Three ectopic pregnancies:
January 8, 2009 (9 weeks),
January 8, 2010 (5 weeks),
December 13, 2011 (5w5d with a heartbeat)
My name is Bethany Anderson. My husband and I live in a small rural community in Pennsylvania called Mercersburg. I am twenty-two years-old and my husband, Thomas, is twenty-eight. Thomas and I have been together for almost 5 years and we were married in August of 2011. We have a dog, which is like my child, Chino Taco Anderson. My husband has a son, named Cadon, who is now 6 years old. Although I wish he would be with us every single day, he lives with his mother and we don’t get to see him as often as we’d like. We were told the only way for us to conceive after our extremely difficult losses, was through in-vitro fertilization. This is our infertility story.
In December 2008, we found out that we were expecting for the first time. This was the happiest moment in my life. For the first time in my life, I believed that everything had finally fallen into place and we were about to start a new exciting chapter of our lives. I rushed to get an appointment because we were so excited to possibly see our baby! We never made it to the appointment. I started experiencing horrible pain and we rushed to the emergency room. The pain was too unbearable and I knew that something was wrong, but I tried holding myself together as best I could. I was trying to hold my head high as I had my ultrasound, but I didn’t see a baby. On our one-year anniversary, we found out our baby was going to be taken from us. At only 9 weeks, our baby was trapped in my fallopian tube and I was on my way to emergency surgery. I thought at the time that life could not get any harder. When the doctor told me what was going to happen, I was helpless. She told me that I was going to have surgery right away and she would have to take my fallopian tube, our baby, who had stopped growing, and most likely my left ovary. I prepped for surgery and as they wheeled me away to the Operating Room, my husband held my hand tight. He told me everything would be okay, kissed me on the forehead and then he was gone. They put me on the table and tears poured out of my eyes. My doctor wiped my tears away and the next thing I remember were bits and pieces of waking up in the recovery room. The first face I saw was Thomas’. He looked scared and exhausted. A few family members came and went when I came to my hospital floor. It was in the children’s ward and I was told that I’d have to stay alone, overnight. When visiting hours were over and Thomas left to go back home, I could do nothing more than cry myself to sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night, hoping it was just a terrible nightmare, but I realized each time that it was not. I was released to go home and was on bed rest for 3 weeks. After what seemed to be the longest three weeks of my life, I returned to work. With the comfort of my coworkers, I was able to get through the hard times at work, while Thomas did everything he could do to help me at home. My follow-up for surgery was a difficult one. I was told that I would most likely never become pregnant again without IVF, or, if we did attempt to get pregnant on our own, the result would most likely be the same as the first. At 18 years old, I was pretty much being told that I should not to start a family and that I would never be able to experience the joy of having a normal pregnancy. My dreams were shattered. I continued the routine of waking up in the middle of the night, hoping it was all a nightmare. Life went on as normal as normal could be, until December. Again, I had found out that we were expecting for a second time. Hesitant but still excited, we accepted the only doctor’s appointment they had available – January 8th, 2009, our second anniversary, ironically. On January 7th I had called the doctor frantically, because again I was experiencing the same type of pain that I had last year. The next day I noticed I was spotting and my heart instantly dropped. At the appointment they had confirmed I was miscarrying. Back to the hospital I went, unsure of how this procedure would work. They wanted to save my right fallopian tube and ovary, but they had to end my pregnancy. This time, a new doctor had come to talk to me about what was going to happen. They had to give me a drug called Methotrexate, which is a chemotherapy agent that has been used to treat cancer because it affects cells that are rapidly dividing. It interferes with folic acid and stops cell duplication. This was the only non-surgical method of ending my pregnancy and luckily, because this pregnancy was only around 3 or 4 weeks, it would be more than 90% effective. I was given my injection and released to go home. I had to have blood tests every week, at least one, sometimes two times to be sure that my hCG levels were decreasing at the appropriate levels. If for some reason they stayed the same, there was a possibility of another surgery in my future. After almost two months of being poked and prodded, I had my last lab visit and I was told that my levels were back to normal. I was also told this time again, that birth control was an absolute necessity in my case, because in-vitro was now the only way possible. This doctor told me that there was a very small chance that I would ever become pregnant without the use of in-vitro. Again, life continued. We decided it was time for us to move to the next step and Thomas and I were married on August 25, 2011. Thomas and I started focusing more on our own personal growth. Thomas decided to make business because he had found something he was incredibly passionate about- photography. His name quickly spread and we had people inquiring about his business on a daily basis. Although I loved our job, I was still in search of a career out there for me until I realized that I was searching for something that was right in front of my eyes. I love children! In August I was hired as a Preschool Teacher at First United Day Care and I would be working with three-year olds. I had finally found something that I was excited to wake up in the morning for. I did so well that my supervisor moved me from room to room as needed; so now, on a daily basis, I was spending my days with children ranging from 3 months to 5 years. Still tender, I started to learn how to focus the sadness of my losses in a positive way. The summer went by quickly as always, and winter was surely on its way. December came too quickly and I had a strange feeling, which I never expected to have again. I ran to the store and had planned on taking an at-home pregnancy test the next morning. I had assumed that it was just my hope that gave me an intuition that I had another baby on its way and quickly brushed my excitement away, given the previous sadness that my husband and I had both experienced. We of course had hoped that for once things would work themselves out, but the last thing we wanted was to be let down for a third time. On the morning of December 9th, 2011, I woke up at 6 a.m. to continue my normal morning routine. I took the pregnancy test and the three minutes I waited seemed to take a lifetime. I was unable to move, breathe or talk for a few minutes when I realized that the test had turned out positive. I rushed to my husband’s bedside, to awake him. We couldn’t believe it. I went to work, glowing and realized that I had no pain. I was certain that everything that we had been through in the past was now going to be healed by a new pregnancy; a new start for all of us. I contacted my doctors and had two sets of lab work to determine that I was definitely pregnant. I waited by the phone for yet another doctor to give me the news – either my levels had doubled, or they hadn’t, which would confirm if the pregnancy was on track, or not. I had a call from my doctor, congratulating me on motherhood and telling me that the levels turned out to be just fine. I was the happiest person in the entire world. Since she had given me such great news, we decided on both boy and girl names and were starting to look into all of the fun and exciting things that come with a normal pregnancy! We couldn’t wait to tell the world that again, we were expecting, but this time it was for certain! We started doing things differently than the previous pregnancies, like parking in different spots at the doctors, requesting yet another new doctor; it sounds silly now, but we were up to doing anything that would make this pregnancy different from the last turnouts.
On December 13th we had our first OB appointment. The doctor asked me of my previous pregnancies and was taken aback by my story. When she started looking over my files, a happy look turned into a worried look and she said that she didn’t like the way the levels had risen. She gave me an ultrasound and again, I didn’t see a baby. She told me not to worry; she would send me to the hospital to have an expert give me another ultrasound to hopefully be able to find the baby. So off to the hospital we went. This time, I refused to even look at the screen during my ultrasound. I was sent back to my doctors so that they could give me the answers. I waited and waited and again, time stood still. I heard the knock on the door, and my heart jumped. She rushed in and told me it was another ectopic. My heart sunk to the floor, for the third time in my life. I felt like there was nothing anyone could do or say to change the terrible feeling that had taken over my mind. And again, another surgery was in my very near future. She started telling me how things would work during surgery and I could not listen to the words that came out of her mouth. She gave us a moment and my husband just held each other crying like so many other times before, terrified of what was going to happen next. I just wanted to run out of that doctor’s office and never look back, refuse to have yet another surgery to take another baby from me. She returned also crying almost as hard as I was, and had me sign papers that stated that she was going to take my baby, who, at just 5 weeks and 5 days old, had a heartbeat. My baby was still alive but there was no way of saving him or her. She also told me that she would have to take my only remaining fallopian tube and possibly my ovary – the only thing that I felt made me a woman at that point. It took me a few minutes to work up the confidence to sign the paper. She said it was extremely detrimental to my health to postpone having surgery for even the slightest amount of time. They had to move other scheduled surgeries just so I could take their spot to possibly save my life for the second time. I arrived at the hospital, called and told my mother it had happened again, and my husband and I, both lifeless, entered the surgery center. My emotions went from sad to angry to confused and back again. There was not a moment that I stopped crying. I was prepped for surgery and my husband was able to come see me for a few minutes before I went under the knife. Soon, they rushed me down many hallways, blank like a sheet of paper. I closed my eyes and imagined my life, without such a trying roadblock. We arrived at the operating room doors, a place where I refused to ever have to return to again. A surgery tech squeezed my hand and brushed away my tears. I closed my eyes, and the next thing I remember is getting picked up and put on my hospital bed. A few family members were in the room and my husband was again the first face I saw out of surgery. This time, I had a room to myself with a huge window, and my husband was allowed to stay overnight with me while I recovered. Again, I returned home the next day and I was off work for three weeks. I met with my supervisor and we talked about the struggles that we have gone through over the past years that she knew nothing about previously. I returned to work on January 3rd, 2012, hoping to set aside all of my mixed emotions and be the “Miss Bethany” all of the children remembered me to be. There were times that I was excited to be back, and other times where I felt that I couldn’t get past the reality of what had just happened to me. All of these lives surrounding me, these parents who had perfect children a part of everyday life; was almost too hard to face. A few days ago I had my post-op follow-up, which eased my mind. My doctor quickly got straight to the point, telling us she was sorry for everything we have been through and wished us the best in the years to come. She said I healed beautifully and said that I should have no problem carrying full term with in-vitro fertilization. She handed me a referral for a specialist and told me that whenever we were ready to start, we were able to! I was so relieved. I have an appointment in a few days to hear the ends and outs of what I should expect in our journey. How it is possible for me to go through another ectopic pregnancy and lose another baby on my anniversary is something I will never understand. It was a true test of the relationship that we were still fighting so hard for. There were times where I thought, “How will I ever be able to say “Happy Anniversary” without being reminded of these three lives that were lost incredibly too soon?” Another heart-wrenching issue is the fact that there are so many children in the world without parents, or with parents that abuse, neglect and can somehow give their children away while continuing their lives. The only problem is although we have jobs that we love, family who supports our decision and have a home ready to be filled, it will take us years and years of saving enough money until we would be able to have enough for one try of in-vitro. We are trying our best to save what we can; it’s just a shame that people, including myself, want children but have to pay for what other people can have so easily. I have had people in the past few years that one day it will all work out, maybe it wasn’t meant to be, or give me a story of how the doctors said they would never have children but they ended up getting their miracle baby. I want this to be me; I want to watch my child grow like I see the children every day at work do. I want to tuck them in at night and read them bedtime stories. I feel that my husband and I deserve this more than most people who are handed the opportunity to have children. It saddens me to think of all of the children in the world who deserve amazing parents but search forever trying to find. We have started the journey as early as we possibly could, because we fear the repercussions of waiting too long. It is every little girls dream to one day find their prince charming and be a mommy. I found my prince charming, so the only thing left to complete my life is to become…“Mommy”.
Bethany blogs at http://www.bethanydiannaanderson.wordpress.com.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.