My D&C Operation – The loneliest night of my life

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 15, 2011

9th October was the loneliest night of my life. At least, the loneliest night since I became a mum. It was time for my to go through my first ever operation - a D&C.

A D&C (Dilation and Curettage) refers to the dilation (widening/opening) of the cervix and surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus and contents of the uterus by scraping and scooping. It remains the 'standard care' for missed and incomplete miscarriage in many countries.

Thankfully to my knowledge, there was no need to do the 'curettage' part where a long, looped shaped knife scrapes the lining, placenta and foetus away from the uterus. According to the doctor, this would be harmful for young people like me who wish to get pregnant again in future, so they usually only perform this on older women aged 50-60. In my case, they would instead do a suction aspiration whereby a cannula, which is a long plastic tube connected to a suction device, is inserted into the uterus to suction out the foetus and placenta.

Hooray, that meant I did not need to be cut up. All they needed to do was suck.

So, here goes my journal for that memorable night.

7:30pm We made our way to the hospital. The good thing was that this time round, we were not required to take a queue number at the reception and wait for hours. Instead, we directly took the elevator to Level 7 which was where the gynae/baby wards were located. Somewhat ironically, it was also where Angel was born. Soon, we were attended by a nurse who told me the sequence of events: I would be given some Cytotec pills (not orally, but vaginally) to ripen the cervix, then I would need to lie down and wait till the contractions came, next I would be brought to the operation room where I would be knocked out by general anesthesia. Initially, like what the doctor had said, we expected to take the pills at 7:30pm, wait 1-2 hours for it to take effect, then proceed to have an operation which they told me was only 10-15mins. So I thought even if there was some waiting time in between, I would probably be home at midnight. I soon realised that was just wishful thinking on my part.

The bad news was that the nurse said I had to be warded for one night, which wasn’t what we expected. As if it wasn’t bad enough, she insisted that both my baby and my hubby were to go home and not allowed to accompany me. What??? She said it was because I would be sharing a ward with another lady, and I would need to lie down after I took the pills, so “It would be better if your husband takes your baby back home and make her sleep”. Well, I didn’t try to argue with her or tell her that my baby only likes to sleep with me or admit truthfully that I would be the one bawling and crying for “Baby!” instead of baby wailing for “Mummy!”. The fact was, I had never been separated from my baby for an entire night, not even once, since the day she popped. What was I going to do, not being able to smell her sweet baby fragrance, kiss her little angelic face, or hold her in a good night bear hug? 

Still, for the betterment of everyone, I had no choice but to see my dearest ones leave me on this saddest night of my life. The nurse was nice enough to say that they could accompany till "my time is up". Which kind of also hinted to me that it was going to be a longggg night ahead.

8:45pm I was brought to the ward where there was this middle aged lady who was wearing black framed specs and playing some crossword puzzles in the magazine. There was a partition that separated us so I still had my own private corner. The nurse inserted three pills into my vagina and she told me "I have to put them in deep". Before I could even process that statement, she was using two of her fingers to push forcefully. No, that wasn't fun, or stimulating, at all. When I thought it was over, she said "Now, that's one of them. Two more to go." So, I had to endure the awkward poking, twisting and pushing twice more. Then, she left me alone and all I needed to do was W-A-I-T.

Thank goodness my hubby brought me some books to read. For once, I could pick up my Da Vinci Code and read it in peace. It's a book I can read many times and still love. I found the silence of the ward a little eerie though, and I started to badly miss the laughter, talking and even the crying I usually hear in the house at this time. I kept wondering if my baby missed me as much as I missed her, or did she even notice that mummy was not around.

The eerie silence was soon gone, taken over by moaning, groaning and constant sighing. Nope, not from me. But from the lady beside. I soon realised she seemed to be in pain and discomfort, but too bad there was nothing I could do for her. I probably would reach that stage soon, I guessed.

So I waited. One hour. Two hours. Three hours. Three and a half lonely, depressing hours. Still no sign of anything happening except the contractions which were pretty bearable to me. Maybe I was just numb to pain already.

12:15am Finally, the nurses who were on shift came in and one said "It's time". Why do they love to use these words? But somehow, I was glad to hear that. That meant soon the ordeal could be over. They told me that the operating room was on Level 6 so we had to go one floor down. I started to get up and put on my shoes when one told me "No, you can lie down". Ok, I see, I get to be the queen while these slave bunnies used their brute strength to push me around. Poor thing. I didn't really know what to think when I was being pushed around, all I could do was stare at the ceiling. Finally, I caught the eye of one of the nurses and decided to make some conversation.

Me: Is this a common surgical operation? The D&C I'm doing?
Nurse: Yes, about two per week. All around Sweden.
Me: Even in Karlskrona alone?
Nurse: Yes, even in Karlskrona.
Me: Too bad. That's so sad.
Nurse: Yes, but at least we are here to help you.

Yup, she did make me feel better. And she even gave me a pat on the head before I went into the operating room and said "See you later". Soon, two other nurses took over, they introduced themselves as anesthetic nurses. One started to ask me stuff like if I had taken general anesthesia before, if I was allergic etc etc. She then told me I had to be put on a drip and be taken to intensive care for a one hour after the surgery just to ensure there were no complications. Ok, I would do anything you said, I just hoped that everything went well at this point.

I asked her for how long I would be knocked out because as per my imagination, and from what my hubby said, I would be knocked out for a few hours and how long it took to wake up depended on the individual. To my surprise, the nurse said, "Oh, I'll wake you up right after the operation." I said "Wow, sounds easy, You can just wake me up like that?". She smiled, probably thinking that was a stupid question and said "Yes, you'll see."

12:30am I was told to transfer from my bed to the operating bed, which I did obediently and the nurse rewarded me with a couple of warm blankets which I was thankful for as I was trembling from head to toe. Fear, anxiety or just chill? Maybe a combination. Finally, I was pushed into the actual operating room. It was really like what I see in ER or Grey's Anatomy. Giant overhead surgical lights, viewing monitors, steel tables with surgical equipment, and of course the doctors dressed in green scrubs.

Did you know? Scrubs used to be white - the colour of cleanliness, before it switched to green/blue in the 20th century. Green could help physicians see better for two reasons. First, looking at blue or green can refresh a doctor’s vision of red things, including the bloody innards of a patient during surgery. If a surgeon stares at something that’s red and pink, he becomes desensitized to it. The red signal in the brain actually fades, which could make it harder to see the nuances of the human body. Looking at something green from time to time can keep someone’s eyes more sensitive to variations in red, according to John Werner, a psychologist who studies vision at the University of California, Davis. Second, a deep focus on red, red, red can lead to distracting green illusions on white surfaces. The distracting image would follow the surgeon’s gaze wherever he looks, similar to the floating spots we see after a camera flash. However, if a doctor looks at green or blue scrubs instead of white ones, these disturbing ghosts will blend right in and not become a distraction, according to Paola Bressan, who researches visual illusions at the University of Padova in Italy. Quoted from

Next, I was injected with a drip and the nurses started to paste 3M tapes with metal probes all over my chest. Soon, I found myself in an entanglement of wires. I didn't really know what was going on my mind, though I was a little overwhelmed by what was happening. All I remembered was me stroking my swelling tummy for the last time and bidding farewell to my lost baby. The nurse then put an oxygen mask over my face and I was supposed to breathe in some oxytocin. Or so I remembered it was called, wasn't it what I used to induce labour? Anyway, they injected a small bottle of drug into my drip to make me dizzy. After I breathed a few minutes into the oxygen mask, one nurse asked me "Are you ready to sleep now?". I actually replied "That would be nice". Then they injected another drug into my drip and though I was pondering if one's mind could actually triumph over the anesthesia and stay conscious somehow, I was soon knocked out. Flat.

1:00am The first thing I heard was "Yun, wake up. It's over." Wow. I was so amazed that I really couldn't remember a single thing. Not one. How did they insert the probe into me? How did they perform the suction? How much blood was lost? How big was my placenta? No, I would never know the answers. I was just glad that everything was over in half an hour. Though I somehow wished I could have a nice, deep sleep for longer. It was something I had been lacking.

Then, I was taken to the ICU where they had to monitor my blood pressure at 15-min interval. Though they said I only had to be there one hour, I ended up staying for two. What's new? They always underestimated or gave you an illusion of a shorter waiting time, but it never came true. I couldn't sleep at all in these two hours. I remembered I teared a bit. Just a bit. And I realised that I was moved from the operating bed back to my ward bed. Out of curiosity, I asked the nurse "So after the operation, the anesthetic nurses lifted me back to this bed?" She replied "Yes, they did". I said "Cool, so what if the person happens to be very heavy, like 100kg?" There was no reply.

Just to break the awkward silence, I said "Wow, they are good". And she said "Yes, they are". I meant it, I was really impressed. They even wore back my pants, pad, leggings for me.

3:00am Finally, I was allowed to return to my ward. The two nurses on duty came to fetch me back to where I came from. I was asked if I needed to use the loo because since I was still on drip, they said they would need to help me. Well, considering that I hadn't eaten for 12 hours and all I had was glucose, I didn't really had much to pass out. So I decided to just try to catch some rest. Which was hard. Guess what, the lady was still making loud noises, but instead of moaning, it was now snoring. I felt happy that she could get some sleep though.

6:00am Somehow, I manged to catch some much needed rest but soon, I was awakened by the nurse who said that I should go pee. Ok, I got it, you all needed to make sure my pee-hole was working and that I could still pass out liquid. So, I stood up slowly because the nurse said I might be dizzy, which thankfully I wasn't. I walked rather normally to the toilet, thinking that everything was per usual. But before I knew it, I had a bloody waterfall incident in the toilet. Somehow, a gush of blood came out from under and there was no stopping it. Not even the thick pad could withstand it and within seconds, I stained the pad, the disposable undies, the leggings and left a pool of blood on the toilet floor. Oh wow. I was stumped and didn't even know what to do except to sit on the toilet bowl and let the blood clear. Luckily, the nurse seemed to be trained to these situations and she was calm enough to get new undies and pad for me and then wipe the floor. I honestly felt so bad that someone had to clean up my bloody mess. No wonder she insisted I should pee, she probably knew this was going to happen. Oh well, but after the waterfall, the blood flow became constant but much less, even less than my normal menses.

7:00am It was quite impossible to catch any rest after that because the sun was rising and the lady beside me was up and chatting on the phone. So I read my book again. Then, the new nurse on duty told me breakfast was served and I could make my way there to have some food. Which sounded so tempting to an empty stomach. She said "We want to see you up and walking". So I did. I ate bread with butter, cheese, ham and drank orange juice and hot chocolate.

9:15am The gynae came to talk to me and guess what, he was the gynae who did my first u/s checkup. Ok. Hello, we meet again. He said "Wow, you've been back 5 times", apparently he just read my files. Yup, so what, I still had to do the operation eventually. He was nice though and said that having a miscarriage now didn't mean my next one was likely to be one too. He also told me I needed to do a blood test in three weeks just to make sure my hormones were dropping. If they were not, it would be confirmed an extrauterine pregnancy, meaning the baby was still growing somewhere outside of my uterus and that would be when they would need to cut me up. Oh wow, just when I assumed the rain was over and the sun was up. He also told me to monitor for any side effects like pain, fever or massive bleeding which meant there were complications and I needed to be hospitalised immediately. The favourite line I had from him was "I hope I won't see you here again the next time". Yeah, me too.

11:00am My beloved hubby came to fetch me and it was time to go home. I couldn't wait to see my lovely Angel again! It was finally the end of a long, arduous journey and I was sure the days ahead of me would be more sunny ones.

All I could say was the operation was not as bad as I expected it to be, probably because I couldn't remember an inch of it at all. The thought of it was definitely dreadful, something that I would never want to experience again in my life. Thanks to the surgeons and the nice, friendly nurses for helping me to deal with this hurdle in my life.

So, it's really time to move on now. Summer is back!


  1. Guess writing the whole experience down would be a closure to the episode. Glad to see the positive and cheerful Summer up again!
    Big hug to u!


  2. Am really glad u ended up fine and good. Was worried for u but again i was helpless. While i tried my best to take care of everything including family and work, i think i was still lacking. sorry to leave u alone there. i am sure u must have felt really sad. the only thing i have hoped for is for u to be safe and well.

  3. Hi Summer, its jae here. Just wanna let you know that i can feel what u feel... Stay strong cos there are many family n frens around you who love you dearly..

    Miss Angel & you..

  4. @Anonymous
    Hey babe! Thanks! I am cool and have moved on liaoz. Life sux sometimes but it's still pretty good most of the time. Miss ya lots too and my dear jovan!


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