Birth control has a chance of side effects, but when a 25-year-old Baltimore woman got hers inserted after the birth of her first child, she had no idea her side effects would lead to her losing her toes, uterus and ovaries.
“Although what happened to me won’t happen to everyone, I hope other women will be careful when deciding how to prevent pregnancy,” Tanai Smith wrote in a Women’s Health essay about her awful experience.
Smith had her intrauterine device inserted by her gynecologist eight weeks after giving birth to her daughter. She didn’t have many complications until three years later. During an annual vaginal exam at the OB-GYN, they couldn’t find her IUD. After an ultrasound of her stomach, uterus and cervix, her IUD was still MIA. Smith didn’t pay it any mind until she experienced sharp stomach pains by her belly button a month later. She returned to the doctor and after a X-ray of her stomach, it was shown that her IUD had traveled to the wall of her stomach. After having a hour-long surgery to remove the IUD, Smith noticed she had more incisions that she expected. Doctors told her that since the X-ray the IUD had traveled from her stomach to her liver and was broken into four or five pieces.
Unfortunately, after this first surgery Smith’s nightmare wasn’t over. During her recovery she experienced severe pain, vomiting and heavy vaginal bleeding. She returned to the hospital and then had to have another unexpected surgery, but this one wasn’t minor. When she woke up, doctors informed her that they removed her uterus and ovaries because they had blackened inside her body. She was told she was most likely exposed to bacteria after the surgery which led to the blackening of her organs.
While spending weeks in the hospital recovering from her second surgery, she was diagnosed with a sepsis infection due to bacteria exposure or stress from the surgery. This caused her blood pressure to drop and also effected her kidney functioning, so she began dialysis. After spending two months in the hospital, she began feeling better but she noticed her toes were blackened throughout her time there. She was diagnosed with necrosis, tissue death due to the loss of blood flow. Before she was discharged, doctors told her she would have to return to have her toes removed.
Since the surgery, Smith has not been able to return to college or her two part-time jobs. She has opened a GoFundMe page, which you can donate to here.