BY KIMBERLY LIPSCHUS
“I hereby agree to the excavation of contents.”
Now, please sign here.
It’s terribly unpleasant typing those words. Although it sounds rather like a building site, its actually clinical term for a curette or D&C. Otherwise known as the scraping away of the womb lining after an incomplete miscarriage. And to have one done, you need to sign the form to agree to have your contents ‘excavated’.
My ‘excavation’ went something like this. Ultra sound. The chatty clinician falls quiet. She prods around and I see my baby on the screen and take a fluttering breath of joy. But she’s been quiet too long. Then she utters these five words, “There’s no heartbeat. I’m sorry”
Rush of blood to my brain. Pounding in my ears. Breathing comes in short bursts. And I’m ushered out into the waiting area where I’m told to go home to wait for it to ‘come away’. And there I find myself, blinking in the sun, shaking like a leaf. So I waited. And waited. One week later the tiny form within still clung on. I saw it in my minds eye, not wanting to let go of me, its mother. Perish the thought. Instead I spent the week overly busy whilst somehow trying to recalibrate a defeated dream and birth date that would never occur. Finally, I just booked in for the D&C, and signed for an excavation of contents.
I am a psychotherapist and counsellor. I focus mainly on fertility in all its guises. From pre pregnancy to birth and beyond I am struck as women and their partners endure dehumanising experience after dehumanising experience, just like this one.
Take the woman waking up in recovery after having eggs harvested during her fourth round of IVF. She looks down to see a single number ‘2’ scrawled in black marker pen, on the back of her hand. She begins to focus on the other beds in the recovery room.