On Wednesday April 19th I was scheduled for my first ultrasound at 18 weeks. I took the day off work and my husband took a couple of hours off to come with me. Both of us were excited but we also had an underlying feeling of nerves, I am starting to believe that even then we knew. We drove to BC Womens and my husband dropped me off at the door while he went to find parking while I checked in. After becoming settled in the room with the technician we soon became fascinated with the first images of our child. The technician was having some problems with the measurements because of the position of the baby and went to fetch a doctor. We were suspicious then of a problem but didn't want to say anything to upset each other. After the doctor reviewing the screen, switching to various types of probes she told us that there was not any easy way to say it except that the baby had serious problems. The baby had a large encephalocele which was irreparable and meant that if the pregnancy went to term the child would not live long after delivery. This is the worst thing I have ever had to hear.
My husband and I choose to end the pregnancy and opted for a dilation and evacuation (D&E) as the procedure. After meeting with a genetic counseling team, I was scheduled for what the doctors were kindly referring to as a TA or therapeutic abortion by way of a D&E.
On Tuesday April 25th I met with the OBGYN who would be performing the procedure. After a brief discussion, which included some forms to fill out, the doctor placed a couple of laminaria in the opening of my cervix. The insertion of the sticks was uncomfortable and caused a few hours of mild cramping but having my husband by my side really helped me get through it. The following day I went back to the doctor where he removed the laminaria and replaced several more. This second visit was considerably more uncomfortable but having a hand to hold really helped along with having an excellent doctor who talked me through everything, was as gentle as possible and kept me distracted with conversation about the tattoo on my ankle.
Yesterday at about 9:30 in the morning the procedure was performed at BC Women's. I have to compliment the nurse that cared for me before and after as well as the surgical team, everyone was wonderful and supportive to both my husband and me. The required visit with the social worker before being released was annoying and unhelpful but for some people I'm sure that it is beneficial. The procedure itself was quick and painless and I do not remember a thing because I choose to have a general anesthetic. The worst part was the medication I was given a couple of hours prior to further dilation was pretty awful and caused me to shake uncontrollably, become very cold and have what I consider extremely bad cramps.
It is now a little more then 24 hours later, Friday April 28. I am having some light bleeding, my abdomen is sore to touch in spots, the opening of my vagina is tender in places and my breasts are quite hard from milk production (my doctor prescribed dostinex to stop the milk production). All in all I feel reasonably good and plan to return to work on Monday.
The most difficult part of this for me is the subtle reminders that come September there will not be a baby like we planned, but we are both staying positive that this was just one unfortunate occurrence and that we will continue on to have a healthy child in the future. Before we consider trying again we are going to wait for the pathology report to find out the cause.