A real life story of how D&C damaged a patient's fertility. Learn how to avoid such situations.
There is No Such Thing as Minor Surgery !!
One patient's experience with D&C damaged her Fertility. Read How.
There is no such thing as a "Minor Operation"- and this real-life story brings this message home dramatically ! Going through something like this not only scars the uterus - it also scars the psyche - and shakes up patient's confidence in their doctor. Here's a first person account from a friend, Rama.
There are some things doctors tell you and then there are a whole lot of things they don't.
Most folk would do the smart thing by reading up and being prepared. I had ALWAYS put myself in this category - after all, I have access to the net, I am a voracious reader, and I hate being helpless. In other words, I was full of my own cleverness. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared for something as traumatic as a miscarriage - something that took me by absolute surprise, turning my world upside down in a heartbeat - and quite literally so.
I was nearly 3 months pregnant and absolutely over the moon. And then there was no heartbeat.
The first U/S was something I had been looking forward to from the day I tested positive.I was devastated. Anand and I had been married more than 6 years and weathered long separations. Getting pregnant was a HUGE milestone. I was 29 which isn't all that old really, but there you have it, I wanted a baby, and I wanted it bad! My doctor packed me off with a - "wait it out, the foetus will naturally abort." Now, I am sure he sees gazillion such cases but a little empathy would have been nice, perhaps I wouldn't have burst into tears at the clinic. He did not offer me any other solution and I was too stunned to even ask.
I was alone and the very idea of waiting for 'my baby' (yes, that shapeless embryo was already a living breathing baby in my mind) to get ejected out like so much garbage was really too much to bear. I was carrying a 'dead' baby and I just could not come to terms with that. My MIL rushed to my rescue, she is awfully sweet and she knew I was in NO position to think straight. She booked an appointment with her Railway gynecologist. The lady did not offer me a non-invasive way out (via medication) nor did she touch upon the side effects. As for me, I just wanted to get it over with asap.
In my haze of utter, all-encompassing depression I just wasn't thinking straight and I did not even ask her if there were any other possible routes I could consider. The Railway doctor immediately arranged for a D&C the very next day and I just went along. Months later, my depression did not let up even as my cycles went for a toss - rapidly decreasing to the point of becoming scanty and lasting barely a day. I NEVER experienced any pain and I just assumed this was an offshoot of my D&C. I ignored the problem.
Whilst TTCing with no luck I googled out my symptoms ('No Periods', D&C scanty periods' etc) and discovered www.ashermans.org. You could say I self-diagnosed myself but a professional opinion was called for.
In May 2006 I switched gynecologists and my new doctor put me on progesterone to induce withdrawal bleeding. There was none. I was diagnosed with synechia of the uterus as I had assumed. The extent of the damage was unclear. My new gynecologist was appalled that I underwent a D&C and pointed out that during the early stages of a miscarriage, a pill would have effortlessly cleared out my uterus.
In June 2006, I underwent a surgery at the Naval Hospital in Visakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh, India) with the doctor cutting the scar tissue gently and inserting a catheter (an IUD minus the copper). I was put on estrogen for three months, the IUD remained for three months as well. In Oct 2006 I was given the green signal to TTC.
Nada, nothing and in Jan 2007 I underwent a routine HSG, my tubes were clear but whilst injecting the dye, the technician happened to mention there was a slight blockage that flushed out. I am not sure if the dye did the trick or if this was just a coincidence but I conceived the very same cycle. Unfortunately it was a Chemical Pregnancy. My doctor however was upbeat and said that it was a good sign that I could conceive naturally. He asked me to wait it out one cycle and try again. I did and bingo!
In March 2007 I tested positive again. I was horribly nervous despite a fabulous, symptom free pregnancy. I cried during each and every one of my scans that followed. Every single time - it was just too good to be true and it remained a reminder of what I lost.The lack of symptoms drove me nuts. I finally felt a shade more confident in the 7th month when I started feeling movements and began 'showing'. My pregnancy began on a terrifying note (spotting in the 6th-7th week) but after that it was smooth sailing. I was on progesterone during the first trimester. I went on to deliver naturally on the 8th of December 2007 (minus an epidural) - nearly 18 days ahead of schedule.
I thought I had put the entire Asherman's saga behind me but no such luck. I was diagnosed with dangerously low levels of amniotic fluid and induced ahead of time - a possible after effect of my botched D&C and the very through curating. Post delivery, I had a retained placenta, apparently fairly common after any uterine damage. This, the doctor traced to my D&C and subsequent Asherman's. Had the damage been any worse, I might have lost my uterus.
I am not sure if things would have turned out differently if my doctor had been more proactive and suggested a non-invasive way out. I was too disconnected to see sense and all I knew was I did not want to carry my 'dead baby' and then wait for her to bleed out. Perhaps, if she had told me the dangers of D&C, things would have turned out differently and I might be holding a four year old and a one year old to boot. Now I am TERRIFIED of having another baby - I am terrified of the fact that I will not be able to carry to term, I am terrified of confronting another scan, I am terrified of the Damocles Sword that will hang over my pregnancy. Even though I know it is all in my mind. If the scars in my uterus are gone, the scars in my mind remain.
You can find out more about Asherman's syndrome here !