Around this time, a dear friend recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (a fantastic book for all women whether you are trying to conceive, use charting as birth control or would just like to understand how we females work). After reading this book cover to cover, I wondered if I was ovulating.
I starting charting my temperature and sure enough it appeared that I was not. I had bled, but discovered there is something called anovulatory bleeding- you have a period but it is not triggered by ovulation. I went to see my midwives and presented my charts. They agreed. Based on my charts, I was not ovulating. I was then prescribed Clomid to trigger ovulation.
After three months on Clomid, my temperature spiked (indicating a possible pregnancy). By that point I was kind-of a mess. All my life, I knew I wanted to be a mother. That was the plan. No one told me that sometimes it doesn't happen so easily or may not happen at all. I felt blind-sided. Now after months of trying to figure out what was going on and then trying for months to get pregnant, I felt spent. I took a pregnancy test and couldn't bear to look at it myself. I laid back on our bed and asked Jamey to read it. He walked over to me and had the look of someone who bears bad news. Then, his face broke into a grin. We were pregnant.
Soon after, Jamey left on a work trip. He would be gone five weeks, several states away. I always got lonely while he was away, but this time it wasn't so hard. I had life growing inside me. Around 7 weeks, I came down with what I thought was a stomach bug or problems with my irritable bowel, but then it worsened. I called out sick from work. I felt awful. I laid in bed feeling bloated and terribly uncomfortable. No change of position seemed to help. I remember my supervisor calling me at home. A parent was upset about a miscommunication and wanted some clarification on an issue (I worked as a clinical social worker in a psychiatric hospital for kids). I could barely follow what she was asking me. I apologized and told her that I was feeling just miserable and really couldn't talk.
I had to go to the bathroom then, so I stood up and almost passed out. I crawled to the toilet and threw up. I crawled back into bed and thought, my, I'm really sick. I spoke to Jamey on the phone that night, like we did every night. By then I was feeling a bit better but not well enough to return to work the following day. The next morning I had a routine appointment at the midwives' to meet with a nurse to go over proper nutrition, etc. I slept pretty well that night and felt a wee bit better, but not great, the next morning. I still felt bloated and remember wearing a pair of loose-fitting overalls for comfort.
I met with the nurse, answering many questions about my family's medical history and mine. In the course of conversation, I mentioned how awful I had felt the day before. The nurse asked more questions and her face told me she was concerned. She asked me to wait a minute. She was going to check and see if she could get me in for a quick ultrasound to make sure everything was okay.
This nurse was an angel, by the way. She was sweet and nurturing, about my mother's age. She came in with me for the ultrasound. The other angel, the ultrasound technician, began the ultrasound internally. She was quiet as she explored my abdomen. After what seemed like forever, she spoke as she moved the cursor over a very large, dark area on the screen. She said, "See this large, dark area? This is blood. Your abdomen is full of blood."
(I am just about losing it as I write this.)
The first angel took my hand. I started to cry. I didn't understand what all this meant exactly, but I knew it was bad. The second angel took my other hand. Then, they did something I did not expect. They asked if they could pray with me. I said yes through my sobs. Hand in hand they prayed for me, with me.
After reviewing the ultrasound pictures, one of the two doctors from the group came in and explained what was happening. The fetus attached itself to the wall of my left fallopian tube and began to grow there, producing a positive pregnancy test. As it grew, it ruptured my tube, causing blood to leak into my abdomen. He explained that the pregnancy was not viable, that there was no way to move the pregnancy to my uterus. I would need surgery to remove the pregnancy and repair my fallopian tube.
Jamey was in Georgia.
The doctor let me use his cell phone. I didn't have Jamey's Georgia number with me, so I had to call his supervisor. I'm not sure how he was able to understand me, but he had Jamey paged at the plant where he was working and somehow I found myself on the phone with him. I filled him in on what was happening and explained that I had to go to the hospital right away for surgery.
At the time we really didn't understand much about what was happening, I was raw emotion and he was trying to piece together what had happened and what he should do. After speaking to Jamey, I called and left a message for my sister who was attending a local college. I got her answering machine at her apartment and left a blubbering message describing what was going on.
I drove to the hospital by myself. I was numb. We lost a baby. I realize it was never a viable baby, but in my mind it was. I'm a planner and I had all these plans worked out. I would quit work and love on this baby like no other baby had been loved on before. Not only was there now no baby, but I was having surgery. I had never had surgery before. I was scared and felt very alone.
As soon as I walked onto the proper floor at the hospital, a nurse asked me my name and told me my husband was on the phone. He had looked up ectopic pregnancy on line and decided he would drive home right away. He had a 12 hour drive, but he was coming. I felt some relief. A very kind and supportive nurse lead me into my room to be prepped. Gown, IV, blood pressure, oxygen, temp. I was cold, shivering. I was scared as well as going into shock. I laid there and prayed. I was not on the surgery schedule, so I had to wait until they could fit me in.
Soon, I heard my dear sister speaking my name through sobs in the hallway. A nurse lead her to me. We cried. Oh, did we cry. I no longer felt alone.
Many hours later, I half woke up to a kiss. The room was dark. It was very early morning. Jamey had arrived. My sister was sleeping on the couch in my room. I drifted off to sleep again.
It's hard to write more than the description of what happened. Recovery was painful, both physically and emotionally. Looking back I had all the textbook symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. I had even skimmed over those chapters in the baby books I had bought. It just did not register that that was what was happening to me.
What scares me most is that I was home alone when the rupture occurred. Had I not had the appointment scheduled, had I passed out, had no one checked on me (no one had reason to), would I be here?
My story has a very happy ending. I don't know if it will be yours, but if you are reading this because you have experienced an ectopic pregnancy, I want you to know that I feel your pain and your loss. It is real pain and real loss. I would hug you if I could. I hope you feel my love.
There was hope for me even though I could not see it or feel it for quite some time. As I am writing this very section, child number three is waking from her nap crying out for me. There is hope not only when you've had one ectopic pregnancy, but also when you've had two. I will share that story soon.
In the meantime, grieve. Let those around you do their best to comfort you. They won't understand what you're going through, but if they are trying to it shows they care. Take care of your body. Be gentle with yourself, both physically and emotionally.
It will take time to heal. Gift yourself that time.
Click here for Our Ectopic Pregnancy #2. Pin It