This is personal | My ectopic pregnancy | Part 2
Disclaimer: the information within this blog post are not to be considered a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek medical attention if you are concerned with any symptoms.
I walked into a room full of people. Each person seeking care for something they could no longer handle on their own. All coming to this place seeking aid and answers in a last desperate attempt to feel better and find answers. I walked to the desk and placed my hand on the desk to get someone's attention without having to say a word. The nurse clears his throat and not surprisingly asks “How may I help you?” I answer in a calm unfaltering tone “I have an IUD and have tested positive for pregnancy. The past week I have had severe bloating and abdominal pain along with spotting. I am 23, my last period was 4 months ago and I think it is ectopic.” This caught the attention of two nearby nurses. One said she was going to grab the doctor and the other started the check in process and slapped a bracelet on my wrist.
I think this is a good time to explain what an ectopic pregnancy is.
Here's a little snippet from everyone's friend Mayo clinic.org.
“An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Pregnancy begins with a fertilized egg. Normally, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in a fallopian tube, which carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This type of ectopic pregnancy is called a tubal pregnancy. Sometimes, an ectopic pregnancy occurs in other areas of the body, such as the ovary, abdominal cavity or the lower part of the uterus (cervix), which connects to the vagina.
An ectopic pregnancy can't proceed normally. The fertilized egg can't survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding if left untreated.”
Thank you internet for bringing all scary medical issues too is in simply seconds.
Ok, back to the Advocate Hospital emergency room. I had been sitting for an agonizing 120 seconds before someone grabbed me to get more information. She led me back to a room and told me to sit in a strange looking chair that was like a cross between a recliner and a school desk. A brown haired nurse with a pixie cut chipperly asked me all the needed information and says “ Now let’s get some blood for the lab!” She reached for my wrist, and lightly moved my arm to lay it face up. she used a stretchy rubber band to tie above my elbow: the rubber pinched my skin and little hairs and I could feel the blood starting to pool in the lower part of my arm. I watched as the tiny needle entered my arm. She hit the vein on the first try, removed the tourniquet and the tube filled quickly. She got the first vial full, then another and another. She says “You know I better get more for the other labs they are going to need.” And she did. She left the IV in, helped me up and walked me back to my seat in the lobby. I barely had time to settle in before a wheelchair rolls up next to me and the man behind it says “Monica Grant?” I shake my hand and say “oh no I don't need a wheelchair.It's not necessary, I can walk.” He goes on to explain that I have no choice and that I must get in so I can go get the ultrasound done. He helped me into the chair and then wrapped me in a blanket, and started pushing. As we moved through the lobby I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was looking at me with disdain. I had come in after them and yet they were not the ones riding in the chair. We moved through the hospital and went down the elevator in silence to what I assumed was the basement based on the fact that there was not another person in sight and the only sound was the buzz of the lights overhead and the sound of my blanket dragging on the ground. We reached what seemed to be the destination and he puts the brakes on the wheelchair. He went into a room by himself and closed the door behind him. A few moments later he appeared with a man in a white coat. The new face explained that he would be doing my ultrasound. I quickly tell him that I have to use the restroom or I might burst all the while cursing myself for drinking all that juice. He smiled softly and explained that my full bladder was a good thing! Apparently a full bladder helps them be able to see your uterus better. He promised that after the first part of the ultrasound I could use the restroom. I proceeded to explain that I didn’t think I could wait. Shocker! He won and I went into a dark room where he asked if I could undress and get into the hospital gown. I did quickly and then laid on the table. He came back in and started explaining what would happen next while he squirted my belly with the warm jelly. He expertly used the little hand held camera to see inside of me and then said with a small trace of a laugh “Wow, your bladder IS really full!” I resisted the urge to get spicy and say “Yeah, no Sh!t” Instead I nodded and he comforted me by saying it would be over soon. We sat there in silence for the rest of the time, and he kept digging deeper and deeper into me and somehow without saying a word he said everything I needed to hear to know that I had been right. Something was wrong. After 15 minutes of trying not to pee myself he finally said I was free to use the restroom. In just a few minutes I was tucked into my chair and transported back to the lobby where Isaiah was waiting with a look of panic on his face. I felt a little comforted by knowing he cared. We assumed we would be waiting forever but in just a few minutes we were moved into a room. A steady stream of different doctors and nurses came and went. They all asked the same questions, prodded the same areas, and none of them told me anything. Eventually a handsome young resident full of pep came did the same exact thing as each of the people before him. I finally spoke up and said “ I already know its ectopic and that I am going to need surgery.” He said with such enthusiasm “ No! It could still be a viable pregnancy. You know what? It looks normal to me.” As he walked out I told Isaiah that I know that he is wrong. I can feel that this isn't going to end in some miracle story that we will talk about for years. We sat and watched Gilmore Girls, trying not to worry about what they would say next. Eventually the optimistic resident, a doctor, and a nurse came in and explained that I had a large ectopic pregnancy in my left fallopian tube and that they will have to remove the mass, and possibly my fallopian tube. As they went on to explain more about the medical procedure I found myself just looking at their faces. I couldn’t help but notice that the once optimistic resident looked sad and full of pity for me. And I didn’t mind. I felt pitiful.
During my whole time at the hospital I didn't cry once. This strange calm came over me and I knew I had to do this whether I wanted to or not. I had no choice. They had explained it was this or die. As they wheeled me to the surgical room and explained what was happening I even made a few jokes. It's hard to know how to exactly what to say these situations. Isaiah held my hand until we were in front two large doors and then they said “Your husband will have to stay out here.” Neither of us knew what to say to the other. Just saying “I love you” didn't seem right and neither did “bye”, all I could ask for is a prayer and a kiss.
Then, I was wheeled in and I was asked to count.
I woke up in a new room, with a smiling nurse in front of me and she said “You are so beautiful”. I noticed another nurse behind her, I tried to say thank you but no words came out and I noticed that my mouth was sore and my throat dry and coarse. I couldn’t figure out why I was there, why was I in a bed? Why can’t I talk? Why does my stomach hurt so bad? Questions swirled around. Then I remembered, I was pregnant but the baby wasn't in the right spot and they had to remove it and that's why I was in so much pain. Had they removed it? They must have, that's why I am in so much pain and that means it's gone.
Nothing is there anymore and I am just Monica again, with nothing inside me threatening my body.
I whispered to the nurse and motioned to my stomach, trying to tell her that it hurt and I needed something, anything just to make it stop hurting. She understood and said in the most lovely tone “Let me help you.” She skipped off and I closed my eyes again. When I opened them again she was back with 2 things, a syringe and a heating pad. She put the syringe into the IV and hummed. I felt a rush of relief through my veins that spread to my abdomen and I was full of gratitude. The pain was leaving and my worry was subsiding. She placed the heating pad across my stomach and then patted my hand and walked away still humming. I closed my eyes again and thought of nothing.
“Her heart rate is dropping rapidly, call the doctor. You're going to be okay, its okay.” I could hear her talking but still my eyes were closed and I felt calm. Things were busy around me. I could hear one nurse talking on the phone and the other humming while patting my hand. I opened my eyes and she said “Well hello. Your heart is beating a little slow but don't worry we will get you back to perfect.” Its funny, I didn't really care. I didn't care about anything. I could have been anywhere and with anyone. I just felt like I was floating. I am so thankful to this nurse, she brought a comfort and peace to the room and the situation. As soon as the other nurse was off the phone she came to the bed and handed the humming nurse a pudding cup, spoon and a small cup with a pill in it. She opened it and explained that I needed to eat this whole pudding, it's very important that I eat it and she would help me the whole time: I whispered “no thank you” and she replied “I’m sorry honey, you need to.” She slowly fed me the whole pudding, chatting and singing intermittently the whole time. I was so thankful for all of it. I finished the pudding, took the pill and she said, “Okay, relax.” And then walked away.
I just sat there, still thinking of nothing and content with my empty mind.
I heard the familiar humming, she poked her head around the curtain and smiled. She clapped as my heart rate had returned to normal and told me I could now go to my room for the night.
We walked through the hall and went in and out of elevators while she chatted and sang. I knew once we got to the room she would have to leave and she was the first comfort I had known since waking. I didn't want her to go. I almost asked for her to stay, but I had the thought that I didn't want to be a bad patient. Then Isaiah came into view and I had to double check that he was real. The look of worry and relief on his face told me that he was indeed real. He held my hand and said “Welcome back” and then we went to the room. The singing nurse said “goodbye” and I said “thank you”, then it was a few hours of different doctors and nurses coming in and out. My surgeon arrived and told me that when they operating they were surprised to find that the fetus was not in my fallopian tube, or my ovary but in my abdomen and it wasn’t unattached to anything. They explained that they had removed it and I was able to keep my left ovary and fallopian tube. They let me know that I was fortunate. Then she said that she recommended that I have a dose of methotrexate because they can't be sure they got all the tissue. I was scared but I said yes of course, whatever she thought as best.
I got methotrexate and then they said we should both get some rest, if things were well in the morning we could leave.
Isaiah collapsed on the couch.
I fell in and out of sleep. If you have ever been in the hospital you will know that you can never truly rest. Someone's always coming in and out, putting something in you or taking something out of you.
Daylight was slowly appearing and another nurse came in to ask how I was feeling and what would I like to do with the fetus. At this point I had given up the idea of sleeping and I smiled at her and said “ Oh it doesn’t matter, you can do whatever. I am just going to pretend that this didn't happen and move on. I don’t want to think of this as my first pregnancy.” She looked at me somewhat puzzled and gave me a few options. I stood firm and said “ No this wasn’t my baby, I am just going to move past this whole thing. I wasn't ‘really’ pregnant and next time is the first time. I wasn't pregnant.” She smiled took my hand, looked into my eyes and said “I need you to understand that you were pregnant. If a doctor ever asks you if you have been pregnant you need to tell them about this, I need you to tell me you understand that medically you were pregnant.”
That’s when it all happened, with the sun slowly rising and the pain medication wearing off. With Isaiah's heavy breathing telling me he that was in a deep sleep. And the nurse still holding my hand. In just one second I understood. I had been pregnant. And now I wasn’t. I was instantly overcome by a mix of fear, sadness, and relief. And then suddenly I was back to the same familiar spot I had been in before I had seen that ominous pink plus sign.
After what seemed like a lifetime I finally nodded my head and reassured the nurse by simply saying “yes.” She let go of my hand and left. The sun came up and with it Isaiah. We went home and my body was only mine again and my first pregnancy was over.
This is my personal story and experience with miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, my heart goes out to all who have felt the pain of a lost child. Please message me, comment, email anything. I would love to talk and travel the road together.