The morning of my D&C I had to be at the hospital extremely early. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never had a procedure before or been put under anesthesia. I was nervous. I remember checking in and being taken back to the pre-op area. I saw this contraption with a hose attached to it. I wondered if they used it to extract the fetus. Looking back now that was an idiotic though, but at the time it stayed with me. I later learned the hose was attached to your hospital gown and that it blew warm air into the gown to prevent you from being cold. What filled me with dread was actually kind of a nice device. Once the nurse came and talked to me they started my IV. It was not easy to do the IV. Multiple people had to try and I ended up looking like a pin cushion. I decided right then and there that I hated IVs. I spoke with the doctor, the anesthesiologists, and the CRNA. I requested antibiotics before induction and the anesthesiologist told me the physician had to order them. I requested to speak to the physician again. When he came in he told me it was not standard of care to administer antibiotics for a routine procedure such as a D&C. I remember arguing about it. It didn’t make sense to me that they would remove a dead fetus by scrapping my uterus and not give me anything to prevent infection. The doctor assured me that antibiotics were not normally given. I finally agreed and they started the anesthesia process. Before I was taken back a nice nurse gave me her headphones so that I could listen to music. She said, “I don’t want you to hear anything and sometimes you can hear the vacuum.” The gesture was very kind, but the statement gave me chills. Thank goodness I didn’t have long to think about it because sedative started to kick in and I begin to relax. My mother and Andy said that I got all goofy and loopy as they pushed me into the OR. It was the only humorous part of the experience.
After the procedure I woke up feeling very violated. My whole nether region hurt. Honestly, it felt like a brutal rape or what I imagine one would be like. (At this point I think it is important to say, not all D&Cs are like this. Although it is a terrible event, most are fairly easy and there is minimal pain. My other experience with a D&C was nothing compared to this one. I have since learned the doctor I saw was particularly rough and as you read the rest of the entry also not my favorite physician.) I went home in a large amount of pain. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but the pain kept getting worse. I took the few pain pills they gave me, but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t go to work for two days and every evening the pain would increase to excruciating levels that left me in tears. A few days after the procedure I went in to see one of the rotating physicians at my OB practice. After an exam he concluded that I had an infection of the uterine lining. I told him that I had not received antibiotics prior to the procedure. He proceeded to argue with me claiming that I received them while I was “asleep” and I would not have remembered. I told him that wasn’t accurate. I explained that I specifically requested them and I was told they were not the standard of care. He subsequently ignored me. He also didn’t bother to check my chart. What I didn’t realize is that by ignoring me he only prescribed me a very low dose of antibiotics, believing that I had indeed received antibiotics prior to my procedure. The antibiotic that he prescribed did nothing for the infection. It is also one of the reasons I landed in the ER that Sunday. In addition to the pain I started passing clots the size of golf balls.
Poor Andy, he was at a Panther’s game when I called him. My parents insisted that I call an ambulance and the whole family met me at the hospital. They did a scan and then sent me home with a diagnosis of vaginal bleeding. I was overcome. I knew something was horribly wrong and I didn’t understand why none of the medical professionals trained to deal with this could help me. The very next morning weak and exhausted from pain, I started vomiting. Andy rushed me to the OB practice refusing to leave until I was seen. The rotating physician took one look at the scan from the night before and told me that I had retained tissue. This meant I was going to have to have surgery again. They sent me directly to outpatient surgery. This time I told Andy, “If they refuse to give me antibiotics, take me to a different hospital.”
Have you had to have a D&C? If you feel comfortable share your experience.
Peace, Love and Good OB Care,
The Dreaded Event is a post in a series on infertility. More articles in the series include: