Heather’s Ectopic Pregnancy
A big thank you to Heather for sharing her ectopic story in hopes it helps other women feel less alone.
By Heather P.
Two years ago, I had extreme pain on one side near my right hip and out of cycle bleeding that came and went. I knew something was wrong but my doctor’s office brushed me off, saying “nothing I [was experiencing] sounded like an emergency” and to “take a pregnancy test if I was so concerned.” So I did.
I have never experienced such a rapid change of emotions- the joy of seeing the positive test, then the dread of what that meant. It was a pregnancy gone very wrong, an ectopic. There was no chance the baby would survive and, if left untreated, I wouldn’t either.
It took days to diagnose what I already knew. The pregnancy was not viable. My doctor order a shot of methotrexate to stop the growth. I was told I would not be able to breastfeed my then 8 month old son for 72 hours.
I agreed to the shot, even though my boy hadn’t taken a bottle since he was 10 weeks old. I thought if he was hungry enough, he would take one. I had plenty of frozen milk stored. I thought we would be able to figure something out. I was wrong.
Less than 24 hours later, my son was refusing all food and drink. He only wanted to nurse. He was fussy, not able to be consoled, then weak and listless. He couldn’t hold his head up. He could barely keep his eyes open. We rushed to the pediatrician.
I was ordered out of the room as my husband, my father, and my son’s doctor all tried to get him to drink something to no avail. The doctor finally force fed him with some formula in a syringe and sent us home with instructions to do the same. But I knew it wasn’t the answer. The meager amount we could get in him with the syringe wold not make up for energy he spent trying to avoid being force fed. I had to find another way.
My decision to let other women wet nurse my baby has been met with a lot of criticism. I saw it as a choice between having him end up in the hospital, on an iv for fluids, or being at home and healthy. It was one less worry for me. I spend the next 48 hours trying to soothe him to sleep without nursing, something I had never done, and trying to keep him healthy despite my fear that any wrong move on my part could rupture my already fragile tube.
In the end, the injection did not work. My doctor recommended another injection and another 72 hours of not breastfeeding. I declined in favor of surgery. The surgeon quickly discovered that the tube was already starting to rupture and removed the entire thing. I was able to breastfeed my sweet boy as soon as I woke up from anesthesia.
I was in a dark place post op. I cried off and on. I thought about what I had lost and not what I still had. I lamented the dream I thought I would have to give up- I was certain I would not be able to have any more children. We had struggled to conceive our first. Surely we would struggle even more now that I was missing an essential baby-making part.
My husband took me aside and told me I needed to pull myself together. He said my son was afraid of my mood swings and that it had been too long since he had seen me smile. My little boy needed to be out enjoying the sunshine, not cooped up inside while I cried over something that couldn’t be changed. I was missing out on what I had, and I needed to move forward. It was a big wake up call. My son deserved a mother who was there for him, who smiled with him and laughed at his jokes.
Six months later, we conceived again. I called my doctor and demanded blood tests and an ultrasound. Everything was good- hcg levels were stellar, baby was in the right place. I had caught the pregnancy very early, thanks to taking pregnancy tests weekly out of fear. And this baby was thriving in my womb, just where she should be.
I got my dream- a sibling for my little boy. He now has the sweetest little sister. She is my rainbow baby, my vbac baby, my special girl. And our family feels complete.
Thank you for sharing your story, Heather.
Need more encouragement after your loss? Find it here.