My husband and I were so excited to bring Maddie to the hot air balloon festival in Stowe, Vermont, when I woke up feeling horrible -and I mean HORRIBLE! I was nauseous like you wouldn’t believe. I was exhausted. I ached all over and I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Since we had secretly not been doing anything to prevent us from bringing another little bundle of joy into the world, the thought crossed my mind that I may be pregnant. I finally started to feel slightly better as the day went on, and off to the balloon festival we went. We had a great time and all was well.
2 days later, my lovely monthly visitor paid her visit and I came to realize that I was not pregnant. Oh well, maybe next month. Then, 2 days later, she was back. Clearly, my body was playing an evil joke on me. I called my OB/GYN and asked what could be going on with my body. The phone nurse told me to take a pregnancy test to which my reply was “Are you not listening to me?!?! I told you that I JUST had my period like 3 days ago!!”. She said to take one anyways, but to call them right away if it was positive and to not get too excited. Sadly, I knew that she was hinting that I might be going through an early miscarriage.
After lots of water and 3 pregnancy tests later, we were dealing with an uneasy feeling. 3 positive pregnancy tests were staring us in the face. I had that nurses voice replaying over and over again in my head about not getting too excited. After calling the on-call doctor at my OB/GYNs office, we were informed that I would need to go in for hCG level testing the next day and then again 2 days later. Did I mention that I am the most impatient person in the universe?!?!
After the first test, it was confirmed that the home pregnancy tests were right – I did have hCG in my blood which would normally indicate that a woman was pregnant. Seeing as how I was bleeding just a day before, the waiting continued. I went back in for my second round of blood work. The much anticipated phone call finally came in and I was told that my hCG levels had tripled in only 48 hours. This seemed like great news since I had been told that it only needed to double in 48 hours to show that it was not miscarriage that I had gone through, but that I was actually pregnant and on my way to having another baby.
The excitement began! We started telling family and friends. The news was out. I mean, why wait?! We were so excited and couldn’t wait to share our news. I was told that the bleeding that I had experienced was obviously not my monthly visitor, but instead a little something called ‘implantation bleeding’. I wasn’t even worried about the fact that less than a week before, I was bleeding. I was given the green light by my doctor and all seemed fine…
Until the next evening.
Since I had been so tired, I wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner. After my husband went to pick up pizza, we were all about to eat when I started noticing that I was having some sharp pains. It was really low in my pelvis, but since it wasn’t too bad, I decided to see what happened with time. After only 15 minutes, the pain was getting worse and I knew that a call to my doctor was in order. I could barely get out what the pain was like, or even where it was located, when my doctor interrupted me and told me that I needed to get right to the ER to rule out an ectopic pregnancy and to see what was going on. My thought was, ‘What the %^$# did I do to deserve such a stressful week?!”. Knowing that an ectopic pregnancy, also known as a tubal pregnancy, was considered a medical emergency and wouldn’t turn out to be a viable pregnancy, I knew it wasn’t so. It couldn’t happen to me! I started putting the pain off as gas pains for an explanation. But, per doctors orders, off to the ER we went. After dropping Maddie off to my parents house, my husband drove *slightly* over the speed limit to the hospital as my pain was quickly getting worse. I was greeted by many doctors and nurses who urgently got me hooked up to an IV, gave me pain meds, took my temperature, blood pressure and wheeled an ultrasound machine in faster than I could say “Holy CRAP, I’m in pain!”.
Another ultrasound was completed and soon after the ER doctor walked in and looked like someone had just killed his puppy. He looked at us while our eyes were seemingly popping out of our heads with wanting to know what was happening to me. Slowly and sadly he said “It’s ectopic…”.
I balled. And balled. And balled.
I was hysterical. I couldn’t even hear what he was trying to tell me. Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to hug and comfort me and listen to him at the same time. What I had gathered, was that I was going to be given a shot of Methotrexate and I would be admitted to the hospital for the night. The rest of the evening was a blur. My husband had to leave a couple of hours after receiving this news because it was almost 1am and he had to go pick Maddie from my parents house.
The worst part of the evening, besides hearing the news, was actually receiving the Methotrexate injection. Do you know what it is like to get a shot and to know what it is about to do to the fetus growing inside of you? Don’t get me wrong, deep down- and I mean deep down, I knew that it had to be done. You can not have a fetus grow in your fallopian tube. It just can not happen. But the fact that I knew what was going to happen once that shot was injected into me, was absolutely devastating.
There were lots of tears, lots of sadness, lots of questions, lots of pain, lots of sleepless nights, lots of frustration, lots of feeling empty, hurt, and helpless. When I thought “time will help heal this”, things got even worse.
Over the next couple of weeks, I was rushed back to the ER 3 times. Each time was due to pain. And I’m not talking about the pain that sent me to the ER the first time. I’m talking about literally asking my husband to knock me out type of pain. (Obviously, he would never do that, but trust me, I BEGGED him!). Each time, the doctors would examine me, check vitals, hook me up to IVs, medicate and verify I wasn’t bleeding internally. They knew something was wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it. The last time I went in, I remember the ER nurses mention bring in the cardiac unit in because my blood pressure and pulse were so out of whack due to the pain. Even though I was totally out of it due to the extreme pain, I remembered hearing those words and the sound of concern in their voice. I honestly thought I’d never see my daughter again. I thought it would be the last time I’d be holding my husbands hand. You hear of how life threatening ectopic pregnancies can be, then to hear nervousness in the chaotic scene that was my third ER visit, I was petrified.
Luckily, I was in good hands and stabilized.
After more tests and another ultrasound, it was confirmed that my fallopian tube had been twisting. It had already been discussed that I probably needed to have a surgical intervention. I couldn’t keep living with ER trips of this magnitude. Clearly, the Methotrexate shot wasn’t doing its job. After the last ultrasound, the doctors agreed. I would then be wheeled into emergency surgery just hours later.
My fallopian tube had actually wrapped itself around my ovary. The doctor who performed the surgery said it was a mess in there. Luckily, my ovary was saved, but not the tube. He warned my husband and I that having another ectopic pregnancy was possible if we were to try to get pregnant again. Since I had already gone through one ectopic pregnancy, a repeat (but on the other side) could happen and the chances were greater. While this was all hard to hear, I was glad to be alive and able to head home soon to see Maddie. I looked at her in a different light after those ER visits. I realized how precious having children is, and how easily it can be taken away from you.
Even with a 15% chance of reliving this experience, my husband and I went on to try to get pregnant. 3 short months following surgery, we had a positive pregnancy test. The first 8-12 weeks were nerve racking. I couldn’t help but be concerned that this would all happen again. And if it did, that was it. I only had one tube left.
With a great support systems, prayers, positive thoughts and well wishes, I’m happy to say that we now have a healthy and happy 4 month old baby girl. She is a blessing and a joy to have in our lives. We named her Makinley Rose. Her middle name, Rose, is because the flower reminds me of remembrance and memorial. It was a great way for us to incorporate the baby who we lost with the little girl who we are so madly in love with.
I will never forget the baby that we lost. I will never forget this curve ball that life has thrown us. I will never forget what we have been through. Even writing this post makes my eyes swell with tears. However, the relationship between my husband and I is even stronger now than it was before. We stick together and knew that we would be okay, regardless of the outcome. We had each other and we were already so incredibly blessed with our first daughter, Maddie.
I’m not sharing my experiences to scare you. I’m not sharing this to hear “I’m sorry”. I’m sharing my story because it did happen to me, just like I swore it couldn’t. It can happen to anyone.
First and foremost, if you think you’re going through an ectopic pregnancy, go see a doctor right away as ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening.
Also, while the turnout is horrible for any ectopic pregnancy, there are happy endings. Luckily, we went on to have a healthy baby girl. I wish the same result for anyone who ever experiences an ectopic pregnancy.
If you’re having trouble in your journey to motherhood, no matter what that journey may be, remember to always keep a positive outlook. Is it hard to do so? Absolutely! Stick with you partner and those closest to you. Rely on your support system.
Have you ever gone through an ectopic pregnancy? What trials have you been faced with during your journey to motherhood?