One year. It’s been a whole year since my Ectopic pregnancy. I have told a rushed story on my previous blog soon after it happened, but I thought I would go into more detail on this new and improved blog. I wanted to provide AS MUCH information as I could. The younger version of me going through the thick of it would have really appreciated something like this.
First of all, if you are dealing with pregnancy/infant loss, my heart goes out to you. In fact, I pray for you. It is just one of those things that no one will be able to comprehend unless they have gone through it first hand. But, you are NOT alone. Sadly enough, pregnancy loss is more common than you think. If you ever need someone to talk to, I will always try my best to reply!
So, what is an Ectopic pregnancy? It is when the embryo (baby) implants anywhere other than the uterus. It most commonly happens in the Fallopian tubes, and is then considered a tubal pregnancy (which is what I had).
The topic of miscarriage is out there, because it is so common (although, I wish it wasn’t!). When I got home from the hospital, I tried searching for anyone else that I could relate to who was open about their own Ectopic pregnancy. There was hardly anyone. I felt alone. In a way, I even felt like an alien. My body couldn’t do what it was literally designed to (which is not true..). Which is why this post is specifically on Ectopic pregnancy, but it is also every bit as much for anyone who is dealing with any kind of loss. Or knows of anyone personally who is dealing with a loss. In this post I will go over how we found out I was pregnant, the events leading up to my surgery, and how we have been healing (which I must say has not stopped).
We had “officially” started trying in August, but I hadn’t taken any birth control since May. On January 8th, I had the sudden urge to take a pregnancy test. My initial thought was, “there is no way I am pregnant.. It could still be to early.” I had also had wayyy too many negative tests to believe I would ever have a positive of my own. I took a test, and after a few minutes came back to look at it. There was a SECOND line. It was so faint, but Ronny could see it, too! Although, he wasn’t going to believe it unless it got darker. I sent a picture to a friend and Ronny’s cousin who I am very close with, and both said they could see something. I also sent the picture to my doctor and she replied, “it’s positive”.. WHAT? The next morning I took another test, and the line got even darker. Here are the two tests below! They’re not great quality, but it clearly shows the line getting darker!
I tried to surprise Ronny in a cute way, but he totally knew what was going on. We then went to get a blood hCG test that came back positive. My level was at 23 which meant early pregnancy. I was PREGNANT. We told our parents, Ronny’s brother and his wife, and a few close friends. We probably would have told more of our close friends if it hadn’t been for the bleeding the following day (January 10th).
On January 10th I started bleeding and having cramps. It felt like a period, and as the day progressed.. so did the bleeding. After a long day of tears (from both of us), I was sure it was a miscarriage. We both went to bed with heavy hearts, but trusting that there was a plan for us. I got up early to test again.. just to be sure. The line got DARKER! So I took a digital test (they were saying not pregnant before because it was too early) and it said PREGNANT.
Because it had been the 48 hours since my first hCG blood test, we went in to confirm that the pregnancy was progressing. They like to see that in 48 hours the number is doubling. My levels had gone up to 101, which means it had quadrupled! Which was an amazing sign to the doctors, but I still felt uneasy. I mean, I had just basically started a period while being pregnant. I was experiencing slight nausea, but it was more of a constant sudden urge to gag if I didn’t eat in time.. haha! Our first anniversary was on the 12th, and we made the most out the weekend. As the days went by, I kept taking strip tests (the ones in the pictures) and the second line kept getting darker until the test line was darker than the control line!
All signs were leading to a healthy pregnancy. I had downloaded a pregnancy app (Ovia is my favorite) and even scheduled my first prenatal appointment for January 26th, but I still just felt like there was something wrong. I tried telling myself that I was just being paranoid, and I was experiencing first pregnancy jitters.. but the uneasy feeling would not go away. I couldn’t feel excited, and I felt really guilty about that. I kept looking at the calendar and counting down the days until my appointment. If everything was measuring right, I would be six weeks by then according to the first day of my last period.
Fast forward to the 23rd. I woke up early in the morning around 5:00-6:00, and once I was fully awake I could feel pain. I always had severe cramping with my periods, but this was even worse. I went to the bathroom to get in the shower (my version of relaxing), and after standing there awhile, I noticed I had started bleeding. I then started feeling dizzy and light headed. I then thought to myself, “I’m going to throw up” so I hurried out of the shower to the toilet.. I went to tell Ronny what was going on in case he woke up and found that I wasn’t in bed, and went back to the shower to relax. I watched the clock so that I could call my OBGYN’s office as soon as they opened. I got an appointment for that morning at 10:00am. My pain was much worse, but specifically on my left side. At the appointment they asked me a few questions and had me pee so that they could do the in-office pregnancy test. Trying to pee was painful, and I ended up throwing up again in the bathroom. I saw my doctor (the NP I usually saw), and she wanted to do a pelvic exam to see if she could identify where the bleeding was coming from. She couldn’t, so we scheduled an ultrasound appointment for later that afternoon at 3:00.
As the day progressed, I kept feeling worse. I could not keep anything down. Not even a sip of water. By the time we got to the ultrasound appointment I could barely walk, and always felt like I was going to throw up. I had to stop in front of the building with a bag because I physically couldn’t move anymore due to the pain and nausea. Thankfully, Ronny had seen a wheelchair in the office at our first appointment, so he ran inside to grab it. During the ultrasound she kept typing the words “blood” and “mass”. I kept asking her questions I knew she couldn’t answer in hopes I would get at least a little bit of information. After the ultrasound we were told to wait in the room they had us in for a few minutes before the ultrasound. We thought this was strange because they had told us earlier that they would call with the results. A nurse came in to take my vitals (again, strange) and told us they were contacting the radiologist right then. Not even 10 minutes went by before my OB (who I had never met until now) came in to talk to us.
She told us that I had an excessive amount of internal bleeding, that my left Fallopian tube was very enlarged, and that this meant that it was 100% an Ectopic pregnancy. She then explained that she was going to try her best to save my tube, but that there was a good chance I could end up losing it. She told us that I would need to go into emergency surgery, and there was an O.R. being prepped for me at the hospital. I very clearly remember her saying, “This is life or death. We have to do this surgery, or your condition is fatal. There is no way out of this.” There was nothing I could do in that moment but nod my head and let the tears that I no longer had control over stream down my face. I was trying hard not to cry. I wanted to seem put together, and it hurt my whole body to be crying. It was like I could feel that the inside of my stomach was full of blood. Ronny asked if we could have two minutes alone. He then knelt by my chair and said EVERYTHING I needed to hear in that moment. Things like I was brave, we could do this, and everything was going to be okay. We had been updating my mom throughout the day, so I had Ronny call her when he got the chance to let her know that I would be going into surgery. I was then wheeled to the hospital, because it was much faster than going to get our car (the office is connected to the hospital). Ronny was told to check me in and fill out paper work while I changed and got my IV. I had the SWEETEST nurses and anesthesiologist who made the experience bearable. I don’t remember much, and it all happened pretty fast. I was wheeled into the O.R. after being prepped for surgery, and was given anesthesia.
The next thing I knew I was waking up. After being monitored for a bit they wheeled my bed into my post-op room, and my mom was there with Ronny. I don’t remember much due to the anesthesia, but I remember making eye contact with my mom and immediately feeling warm tears stream down my face. It was in that moment that I felt empty. I had only been 5 weeks 3 days pregnant, but the knowledge and emotional fill of being pregnant was taken away. I was no longer pregnant, which meant I was no longer having a baby. She asked if I wanted a hug, and I shook my head no. I knew I would cry even harder, and I didn’t want to cry. The embryo (baby) ended up being close to the opening of my Fallopian tube, so my OB was able to squeeze everything (pregnancy tissue, fluid) out, cauterize the bleed and save my tube completely. Which was an actual MIRACLE considering my condition! I ended up staying that night at the hospital due to the amount of blood I lost (nearly 1 liter). I could NOT stand up without passing out. The next morning I had to use a bedpan to pee because I couldn’t get up. When I finally could get up, Ronny had to wipe me so that I could hold myself up on the toilet. When we got home he had to bathe me in the shower so that I wouldn’t fall over. Words can’t express how grateful I am for Ronny! His love, kindness, and selflessness is just unbelievable.
The doctors talk to you about everything that will happen to your body, but there is no way anyone can prepare you for what you will experience emotionally. They had done another hCG test before surgery and found that my levels were at 3,616. Part of me feels peace because of how well the pregnancy was trying to progress. The other half of me feels angry. If the baby had only made it to my uterus.. If my body had only done what is was designed to do as a woman. Over the past year I have experienced a lot of pain, anger, and “what ifs”.. but a lot of hope all at the same time. Because of all of these ups and downs I have had times where I have felt mentally insane. I have said things I regret. Through all of it, I have found true friends. People who aren’t related to me who take me as is. In my good days and my brokenness.
Still, I have times where I feel like my pregnancy wasn’t far enough along to feel this heartbroken. I sometimes feel like I need to slap myself awake because what I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what other people have gone through. Which is SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH. Never EVER let ANYONE (regardless of who they are in your life) make you feel like your trials aren’t significant enough to matter. Never let your own thoughts and self doubts make you feel this way either.
If you happen to be reading this out of curiosity, don’t tell those who are recovering from a loss that it will happen when it’s supposed to, and they just need to have patience. They tell themselves this EVERY DAY. Just mourn with them, and listen. Mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those you stand in need of comfort. (Mosiah 18:9)
In trying to get pregnant again I have experienced hope, anger, fear, peace, resentment, frustration.. the list goes on. I know for a fact that I could not have gone through this without Ronny. At times our marriage has struggled, but we have each other to turn to. We know exactly how the other feels and that has been HUGE. We have found a new appreciation for each other that we probably never would have. We have found a new appreciation for women, and for the process of growing a family. Some people NEVER get the chance to have their own children. Being able to bear your own children is a BLESSING. I would give anything to be deathly ill for 9 months and have a healthy baby than to go through a loss again. But, you deal with the cards you are dealt with.. To those of you who have experienced more than one, my heart goes out to you. You are braver and stronger than you will ever be able to comprehend.
I will say, overall I am hopeful. I know that our time will come to experience all of the things that we didn’t before. One day we will have a perfect baby, and all of this pain will have been worth it. The wait will be worth it.
It will all be worth it.