5 Truths for Women with Ectopic Pregnancy Loss

 

DEFINITION: An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg grows in the wrong place. Without treatment, an ectopic pregnancy can lead to serious bleeding and even death in the pregnant woman. (The March of Dimes)

Oh sweet Mama.  My heart aches for YOU.  I’m so sorry for the death of your precious one. Although I’ve never experienced an ectopic pregnancy I’ve had two losses due to miscarriage.

I advocate for women in the loss community. Over the years I’ve learned of the particular tender turmoil that surrounds ectopic pregnancy loss.  I want you to know five truths.

1).  You Are Supported

Darling, you are not alone.  1 in 50 pregnancies in the United States is ectopic.  Don’t be afraid to search for support and community.

Educate yourself.  These reputable organizations provide information for you and your family.

Seek Community. Reading the stories of other women can help our souls.  It makes us feel less alone.  These blogs feature women bravely sharing their stories.

Join a Support Group.  Try Loved Baby Christian Pregnancy Loss Support & Encouragement .

2).  You Will Have Extra Fears.  And this is Normal.

The pain of an ectopic pregnancy has been described as excruciating–making it difficult to even walk.  This is especially true if your fallopian tube ruptures and you have life-threatening internal bleeding.

Your fears included that you would die from internal- bleeding. Now you have increased fears as to whether or not you will be able to have additional children and if “this” will happen again.

Please know that the The March of Dimes says, you can have a healthy pregnancy after an ectopicTalk to your physician about your future fertility.

Also know that “it” can happen again, but there is hope that your next pregnancy will not be an ectopic. The March of Dimes reports “If you’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, you have about a 3 in 20 chance (15 percent) of having another.

Look at those statistics.  You are MORE likely to have a healthy pregnancy than having another ectopic pregnancy (15%).  There is hope sweet lady.

You and your husband might have to decide whether or not you do want to try to conceive again.  Many women report that their husbands are hesitant.  Some partners even refuse.  Please try to understand their perspective and give them time.  They experienced the loss of their baby and they also faced the potential loss of YOU.  Be willing to talk to your partner and acknowledge their fears as well as yours.  Listen and don’t push away your husband if he isn’t quite ready to try again.  Refuse to allow this to become a wedge in your marriage.

Dear heart, don’t feel abnormal if you or your partner have these extra concerns.  It’s only natural, isn’t it?  Seek out a friend who can offer support by listening to your fears,write and journal your thoughts, or join a support group so you can connect with women who’ve had similar experiences.

3).  You Did Not Have an Elective Abortion

This section I write with delicacy and after much prayer.  This is because my heart cries for you.  After any type of loss we ALL feel guilty.  Thoughts of shame run through our minds. But it’s a message of untruth.  We are not at fault.  You though have an extra layer of questions.  In many of your cases you discovered that your baby was in your tube BEFORE your tube ruptured. You had to take one of two paths:  surgery or medicine.

As we all know…your baby could not have survived in an environment outside your womb.  Allowing the baby to continue to grow was LIFE-THREATENING for you.

Some women (and the public) have confused or wrestled with the questions as to whether this treatment of ectopic pregnancy is elective abortion.  Darling, you did NOT ELECT for your child to grow in an environment where it could not survive and you did NOT ELECT for your baby to grow in an environment where rupture will occur and could lead to your own death. Therefore you DID NOT ELECT or EVER WISH to terminate your babe.  Do not allow the words of ignorant individuals shame you.  I pace with madness at commentaries on the internet and words my friends have heard.  The words of the reckless truly pierce like swords.  Put your trust in the words of wise and thoughtful individuals.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has a special Pro-Life interest group within the organization.  Here is their position statement regarding treatment of ectopic pregnancy:

“In either case, the intent for the pro-life physician is not to kill the unborn child, but to preserve the life of the mother in a situation where the life of the child cannot be saved by current medical technology.

For these reasons the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians recognizes the unavoidable loss of human life that occurs in an ectopic pregnancy, but does not consider treatment of ectopic pregnancy by standard surgical or medical procedures to be the moral equivalent of elective abortion, or to be the wrongful taking of human life.

Please dear mamas.  Find peace in those words. Meditate on them and don’t rely on  opinions from individuals who are ignorant of the situation.  I read an analogy  I thought fitting:

“Imagine a battlefield.  A medic has two gravely wounded soldiers before him.  He can choose to do nothing and lose two lives, or he can choose to save one. The medic’s choice, like the doctor’s procedure, does not undermine the humanity and value of the life lost. It is tragic, and the result of living in a broken world. The greater moral good in this situation is to save one human life — the mother’s — rather than lose two.”

Do expect that people will utter insensitive comments.  Don’t be alarmed.  This happens to all of us.  Try to guard your heart by sharing your soul story with people who are supportive.

I also want to give you a piece of advice.  Don’t be alarmed if you spy the word “abortion” on the paperwork from your physician or insurance company.  All of our losses are medically defined as “abortion”.  For example, a miscarriage is called a “spontaneous abortion.”  We’ve given that word special power in popular dialogue.  Please don’t allow the word itself to give you concern.

4).  You Should Receive Extra Care

If you conceive again, you should expect (and demand if it is not offered) extra care.  Because you are at an increased risk of having another ectopic pregnancy your physician will begin monitoring your HCG as soon as you see a positive on a home pregnancy test.  Then, around 6 weeks, you should have an ultrasound to detect whether or not the gestational sac is in your womb or in you tubes (or elsewhere).

Sweet lady, we are advocates of our own health.  If, at any point, you feel as if your caretaker is not treating you with respect or using proper protocol, please know it is your right to seek out another physician. And always…don’t ignore your symptoms.

5).  You Might Struggle With Faith

I use the word “might” here rather loosely.  You probably will struggle with faith.  Don’t we all after loss?

As an ectopic mother you are mourning the loss of a baby. Many of you are also mourning the loss of a body part that helps our bodies conceive.  And finally you were faced with your own mortality.  It’s a deep, dark well of place.

Darling, I can’t answer why God allowed this to happen or why other terrible things occur in life.  All I know is that we are not promised a life free from pain or suffering.  Heaven, where your precious babe now thrives, is the only place where the absence of sadness exists.

As you struggle with faith I encourage you to read Asking God Why After a Miscarriage ..perhaps it can help you on your own walk.  I promise you though…if you cry out to Him, meditate on His word, and invite the Holy Spirit to light your path…you will find peace that passes all understanding.

As words of parting, I want you to know you are loved. You are supported.  Come join us at Loved Baby Support & Encouragement Group if you want a community of women with whom to share your heart.  I do pray these truths help your heart.

Above all…be gentle to yourself.

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Would you share your story of ectopic loss?  Send your 1,000 word or less journey to sarahlewisphilpott@gmail.com.  It might be published on allamericanmom.net in a special series to support women with ectopic loss.


 

WHAT IS AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

Readers, an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg grows in the wrong place. In most cases, the fertillized egg attaches itself to the fallopian tube before it reaches the womb (it can also attach itself to the ovary, the cervix, or abdomen).

According to The March of Dimes, “these areas don’t have enough space or the right tissue for a baby to grow. Without treatment, an ectopic pregnancy can continue to grow and eventually cause whatever it’s attached to bleed excessively or burst. This can lead to serious bleeding and even death in the pregnant woman. About 1 in 50 pregnancies in the United States is ectopic.”


 

About Sarah

Sarah Lewis Philpott, Ph.D lives in the south on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (and one little baby!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. It's quite the chaotic household, but she adores the blessings God has provided. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. Her book, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions for Helping you Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, will be published in October '17 by Broadstreet Publishing. You can go ahead an pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and at Christian Book. Sarah is a lover of coffee (black), rocking chairs, the outdoors, and Hemingway. Visit with Sarah at her All-American Mom blog where she writes about life on the farm and cherishing life in joy & in sorrow.

22 thoughts on “5 Truths for Women with Ectopic Pregnancy Loss

  1. So very informative and heartfelt. What a gift this is for someone who has experienced this for comfort but also to share with others to help inform those of us who have not experienced it. Bless you for walking along side.

  2. Although I have not had this type of loss, I have has a miscarriage of one of my twin sons early in pregnancy. Loss of a baby is a loss at any stage. Thank you for being so gentle with your words. God cares so deeply for all life. Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of one of your precious sons. Yes, loss of a baby is a loss at any stage. Even though they are know dancing on streets of gold, it can still cause pain. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

  3. Prayers for all who have or will suffer any kind of loss of a baby. I know how difficult it is from experience. Thanks for shedding some light on this difficult subject.

  4. Thank you for this. I was told yesterday that my pregnacey was abnormal due to hcg levels not rising properly. They confirms yesterday and today it was ectopic. Luckily my baby was found before anything serious or life threading happened. Still my heat aches I may have just found out a little over a week ago I had a life growing inside of me but I still loved my baby.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss dear heart. Your baby was wonderfully & fearfully made and you absolutely loved this little soul. Prayers for you as you continue this journey. We have a private pregnancy loss and encouragement group on facebook that you are welcome to join. Much love to you.

  5. I have lost two sweet babies to ectopic pregnancies, the last one resulting in the removal of my right tube. I’m coming up on one of my due dates in a few weeks and it’s been really difficult. Thank you for your kind words on this sensitive subject.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of both your babies. I’ll be praying for you the next several weeks as you grieve for and cherish the life they now live in heaven. Hugs to you.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this! It really did help me. I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I had to choose which way to end my pregnancy. I just cannot stop feeling guilty about ending a life that I had prayed and hoped for. It was devastating to have a doctor tell me I had to pick between having an emergency surgery and having a chemo shot. No one that I have talked to about that has understood, but you wrote it so well. I wish that I had read this before I looked at my medical charts. It was extremely painful to see it say, “abortion.” I’ve been trying to find outlets that are helpful and hope to find more just like yours!!

    1. Pregnancy loss is difficult no matter the circumstance; however, ectopic pregnancy can bring such different emotions. Please join our pregnancy loss support group if you would like to chat with other women. Many have had ectopic pregnancies. My heart hurts for you. Please try to release you guilt. Love to you!

  7. Thank you for your words. I just recently found your blog. I’m fb friends w Perry and it showed up in my newsfeed. I graduated w Perry. I was Amber Fox in HS. I had an ectopic pregnancy 4.5 years ago. Ive often struggled w the “abortion” feelings. I had a 9 month old at the time and had to abruptly quit nursing her bc of the chemo meds. It was a really awful time. It all happened and ended so fast. I didn’t know what to feel. I was able to pick back up nursing after 2 weeks but I don’t think that was ever the same. It was all such a loss. Thank you again for your tender words of encouragement.

  8. Thank you for your understanding words. I suffered an ectopic pregnancy in February 2006, which resulted in the loss of my right tube. Even though it’s been 10 years anden 8 months the pain never goes away. I remember seeing the word abortion on my discharge papers and screaming “I didn’t have an abortion!” You 5 truths are spot on and it brought the tears. My husband and I are now faced with unexplained infertility so our loss hurts even more now.

  9. Thank you so much for this article. I just suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had to have medicine and surgery. Thankfully, both of my tubes are intact. My heart is aching and the guilt is prevalent. My baby didn’t have a heartbeat at 6 weeks (conservatively- I was probably more around 6 1/2 or 7). But I still feel awful. Your sweet words bring healing to my soul. This is the hardest thing I have ever faced. I wanted this baby more than I want my own life. Healing will come, but right now I feel broken.

  10. Thank you for writing this.. all the things I needed to hear. I had emergency surgery yesterday morning due to an ectopic pregnancy and had my left tube removed.

    I don’t feel as if I will get over this.. nor will I get over the harsh things people have said to me in order to “comfort” me. Thank you for posting the community boards.

    Really appreciate it.

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