Mom to Madeleine Grace
September 29th, 2011
The ectopic pregnancy was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but I am trying to take something positive from the experience. Every day it is a struggle. I get out of the shower and run my hands over my stomach, remembering how it felt to know that my little one was there.
The bleeding had been ongoing for about a week. My periods had been messed up before I became pregnant, so I had a rough idea that I was about a month gone. I had a slight pain on my left side,but after hunting through tonnes of websites I thought that it was normal. Nevertheless, after one sleepless night I booked into the BEP clinic at my hospital. As a routine, I had a vaginal scan with the screen turned away from me. The tech was silent and the scan lasted for about ten minutes. She packed the screen away and I was told that the pregnancy could not be located, but don’t worry! Going from my dates it was entirely normal not to see my baby as the fluid may not have gathered around the embryo yet. I was asked to have a bloodtest to determine my hormone levels and to return tomorrow for a repeat test and scan. The following day, I did as I was told. Didn’t drink, check, submit to another blood test, check. It was time for the scan. I settled myself onto the chair once again and I knew… I just knew that it wasn’t going to be good news. The same tech scanned me again with a grim expression on her face. She looked at me and told me that she was going to pop out for a minute. A nurse came in to keep me company. My mind was in turmoil. What was wrong? Why hadn’t she said anything? The tech came back in with a consultant who took over the scan. Eventually, I was told to dress myself and would I please go to the consultant’s office? Meekly, I complied. The consultant told me that the pregnancy could not be located. I didn’t understand. Did she mean that I wasn’t pregnant? Or something worse? The first thing that sprang to mind was miscarriage and I never dreamed in a million years what she would tell me next.
She explained to me the nature of an ectopic pregnancy. She told me that she could not see the pregnancy in the right tube, but the left one was hard to make out. I was handed some leaflets on ectopic pregnancy and how it can be “resolved.” What an awful word. I hopefully asked the consultant whether being “resolved” meant that there was a chance, whether my baby would still be born. She simply kept chanting that it could be resolved in many ways. Mum had come into the office with me; she held my hand and, looking at the consultant, told me that I could not have the baby.
I was numb. I remember rising out of the chair, looking stupidly at the consultant , not fully grasping that my little one would not be with me next year. I had a leaflet about methotrexate, whichwould “resolve” the pregnancy. Right, I thought, another needle, at least it won’t be an operation. I was wrong. I went into the hallway and called Luke. I had been fine until he picked up and when I heard his voice I choked on tears and collapsed onto the floor, sobbing that we were not having the baby. I told him I had to stay in overnight and that I should be out in two days, after the drug had worn off. He left work there and then to be with me. I was settled into a private room and had a tube stuck in my arm. There was worse to come. The next morning the Doctor came to see me and told me that the pregnancy was far more advanced than previously thought. She said that it called for laparoscopy to remove the embryo. Again, I thought to myself, I’ll be alright. I waited all day to be admitted to surgery and then at 4pm it happened. It felt like someone had plunged a hot knife into my side and was dragging it steadily downwards. I was on fire. I was screaming for someone to help.
I barely remember anything from that point. I know there were lots of people in my room, Luke crying,nurses and the doctor, my parents with their arms around each other, needles and agonising pain. I was put onto a trolley and as I was wheeled through the ward my friend was sat in the waiting room, clutching a teddy and a card for me. I don’t remember if I said anything to her. Luke was with me as they ran to theatre. He was left at a set of double doors, telling me he loved me and crying onto my face. I wanted to tell him I loved him too but couldn’t speak. He placed my Yoshi cuddly toy onto my chest and he was gone. I faintly remember being prepped for theatre. I was told I’d have to be opened up, that the pregnancy had ruptured my left fallopian tube and I was bleeding internally. A nurse lifted my hand to a consent form and guided me to write “JV”, agreeing to the operation. And then it was all dark. I remember waking up. My mouth was fuzzy, my throat hurt but I cried. I told the guy sat with me to kill me. I was taken back to my room and rolled onto the bed. It was excruciating. I passed out and when I came round Luke was stroking my hair and my parents were sat at the foot of my bed. I told them all that I loved them and fell asleep again. I was on morphine for the whole night but was told later that Luke had refused to leave until the nurses were locking up the ward at 11pm and ordered him out.
The recovery was and is onerous. I could not walk or even raise myself to eat at first. It took about 3 days for me to be able to walk to the bathroom. The emotional pain, however, is still agonising. I would see pregnant women and angrily rile at whoever was with me about the gross injustice of it all. How dare they have a normal pregnancy? And then I blamed myself. I wondered whether this would have happened if I’d led a blameless life, whether karma was just having a good old dig. I never did find out why it happened. I’m 23, never had an operation on that area, in good health generally, I don’t smoke… in a nutshell, I do not fit a single criteria relating to ectopic pregnancy. It did happen though and all I can do now is make my life how I want it to be. I almost died, along with my baby and I have learned to cherish those around me wholeheartedly.