You can read about our first experience with ectopic pregnancy here.
Surgery to remove the first ectopic pregnancy happened in September (2001). Eight months later we were pregnant again. It took five of those months to get me cycling properly again and three months of trying to conceive. Sam was born in February.
With Sam almost two years old, we moved into this old house. I remember him exploring downstairs, crawling up and down all the little threshold steps in the doorways between each room. We were enjoying him so much and especially since we had just bought a three-bedroom farmhouse, we were looking forward to adding more children.
I was uncertain how long it would take to get pregnant again and therefore didn't want to wait too long. Jamey was convinced that having Sam was like "pushing the reset button" and set my cycles straight. He was right. We charted my temperatures as our form of birth control after Sam was born. I started cycling normally on my own after the usual six or so months of no periods due to regular breast-feeding. Three months after starting to try, I was pregnant again. Sam was two and a half years old.
The doctors and midwives had informed us that my risk of another ectopic pregnancy was higher than for those who had never had one. This was due to the possibility of scar tissue having formed where my fallopian tube had ruptured and been repaired. Did we expect to have problems again? Of course not. I, for one, felt like I had taken my turn with unfortunate conception problems, had our first child and would continue on without further incident.
I was about 8 weeks pregnant and had an early ultrasound scheduled in light of my history. One morning, prior to that ultrasound, I was going about my morning duties when I felt dull pain. Instantly and I mean instantly, I recognized the pain and knew I was having another ectopic pregnancy. Part of me was in denial, so I laid on the couch attempting to convince myself that it was something I had eaten or that I was possibly getting sick. But, as time went on the pain got worse and I could no longer deny the feeling.
I called Jamey at work (who had thankfully stopped traveling) and came right out and told him what was happening. I remember him asking me if I was sure. There was no doubt in my mind. I asked him to come home. Next, I called the midwives. As nice as she could, a nurse told me she didn't quite believe that I could recognize the pain and asked me to wait a few hours and see if anything had changed.
Now, I'm usually a people-pleaser. I usually do as I'm told (Jamey may disagree here a bit), but in this instance, I told her that if I was correct, things were going to get bad quickly and I didn't want to risk passing out at home with my 2 year old. She scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound right away.
Next, I called my friend, Shannon, and explained to her what was happening. Her daughter and Sam were best of little friends and she graciously agreed to keep Sam while we went in for my appointment. On the way to drop Sam off, the pain was increasing and yet so were my doubts. I thought, what if I was wrong? I had called Jamey home from work, made the nurse schedule an appointment for me and inconvenienced Shannon. I waited in the car as Jamey took Sam in to Shannon's, breathing through the discomfort. The pain wasn't in my head, but what if it was gas or something? How embarrassing would that be?
Less than an hour later, we were on our way to the hospital. I was right. What made this time even more difficult was that during the ultrasound, we saw and heard a heartbeat. Logically, I understood that even if it was possible to transplant that baby into my uterus, it would never survive. Even though the little heart was beating, it did not have the proper start to life, the proper nourishment there in my tube where it had begun to grow. We once again had lost a baby.
This time I was angry. Surprisingly, not at God. Just at circumstance. This pregnancy had implanted and started to grow in the same tube that the first one had. You can imagine how I felt about that blasted tube.
Recovery was once again difficult, both physically and emotionally. It was harder on me emotionally this time because of having seen that little heartbeat and because I began to wonder how we were to keep trying for children if this kept happening. They had removed the culprit (my left tube) during surgery, leaving me with only one. It seemed as if this was a sign that we should be done having children. This broke my heart all over again every time I thought of it.
We decided to do our best not to think that far ahead, to just get me well and see how things looked down the road. Six months down the road, the urge to add another child to our family outweighed our concerns. We decided to try again. We got pregnant the very first month we tried and nine months later welcomed Sadie into our family. We thought two was our magic number, but a few years later found us wanting to try for another. Once again, the very first month we tried, we conceived. This past mummer, Miriam joined us.
Our biological family is complete. I'm not sure how everything in heaven works, but I often think that I have the potential of meeting our two babies lost when I get there. Eternity with two babies? This would be my heaven.
Looking back, those two ectopic pregnancies seem like blips on the screen. At the time, they rocked our world. Our living children barely give me enough time to think of those who aren't with us. At times I feel guilty about this, but at other times think it may be God's way of helping to minimize my pain. When I dwell on it, it still hurts like crazy.
But if I stand way back and look at the biggest picture, the grandest plan, this life on earth will be the blip on the screen and I may one day be reunited with those babies for eternity. And that just makes me smile.