Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Natural vs. D&C

Well, it's over. Finally. Ultrasound confirmed, uterus is clear.

I'm sorry that this blog has gotten all "infertility" on you, but I don't know how else to process all that's going on in my I write it out.

And then because I decided to share the beginning of the pregnancy with you I figured why not share the end of the pregnancy.

Maybe it will help someone else going through the same thing.

And just for that...I'll write.

My miscarriage started on it's own, almost 4 weeks after the baby died.

While at the ER in NYC they gave me two options to rid my body of the embryo.

One, a D&C, which is a "procedure" also called uterine aspiration and it's the same "procedure" used in abortion. They suck the baby out basically, clean your uterus of all traces of the pregnancy. It's apparently quick, done in just a few minutes and only hurts during the procedure and maybe a few hours after.

And you get drugs.

Option number 2 was to take a drug (but not the good kind like you get in Option 1) which would bring on uterine contractions and force your uterus to expel everything in it.

They told me that there was also Option #3 and that was to wait for it to happen naturally but that they didn't like to do that Option because I risked infection.

They scared my husband with that one.

Doctors are stupid assholes sometimes.

Clearly I had already begun the process naturally.

And yet they really didn't want me to just let it happen.

I will never understand.

Option #3 actually has the LOWEST risk of infection out of all 3 of these because IT'S NATURAL...just FYI for anyone considering the options and being told bullshit.

Luckily I had many midwives helping me and my husband through this process because it was that word infection that scared him the most. The midwives gave him real information and finally convinced him that the D&C has a much higher risk of infection.

Yay for midwives.

I chose Option #3.

It took a week and a few days from the first signs of spotting to officially pass the "product of conception" as the nurse at UCSF likes to call it, and at times it hurt like hell.

But I think it was the right choice FOR ME.

I know many people choose the D&C because it's done and over with quickly and you can move on.

But I just couldn't.

I didn't get to talk much about it because I was trying not to talk about pregnancy ALL THE TIME, but I was definitely getting around to writing a Homebirthing Hippie post all about my plan to home birth and how strongly I feel about pregnancy and birth being a natural process and my dislike of the way birth is handled in most hospitals.

And as strongly as I feel about pregnancy and birth being natural, I wasn't being given the opportunity to do any of it naturally because my ovaries suck.

Getting pregnant involved a lot of dr's appts, drugs, temperature taking, stick peeing and timed sex. The only thing natural about it was that we got to get pregnant at home, not at a Dr's office with a tube full of sperm injected into my uterus, which believe me they pressured us to IUI each and every time we walked into that office.

And now, god knows how we'll end up pregnant. For all I know sex will no longer be part of the getting pregnant experience.

So, when it came time for the miscarriage decision I needed to let it happen naturally.

I did not make the decision lightly and honestly the whole thing scared the shit out of me. I read a few stories about women passing their babies and they looked like....well they looked like babies! I didn't know if I was going to be able to handle that, but I didn't think I could handle the D&C either. So, I went for it.

I cried when I passed my first big clot in the bathroom at the San Francisco airport immediately after landing from our botched trip to NYC.

And I cried as I lay curled up in a ball many days later experiencing what I can only describe as contractions. Fuck the term cramps, btw, they tell you to expect cramping, THIS WAS NOT CRAMPING. These were contractions, doing the exact same thing as they do when you're in labor, helping your body get a baby out. They were sharp and painful and came in waves.

And I cried in relief when many days and many "episodes" of contractions later I finally passed the "product of conception" in a gush of blood at 2 in the morning, because it was finally, more than a week later, over.

It wasn't quick, it wasn't painless, and it wasn't easy.

And I don't recommend it for everyone.

But for me, I needed to do it this way.

I needed to feel like my body was normal.

That my body COULD do what it was supposed to...even if it was miscarrying a baby it was supposed to be carrying at least it got the job done.

At many points I cursed my decision not to just do the damn D&C and have it all over and done with.

But then after it officially ended...I do not regret my decision.

With each day that came and went and as I passed larger and larger clots, there was a certain amount of grieving and mourning that happened along the way...but also a certain amount of healing and acceptance, and by the time the actually passing of the embryo happened I was so ready for it that I accepted it with relief rather than despair.

If I had found out the baby died and then immediately had a D&C I think the whole process would have been harder for me emotionally.

I know that sounds weird.

Even I think it sounds weird.

But it's true.

As the miscarriage has finally come to a close, we now wait with bated breath for the passing of my grandmother...then, and only then, will I truly be able to start the healing and truly grieve. Both for the loss of our baby and for the loss of my grandmother and what can only be described as the worst start to one's 30th year on this planet...ever.

UPDATE: I want to clarify. It's just the Dr's at the ER in NYC that I think are giant assholes and really pissed me off through this experience. All the Dr's and nurses here in San Francisco at UCSF have been AMAZING. I was on the phone with them every other day or so and they fully supported my decision to miscarry naturally at home because they agreed it ran the lowest risk of infection and they did not pressure me to do the D&C, even when the whole thing took longer than they expected. One nurse even called me the day after I had called the office just to check in on me, she also shared her story of her own miscarriage and assured me what I was experiencing was normal. They were awesome, ever single one of them.


  1. I wish I had something more profound to say. Thank you for sharing this. You are a very brave woman, and very strong. I don't know that many people would have even been told about option 3.

  2. I'm glad you chose the natural route...after reading that I can't see making any other decision. Still thinking of you often! Hugs!

  3. jesica, i'm finally getting a chance to catch up on blog reading from 2 weeks ago and just saw all your posts. i'm so, so sorry about your loss and the pain you're feeling. i will be thinking about you and know that your future baby is right around the corner. hang in there.

  4. Your posts are so emotional and really hit me. I have been thinking about you. I am so sorry that you have gone through this and are now faced with even more tough decisions. I live in the SF area (as we have talked about before), we should get together sometime if it works out. Xo