A 25-year-old woman who lost her ovaries, uterus and toes after her IUD forced its way up into her stomach and migrated over to her liver said her faith in God has helped her recover.
“Sometimes things happen in your life and you don’t know why,” Tanai Smith, of Baltimore, Md., wrote on a GoFundMe page. “You question yourself why me or what did I do to deserve this? But what you should be asking is what can I learn from it. I’m finally coming out to tell my story because I feel like I can help someone.”
Smith said she was offered birth control six weeks after her daughter’s 2014 birth. She said that she was told it would work for five years, but at an annual check-up with a new gynecologist in October 2017 she allegedly learned that there was potentially an issue.
The gynecologist, whom she did not name in her post, could not find the IUD, and allegedly sent her for two ultrasounds. Smith said the scans did not show the IUD.
“One day in the beginning of November I was at work I began to have a sharp pain in the bottom right side of my stomach and the first thing that popped in my head was is this that IUD?” she wrote, adding that she took herself to the emergency room when it worsened.
Smith said she was taken for an X-ray, which showed that her IUD had wound up in her stomach.
“I went and talked to my OB-GYN, told him everything that was going on and even showed him the X-ray picture that they allowed me to take,” she wrote. “So he said I have to get surgery. So I asked him how would they have to get it out and he told me they would cut me right under my belly button and use a scope.”
Smith claims that when she woke up from the Dec. 13 procedure, she noticed that she was cut three times, and that she was told the IUD broke into pieces and had traveled to her liver. She claims she was released from the hospital despite the fact that she was bleeding, but had to be rushed back overnight.
“I was bleeding internally,” Smith said. “After the surgery my mom was told that when they open [SIC] me up, my ovaries was [SIC] black and that they had to give me a hysterectomy. After the surgery I went into septic shock causing me to be in ICU for a few weeks.”
Smith said her organs began to fail, and she was placed on a ventilator.
“At the time, I didn’t know what was going on or what would happen,” Smith wrote in an essay published in Women’s Health. “I was convinced I wouldn’t make it – that I would die.”
She said she spent weeks away from her daughter because she didn’t want the medical equipment to scare her, and she lost feeling in her hands and feet.
“At the end of my third week in the hospital, sensation returned to my hands while my toes began to blacken from necrosis, tissue death due to loss of blood flow,” she wrote. “On February 2, almost two months after my first surgery, I was finally discharged with a prognosis that hung over me for months: When I felt ready, I’d need to return for the removal of all toes on my left foot and the tips of my right toes.”
Smith had her toes removed in early May, and said she hasn’t been able to return to school or either of her part-time jobs. She said she was told that either the IUD was put in too soon after childbirth and the healing of her uterus pushed it up, or the tightening of her muscles during each menstrual cycle forced the device upward.