I don’t even know how to start this post really. I’ve been meaning to write about my ectopic pregnancy experience for a while and just wasn’t in the right space to do so. But this week just kind of brought everything that I’ve been trying to suppress for the last year back into the forefront.
Some of you know my story. I posted it about it right after it happened, while I was still in the hospital. That, in and of itself, is something that I wouldn’t normally do but, I had such an overwhelming feeling of loneliness that I had to share to feel….connected I suppose. Well, let me back up a bit because the lead up to all of it is important. I want to make sure that anyone in the same situation can recognize some of they symptoms and get help.
So, like a lot of folks, I found myself eating like crap right as the quarantine kicked off. So when I woke up one day with a sharp pain in my stomach, I chalked it up the all the Oreos that I was scarfing down. The pain started off pretty mild on a Sunday and I spent the next two nights not sleeping much as it grew. I grabbed a heating pad and took some Ibuprofen, hoping it would make the pain go away. It never did.
That Tuesday, about three days after I first felt some pain, it completely escalated. Initially, I didn’t think it was anything but gas pains. Some TMI here but, I figured maybe I just had to use the bathroom and I would be ok. I knew it was something more when I felt no relief after using the bathroom. Then I started thinking maybe it was my appendix or kidney stones or something like that.
I hesitated going to urgent care because it was right when the COVID quarantines started. A week prior to this, I hurt my foot (couldn’t even walk on it) and wanted to go in and get seen but after speaking with my husband who had some well founded concerns, we decided it was best for me to wait it out. Good thing, because the pain went away the next day. This mindset it was kept me from going to urgent care sooner.
So, that Tuesday morning as the pain became more and more unbearable, I called my OB/GYN to see if I could make a last minute appointment. I figured they would be able to give me an ultrasound in the office and I wouldn’t have to be around so much people. They had an available appointment around 4pm that day and I took it.
Things really started to get bad around 1pm. I was in so much pain and I knew something was really wrong with me. So, I told my husband I was going to my doctor’s appointment and headed straight to urgent care. Once I got there, I was relieved that it wasn’t a COVID testing site. I told the intake nurse what was happening and the next few minutes were a blur. They took me back and I gave them a urine sample to figure out what was going on.
A few minutes later, the nurse comes in and says, “So, did you know you were pregnant?”
“Ummmmmm no! What? Seriously?”
Then I knew that the pain I was feeling was related to the pregnancy. Something was wrong. The nurse told me that I needed to get to the hospital right away and asked if I wanted am ambulance. I declined and immediately called my husband, completely freaking out.
“They said I’m pregnant, but something is wrong and I have to go to the ER.”
The words came out pretty rushed and in between tears. He very calmly told me to calm down and that it would be ok. I drove straight to the hospital even though I was close to home. I didn’t want to come in and have my kids see me freaking out just to get my husband to take me. The hospital is about 15 minutes from the urgent care I was at.
I arrived at the ER at 3:41pm. I was in so much pain, I had started to sweat. I parked in the valet spot and went in to the main entrance and around to the ER. Once I got to the ER I could barely talk to tell them what was happening. There weren’t many people there, thank God. They gave me a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk at that point due to the pain.
They called me back 7 minutes later.
A bedside side ultrasound followed and said they couldn’t really tell what was going on and couldn’t see any internal bleeding. So, I had to wait for the main ultrasound room to be available so they could see better. In the meantime, they gave me pain meds and I could actually be comfortable for the first time in days. My OB/GYN came in and said that it could be an ectopic pregnancy which is when the embryo implants outside of your uterus, normally in one of your tubes. It is a life threatening situation.
At 5:31, they wheeled me down to ultrasound. I was done at 6:20.
At 7:29, a nurse came in
She said that my HCG levels were high enough that they should see a pregnancy in a normal spot but they didn’t. There was a sac in my uterus but nothing inside and there was also “fluid” there which was “alarming”. They suggested I stay overnight. I then had to wait for my OB/GYN to give me the final disposition.
He came in around 8pm and said that my blood levels were continuing to trend downwards and that the fluid was blood. I was bleeding out internally which is what was causing all the pain. I needed to have surgery. He wasn’t sure if the pregnancy was in my tubes or not because the ultrasound was clear. The only way to know for sure was to have surgery. One of my ovaries was enlarged and could be twisted, so he may have to take it out.
Also, he wasn’t sure if he could do a laparoscopic surgery or like a c-section because of recent COVID protocols. He would have to see what the hospital would let him do. Eventually, they ok’d the laparoscopic surgery.
After that it was just a waiting game until an OR room was available. I had to get a ton of meds in prep. An antibiotic, a shot in the shoulder and so much fun…a suppository.
I was wheeled down to surgery around 11pm and was starting to shake because of the pain. It was worse than any labor pains I had ever had.
I was out of surgery at 3:10am. I wouldn’t know the results until the morning.
At 11:52, the doc came in.
She said they took out one of my tubes. I had told the doc the previous night to go ahead and take them both but there was too much going on so they left the other one. She told me that it looked like there were two pregnancies (twins!) One in my uterus and one in my right tube. Along with that, I had over a liter of blood in my abdomen.
“You could have died.” Those were her words. If I hadn’t gone in when I did, I could’ve died right at home with my husband and kids there to witness. Those words have stuck with me ever since then. It’s a huge reason why I decided to see a therapist. I kept (and still do) having thought of what would have happened if I did die.
The worse part is during the recovery, I developed an allergic reaction to something. My entire body was covered in hives and I was swelling. I would wake up and my lips were swollen. The next day, it would be somewhere else. So on top of it all, I now had to deal with whatever was attacking me. That’s how I felt, like I was under attack and my body was failing me.
I’ll spare you the rest. Most of the swelling was everywhere else and I’m not putting the pic of my swollen lips on the internets lol.
So, that’s my story. It was a rough time. The worse part of it all was that I couldn’t have anyone there with me. My husband couldn’t even come. So I was going through all of this with no one physically by my side. I went from finding out I was pregnant, to an emergency surgery and finding out I could have died. I am a pretty resilient person but this rocked me. I couldn’t even process the loss of a pregnancy because it all happened so fast.
Never hesitate to get care if you feel like something is wrong. You know your body best.
Thank you, if you read this whole thing and thank you if you were around when it happened and left me a supportive comment. I appreciated it and still do. It helped to not feel alone.