Friday, May 4, 2012

SURVIVING AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY




In the early days of September 2010 I received the most unbelievable news, that I was pregnant! Me? Pregnant again? This news shocked me! I wondered if this home pregnancy test I had just taken could really be telling me the truth? Granted, deep down inside I knew it was telling me the truth. In theory our little family was complete. No new additions were being thought of.  I already had three handsome little boys running around my home and my life. I went tentatively to the GYN department and declared my SURPRISE pregnancy to the doctor. I never imagined that this sole event was the beginning of a nightmare that has left scars, pain and fear etched intricately into my heart forever. I was left a traumatized and changed person once my personal nightmare was finished.
In spite of the positive response I received from my at home pregnancy test, the pregnancy test administered by the medical assistant at the doctor’s office was negative! Consequently the medical assistant proceeded to humiliate, mortify and embarrass me! The assistant made me feel like I was a crazy lady! She made me feel like I didn’t know my own body. She insinuated I was an overly sensitive woman that didn’t know how to keep track of dates! I was made o feel like an incompetent, uneducated foolish woman! Doubt began to creep into my mind! Could I have hallucinated a positive pregnancy test? Had I conjured up this whole “possible pregnancy” in my mind? After being humiliated and after I myself had questioned my very own sanity, the doctor comes in. She was not quite as accusing of my insanity as her assistant was but none the less I was left feeling insecure, unsure and scared. I was adamant when speaking with the doctor that I had in fact had a POSITIVE pregnancy test at home. The doctor agreed to have blood drawn so that a test could be performed so we could have a definitive answer. A few days later I received a phone call from the doctor declaring what I already knew in my heart of hearts to be true. I was indeed pregnant, again.
The doctor explained to me that there was a chance of an ectopic pregnancy occurring. That she was going to have me go to the lab every three days to have my HCG levels checked. An ultra sound was also scheduled. The doctor proudly exclaimed that if I was having an ectopic pregnancy they could administer an injection, the pregnancy would dry up… and that would be the end of this traumatic ordeal. No more details were given to me. No list of warning signs. No knowledge of what the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are. That was the extent of the information given to me. It was presented to me as simple case of watching the HCG levels rise in the blood. And remarkably they rose just beautifully. Doubling every few days. Hope of a viable pregnancy crept into my heart and mind. I even wondered if this could be my girl…
The long awaited appointment for the ultra sound came. Nothing was seen by the tech... Nothing was seen by the radiologist… But they gave me hope! The radiologist explained that maybe the dates were all mixed up. He said he saw no indication that I was having an ectopic pregnancy.
 I never thought to research the warning signs of ectopic pregnancies…
I was too sick.
Too worried.
Too weak.
I started to have spotting.
My lower back started hurting.
Blood tests came back with beautifully rising HCG levels.
Exhaustion started creeping in on me.
The spotting continued.
My lower back started hurting more.
I started getting a…
BABY BUMP!?!?
It sounds pretty unbelievable but true.
My tummy started growing quickly!
I continued the tests.
Continued working.
Continued taking care of my boys.
Then the unexpected happened it was September 30, 2010 it was like any other day. I took my boys to school and even went to work. I got an Albertsons fried chicken dinner because there was no strength in my body to do anything else. We had our simple dinner and my husband went to a church meeting. I fell asleep for a short time on the couch as my son’s watched TV. I awoke and the pains started. Severe abdominal cramps. Cramps like I had never before experienced. The pains were nothing like what I had already experienced in my previous three labors. I could not  move. I was alone. My boys watched TV. I finally sent my oldest son to find my sister who lived upstairs from us. She took the boys with her for a sleepover. My husband came home. I lay on the couch with unbelievable cramps. I thought I had food poisoning. My heart could not handle the thought that I might be losing our baby. My baby. Life itself.
Hours went by. I alone labored on the couch. I would occasionally get up and try to go to the bathroom. The sensation that I needed to go was there. But nothing would happen. The cramping continued its intensity ever increasing. I vomited numerous times. The cramping continued. Finally in the middle of the night I woke up my husband and asked him to help me get in the shower. I thought a nice hot shower would calm the cramps. That the hot running shower water would wash away my pain. I slowly showered. I tried to get in our bed but; it was too hard and too high…. Back to the couch I traveled.  At 3am I once again took the unbearable and painful trek to the bathroom. I then saw what I feared most! One HUGE spot of bright red blood. I knew at that instant that my pregnancy was over.
I woke my husband up. I told him we needed to go to the hospital. That my pregnancy  was over. We arrived at Emergency. My husband dropped me off so he could park our car. The security guard spotted me tying to drag my suffering body and broken spirit across the walkway to enter the hospital.  He then offered to bring me a wheelchair as my body and mind was quickly beginning to shut down. We waited for 3 hours in the ER waiting room before I was even allowed a bed to lay on. When I was finally seen it was decided that they would do an ultrasound to see what was “going on” as according to the Doctor and nurse was only having a threatened miscarriage. In my mind I questioned if there was any real hope left. I was taken into the cold and sterile hospital ultrasound room. After having already endured hours of the most intense unrelenting pain that even made pitocin induced contractions during the active stage of labor seem like a mere prick of the finger, it was time for my ultrasound. As the technician began the ultra sound the worst pain I had ever felt went shooting up my back and into my shoulders. This pain was a million times worse than the pain I had already endured. The pain was so intense it was almost too much for my fragile mortal body to be able to withstand. I screamed because the pain was too severe for tears. My body could not handle the pain I was experiencing. In a split second while screaming because the pain was too unbearable and I could feel my life slipping away from me from this world as I began to float away to a world of life sucking pain the following thought came to my mind. I either die now and leave my husband all alone with my three young sons or I fight through this pain and live to raise my boy’s.  I decided to pray silently to God that the pain would leave my fragile body. I prayed silently in my mind pleading with my maker to the very god that had given me life itself to take away my pain or help me to endure all the while I screamed in my total unrelenting world of agonizing pain. The unbearable pain eventually subsided. I then looked up and saw the expressions of shock and panic on the faces of those in the room including my husbands expression of horror. My attending nurse was summoned and asked me to please endure the painful ultrasound. Gently the technician attempted a second ultrasound. I miraculously survived the second attempt. It was declared definitively by the E.R. Doctor that I had an ectopic pregnancy.
An OB surgeon was called in to operate on me. While I waited I was given morphine for my pain.  It was determined that I had internal bleeding which was causing my stomach to be so terribly bloated. The risks of surgery were explained to me. The rest is just a misty fog of a memory. I had an extremely difficult time coming out of the anesthesia. It took the whole day for me to be able to get a grip on reality so that I could leave the hospital and go home. I could barely walk. I felt broken. I was broken. I was totally whipped life itself had been sucked out of me.
I stayed with my parents while I recovered. I was unable to get in and out of the bed on my own. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t make it to the bathroom even though it was just a few steps away. I had never felt so entirely lifeless. I had traveled along the path of the shadow of death and thought about knocking on its door. I chose to fight the pain that was too intense for this mortal world and endured. I had a husband and babies to live for. I survived for them.

2 comments:

  1. may i ask what happened to the baby.
    i am now 9 months pregnant with an
    ectopic pregnancy and i was treated
    very similar. this has been a twilight
    zone pregnancy i do not want to go
    through again. seeing a doctor bc
    they are so skeptical is so grueling.

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  2. Cali I am so sorry that you are having a challenging pregnancy. In my particular case my first ultrasound showed an empty uterus. At nearly 8 weeks I ended up in the hospital with severe abdominal pain. It was at that point that my doctor reported in his words that " the pregnancy aborted out of the tube." Because my pregnancy had developed in my tube it was not a viable pregnancy. The severe pain I was having was due to internal bleeding. The doctor removed the pregnancy tissue and cleaned up the internal bleeding. If you have made it to 9 months then you must be a lucky mama! A very small percentage of ectopic pregnancies make it full term. Please keep me posted on your situation. Trust your body. Trust yourself. Trust your instinct. I'm sending you lots of positive energy and thoughts. Wishing you all the best in these challenging times.

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