Pregnancy Loss again… Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy
As I type this title my head is spinning… I still can’t believe that … Another baby lost. My mind is having trouble coming to terms with what my body has experienced and my heart has checked out. I feel completely broken and just when I think I’m starting to come to terms with everything, I fall apart again. No woman asks to be apart of the “1 in 4” club neither can she ever imagine experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. That’s why going through this is horrible. It’s terrifying, frustrating and heart-breaking.
I don’t claim to know much about the topic other than an account of my own experience. I’ve however decided to write this post because while going through this, Google only served up more terror in the sea of medical posts as I frantically searched for one voice to bring me comfort – if only by knowing someone else walked this path before me.
In saying this, I’m not looking for external comforts. During the past few weeks God has never held me closer but we are also created as a community and it’s through our shared experiences that we can carry and support one another when life’s burdens and sorrows become too heavy.
So where do we begin…
After 11 months of trying to conceive we finally got a positive pregnancy test! We had never prayed for or tried for, a baby this long. There was no cute surprise, I was still on the loo when I started calling Mr. Perfect and I’ll never forget how his face lit up with joy. The stick in my hand was enough – he instantly knew we were pregnant!
It was Sunday morning and we were just into level 3 of lockdown. Going for a quick blood test wouldn’t be possible. We needed to make a doctor’s appointment first. So, we kept our happiness a secret. Monday morning could not come soon enough.
I eagerly phoned my gynecologist only to find out the practice would be closed for 2 weeks due to Covid19 regulations.
Our next option was contacting a GP. I took the 1st appointment we could available. A few days later a urine test done at the doctor, once again confirmed that we were indeed pregnant. I could finally go for a blood test. The hours felt like days as we waited… That evening I got the phone call. Congratulations! You’re pregnant and your HCG count looks fantastic – well into the 1000’s.
48 hours later I would go in for a second blood test – just routine. And then we could share the good news with the girls and the world! (We’ve never been able to wait till 12 weeks anyway.)
We didn’t feel worried about the second test…
But then the doctor called. It was quite late, at around 8 pm. My HCG count was still high but it was declining… I didn’t understand what that meant. It wasn’t a good sign, but did it guarantee a miscarriage? I was advised to contact my gynecologist (which would only be back at work a few days later).
Going through this again felt unreal. In many ways, I was experiencing the exact same moments of heartbreak yet nothing felt similar. This pregnancy started so positively and I FELT PREGNANT! For the 1st time ever nausea was one of my early pregnancy symptoms – I held onto that feeling like a weird safety net thinking that as long as “I feel pregnant”, I would stay pregnant. Exhaustion and discomfort were other signs I misinterpreted (but more on that later).
There was also no spotting or bleeding for weeks. The only sign was a steady drop in my HGC count.
I didn’t know what to do.
My heart wouldn’t let go of the hope that somehow the high levels of HGC (that never dropped below 600) still meant life was growing inside of me.
My head couldn’t understand feeling pregnant while being told I would never hold this baby in my arms.
I kept going for blood tests until my doctor finally told me I needed to come in for an appointment. She needed to explain our options going forward.
It was Father’s Day weekend and what was going on. I wanted to enjoy our time without the distraction of any new information. The strain of having to go for every test alone, hear every result alone, crying in my car alone, and then reliving it all as I needed to tell Alec was becoming too much. We just needed one weekend – just to be.
View this post on Instagram
It only took 2000 try’s… . Then we remembered the “zoom-out” function 🤦🏻♀️ . Father’s Day has always been a little bittersweet since Alec’s dad passed away and this year for so many reasons more… BUT life will always give us something to celebrate. . Today, you are the reason @alec.candiotes ❤️ . You are my rock, my shelter, my calm. You make me smile, even when I feel empty and I know I can be completely shattered when I’m with you, because you’ve helped me pick up the pieces so many times before… . You love our girls with all your heart, they’ll never doubt that for a second and the way you protect us can’t even be explained. . I love you more today than I ever thought possible and that makes me excited about whatever our future holds because I know we are taking it on together. . Happy Father’s Day Mr. Perfect from all your girls❤️❤️❤️❤️ . . . . . . . . . . . . #familyof5 #familyselfie #shelterinplace #sundaymotivation #sundaybest #faithfulmom #weareinthistogether #everythingisgoingtobeok #southafrican #sundayscripture #scriptureoftheday #justamamma #joyfulliving #scriptureofaffirmation #socialdistancing2020 #lockdownlife #communityovercorona #everythingisgoingtobeokchi #familypictures #fathersday2020 #highschoolsweethearts
Little did we know that weekend would be the end (or so we thought).
My appointment was Monday. That weekend we let our hearts go. We appreciated the little baby we had made, we felt blessed to have experienced the miracle of falling pregnant again even if it was only for a few weeks.
It was a good weekend that ended in a family hike. I remember sitting at our local hiking trail’s viewpoint overlooking the east of Pretoria feeling completely at peace with whatever would come. I knew God was holding us in His hands. On the way down, I started feeling a familiar warm sensation in the lower part of my body.
The drive home was quick and I went straight to the bathroom. As I suspected, blood. Not a lot – just spotting. I drew a bath and sat in the tub as I felt my uterus contracting. I still wasn’t bleeding much though. Mr. Perfect knew what was going on and stepped in as super dad taking care of the girls as I headed to bed early.
I woke up at 4am bleeding – proper bleeding. I was in so much pain – the same pain I remembered from all those years ago.
9am I phoned my doctor. I was advised to stay home and wait for the bleeding to subside. I would then need to come in for a checkup to see if I had a “clean miscarriage”.
One week later
Here I was… Alone again… It’s strange, I knew I had, had a miscarriage but somehow I was still hoping to see a miracle. Our baby’s heartbeat or a tiny bean still growing. My uterus was empty. I’m not sure what the doctor’s words were. Basically everything looked “normal” and as per expected. My body was there but I felt lost, not hearing much of anything.
I was yanked back to reality by the ultrasound examination of my right fallopian tube. A pain so blinding I thought I might faint, got me sitting up with attention. There was a big black mass on my right tube and we had no idea what it was.
So, more tests began…
What was supposed to be the end, was only the beginning of a new set of fears and sadness. First came a Pap-test screening for cancerous cells. Another 48 hours of waiting and praying our worst fears won’t be realised. Thankfully the results where good.
Next came a 10-day wait. If a cyst had somehow ruptured during our pregnancy it would bleed out and clear up within a few days. I scheduled another appointment. The next 10 days would be filled with constant pain. I spent most of my time in bed and the closer I came to my appointment the less I could move. I knew this wasn’t a cyst and whatever it was, wasn’t going anywhere soon.
Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy…
Here I was again, exactly where I didn’t want to be. Alone at the doctor, trying to be strong, knowing in my heart something wasn’t right.
The ultrasound was more painful than before and although all the fluid had cleared in and around my uterus, “something” was still clearly visible on the right side of my body. It was almost impossible to see the right tube. I got dressed and then my doctor tried to explain what we had seen. It was a baby.
I didn’t understand…
I had lost our baby. How could there be another? Amidst explanations of heterotopic pregnancies and the drawing of the female anatomy I just remember feeling my broken heart falling to pieces again. We couldn’t really be sure. My doctor never saw me before I had my miscarriage due to her practice being closed and the GP that assisted never did any type of scan. One baby, 2 babies, we will never know for sure. The only reality was that this baby could not survive. An ectopic pregnancy is also life-threatening to the mom and needs to be removed as soon as possible.
Looking back there were clear signs I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
Common symptoms I experienced were:
- Severe exhaustion even before finding out we were pregnant.
- I also felt like I could vomit at any moment (but none of these alarmed me seeing as both are also common during the 1st trimester of pregnancy).
- 2 Weeks prior to finding out I was pregnant I started experiencing pain on the right side of my body with sharp cramps in my inner thigh. These continued and became worse over the weeks. At one stage, I had a warm water bottle with me at all times – even though it didn’t help much. Still, I just thought I had hurt myself while exercising – it wasn’t pelvic or abdominal pain…
Going for surgery (during Covid19)…
The doctor explained that most ectopic pregnancies occur because of damage to the fallopian tube. The egg can’t pass through a damaged tube which leads to it implanting and growing inside the tube. The tube would most likely need to be removed. A diagnosis I wasn’t prepared for.
I felt like I was losing a huge part of myself and in many ways losing a tube felt like saying goodbye to our dream of expanding our family.
Nevertheless, I was powerless. The next step was going for Covid19 screening. The lovely nurse taking my swab tried her best to make things as comfortable as possible as I sat before her puffy-eyed and red. 24hours later my results came back negative and the next day I went in for surgery.
3 small incisions were made, one in my belly button and 2 more, down towards the left side of my abdomen. The doctor then inserted a laparoscope to view and remove our baby as well as any other abnormal growths and my tube. This surgery included gas being inflated into your belly and is painful. There’s no other way to describe it. I experienced far more discomfort, swollenness and pain than any of my c-sections.
My recovery consisted of:
One night’s stay in the hospital. 4 days of bed rest at home, followed by a week of being more careful than usual and I could only pick up and cuddle Ava 3 weeks post-surgery.
A miracle amongst the darkness…
I dreaded the 3 hours I would spend waiting alone before being rolled in for surgery. A to listen to and my Bible would keep me company. Even though I had my phone with me I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone. So I got lost in the music… and somewhere amongst the voices of Maverick City and Kari Jobi I decided to let go… To let go of the Baby(ies) we had lost, my fear, my heartache and to fully surrender whatever the future held to God.
I felt calm as God cocooned me with His presence. I didn’t feel scared or alone anymore. And the familiar faces of my trusted gynecologist (she’s as close to an angel as I’ve ever met) and her husband (the anesthesiologist) put a smile on my face. I felt surrounded by trusted “family members” and knew all would be okay.
My surgery went on for longer than expected.
Obviously I have no idea what happened but this is what I was told.
As the doctor moved into my right fallopian tube she expected to find the baby, yet it was clear. No baby, no cysts, no abnormalities or growths of any kind. My tube wasn’t damaged and there was nothing inside. Still, she saw something on the ultrasound.
Then as she moved on towards my ovaries, there our baby lied. Right on the edge, just outside my tube. Not attached to the tube or my ovaries. Somehow, that tiny egg fertilised and started growing right there. Never moving into my tube and not attaching to my ovaries. It’s so rare my doctor has never come across an ectopic pregnancy of this kind. Called an abdominal ectopic pregnancy.
Worldwide there’s little to none research so I can’t even write more.
I remember waking up, back in my room.
The doctor explained that things had gone far better than she could have predicted. Not only did I still have both my fallopian tubes, but they were also undamaged and everything else looked perfect.
After weeks of badness and uncertainty, we had good news. I wouldn’t need any other surgery and if we wanted to (and God willing) we could still fall pregnant naturally. Out of the worst storm we had faced, came hope. I phoned (a very worried) Alec (the poor man had been in the dark for 5 hours) in tears but this time tears of joy.
Going through another miscarriage and now experiencing an ectopic pregnancy has been one of the most devastating experiences I’ve ever faced as a woman. Going through it during Covid19 lockdown, definitely made things worse in every way imaginable BUT God stayed true and He was faithful even when I was weak.
So… Now we heal. Now we start again. It may not make sense, but we still dream about our big family. The doctor recommends given my body 4-6 weeks to heal and then waiting for my 1st period (which I may have already had).
* If you’re reading this and you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, please know how sorry I am that we share this sorrow. And if you haven’t, my prayer is that you never will, but should that day come – know that I will be waiting with this post or to lend an ear or even to simply share in your pain, without words having to be spoken.
The post Pregnancy Loss again… Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy appeared first on Just A Mamma.
This content was originally published here.