Dilation and Curettage relief

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments, I hold them close to me.

A friend who knew I was going through another fertility treatment—but didn’t know specifically what we’d tried—checked in with me about my pregnancy on 10/16. I wrote back to her that day, revealing all—DE, plan for D & C, the humiliation of being asked if I’m pregnant at work, etc. It was not overlong. I thanked her for listening, said I didn’t have many I could talk to about this. And then I waited for a response: none. I’m trying not to focus on it, but for some reason, I can’t shake it. I confided, poured it out, allowed myself to be vulnerable. In any case, it makes me appreciate this connection through the blogosphere even more.

The lead-up to the procedure was a bit botched. I was supposed to call a number Sunday night to get instructions, and a time, for the next day’s surgery, but the phone just rang and rang, and no one else at the hospital could help me. After breaking down in tears, I broke through to my OB’s on-call physician, who told me to just show up at 6 a.m., in case I was the first surgery of the day. So we did. Luckily, although I was not the first surgery on schedule, I was the second surgery, so I only had to wait two extra hours. I can’t imagine if I had been scheduled for much later, waiting there without anything to eat or drink since 9 p.m. the night before. My stomach was killing me as it was.

Waiting was strange. The waiting room was filled with people who had very loud voices and cackling laughs and cell phones. I realize I was quite sensitive, having slept until only 3 a.m. and then having lain in bed with insomnia until 5 a.m. I was cold. My eyes were in rare Rocky Balboa form from the night before, my skin pale and grayish. The pressure of the leaden balloon in my gut was awful. I put earplugs in and tried to ignore the loudness as best as I could. I covered myself in a blanket we’d brought.

I was finally called upstairs to what was a kind of chaotic-seeming same-day surgery unit. The nurse who first helped me was kind and lovely, but reeked of cigarette smoke, and this triggered nausea. When she started throwing the accoutrements of an I.V. on an absorbent pad on my lap, I started to feel shaky and breathless. When she put it in, the twinge of pain sent me over the edge, and I moaned like a cat! Tears fell down my cheeks involuntarily. My eyes were closed and I felt DH’s warm lips on my forehead for a long, long time.

I was freezing. I kept asking for blankets. DH threw my robe from home over me. There were comings and goings. My OB showed up and seemed taken aback by how I looked. “Did you get any sleep last night?” he asked, with a sort of hesitant voice, distant concern—or maybe he was just a bit shocked by how awful I looked. I shook my head. I signed consents. And more consents. My vitals were taken—all good. No fever. My nausea had died down (the I.V. fluids helped.) He said the embryonic tissue would be going straight to genetics for karyotype/chromosome testing. He seemed hopeful that there would be enough viable tissue to accurately test.

I was glad to hear this. I didn’t tell you, but for the last few days, I’ve been spotting a little bit of brown blood. My body was obviously getting the signal that all was not well with this pregnancy. The spotting was scant, but I was worried that I was going to pass something on my own, making it very difficult to do genetic testing. I didn’t want to have waited, to have suffered through truly one of the most miserable weeks ever, for nothing. I was so glad my body had held on for this D & C, and that in two weeks or so, with the genetics in, I should have more information about what went wrong.

The time came for me to part ways with DH and follow a nurse down the hallway, carrying my I.V. bag. In the hallway outside the O.R., my OB saw me struggling to put all of my hair up in the shower cap, and he put down what he was doing and helped me, which struck me as such a kindness—not instructing the nurse to do it, just doing it himself. And the nurse was right there. I don’t know why it touched me so, but it did. It felt—fatherly. “We make you work too hard here, don’t we,” he said, gently, holding the cap open. “Now just make a bun on your head with your hair, there you go, let me put this on you here…”

So weird to not be wheeled into the O.R., but to walk in of my own accord, and hop up on a surgery table. The lights were shattering-bright, and I could clearly see a thousand-and-one shiny silver instruments laid out on tables. I averted my eyes as best as I could. I was thinking They should keep the lights low until the patient has gone under. But I tried not to think of anything. “I need a warm blanket,” I said, “please. Now.” I was so, so cold, gooseflesh standing out on my arms. They instructed me to lie back on the table, where to put my head. Then the nice warm blanket came down on me. Hands from an unseen person were putting electrode-tabs on my chest, taking my arm out from under the warm blanket and putting something in it (another needle?) and then saying, “Now let’s get this arm back under that warm blanket.” Yes, yes, blanket, yes. I was seriously loving the warm blanket.

Then a voice said, “You’re going to feel a little burning sensation in the back of your hand, in your I.V., okay? This is just to make you feel more relaxed.”

And that is the last thing I remember.

I woke up to the blurry face of my OB leaning over me, saying, “Everything went wonderfully, you did great, okay?”

“Oh!” I said. I felt blissfully good. Better, I was sure in that moment, than I’d ever felt in my life. “I should have made you all cookies!”

My OB smiled and patted his gut: “No, that’s okay, believe me, I don’t need them.”

It was the first thing that came to my mind! Making homemade cookies for all of these kind people who had taken such good care of me! I think anesthesia can be like a truth serum. The purest, most wonderfully childlike impulses and feelings come to the surface. I’m pretty sure I told quite a few staff members I should have made cookies for all of them. I don’t remember their responses, but I remember the big love in my heart. It felt amazing!

Then in came DH, with his smile, and his face that I love. Later, he told me that I looked so happy as he approached. When the nurse asked me my pain level, I told the truth—not high—-and then wished I’d lied. “Do you think you really need a narcotic in your IV right now? Or would you like to just take some Advil?”

“No, I think I need the narcotic,” I said.

She hesitated a moment, then nodded and smiled: “Okay, honey.”

So the pure cookie-making angel  of a moment ago might have exaggerated the physical pain a wee bit in an effort to get some good  drugs. Sue me.

The thing is, even if my physical pain wasn’t off the charts, I really, really wanted more of that blissful rest. And in it came with that amazing narcotic, whatever the hell it was. DH said I looked like I was on ecstasy. “Look at how peaceful and happy she is,” I heard a nurse murmur as she passed. Apparently I was smiling in my semi-sleep like a little kid, nuzzled into DH’s arm.

When I came to, I got shortbread cookies and apple juice, twice. Then I had to get up to change into my clothes and urinate into a plastic pan, so they could measure how much I was peeing. I was a little shocked to see the amount of blood I left behind on the table. Don’t let the patient see the absorbent pad on the table when she gets up to pee, I mentally told everyone.

They eventually wheeled me out to where DH was waiting in the car, and the first thing I said, once I was in the passenger seat, was: “I’m hungry. God I haven’t been actually hungry for a week!”

We ended up at a sushi restaurant, where I ate three rolls, salmon, tuna, and shrimp tempura. Miso soup. Salad. It was incredible. No nausea afterward, no shooting pains. No indescribable bloating. During the drive to a coffee shop, I waited for it to hit, but it did not come. My belly is still distended to a ginormous size—I think because my gestational grew so disproportionately large, something that can happen in abnormal pregnancies, it just grows and grows, I swear to you, no exaggeration, I looked/look like I’m 16 weeks pregnant. I was hoping for an immediate change in that department, but it’ll take time, it seems. But not having that bloating, pain, nausea is such a relief! I feel such empathy for cancer patients who have to endure so much depleting nausea. I keep thinking of what cancer patients have to go through for far too long. I keep thinking of my good fortune to have access to a procedure that can end the physical torture. And what about women back in the day who could not treat their missed miscarriages with D & C but would have to wait I don’t know how many weeks/months to miscarry on their own? I’m not kidding you—waiting even one more week might have made going to work physically impossible.

I was tired and out of it, still feeling the anesthesia and the narcotic, but I wanted more goodies. We drove into town and I got a strawberry-lemon all-natural slushy at a hippie place. Then I went so far as to get an iced coffee. The sun was out, and the leaves were changing, and I felt close to normal for the first time in what seemed like ages. Even though my instructions said to rest and not exercise, I decided I was well enough to go for a mild stroll in one of the most beautiful parks in Long Island, with DH and the swans. We walked around a gorgeous pond—breathtaking, with the fall tress alongside it. We even climbed a few little hills. We sat on a log and watched the sun come through the trees. We talked in our easy way.

We found a bench and napped for hours as the sun went down. I thought and I thought. I wrote things in my head. I relaxed. This girl—even after all that went down this morning, I am STILL not very good at napping in the middle of the day, it’s like I can’t stand the thought of missing out on something…missing out on opportunities to experience things, think things. I started formulating an article for publication in my head. An article I would submit to major magazines, including the New Yorker. I thought of the interesting things I would reveal about the RE industry, about my personal experiences. I realized that through all of this, I have felt taken care of by my health care providers, overall, and that’s probably why I wanted to make all of those people cookies. It’s not a predatory industry, in my personal experience. But it is a relatively new one, and that comes with all sorts of problems. I was trying to piece together, in my mind, where I stand in all of this, who I am, what my role is, what I can do with all of this information and experience.

And I knew in that moment that I would be quitting my job relatively soon. I don’t know exactly when. But as much as the patients are medicine to me, the place itself is not, and the truth is—I’m just not sure I can handle the stress of it. The irate family members. The windowless office. The crazy-busyness. The inability to see my family at Christmastime because the owner will not let me take two days off to go to Ohio due to “policy,” even though my boss and co-workers want me to go. But more than all of this, I just need time to recover, heal, rejuvenate, concentrate on my good body and mind. We can do it. I can find something else, something less taxing—there have to be other options out there, right? I can find them. I’m scared of losing the income and the health insurance, but I’m more scared of not treating myself with the utmost care and respect right now. I am crying out to me to stop. Find part-time work. Get on DH’s health insurance—it’s not as good, but it’s okay. Make it work. Take care of yourself.

And write. Look at the length of this post. I need to write. I need the time to create structure for the large amount of research and experience I have amassed. I need to communicate what is going on to an even larger audience.

I need the time to clean my home and cook and bake again. And do yoga more often. And paint.

As I type all of this, I smile, remembering the words of the nurse today: “Don’t make any major decisions for the next few days,” she said. Mmmmmmm-okay. Right. Checking self now.

But it’s not like this is coming out of the blue. I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. We’ll have to look at the figures, and learn quite a bit more about DH’s insurance. And I have to go the dentist at least once. And I need to put in a full month’s notice. And and and. So I’m leaving open all possibilities and not etching anything in stone.

I think I am going to use my last sick day tomorrow, and then I have scheduled two vacation days—this Friday and Monday. “I have to have a long weekend for something other than surgery,” I told my boss. “I have to—for my mental health.” She said, “Go for it.” And before she left the office for the day, tears filled her eyes and she said: “Love you.” I told her I loved her too. It’s been a tough relationship, but I know that she is on my side one hundred percent. When she advocated for me to get to go home for Christmas, I really understood this.

And so on Friday, I will finally get these gray roots dyed. I’ll pack our bags. We’ll leave Friday night for Pittsburgh and stay through Sunday. Pittsburgh is one of the places we think of moving in the future, a place I’ve heard so much about at this point but have never seen. We’ll go to the Mattress Factory. Maybe find some cute B & B. I will be able to visualize it, focus on it for the future. Even if we don’t end up there, I want to concretize that place in my mind as one possible future avenue.

And now this girl is going to eat some creme brule (good ol’ Trader Joe’s) and not feel sick afterward. Thanks for listening and being there for me, sisters.

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15 Comments

  1. All my love to you, brave girl.

    Reply
  2. Lots of love, love, love. Keep taking care of yourself.

    Reply
  3. Mrs. McIrish

     /  October 22, 2013

    I’m so glad you are feeling relief at least physically. It really does make a difference to heal emotionally once the physical hurt stops. I remember a doctor talking about going to happy hour after work as I was being administered propofol for one of my surgeries and commenting that it was rude not to invite me to happy hour! You really do just say whatever while drug induced. No judgment from me for taking the narcotic either. You are more than entitled to feel better for as long as you can. I do agree with “don’t make big decisions in the coming days”. Wait a bit before you decide about work. Having too much time to “think” about failed cycles and what should/could have been isn’t always a good idea (says the woman who got laid off earlier this year and is still home.. Plus hard to get time off at a new job for another trip to Atlanta ..) I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Hugs.

    Ps: so sorry your “friend” hasn’t responded. It’s happened to me before and it really hurts. How hard is it for them to say sorry, do you want to talk about it etc?

    Reply
  4. Thinking of you sweetie, here to support you as you tell your story. You’re strong, you’re brave. Take each moment as it comes. xx

    Reply
  5. I’m glad you’re feeling better sweetheart. You’ve been through a lot, I’m so sorry for that. Take that break and enjoy it xo

    Reply
  6. My heart hurts so bad for you. What you have gone through is is a lot to cope with. You will be in my thoughts and prayers..

    Reply
  7. I’ve been thinking of you, and wondering how you are doing. I wish it had all turned out differently, but I’m glad you had some physical relief.

    Reply
  8. You wrote this so beautifully, and it sounds just like how I felt about all my DnC’s. I was just so glad to get it done with to be free of the nausea and symptoms, and everyone is always so caring and sweet during/after the surgeries that it makes it a pretty easy thing to go through. I’m glad you’re feeling better now and I hope things start to look up.

    Reply
  9. This was so sad and peaceful at the same time. I’m so sorry things turned out this way. But, I love your plan of making changes in your life to make you happy. Take time for the things you love. Thinking of you. xo

    Reply
  10. My heart absolutely hurts for you and I continue to think of you often. Continue to take care of yourself. Things will start looking up soon. xoxo

    Reply
  11. Wish I could just give you a hug… love it that you are taking some time and weighing plans. I think that “little voice” in your life has spoken and am also exceptionally grateful that you are taking time for you!! Recovery counts.

    Reply
  12. A Crack In Everything

     /  October 22, 2013

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been through (and are still going through) this awful time. And your first thought after waking up was about making cookies for the staff?? It’s wonderful that they made you feel supported, and that your boss is in your corner, too. A long weekend away sounds like an excellent idea. Best wishes for healing and for planning whatever comes next.

    Reply
  13. Sarah

     /  October 23, 2013

    Hugs to you & DH. I know you will find success in writing- and in doing so that you will have a healing power to woman experiencing what you’re going through. You will feel it’s purpose. We feel soo alone in this process, so broken- ie- a frantic google search lead me to your site a couple months ago. Makes you realize that unfortunately there are so many of us that struggle with this journey. We weren’t the first to have to endure this, and we will not be the last, but what your are doing by sharing your experience is offering such an honest & insightful perspective- and making it easier in a way for others to push through these hard days. You are going to get through this- and your family will be expanded before you know it. I personally thing taking some time off work would be extremely beneficial to you if you can make it work. Yoga has been huge for my sanity! I recently starting going 5-6 days/week, and am soo thankful for the change in mindset it has triggered. I hope you make enough time for yourself to bring those positive influences into your life. XOXO

    Reply
    • thank you for saying all this. i am actually thinking that i can’t sustain work right now. it’s not okay to be rolling around on the bathroom floor sobbing. my body is crying out for me to take care of it. my mind is all crazy and needing rest. i can’t juggle all of this right now. money and health care—i might have to throw it out the window so i can be still. otherwise i fear this is not going to end well, at work. i feel like i need to get out before i sob in front of a resident. yoga—that’s all i want to do. i haven’t been able to yet. i don’t know why. just a few salute to the suns. anyway thank you for writing. xoxoxoxo

      Reply
  14. Tess

     /  October 23, 2013

    The hills around Pittsburg are beautiful. A B&B sounds lovely. Take care of yourself. xo

    Reply

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