Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Ectopic Pregnancy #1

It was eight years ago. Jamey and I had been married for almost four. The first three of those years were spent on the pill. We were ready to have children, so we stopped the birth control. Four months went by and no period. I went to see my midwives group and they prescribed progesterone to trigger a period.

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


  1. Thanks for sharing thyhand... I'm sending you hugs right now :)

  2. I am very sorry you and your family had to go through that. We believe I had an ectopic pregnancy many years ago. I had frightening symptoms and eventually put in a call to my OBGYN office when the one sided pain was enough to keep me from standing upright. The nurse told me to get to the ER as soon as possible, she believed I may have an ectopic pregnancy. After multiple ultrasounds, blood tests, and internal exams the pregnancy was not visible in the uterus, but my hcg levels were also not doubling so we knew I was in no danger of rupture at 5 weeks along, since the pregnancy was no longer viable. It was very difficult being told I needed to just wait to miscarry. Many physical and emotionally pain filled weeks went by before I actually began to abort.

    I have always had trouble getting pregnant, and staying pregnant. Fertility treatment revealed that I have a congenital defect in one of my fallopian tubes, there is a large pocket that puts me at very high risk for ectopic pregnancies. This explains my many early miscarriages and my night in the hospital over that probable ectopic pregnancy.

    I was scheduled for surgery to remove my defected tube (it was this or IVF for any future pregnancies) the next day and I all of sudden couldn't do it. I had an emergency consult with my trusted OBGYN and he said I could leave my tube in. Ectopic pregnancy would pose no threat to my life as he would monitor me every 48 hours until a uterine pregnancy could be confirmed or denied. This meant facing termination if the egg went down the wrong tube, but it was something I was willing to face at that very moment though it scared me to death. An hour after that appointment I was in Target shopping for a red wagon for my little boy and was I still feeling sick. I had been attributing this to nerves over the last couple of days, but I had just made the decision to cancel the surgery so why was I still sick to my stomach?

    A little voice told me to take a pregnancy test so I did. There in the store bathroom I saw 2 lines, it was exciting and frightening at the same time knowing this pregnancy may not be viable. I was in shock and went back to the Dr's office straight away to show him my test and he was as surprised as I was, it was way too early for me to be getting a positive test from urine, I was still a week away from a missed period.

    The healthy tube was the route that blessed egg traveled, and weeks of blood tests and ultrasounds revealed a healthy uterine pregnancy. My precious daughter was the reason for my sudden change of heart that day, a mother's intuition never fails.

    The ending to this very long story is that I still have that tube intact, and must again face the risks involved in any future pregnancies if I don't remove it. Reading your story puts me back to the 'take it out' side of the court in order to avoid the ordeal of losing a much wanted pregnancy. I am very happy you made it through your rupture, virtual hugs back to you. Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you don't mind that I shared mine, it is always good to shed a few tears over what we have lost, makes what we have all the more precious. Women need to know that some symptoms can be a red flag, best to chance over-reacting than to ignore when our lives can be at stake.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story...I'm sorry you had to go through this. I had a miscarriage in between the boys...that was really hard. And people don't always understand...but like you said, we do need to grieve. It IS a loss...the loss of a baby. It was a baby at conception...regardless of what the world says. xoxoxoxo I'm glad you're OK...

  4. Thank you Kelly and Michelle for sharing about your losses. I wish no one would have to experience this kind of loss (or any other for that matter).

    Kelly, having my tube removed was the right decision for us. It sounds as if your intuition has lead you down the best path for you in the past. Keep following it's lead and blessings to you.

  5. I too have had 2 ectopic pregnancies. The first was my first pregnancy and when the Dr.s finally realized what it was it was almost to late for me. Two pints of blood and removal of my tube and ovary and a week in the hospital. I know the LORD was with us then even though I didn't know HIM. The Dr told us we should be able to have children but to be monitored when every I got pregnant. I had a miscarriage and then another tubal pregnancy. This time they were able to save my tube and ovary. In all I have had 5 miscarriages and 2 tubal pregnancies and I know God has a plan.I look forward to meeting each and everyone of them. I never was able to have children here but God has let me help other mothers with their little ones. This all happened over a 15 year time span. I am past childbearing years and yet I still grieve. Blessings to all who have shared their stories.

  6. Viki,
    I am so very sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your story with us here. I believe that while it is often difficult to see God's plan for us while we are living our life, His providence will be obvious as we (and others) look back over the whole of our lives. May we live a life we will be proud of. And may God bless you, Viki.

  7. Awesome and interesting article. Great things you've always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post.

  8. My first pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy. I grieved. My second, who calls himself my 'ever lovin' first born', was conceived at the time my lost baby would have been born. I've always had this picture of the first soul sending the second (my ever lovin') to be my comfort. And he has been--and so much more. All things work to good...


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