My Mother in law used to always say, “As soon as a woman knows she is having a baby, she becomes a Mother. She has PLANS for that baby.” I loved when she said that but it took on a whole new meaning recently.
It was a cold day in October when I found out that I was expecting my second baby. I could not have been more excited. It’s hard to describe the feeling that I was going to be a Mom for the second time. I was thankful.
My first pregnancy was normal. I did not have any complications and gave birth to a healthy baby. Being a Mom is such a great feeling and I was going to become a Mother to two! I laughed as friends shared their stories on what it was like managing two children. I had regular ‘morning sickness’ (who says it only happens in the morning anyway?) and when people asked, “Would you rather have a boy or a girl?’ My answer was simple, I was just happy to be pregnant.
Christmas had come and my initial doctor’s appointment was great. I was going to have my ultrasound. I was getting ready for the end of the year and preparing for the next. I was going to be a Mom!
After speaking on the phone for business and managing my toddler, I suddenly collapsed to the ground. The pain was stronger than a labor pain. My fears began when I checked and saw that I was bleeding slightly. I did not make any reservation and my husband took me to the hospital. A dear friend joined me while my child stayed with relatives. This was my first time experiencing any sort of alarming symptom.
In the waiting room, I bumped into another dear friend. We all sat down and waited to be seen by a doctor. I started to feel BETTER. I was even laughing with my husband and friends as we reminisced about our high school days. Then it was my turn to be seen by the doctor.
After an exam, everything was fine. She told me my baby had a strong heartbeat and I was relieved. She wanted to send me home, but at the last minute, ‘just to be safe’ I would have an immediate ultrasound.
The room was dark and the technician was young. No one was allowed in the room with me and I could see her narrowing in on an image of my uterus. She panicked. She pressed harder on my abdomen. Something happened. Pain like I have never felt before surged through my body. As someone with a high tolerance for pain, this was alarming. I cried out and sobbed as she left me for a half an hour. By the end of it, I was going in and out of consciousness and trying to cry out for help.
The technician came back and asked me to walk back to the emergency room to speak with the doctor. I could not walk and a wheel chair was got for me. A specialist was waiting for me, letting me know I had an ectopic pregnancy.
My baby had lodged in my fallopian tube instead of my uterus. The baby, being 8 weeks and one day old, would have to be removed. On top of that, I was internally bleeding. I had a few hours to live. The doctor began asking me questions about my medical history. I did not have endometriosis, fertility issues. I never smoked, I don’t drink, and I never did drugs. I never had an STD. Were these some of the reasons why someone would have an ectopic pregnancy? He said these were some reasons but sometimes these things just happen.
I was the type of person who was never sick, no never took any medication and lives an active lifestyle. The doctor was right that sometimes this just ‘happens’, but this was much more than a fluke for me. I was losing my baby.
I was given morphine for the pain and waited for my turn to go into the surgical room. I could feel the swoosh swoosh feeling of blood in my abdomen. When it was time, I was wheeled from my loved ones to undergo a laparoscopy, a surgery where an incision is made in your belly button and two incisions in your abdomen to remove my fallopian tube. This type of procedure is used for many different types of challenges.
In the surgery room, as the oxygen mask was placed on my mouth, I thought about my baby. I told him or her (who was alive) that we will see each other again and that hopefully, for this baby, it will be a blink of an eye, but for me, it will be a long journey. A long journey that I wear and accept as mine.
I awoke to the doctor telling me the surgery is successful. However, I had lost so much blood that he debated giving me a blood transfusion.
As I slowly healed from surgery, my heart was broken. So many family members and friends poured their support and showered me with visits. I found I listened to their stories of worry about what had happened and stories they have had about friends or acquaintances who had gone through the same thing. At times, I found myself in recovery, comforting others. When someone goes through something, it brings up emotions for all of us and this was one of life’s interesting lessons for me.
Two months later, I went for my follow up checkup. Our country did not offer any mental health aid or follow ups. I made sure to talk about what I went through with friends and family and made sure that I kept my mind healthy as well as my body. I was thankful for the Ectopic Pregnancy Forum in the UK. Even though I am not a resident of the UK, I was grateful for this aid online. My checkup turned out to be the best scenario of a tragic situation. My fertility was alright and my cycles were normal. For many women, this is not the case.
It has been difficult to deal with an ectopic pregnancy emotionally when you have so many physical symptoms to take care of. Just like a miscarriage, your body physically grieves that it is no longer pregnant. You may find some pregnancy symptoms continuing, or you may feel physically normal. It all depends on your hormone levels.
I feel the loss every day of my baby and I am so thankful and humbled by the family members and friends who brought dinner, talked, laughed and cried with me. I am thankful for those who made sure my husband was cared for and checked in on him. He lost so much too and we cannot forget the partners in these situations. They need support and often times are suddenly soundboards for the person who has had an ectopic pregnancy. We need to make sure that they have a soundboard as well, whether it is professionally or otherwise.
I have come to terms with what has happened. I do not feel anger, I grieve as I feel and most of all, I am thankful for every good thing, no matter how little it is perceived, to come into my life. To all of our babies, with us or not, your parents, family and friends love you and acknowledge your short and powerful existence.