The “minor procedure”

The procedure is called a D&C or Dilation and Curettage. I was so excited that medicine had come a long way and I wouldn’t require general anesthesia. They would give me some pain meds strong enough that I couldn’t drive home. James would be able to hold my hand through the procedure. My HCG levels (aka pregnancy hormones) would drop within hours. All of this was good. I’ve been calling it a procedure because that sounded less scary than a “minor surgery.” Though it was at Duke, it was at the clinics which are attached to the main hospital while still outpatient. It was strange to be there as a patient because this was the same place where I served as a chaplain resident less than a year prior. While serving as a chaplain we always wondered who we would want to visit if we were in the hospital. I didn’t think it would come about so soon, yet here we were. I e-mailed Peggy ahead of time and she lovingly agreed to sit with us that dreadful day.

We showed up at 9:30am. After being brought to a room, Peggy stopped by and brought us a sense of comfort. The nurse gave me a cocktail of medications that were to numb the physical pain and prepare me for the procedure. I was required to sit around for an hour prior to the D&C to make sure the medicine had time to work. I was so glad we had Peggy to sit with us and listen to the trauma we had been through over the past week and a half. She was a great ear and allowed us to speak the realities of our nightmare of a pregnancy.

After about 30 minutes they told us it was time to go into the procedure room. I didn’t feel heavily medicated–only like I had drank a glass of wine. The table was awkward, but I laid down anyways. We waited another 30 minutes and in waltzed the medical team. The resident was INCREDIBLE. She was very good at explaining things and preformed the entire surgery on her own. The D&C started out uncomfortable and after a few minutes turned unbearable. The nurse rubbed my stomach and thank God she did. I didn’t know how badly I needed that comfort. James never stopped holding my hand (even though I’m sure he’s a little bruised from my squeezing). The pain was so unreal that I felt it shooting up my legs. After about 10 minutes I started crying uncontrollably. At one point I cringed my face in anguish and pulled at the hair on my scalp. In between my tears and groaning I would occasionally look down to see them pulling the tissue of our first child out of my body. Nothing could have prepared me for this torture.

When the surgery was over I couldn’t stop crying. It was a loop between tears of pain and the tears of losing our first child. The nurse even offered to step out of the room so that James and I could spend time together and I could get dressed. I needed that time. He leaned over and laid on me because we both had been so terribly traumatized. I couldn’t even stand up. James had to help me put on my pants while I was still laying down. I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk to the car. When the nurse returned she scheduled my follow up and brought in a wheelchair. I’m not sure if thats standard or not, but I didn’t even feel embarrassed. I needed it.

James pushed me to the car and helped me into the passenger side. He ordered me Zaxby’s from the drive thru and I ate the entire meal while he ran into the pharmacy to get my prescription and a heating pad. When we got home I slept for hours and woke up still crying. This was the day from hell and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I hope to God we don’t lose another child. If it does happen again to me or someone I know– CHOOSE ANESTHESIA! Miscarriage is horrific enough. This pain is was unnecessary and pointless.

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