Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Coping with an Ectopic Pregnancy


Hello again. This has taken a lot of thought and I am still not sure whether I have should have hit the publish button. This is incredibly personal and you may be wondering why i've even bothered posting this but I wanted to write down my thoughts and experience to make sense of what happened. I should probably say that I drop a few profanities throughout this, so if you are offended by vulgar language or this topic, then please dont read anymore.

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 up with university. 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 that everything has fallen into place, however the fates wouldn't allow me to be too happy. would they?

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 as I wound up in a hospital for two days.

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. I was over the moon at the pregnancy news but heartbroken that I might lose the baby. I didnt even get to the car before I broke down in tears. I was devastated. Me being me though and not wanting to let my new employer down, I went home, washed my face and reapplied my make up before going back to work. I couldn't tell you what I done for the few hours I was there that day. I was in shock I think.

I was in work for roughly two hours when I got a phone call from a nurse advising me to get to Wishaw General as soon as possible. I didn't pay attention to the matter of urgency in her voice and asked if I could go after work. She almost laughed at me and told me to go immediately. I was so worried as she didn't tell me why; maybe she did and I didn't listen, which is quite possible, but 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. Haha. 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.

I was told to get ready 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 looked more and more worried as the minutes went by. After trying to keep me calm, they admitted defeat and called for a general sonographer to come up and scan me as they couldn't see anything on the screen.

Once the sonographer 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 by this. 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 because they were so bloody chuffed with themselves. So they should be right enough, they done a great job and kept me calm throughout the whole ordeal.

I was told to sit up and get myself comfortable. Bad news awaits I thought. The sonographer had gone by this point and one midwife was looking at me with such concern. 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 and of course said yes. I wasn't moronic. I knew what an ectopic pregnancy was and I understood I wasn't pregnant anymore but i think she expected tears and I was not sitting in that room blubbering like a baby. Instead I went back to my room, locked myself in the toilet and sobbed my heart out.

I couldn't contain my tears at all. I was in so much pain. Then I felt stupid. 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 in that moment 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.

Liam called my work and explained what happened. That was a weight off. Then he called my mum and told her to make her way up. I knew she would be devastated as she has been banging on for almost ten years that Liam and I should make her a granny.

The doctors came and went. Each telling me something different. My mum and Liam kept nipping out for cigarettes and I sat and cried every time they left the room. The midwives would also come and go, 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 before coming out and making jokes or reading magazines. Humour and anger are my default emotions so for me, humour was the best medicine.

I didn't know what to say to Liam, not that he wasn't there for me or I couldn't speak to him, it was more to do with the fact that I didn't know what to say to the man whose baby I just lost. He looked so worried but I knew if I spoke to him I wouldn't be able to stop crying. So I sat and listened to the midwives talk about me like I wasn't there. I could hear them on the phone talking about my results being wrong and my hormone levels were actually 23,000! (still no clue!). I felt it was important to question this. I told one of the midwives what I heard but she said I was wrong. Cut to five minutes later and a swarm of midwives and doctors enter my room. Turns out I was right.

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 than they first thought as the hormones were higher. 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 laughing and then crying and then laughing but I dont think I fully understood what was happening in those hours. I remember laughing one minute then crying the next but it wasn't until I was being wheeled down to the theatre that it really hit me. I started to panic about what was happening to me. I've never had surgery before so it was a daunting prospect but I shouldn't have worried cause the surgeons and nurses were incredible. A bit of a joke where needles and veins were concerned but after six doctors and a nurse tried, we finally got there!

The surgery was crazy. I expected a countdown from 10 to whatever number I nodded off at but there was none of that. I literally breathed in and out twice and was out for the count. When I woke up, I was sobbing uncontrollably (hormones im told) and shaking violently. 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. 

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 kept both ovaries though so children in the future is a strong possibility. 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. 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. The nurse on duty throughout the night was a blooming angel though, she made sure I was well looked after. 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 as they had enough space. I couldn't go back to my uncles as my niece was going to be there and I couldn't stomach seeing her little face just yet. Liams family were great, they were very hospitable and I felt I could truly rest there but poor Liam had to go back offshore so I came back to my new house which only had a bed in it and stayed here. As I said before, I hate feeling like a burden on people so I thought I was doing the best thing. I just wanted time to myself but in hind sight, I think that was probably the worst thing I could have done as I couldn't lift myself out of the mind fuckery of what happened. 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. 
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! I have started having a glass of wine every night, sometimes two and I know its not healthy but I dont stop. I have stopped smoking which is a positive. 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 did end up sitting in the toilet crying for short bursts of time. I am covering someones maternity leave at the moment so that upset me, or if I heard one of the girls talk about their kids then I would either go silent or go to the toilet. 

One thing I wasn't prepared for were other peoples reactions to the news. Not that I have been advertising it but if it pops up in conversation then I have noticed that some, not all, people can be absolute arseholes. The two statements that have drove me mad are 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 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 and some kind words from someone who means everything to you and he has done that and more. Something like this can push couples apart but it has brought us closer and we are both dealing with it in our own ways. I tried not to leave him out or to make him feel as though it wasn't happening to him too as I feel dads/dads to be often get left out and I didn't want him to feel like that. He decided 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.

Anyway, I dont know how to round this off if truth be told 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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