If you’ve seen any of my Instagram stories within the last week or so, then you probably have a good idea of what’s in this post. But I still feel the need to write about it. Because that’s just what we do here. That’s what this place is for. Feel free to skip if you don’t want to read anything having to do with fallopian tubes.
We weren’t trying for a baby. We honestly were’t even considering trying for another until maybe next year sometime. (At least I wasn’t. Tyson would’ve already had a newborn wrapped to him right now if it were totally up to him.) So a possible pregnancy was the absolute last thing on my mind when I started bleeding. I had an IUD, (still have an IUD, though not for much longer) and with the kind that I had (the Mirena) I hadn’t had a period for the three years since I’d gotten it. I didn’t think much of it at first, I thought maybe I had just pushed my luck with the three blissful years of not buying tampons, and now my time was up. It wasn’t until I hit the two week mark that I started to think that maybe this was more than just an incredibly delayed period. I called my midwives back in Virginia, who were the ones who gave me the IUD after Isla was born, and their first response was to tell me that I should probably take a pregnancy test. This was the exact opposite advice I expected to hear. I hung up with them, and Everett who was in the backseat of the car at the time, asked me if I was pregnant. I answered with at least half a dozen toned-down versions of “there is no way in hell” while we finished driving over to Walgreens to pick up a pregnancy test. I drove home, drank a ton of water, and then took one. I didn’t even have to wait 10 seconds before the line started to appear. And in between the perfect storm of swear words and also an unexpected excitement and peace, I laughed. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. Ok. I’m pregnant!
I called Tyson at work and congratulated him on officially winning the “when are we having the next baby” debate ;), and then called my aunt to see if she could get me a last minute appt with her incredible OB/GYN sister-in-law.
At this point, I was still taking it all in with a grain of salt, since the only sign of the pregnancy was the bleeding. I hadn’t felt sick, no sore boobs, no unusual tiredness. I had felt 100% myself. It was such a strange range of emotions to experience, all so contradictory to each other, and all surfacing at the exact same time. The shock, and then more shock, the excitement, the peace, the fear, the visualization of doing it all for the third time, the imagining of the tiny little bean I didn’t know was in my body, while also mentally preparing to lose it, and kicking myself for waiting two weeks to ask questions.
The next day Tyson met me at the hospital for a blood draw and ultrasound. The ultrasound techs never really tell you anything until the doctor can meet with you, but after a long while of looking at a bunch of black, it was pretty clear that my uterus was empty, except for the IUD, which was exactly in the place that it should’ve been. Afterwards we met with the doctor, and had it confirmed that this was most likely an ectopic pregnancy, which means that the pregnancy had implanted in one of my fallopian tubes. Their best guess was that I was between 6-8 weeks along, which was incredibly lucky because the risk of the tube rupturing grows significantly after 8 weeks. Since there’s no way to move the fetus from the tube and into the uterus, this type of pregnancy isn’t viable. The only options are to either inject a chemotherapy drug called methotrexate, that will dissolve the pregnancy, or go in through surgery and remove it that way. The surgery also presents the likely risk of losing the tube and ovary completely, so obviously the methotrexate is the recommended first step.
We waited for about three days and then did another blood draw to confirm that my HCG levels did actually indicate an irregular pregnancy (in case we had missed something on the ultrasound). It was a Sunday when the on-call doctor called to confirm that it was, indeed, ectopic and that I needed to go in immediately for the methotrexate. This was when it really started to suck.
Up until that point, I’d been in a fairly peaceful state. I knew logically what I would have to do if it was an ectopic pregnancy. And it was actually what I was planning on, with only the slightest, tiniest, barely-there part of me holding out hope that my levels would be normal and the baby was just merely too tiny to see in the ultrasound. So when he called, I was completely thrown off guard when I felt instant, stinging sadness.
I did not want to take that drug. I hated that drug. I hated knowing what it was going to do. I hated that this baby was made to grow in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hated that it had been put there as a side effect of the thing I had put in my body. I hated the word “dissolve”. I hated sitting there with the wonderful nurse that was trying so hard to make the injection suck less, and feeling the sting spread throughout the muscle, knowing that it was on its way.
The physical pain that followed in the next week was almost a welcome distraction. I feel so incredibly awful for those cancer patients who have to get chemotherapy on a regular basis. One injection alone put me on the ground. 10 days later and my abdomen still feels like a beat up piece of meat.
I went back to the hospital to take another blood test on Monday and then had a follow-up appt yesterday. My pregnancy levels started out as 198 and they need to get to 0. Yesterday they were only at 175. So that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll have to get more blood tests over the next two weeks to monitor their descent, and hopefully they’ll start to go down faster, but if not, I’ll need to take another shot of methotrexate. I try not to think about what all these numbers mean with what’s physically happening in my body. I really really try not to think about it. Most of the day I don’t. And I’ve told myself again and again that everything happens for a reason, and it has helped, because it has to.
Two things that I’ve discovered since all this happened is that
1. I must talk about Dr. Pepper a lot, because I have been showered in love and Dr. Pepper. I am the luckiest son of a gun with the kindest, most thoughtful friends and family. We have been so well taken care of, and I am forever grateful to everyone who has reached out to us, and to me especially. I am not alone, and neither are any of us. I feel so strongly about the power of bringing our individual places of dark into the light. And about placing the ups and downs of our lives where they can be seen and normalized. Outfit posts and ectopic pregnancies can co-exist in the same space. Anxiety attacks and a favorite recipe can co-exist in the same space. Depression and a vacation recap can co-exist in the same space. Make-up tutorials and a struggle with self-worth can co-exist in the same space. All are allowed. And all, when shared from a place of love and trust, are uniting and powerful. Thank you so much for hearing me and hurting with me and lifting me up this week, I just love you.
And 2. I’m ready for a baby now. I didn’t think I was. But I felt like I lost this baby, whether it was mine to begin with or not. And I cried for what it had to go through, logical or not. And I wished that it could’ve been real. And so now I’m ready to try again. We won’t be able to for four months, until the doctors are sure that the chemo is out of my system. But then we will. And that makes me happy.