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Readers Respond: What a D&C Is Like

Responses: 39

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Updated August 27, 2009

D&C is a very common treatment for first-trimester miscarriage. Sometimes the procedure is a medical necessity, but other times, women have the option of a D&C or a natural miscarriage and they prefer the D&C. If you have had a D&C, please share your experience here to help others who are trying to figure out what they want to do. What was the D&C like, and are you glad you had a D&C rather than miscarrying naturally? (You can also comment on Asherman's syndrome, a possible complication of D&C, in this reader response page.)

Was the right choice for me.

We saw heartbeat twice at 6 and 8 wks. So, when I went for the next ultrasound at 10 weeks, I didn't expect to hear no heartbeat. Thank goodness, I learned the news on Friday. So, I had Sat-Sun to cope. This would have been our first baby, and first grandchild on both sides. I had the D&C done on the following Monday (yesterday). I was totally out. The last thing I remembered before waking up in the recovery room was being wheeled in to the OR. I'm still a little sore. It was the right choice for me. I couldn't bear the thought of waiting and passing my dead baby at home. D&C spares me of having to see it while it happens.
—Guest lynnie

Beware of D and C

I know it seems like a great procedure because it's done and you move forward with your life, but I do not think doctors do the proper check after. I have read so much about Asherman's syndrome due to D&C. I miscarried and did a D&C also. My doc just did a pelvic after and said okay you are good to go and if you don't get pregnant in 6 mos. come back. No ultrasound or anything to make sure my uterus was clear. I went to an RE to make sure my uterus was ok, only to find that I had placental tissue left and was deeply embedded in my uterus. I opted to get a hysteroscopy to get this out as a D&C is blind. Now I have to wait 3 months to see if I will get scarring. I think more precautions and follow ups are needed after D&C. The doctors just make it sound WAY too easy.
—Guest Rain

Don't do it!

I had a D&C post miscarriage for retained placenta at 19.5 weeks. I wound up being infertile from uterine scarring that resulted from the D&C, called Asherman’s Syndrome. Honestly I have been through hell with diagnosis, tests, surgeries, hormone replacement and least important the thousands of dollars it has cost me. After all that I “MIGHT” be able to have another baby. Having to make the decision again I would not have had the D&C. My doctor did not mention infertility being one of the implications of a D&C, but it is one of the realities of the D&C procedure that seems under emphasized as a side effect and WAY underdiagnosed. Please consider other options such as delivery or drugs to removed retained product before you risk your fertility for a quick procedure.
—Guest tiedyevt

D and C

I found out at 12 weeks that my baby had no heartbeat. I was having a small amount of bleeding and had a D&C scheduled for a few days later (I wanted to do it on a Friday so I would have the weekend to cope). That night I started having severe bleeding and called the doc the next morning. They were going to get me in for a D&C that day but not until that evening since I had eaten breakfast. I started to pass the baby naturally and it was agony - emotionally and physically. My husband called the doc again and they took me in early because the baby was coming out on its own. By the time I got to the hospital, it was a relief to have the procedure done to stop the pain and make sure everything was out of my uterus. It's been hard to deal with but I think a D&C was good - I was asleep for all of it.
—Guest MI

My D and C

I was 8 weeks pregnant and never got to listen to my baby's heartbeat. Just one day I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding, so I thought maybe I was having a period because my grandmother had periods with all of her kids. So E went to the hospital the next day and they said everything was ok. That they see this all the time. Then the next day E went to the doctor and they tested my hCG and it was dropping. So I knew I was having a miscarriage. This was my first miscarriage. I have 2 girls already. But I had a d&c done and was so happy I did. I don't remember anything. But I'm still grieving over this...
—angela029

D&c helped healing begin

My friends who had been thru both natural & D&C miscarriages agreed that the D&C was better for them. I found out a few days ago that my baby had no heartbeat at 10 weeks. Today I chose to have the D&C since my body has shown no signs that I was even starting the miscarr. yet, and miscar. can(not always)last for up to a couple weeks after starting! I didn't like the feeling of knowing my baby was already dead inside me, and I could possibly be pregnant for weeks yet. Also the baby starts to deform quickly after death, and I did NOT want to see it that way. This was not only my 1st miscar.(my other pgs were happy), but my first surgery as well so I was VERY afraid. I too was "out" for the whole thing-felt nothing, have very little cramping/bleeding, and feel relieved that I can begin the healing process both physically and emotionally now. Do ask your OB if he uses meds so you're not awake though... not all do, and the women who dont go "out" say it was hard to hear the suctioning.
—cupidsheart

D and C

I started bleeding when I was 11 weeks and was told I had a misscarriage at 8 weeks. I was bleeding alot & was having cramps so I went back to the hospital the same day and had a D&C the next morning. I was out for the whole thing and remember nothing. After the D&C I had no pain and no cramping. I think it was a good idea.
—Guest none

DandC

I had a D & C the day after I was told my baby had no heartbeat also. I was totally out for the procedure so I felt nothing and have no memory of it. Other than some bleeding and mild cramping...just like having a period...afterward, it wasn't painful. The hardest part was accepting that my baby was gone but I felt it was less emotional to have the procedure than to wait for it to happen at home or who knows where or when.
—Guest missingmybaby

My experience

I found out in May I was pregnant with my 3rd baby. I have a 3&4 year old now. I went to the doctor in July and got my first picture of the baby. Heart beat was about 175. Everything was great. I went in for my 2nd appointment on aug 4th. The doctor could not find the heart beat. I felt in my gut somthing was wrong. He did another ultrasound and confirmed the baby had stopped growing a few days after the last appointment. He scheduled me for a d&c on the 5th at noon. I almost backed out of it at the last minute, I was scared about the whole procedure. But knowing I had carried my baby for almost 4 weeks and it had already passed was more then I could bear. I'm glad I did it. It was easier then doing it naturally. I have had little bleeding and little cramping. So comparing it to the one I had in between my kids it was much easier. I seem to be healing all around a little better this time. God bless to all those who go through this but remember tomorrow's a new day with new opportunities.
—Jroslin

Put this worry out of your mind

I very much appreciated this site yesterday before I had my d and c. I was helped especially by guest liz's entry (ending in God Bless). Two things happen when you find out you are miscarrying; grief and fear. There is nothing that can be done about the grief other than giving it time and being sure to talk to others. The fear part I wish I hadn't wasted so many tears and so much energy on. I had my d and c done by my doctor in the hospital- I was given my choice of anesthesia- I chose a spinal and a tranquilizer so that I was never totally out- I hate waking up to the nausea and amnesia and there was none with this route- I remember being in the OR and knowing they were operating but I was so groggy and at peace. They let me have my Ipod even. They took such good care of me and nurses would share their own experiences and acknowledge our loss. I would strongly recommend this over the pain and danger associated with allowing some mcs to happen naturally or over having it in a clinic.
—Guest Emily

My positive D&C experience

I had a D&C just a few hours ago after my first pregnancy resulted in a missed miscarriage. I am a very squeamish patient, but I have to say this under the circumstances, I had a very positive experience. Shortly after I arrived at the hospital, I changed into a gown and had an IV placed into the top of my hand. It stung a bit but very tolerable. My husband was able to join me again and was only asked to leave minutes before I was taken to the OR. In the OR, I was given a mask and fell asleep. That was at 12:18pm this afternoon. I awoke in the recovery room at 12:50 and my husband was back with my by 12:55. I was given a pain killer and told I might bleed and experience cramping for the next few day. So far, I have no pain at all and have not experiences bleeding (at 6:40pm). I was able to leave the hospital at around 3:00pm. To those that has to undergo this procedure, I am so sorry for your loss. But having just undergone it, I do not reget choosing this option. God Bless
—Guest Liz

9 week D and E

I went in for my 1st visit/ultrasound @ 8 1/2 wks. I knew by the look on the nurse practitioners face that something wasn't right. There was no visible heartbeat. There were NO symptoms of me miscarrying. I was given the choice to "wait it out" or have a D&E. Physically, this procedure was nothing. No pain or cramps, no excessive bleeding, etc. I was given Ativan on the way to the procedure and was treated better than I could've asked. Emotionally, I don't think you can ever prepare yourself enough to have to go through this. Good news, I am 7 1/2 months pregnant as I write this.
—Guest DanaMai

Unforgettable, trauma, and now healing

There is nothing, was nothing, like hearing our (my boyfriend and I) baby's heartbeat at 8 weeks. It was unforgettable. This was our second pregnancy, the first one ending in a miscarriage, so this one was sent from heaven. At 12 weeks we found out their wasn't a heartbeat. I think the whole doctor's office could hear my cries then to find out I had been carrying our baby around for a week with no heartbeat. I felt like a graveyard and empty. I needed peace so we opted for the D&C the next day. I was in rage because I had to wait the next day for the D&C to be done. Well I started my contractions at 4 am (we were totally unprepared) and I will save you from the graphic details we had to go through having a miscarriage at 12 weeks at home. It was traumatic and I still had to go in for the D&C. After the D&C I wish they could have done it the day we found out our baby didn't have a heart beat because it would have been less painful to deal with rather the images I am felt to deal with while we heal.
—mzsemotional

Yes D&C but choose sedation

At my 9 week ultrasound I found out the embryo had stopped growing at 7 weeks. I had a D&C the next day, and was not sedated. I was given Valium, morphine and some other shot (antibiotic?) and it was an extraordinarily unpleasant experience. In hindsight I wish I'd chosen to be sedated, but then I would have probably had to delay a couple of days for scheduling. I was happy to do the D&C immediately so that I could start healing physically and emotionally. The post D&C recovery has been easy - moderate cramping for a day or two, and then mostly minor bleeding for about 2 weeks (so far, but it seems like it's almost over). We're eager to start another IVF cycle.
—Guest Brave IVF Girl

Sad and empty

I found out 5 days before I was 20 weeks that my baby wasn't growing correctly. His arms and legs were not as long as they should be at my 20 week point in pregnancy. They also told me that his chest was smaller than his stomach which possibly meant that his lungs weren't growing correctly and that he probably won't survive long after birth. So it was the hardest thing I ever had to do was to go get a medical d&c done. I was heartbroken and just felt so helpless to my little baby. I wanted him so bad, but I knew that if I had went to full term he just wouldn't survive. So I just took him out of his pain he could have felt if I did decide to keep him. When I did do it though a part of me died too.
—Guest marine wife
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  6. Having a D&C - Experience of Having a D&C for Miscarriage Treatment

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