangible to hold. But she was 25 weeks. At 13 weeks, Baby Aimee was ‘just a fetus,’ not a full fledged baby in the eyes of the world. She doesn’t get a death certificate. I have no idea what happened to her tiny body. Is there a forever baby morgue? What happened to her? I truly lost her once they took her from my womb. I never even thought to ask about it until days later.

I had expected to go through the D&C and return to my normal life with relative ease. I’m trying to, but this has not been the case. Both physically and emotionally, I feel stuck. I know this will not last forever, but this is the place I am in at the moment. I don’t like this place. My family needs me. But this is my reality for the moment.

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3 thoughts on “The D&C: Aimee’s Story

  1. Pingback: When It Rains: Aimee’s Story | A Pastorale

  2. I really am truly sorry you had to go through this. Your experience sounds EXACTLY like mine. Well, maybe a little less pain afterwards, but I just felt numb emotionally for some time after. And it is completely ridiculous to expect any woman with young children not to carry them or hold them during a time like this.

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    • I’m so sorry you’ve been through this experience as well. It’s really awful. I’ve gotten pretty good at sitting first and then having the kids climb on my lap for snuggles. But when we’re outside and need to move, Little Man just has to be carried. Little Monster was amazing and helped me carry him places the first week or so. I’m feeling stronger now, although it feels like he’s gained 5lbs in the past few weeks! But the scale shows he hasn’t grown at all. I guess I’m just not as strong yet as I think. Little by little, day by day… Spiritually and emotionally may be the hardest parts to heal from this.

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