Due Date

The last week of January is when our sweet pea would’ve been due. I should be holding an infant right now. I should be sleep deprived and a mess on the verge of losing my mind. But I’m not. I’m not anything.

I celebrated our sweet pea’s due date week with a period. After the best and most hopeful ovulation I’ve had since the ectopic. Because, why not? Right, Mother Nature? There wasn’t enough salt in those wounds.

But I didn’t even cry. I felt a sadness and longing sure. But, the tears didn’t even try to come. Part of me thinks I’ve just healed enough to handle all of that. But another part thinks maybe I’m just numb. I honestly don’t know. I got through the week. Somehow fairly easily. Maybe I just kept myself busy enough? Maybe I just pushed it far out of my mind? Maybe I was too focused on what the next steps will be? I’m trying not to stay in a depressed state of mind anyways so maybe it’s just for the best to not feel it. Or whatever I was doing.

Next step? My first RE (reproductive endocrinologist) visit at a fertility clinic. Yup. I’m officially there. Another thing that depresses me. Officially infertile.

Oh, and since this ‘cycle’ is limbo cycle because I’m not on meds while I’m waiting for the RE apt, I’m not ovulating on my own as usual. But hey it’s only cd 17. Can you feel my eye roll?

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Post ectopic physical torture

A fit blogger I follow recently had an ectopic pregnancy. There are so many similarities between her story and mine. She recently wrote this post about her physical state after the ectopic surgery which removed her left tube. I experienced what she did, except the very end about being comforted by her child. Because, I’m not lucky enough to have any living children.

Thought I’d share for any who may read this who are wondering what to expect when you’re expecting the worst, aka ectopic pregnancy surgery.

She hit the nail on the head about looking 5 months pregnant as an awful reminder of what was lost. It’s a cruel joke by Mother Nature.

I think everyone I’ve read about who has had a tube rupture or ectopic surgery says it’s worse than labor and delivery. I wouldn’t know, but I know it fucking hurt like a bitch. The worst pain I’ve ever felt. 20 on the 1-10 pain scale.

I like to think that if you can make it through that, you can make it through anything.

Side note, I know I have an award nomination I need to address. I will soon. 🙂

Am I still a mother?

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After the ectopic I obviously struggled with grief, and the question ‘Am I still a mother?’

My DH had a better time with it. In his eyes it wasn’t a baby yet, and I completely get that. I was only about 7 weeks along (I think).  We had no ultrasound picture. We heard no heartbeat.  The baby would only have been about the size of a pea, which is why we called it our little pea.

As a woman, the one to physically go through all the pain, the one to pee on a stick and see the double lines, the one to feel pregnant, I can’t dismiss it all so easily.

I was torn between feeling like I shouldn’t be as upset because of the facts mentioned above, and feeling like utter hell. I didn’t have that long to get attached. But I also didn’t need that long.  I didn’t consider myself a mother. I had not given birth in my opinion. I wondered if anyone in my situation did think of themselves as a mother. I wondered if I should? If I had the ‘right’ to.

I stumbled upon the above quote and I have to say, I agree. It makes me tear up to read it. I may not have given birth, heard a heart beat, or had an ultrasound picture. But damnit I – we – created a baby. So yes. I am a mother. I won’t celebrate on Mother’s Day. I will grieve on that day each year.

As I mentioned before, it took me a while to come to the realization that I even wanted kids. But the turmoil of losing one proved just how much I do want one. Two actually if it’s in the cards for me. To be able to celebrate on Mother’s Day.

You wanna know how I got these scars?

3 scars on the outside, too many to count on the inside.

June 25th. So I was then officially not pregnant. I’m not sure how your body reacts after a miscarriage or other loss but I’m assuming it’s similar. You get all the after effects of being pregnant, postpartum depression included, with no bundle of joy to show for it.

Hair: I shed like a cat before this mess. During the pregnancy, as is normal, I didn’t shed as much. But after the metho and after my hcg dropped it all fell apart. My bathroom and tub looked like I was scalping people inglorious basterds style. IMG_3977
We pulled a hair clog the size of a small rat out of the drain. After every shower I’d pull a mouse sized clump from the tub. The look of horror on my hubby’s face is burned into my mind. How I’m not bald is beyond me.

Skin: Acne. Godzilla acne. It wasn’t this bad when I was going through puberty! Cystic, hormonal acne. Pizza face acne. Acne that is resistant to every face cream, scrub pad, face wash product known to man. It’s been 3 months and it’s still here. 😦

Lady Bits: After the surgery, the entire left half of my lady-bits-n-pieces was black it was so bruised. And swollen. I called the ob because I swore something would fall off of me. Apparently it’s normal. It did subside quicker than I thought. But boy was it scary!

Body: Swollen legs (normal). Horrible pain in the shoulders due to the gas pumped into my abdomen during surgery. Weight gain. Weak. Sore. Word to the wise, take the laxative after surgery. For the love of whatever you pray to, take the damn laxative.
It took a while to fully physically recover from the surgery. As far as moving, exercising, not feeling pain, using my abs again, fitting into jeans again goes. Several weeks. And this was keyhole surgery.

Emotions:This is going to be a long section. You’ve been warned. Well there’s the depression, jealousy, anger, dealing with grief just from losing the little pea and an essential part of your womanly package. Then there’s the postpartum hormone surges and the possibility for postpartum depression. Yay! That’s a recipe for a disaster cocktail.

My first trip out of the house as soon as I could walk upright on my own was brief. We went to Wegmans, our upstate NY grocery store of amazingness. If you don’t have one near you, I’m sorry. Sincerely. It was the one store I missed when I lived in SC for a couple of years. Anyways, I figured grocery shopping would be ok. But little did I know that every pregnant woman, every newborn, every trashy family with 10 kids would be there too. I can’t count the number of times I almost let the tears escape. Hubby saw and got us out as quickly as possible.

Speaking of the hubs, he was and still is an amazing saint of a man through all this. He cancelled his birthday party and spent his birthday taking care of me. He has been my rock this whole time. He has been my teddy bear of a man, soft when I need him to be. My grizzly bear, defensive of me when necessary. He didn’t cower under a rock when my hormones made me a raging lunatic that cried all the time over everything. (I don’t recommend watching what to expect when you’re expecting even when you think you’re stable again btw). He is my everything. Pardon the shout out. It was overdue. ❤

Next Chapter: Mother Nature is a bi*€h

…and then I ruptured.

As I mentioned in the last post, methotrexate – the drug used to treat cancer patients – is a slow process.

For me it wasn’t particularly painful.  I had some bad AF type cramps and I bled moderately. The bleed after the shot was something special. I refuse to go into details here because you’ll lose your lunch. It’s not just blood and clots. That’s all I can say.

A week after the shot my levels had decreased 15%.  A few days later, my tube ruptured anyways.

I was cleaning a wall (carefully might I add with no big movements and no bending etc) in my house in preparation for having a birthday party for my husband a few days later.  I felt increasing pain over the course of 20 minutes before it got so bad I couldn’t stand.  The pain was on my left side (where the little bean had implanted into my tube right next to my ovary) and in my abdomen. The pain is so much worse than AF cramps. I started sweating, and getting cold sweats. I was dizzy and light-headed and very nauseous.  I called my ob all out of breath because it was also hard to breathe.  The nurse at the office told me to go to the emergency room and not to drive myself.  I had to call my mom because my husband was further away than she was. 25 minutes later I was in line at the ER in a wheelchair because I couldn’t stand. Let me tell you they took their sweet time getting to me and getting me admitted. I was just bleeding internally, no big deal.

Hubby got there about the same time I did, thank goodness. I couldn’t have gone it alone again. I wound up getting 2 IVs (after a very painful lot of time trying to find the veins) because I was very dehydrated. NO PAIN MEDS though. I was poked and prodded and rolled into another ultrasound. Having the internal ultrasound was so painful! It told them I had blood pooling where it shouldn’t and my tube had ruptured. The rest of the evening was a blur. I was told I had to have surgery to remove the remaining embryo and to stop my bleeding. All the women taking care of me before and after surgery were so nice. I was thankful for that. I also FINALLY got some damn pain meds. And something to relax me.  My usual ob was on call so she was the one to do my surgery.

When I woke up – which I was very thankful for knowing how dangerous the situation can be – I was told that the entire pregnancy had been removed as well as my entire left tube.  I didn’t need a blood transfusion thankfully. But, my doctor immediately let me know that I only had a slight decrease of fertility because of that. A 15% decrease. This part is kind of a blur too, thanks to all the meds I was on. She said that my remaining tube could float over to the other ovary if that ovary was the one to release an egg and catch the egg. This supposedly happens all the time. Since I got pregnant so fast the first time she had every reason to think that it could and would happen again soon after recovering.  Ok, I guess I can handle that. I don’t really have a choice though right?

Then I had to be discharged. But I couldn’t leave until I urinated. It took me forever! Several bottles of water, coffee, tea, the rest of an IV and a couple of hours later and finally I was able to go. Never have I been so happy to pee!  Food, pain, home, pain, pain meds, pain, bed, pain, and sleep. Up every single hour to pee. Ugh! I had 2 small incisions on my low abdomen and one in my belly button.  My abs were officially useless, and my husband was now my crutch.  And I was empty. So much emptier than I had anticipated.

Emotionally I was better than my breakdown during the metho shot. But I think the drugs had something to do with it.

 

Speaking of emotional instability. One thing I forgot to add in the last post regarding when I got the shot.  One reason I had to wait 5 hours for my shot was because the ob got called into an emergency C-section. All I could think was how awesome. I have to sit here and wait to kill my baby while someone gets to have hers. I had very unsavory thoughts that I’m not proud of in that moment. But at the same time I was grateful for the extra time with the little pea.  This doomed little sweet pea that I would never see or touch or even hear it’s heart beat. Torn between the extra few hours to “say goodbye” and the agony of prolonging the awful inevitable.

Next Chapter: Physically recovering

Methotrexate…

Friday the 13th…

In the ER, alone.

No food, no water. No IV, just an IV access in my arm. They wouldn’t let me eat or drink because of the .00001% chance I may need surgery. Can you hear me rolling my eyes from here? So I got a lovely migraine because I was dehydrated and hungry.

My hubby was on his way home, aware of what was going on.  But, he was still a few hours away. I was stuck there for 5 hours before I finally got the methotrexate shot. When the lady came in to give me the shot is when it finally hit me that this was it. This was the moment I was going to stop my baby’s growth and essentially ‘abort’ it. The doctors hated that word -abort. But that is what it was. Not really by choice.

The shot goes into the glute by the way, in case things aren’t completely uncomfortable yet.  I held it together, holding back a flood of tears. Lips pursed, all I could do was nod that I understood what she was telling me.  Then she had to tell me she was sorry I was in this situation.  Sorry for my loss.  Of course that is when the tears could not be held any longer.  I felt so bad for her, having to be there for that. In my story, she is the one who takes away what I most wanted. It must be awful to have to play that part in anyone’s story. She held my hand and said something at an attempt to be reassuring. Like, she thought this was the body’s way of ending a pregnancy that would have been genetically flawed or something to that effect. I couldn’t look at her, couldn’t speak. I just lay there starring at the ceiling trying to control my tears.

sedate me <–Christina after her ectopic pregnancy in Grey’s Anatomy.

I was left alone again, for a while. Finally I was able to wrap it up and dam up the tears again.  Just in time for my mom to arrive with food. Not much longer I was finally discharged, with instructions for bed rest for the weekend. I got home just after my hubby did. One look at him was all it took to lose it again.

***************

I didn’t have any pain or bleeding until a week later. As per my ob’s wishes I was still taking it easy. I was not even allowed to be in my once best friend’s wedding because of the stress on my body. I of course wasn’t about to tell her the exact reason why which made for more drama I didn’t need. But that’s another story.  My severe cramps and bleeding started the exact moment I was about to leave to go to her wedding as just a guest. I missed it entirely. Not that she cared.

There is still a big risk for the tube to rupture. Methotrexate is a SLOW process. You have to avoid foods with folic acid, stop taking prenatals, and possibly up your green tea intake. Some women need a second dose of the drug if the hcg doesn’t go down enough.  Mine went down the bare minimum they’d expect. 15%. I thought since it was working, albeit slowly, that I would be in the clear.

Next chapter: Rupture and surgery.

 

From hope to hell.

I became a human pin cushion. I looked like a damn junkie. Both arms had ‘track marks’ from the blood work every couple of days.

In a normal, viable pregnancy your hcg levels should double every 48-72 hours until week 11-12. Mine were right on track. Obviously the nurse’s miscarriage call (little miss can’t be wrong) was for nothing.

What did this mean? Either great news and I had a healthy pregnancy, or horrible news and it was ectopic. Story of my life. Only another ultrasound could tell. But again I couldn’t help getting my hopes up slightly. Just wishing it would be healthy. Normal. Something go right for a change.

Upon discovering my normal rising hcg levels, my ob wanted me to go to the emergency room immediately. She wanted me to get an ultrasound. I was spotting again after having stopped for a week. My uterus felt like it was growing. I still had slight cramping/twinges on mainly my left side. Pregnancy symptoms were the same, plus fatigue and lightheadedness.

My husband had just left town for a few days on work so I was alone. I decided to wait until the next morning -Friday the 13th- to get the ultrasound. Meanwhile, just making sure I wasn’t bleeding through more than a pad an hour or in so much pain that I couldn’t walk.

Side note: Pads. You mean unstable, messy, half diapers? Ugh. I have been a tampon convert since I figured out how to use them. But apparently tampons introduce bacteria into a place you don’t want it. When you’re pregnant or have surgery you HAVE to use pads. Not the scented ones because they’re as bad as tampons. Don’t even get me started on the scented tampons. I mean, really? What’s the point ladies?
You’re not a scratch-n-sniff.

I finally had to let my mom know I was pregnant, just in case anything did happen. We had been keeping our not-preventing-pregnancy a secret since we started. I hadn’t planned on telling anyone if I got pregnant until after the miscarriage risk went down at the 3 month mark. So that of course was emotional. Followed by a don’t get too excited because this may end badly speech.

I woke up the morning of my second ultrasound feeling better than I had in weeks. I was very hopeful, very positive. Things would be ok. Our little pea would be in the right spot. Maybe I’d even get to hear a heartbeat.

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Hindsight is 20/20. Every time I had a day where I felt better, things just got worse. What I only briefly considered that morning was that I was feeling better because my pregnancy symptoms had lessened.

Pregnancy is the only time in a woman’s life where feeling like crap is a good and necessary thing.

An ectopic is a non viable pregnancy. It cannot be saved. Eventually the fetus runs out of room to grow. The hcg will stop doubling. Symptoms will dissipate.
***************

This time, a different lab. I had a tech who actually talked to me AND I could watch everything. I saw a mass the size of my ovary in my tube next to my left ovary. 😦 The head of the lab had to come in to discuss. He assured me that he was 99% right that it was ectopic. My scans looked just like the rest of the ectopics do. He could never say that he was 100% accurate though.

That bothers me. I know a lot of pregnancies are misdiagnosed as ectopic to err on the side of caution. Couldn’t we figure out a fool proof 100% sure way to tell an ectopic from a viable pregnancy by now?

Regardless, I had 2 options. Go home and see if it resolved itself naturally which is a death sentence when it comes to ectopics. Or, go to the ER and get a shot of methotrexate to “dissolve the pregnancy”. I did not want to possibly die so I chose the latter. The head of the lab felt the need to personally walk me to the ER. He was pretty concerned. I guess having something the size of your ovary in your tube will do that.

Next chapter: The ER, methotrexate, emotions.

Getting pregnant after the pill.

My husband and I had our 2 year anniversary this May. We had only recently decided (in April) that we definitely wanted to have a child. To be honest my husband’s clock was ticking, but I could not hear mine. It took me longer to come around to the idea of having a kid. But once we were both on the same page we decided, like many couples, to not actively try for a baby but to not prevent one. In other words, I stopped taking birth control. That was the end of April.

After a little online research I had convinced myself that it would take at least a few months for the effects of the pill to exit my system. WRONG. Within a week or two, I was unknowingly pregnant. I had symptoms but since I had been on the pill for 15 years I had no idea what my ovulation/pms symptoms would be. Or when they would be. I had bled for 9 straight months before being put on the pill in the first place.

My symptoms (some may be tmi): Vivid dreams that I remembered, strong & dark urine, a different but not bad smell down yonder, sore nips (1st sign), sore boobs, frequent urination, bloating like crazy, emotional, stronger sense of smell, metallic taste in my mouth, increased nasal mucus, increased cervical mucus, cramping, spotting. You can’t say I didn’t warn you about being tmi. 😉

I assumed all my symptoms were Aunt Flo getting ready to grace me with her presence. In case you don’t know, ovulation/AF/pregnancy symptoms are all very similar. Some mean trick by Mother Nature. As if bleeding once a month, having boobs & estrogen, pushing a melon through a keyhole, and all the other fun that comes with being a woman isn’t enough.

First home pregnancy test a couple weeks later was a big fat negative. I was still convinced Aunt Flo was coming. Right around the time my period tracker app said AF would come, I started spotting. Still, I was assuming that time of the month was upon me. 10 days of spotting (and some cramping) later I got my BFP (big fat positive).
Bfp

I immediately went to target to get a little batman onesie (my husband has a slight batman obsession). I should also mention Father’s Day was upon us and if I could have found the perfect card I would have gotten that as well. I mean, how perfect right? I put the onesie in a decorative box and waited for DH (darling husband) to get home from work. His birthday was at the end of the month and I told him it was an early present. Of course after the shock wore off he was thrilled. The shock was because I had managed to convince him too it would take a while to get knocked up after being on the pill for 15 years.

We were flying across the country bright and early the next morning to sunny California. So, since I knew spotting and cramping weren’t great signs in early pregnancy I got myself into my Obgyn immediately. Another pee test confirmation, a looking good pelvic exam, blood work, and an ultrasound.

Next chapter: The first ob visit.

Hello!

Hi cyberverse! I’m not big on small talk so let’s cut to the chase shall we? This year I went through getting pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy, having the tube rupture, having surgery, and starting to heal. It was my first and so far only pregnancy. With lots of drama and emotions in between.

I have found a surprising lack of info, support, and discussion about this common occurrence. Especially in the USA. The last I read, 1 in 50 pregnancies is ectopic. Something like 1 in 5 pregnancies will end. (Ectopic, miscarriage, still birth etc).

Until this year I had never even heard the term “ectopic pregnancy”.

Oh sure in health class in school we took how to make a baby 101 and learned that an std would kill you or drive you insane. But the word ectopic never came up.

Ectopic pregnancy is the number 1 cause of death in the first trimester.

I’m starting this blog for several reasons. Not in any specific order: 1) I love to write. Writing is therapeutic for me. Given that I went through a trauma I figured this would help. 2) To raise awareness of the serious and common danger of ectopic pregnancies. 3) To let others who have been through this and worse know that they are in fact not alone. 4) If I can make even one person feel better or comfort them in any way then I will be happy.

I’m trying to put my story out there with as much detail as I can. For those of us going through this when researching online the devil is in the details. I’ll try to be thorough. If I leave things out I will edit later. I’m always editing in my life. I’ll try to cut it up into more easily digestible chunks for you. It may take some time before I’m caught up with where I am right now. I honestly can’t wait until it’s all out and back to the present tense.

Also, for convenience sake I’m writing most of these on my phone. Autocorrect sucks. Please excuse the random if instead of of and whatever else slips through.

Happy reading! Thank you for stopping by!