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On July 31, 2009, I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum at 8 weeks. This was upsetting because we had been trying for our first child and were so excited to see it in the ultrasound. However, there was just a big empty black sack. The nurse performing the vaginal ultrasound asked if I'd been having any cramping or spotting (to which I said no) and then said she couldn't tell us anything and had to get the doctor.
We were called into the doctor's desk office and he explained my condition. He said we could try to let the miscarriage happen naturally, but he strongly encouraged us to schedule a suction D&C asap. He said that 80% of miscarriages end up requiring a D&C because of retained tissue, and the risks of infection and hemorrhaging were much worse if we were to do it naturally. (Turns out, these statistics are bogus, but of course I was on the spot so I trusted him.) Then I fainted and thought I was going to throw up. It was all happening so quickly -- and it felt so surreal. We ended up opting for the D&C the following Monday, three days away.
I did some frantic last-minute research on the topic and almost cancelled the D&C. I was terrified of developing an infection and scarring, which could interfere with future pregnancies. But my general practitioner (whom I trust) told me to go through with it and get it over with.
Right before the procedure, I started having a weird orangish discharge and lower backaches -- I think my body started to realize what was going on. I don't remember the actual procedure because I was on general anesthesia, so I woke up feeling drowsy but pain free. My husband came up while I was in recovery for about 45 minutes, and then he wheeled me to our car and we drove home. I took that day and the next off of work, so I sat around watching movies and napping. I found that the opiate painkiller they gave me, Darvocet, was making me crazy (or maybe it was the hormones), so I stopped those and used only advil.
On day 2, I got really bad diarrhea. I think it was the light antibiotic they had put me on after surgery because I'd thought I was getting a bladder infection. I called the office, and they said I could stop taking the antibiotic because the urine had turned up clear.
For about 5 days, I bled bright red blood like I was having a heavy period. I would get regular menstrual cramps now and then, but nothing unbearable. On the 5th day, I passed two large, dark piece of tissue/placenta, which had caused uncomfortable cramps in the few minutes beforehand. Then the bleeding lightened up immediately. I thought I was done.
I went to the gym that evening and had a light workout on the eliptical (which was more comfortable than plain walking). Right after this, I started getting a horrible tightness in my pelvic area, and I started to get pains. I couldn't tell if it was gas or an infection starting, although I knew I hadn't eaten much that day. That night I visited with some friends, and the pain got worse. There were sharp pains behind my bellybutton, and my abdomen was expanding rapidly.
Around 6am, I knew something was wrong. I couldn't even stand up straight, and my abdomen was tender to the touch. I called the on-call dr. and she said to go to the emergency room. Within a couple hours, I was hooked up to machines once again with people prodding around down there.
I was diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease -- an infection of the reproductive organs brought on by the D&C. They gave me two antibiotics right away and sent me home.
Went straight to eat something because I hadn't eaten since the night before, and when I got home, I had the most painful diarrhea of my life. Everything down there was so swollen that the intestinal cramping was just unbearable. They should have given me at least a cracker with the antibiotics...
From that day forward, the pelvic inflammation and pain subsided a bit each day (getting a little worse again after 4pm). I had that weird pulling pain behind my bellybutton, and I was spotting again -- dark brown this time. Five days after the ER visit/PID diagnosis, I went to acupuncture as a desperate skeptic. The woman focused on reducing inflammation of the pelvis, and I swear I felt something happening there during the acupuncture.
A week after the ER visit/PID diagnosis, I had a checkup with the OBGYN and he was surprised that I had gotten an infection after the D&C. He emphasized that it's very rare, but somehow I knew it would happen to me! He took a look at everything down there and said things look healthy and normal. He doesn't think I'll have any fertility problems in the future.
So that's my story. Almost 20 days later, I'm still spotting a bit. Definitely not ideal. I often wonder what would have happened if I'd gone the natural route, but we'll never know. For those who have had a similar experience, I'll be sure to reply to this message once I have a healthy pregnancy so you know everything turned out okay. (I always wonder what happened to people in the long run after reading their stories...)
Conceived again (first try) on a cycle that began in November of 2009. At the 7 week ultrasound, we were diagnosed with another blighted ovum. As recommended, we are going to genetic counseling. Note that my progesterone and hCG levels were monitored this last time, and everything was perfect. Also note that my husband was on high doses of antidepressants for about 5 years before conception, coming off in April of 2009 (about 2-1/2 months before first blighted ovum). Antidepressants cause high percentages of DNA fragmentation in sperm. We will be testing the percentage of fragmentation this month.
Last edited by Mrs. G; January 23rd, 2010 at 04:04 PM.
Took husband off all medications in Spring 2010 and put him on antioxidant supplements (including Trader Joe's antioxidant daily vitamins, extra vitamin E, lycopene, resveratrol, l-carnitine, co-Q10). Began trying again at the end of the summer 2010 and got a positive pregnancy test in September 2010. I am now almost 13 weeks along with an active baby! So, even after two blighted ova, there is hope.