Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Coping with an Ectopic Pregnancy


This is one of those posts which are incredibly personal and raw. I honestly dont know why I am typing it up to share with everyone but I need to do something to make sense of whats happened. As you can see from the title, its not exactly a fun filled post but I had to write it.

For the most part, a lot of good has happened. I need to remind myself of that or else I will retreat into myself and start to spiral downwards. I don't suffer from depression or anxiety but I can at times shut myself off from the people who care the most, which of course means I end up suffering in the long run as I dont want to burden anybody with my crap. Its easier to smile and pretend everything is ok.




I think its best to get the good news out the way first. Liam and I finally bought a house. Obviously I am over the moon with that. Its great knowing we saved every penny ourselves and now have somewhere to call our own. I also finished uni. I am now the proud owner of a First Class Honours Degree in accountancy and my dissertation is currently being modified into a journal. I worked my arse off for that mark, sometimes it was fucking brutal but it was worth it. I also have a new job. Something I am loving. The people are amazing, welcoming and kind hearted and the company as a whole is one of the better places I have worked. I feel blessed.

I was supposed to graduate on the 4th July, if truth be told, I was done with uni, I didn't really want to go but everyone said I would regret it. I didn't get the choice in the end. I had been at the hospital the day before for a scan and told I was pregnant but it was likely I was miscarrying as they couldn't see a heartbeat. Nothing prepares you for that moment. You watch the midwives search aimlessly for any sign of a baby but you know there is nothing there, they know there is nothing there but its easier to look around for a little while longer than admit it.

I didnt even get to the car before I broke down. I was devastated. Liam tried to talk to me in the car ride home but I couldnt speak. Everytime I tried to say something I would sob. I thought the best thing to do would be to go home, wash my face and then head back to work and wait for some news. Needless to say I dont remember much of that day other than the phone call from the midwife telling me make my way up to the hospital immediately.

I remember being scared. I told my boss who was great, he said to call him and let him know of any updates but to go to the hospital. I phoned Liam who was there in an instant. We made our way up to the hospital and was shocked to learn they had no idea who I was, why I was there or who sent me up. Typical. They sent me home and told me to call back at 11am the following day.

The following day I was called by the hospital and told to make my way up as soon as possible as they had to give me another scan as they had found a cyst and I had high pregnancy hormone levels. Wow. Ok. So there might be a chance I am pregnant and not miscarrying? Elated.

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I was prepped for another scan. I remember saying to Liam that the baby could be hiding behind the cyst and maybe we would be pregnant after all. Honestly, I was so happy. The midwives explained that my pregnancy hormone levels were around the 2800 mark but as there was no heartbeat or sac they were slightly worried. We went in for the scan and they had a good old look but were more and more worried as the minutes went by. After trying to keep me calm, they admitted defeat and called for a general sonographer.

Once she arrived she got straight to work. She looked equally as confused as the midwives. She kept asking if I was in pain, I said no. The midwives were really impressed. After a good 10 minutes or so she looked at the screen and shouted, There! I thought they were going to break out the high fives but instead the reality set in that there was no good news to be told that day.

I was told to sit up and get myself comfortable by the ever soothing midwife. The sonographer had gone by this point. She told me they had been looking for a heartbeat or a sac, something to prove the pregnancy hormone but instead they found nothing. She said they called the general sonographer as she would be able to have a better look and it was a great thing she did as she located the cyst but sadly, she also found an ectopic pregnancy in my fallopian tube. Everything stopped. I didn't cry, I didn't laugh. I just sat there staring at her and nodding my head like some kind of idiot. She asked if I understood what was happening and I nodded. I knew what an ectopic pregnancy was and I understood I wasn't pregnant anymore but i think she expected tears or something other than silence. Instead I went back to my room, locked myself in the toilet and sobbed my heart out.

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I couldn't contain my tears at all. I was in so much pain. How could my body fail me in such a tragic way? Why didn't I know what was going on? What did I do wrong? Did I eat something that I shouldn't have? Did I wish this upon myself when I told myself I didn't want kids? I blamed myself and hated myself but I wiped my tears, splashed water on my face and waited patiently for the doctors to tell me what was going to happen next.

The doctors came and went. Each telling me something different. Liam and my mum kept nipping out for cigarettes and I sat and cried every time they left the room. The midwives also came and went, asking the same questions over and over again. I just sat there for what seemed like hours, allowing these people to take what they needed and then I would saunter into the toilet and cry for five minutes at a time.

The hardest part of it all was not knowing what to say to Liam. He was a rock to me and we were excited with our new house and the prospect of a baby but I didnt know what to say to the man I loved and who's baby I had just lost. He looked so worried but I knew if I spoke to him I wouldn't be able to stop crying. 

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The rest of the day is a blur to be honest. I remember the doctors telling me that I would need surgery as I was further along in my pregnancy and the hormone levels were too high. They took more blood, my blood pressure, asked more questions, measured me for socks, gave me a gown and told me not to eat anything (I was instantly starving). I remember Liam being concerned about the surgery and me not fully understanding what was happening. One minute all was fine and now I was sitting in a hospital being prepped for surgery. It was a surreal moment. After sitting for hours, I was finally being wheeled down to surgery where it finally hit me. The enormity of it all. The loss of a baby, the surgery, the uncertainty of it all and what would happen afterwards? I've never had surgery before so it was a daunting prospect.

The surgery was a breeze. One minute I was being asked to take deep breaths and the next I was sobbing uncontrollably (hormones im told) and shaking violently. Seriously, it was like an exorcism. Every time I tried to stop it would get worse so I just cried instead. Seemed right. I was adamant that a surgeon had cut my toe off but was assured I was just out my tits on medication and all my toes were safe.

That night is not something I can make sense of. I can remember seeing my mum, my sister and Liams face as I was wheeled back to the recovery room but thats all I can remember really. My mum said it was explained to me that there would be a small ceremony at the local crematoriam and the ashes would be scattered in the baby garden but I must have blocked that out for obvious reasons. 

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The following day, the surgeon came round to speak to me, she told me they removed the cyst which of course ruptured, because why not right? They also removed the eight week old fetus and a fallopian tube. That killed me. I cant believe I was eight weeks pregnant. I kept both ovaries though. The surgeon also found my bowel was bleeding, therefore two general surgeons came in and fixed that up for me. She proceeded to tell me that they were lucky to have found the ectopic when they did or I would have died as my fallopian tube was on the verge of bursting. Dramatic I know, but for anyone who knows me, I wouldnt have it any other way. She then rounded it off with glorious pictures of my insides which were revolting and honestly not something I will forget any time soon. But on a positive note she told me I could get pregnant again. My whole life I have gone back and forwards with wanting kids but in that moment I knew I wanted them.

That day in the hospital was horrific. The pain wasn't as bad as the emotional side of things but the one thing that annoyed me more than anything was lack of sleep. All through the two day stay it kept hitting me in waves and the fact it was also my birthday made it even worse. I missed out on my graduation, I lost a baby and now I was gonna be bed ridden on my bloody birthday. I popped on facebook for a few minutes until all the happy birthday wishes came through and then I deactivated again. That wasn't what I needed.

Once I was discharged from the hospital I stayed with Liams dad and step mum for a while before going to our new house which had nothing but a bed in it but I cant stand feeling like a burden so I went there. All I can say is thank God for mothers. Mines was an angel sent down from the man himself. She came to see me every single day and she would bring one of my sisters with her so they could stay and help me. They weren't in my face telling me what I should be doing and how I should be dealing with the situation, they literally just kept my spirits up and let me heal freely. My little close knit family was pretty much all I needed and I was so thankful to have them in my life. Not just running around after me, but to actually care about me and ask how I was without overdoing it or telling what they thought I should be doing. Thanks guys, I love you very much. 
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Its now been 2 months and I am back to normal, physically anyway. The emotional side is still pretty raw. Ive noticed I am reaching for wine more often, something I have to stop immediately! Ive also noticed that I cry at everything now. Its a pain in the arse. I could be so happy about something and then just cry. I went back to work after three weeks as I craved normalcy but I think I unnecessarily pushed myself because I ended up sitting in the toilet crying for short bursts of time. I am covering someones maternity leave at the moment so that upset me. 

One thing I wasn't prepared for were other peoples reactions to the news. The two statements that have drove me mad were these belters - "You can have another one" and "at least you know you can pregnant" - Now, I know people dont know what to say but those two statements should not be uttered to anyone who has lost a baby. Words hurt. As my mother always says, if you dont have anything nice or comforting to say, then shut your fucking mouth! 

I dont want to speak on Liams behalf as I don't know what he is thinking or feeling but he has been wonderful. An absolute rock. Sometimes all you need is a hug or someone to make you laugh uncontrollably and thats exactly what he done. Something like this can tear couples apart but it has brought us closer and we are both dealing with it in our own way. I tried not to leave him out as it was our baby and I know he was excited to be a dad. Dads/dads to be often get left out and I didn't want him to feel like that. His way of coping was to participate in a charity race to raise money and awareness for the The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and I am just over here trying not to cry because he is too much.

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Anyway, I dont know how to round this off but I just wanted to say a special thank you to everyone who dealt with me at Wishaw General. You have truly been wonderful. I doff my cap off to each and every one of you. 

If you have been affected by this then please speak to your gp or the ectopic pregnancy trust. Once I garner enough strength to say the words out loud, I will almost definitely be calling them or a councellor to talk me through my emotions. 

Thanks for reading.

p.s All photos which state "source" have been taken from pixabay.


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2 comments

  1. Hey Lauren. I can't say how incredibly happy and proud I am of you for posting this publicly, as this is definitely something I would have a hard time even telling the people around me. You're so lucky to have your family, Liam, and his family; I'm also so happy you're doing sort of better now. I know it's been a while since I've read your blog (or anyone's for that matter) and this is quite the post to be welcomed back to, but reading it made me appreciate what a strong woman you are, even when you don't think you are. And, that this is real life. I believe you can push through this. :)

    Kyia Belle // http://kyia-belle.blogspot.ca

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