My period was late.
I took 3 tests, all negative, but after being 5 days late, I took another. That one said ‘pregnant.” A visit to the doctor’s office confirmed it. We were pregnant after only trying for two months. For about two weeks we got to pretend to be normal. We told a small handful of family. We started to clear out the baby’s room. I took a lot of naps. I was 7 weeks along on Monday.
I was at dance class when I started to have abdominal pain. I felt light-headed, queasy, and wondered if this was the beginning of morning sickness. It felt terrible though- like I was shaking and breaking out in a cold sweat. Some friends at dance helped talk me through deep breathing so I could get steady on my feet. I ended up waiting in my car until Mr. Darcy could come meet me. I didn’t feel safe to drive and the earliest the doctor could see me was 1pm. I was writhing around in pain, the jostling of the car made me feel worse. It was so bad that Mr. Darcy went and got a wheelchair from the doctor’s office so that I didn’t have to hobble from the parking lot.
They couldn’t find any sign of the baby with a trans-vaginal ultrasound so they drew blood then told me the main ultrasound office would see me at 3pm. I had to wait an hour and a half while countless pregnant women passed me by, sitting there in increasing pain and fear, wondering what was going on with my body and who would help me fix it. By the time 3pm rolled around and we were in the ultrasound office, I could barely hold the pen to fill out the paperwork. The pain was so all-encompassing and I feared I might pass out. I finally gave into the agony and moaned out loud which drew looks from happy pregnant people sitting around the waiting room and the staff working behind the desk. Mr. Darcy called out in frustration, “Can someone please help my wife? She is in extreme pain!” I recall trying to get up on the exam table and fainting and later when they couldn’t find anything in the ultrasound, they wheeled me to the bathroom hoping that emptying my bladder would help. I never actually made it inside because as I was sitting there, I told them I was going to faint. My ears were ringing and the room was spinning. I threw up and peed on myself simultaneously while I passed out. My clothes were soiled and I was disoriented and mortified. They gave me scrubs to change into and while we tried to get me dressed, I passed out again.
The pain had pushed my body to this violent reaction. I had no control over it and was petrified.
They finally called down to my original doctor’s office and sent some nurses up to transfer me to the ER. All they could see on the ultrasound was a fibroid mass that is about 12 cm. I’d never had a fibroid before and no one, in all the countless exams I’ve had to endure, has mentioned it to me. It was blocking their ability to see my right fallopian tube which was where our baby had set up residence. Being about the size of a blueberry, it couldn’t make it in the small space and was rupturing. I’m not sure exactly when the rupture occurred but all that agony was because of it and the subsequent internal bleeding that followed the rupture. As they carted me down to the ER, I passed out again. Mr.Darcy said I had my eyes open and was twitching. He thought I was going to die. In all I threw up/peed myself/passed out a total of four times. I remember being in the ER as they waited to open a room to me and making Mr. Darcy turn me on my side even though the pain was excruciating because I was going to throw up again and I was afraid I was going to choke on it. The nurse seemed unphased as he called out for help. They hooked me up to saline and got me some painkillers finally which my body ran through. The shot me up with Ativan so they could put me through the MRI. Every time they had to transfer me from one bed to another the pain increased. It wasn’t until after 12am that they took me into surgery. At that point I just wanted to not die and to not feel that kind of pain. It had been going on for over 12 hours and I was beyond exhausted. I felt so bad for Mr. Darcy too who had to witness it all. It scared the crap out of him but he never left my side.
They wheeled me out of emergency surgery and to my own room around 4am where Mr. Darcy was nodding off in an uncomfortable chair. I didn’t really sleep- hooked up to a catheter with these pressure bands around my legs to help with blood clots (I had lost two liters of blood and they had to do a transfusion) and the unfamiliar sounds of the hospital with the nurses coming in all the time to check my vitals. I stayed there for most of the day, attempting to pee on my own, eat a little food, take a small walk around the ward. I just really wanted to be home so I could rest. My doctors visited and filled in some of the blanks for me. The doctor who performed my surgery, that I had never met before, said it was one of the worst ectopic pregnancy ruptures he had seen and he didn’t know how I held out so long. My original doctor who missed all the action (she’s 38 weeks pregnant) sat with me while I cried and talked me through what’s next. It doesn’t look hopeful for us to conceive and carry our own child. I’m down one fallopian tube. I have an increased risk of another ectopic. I have a 12 cm fibroid on my uterus that needs removing and that surgery could jeopardize the uterus plus set us back more months for recovery. If we did attempt pregnancy, they’d suggest having the egg fertilized and directly put into the uterus so as to avoid the risk of another ectopic. By the time I recover from this surgery, have the fibroid surgery, recover from that, I’d be nearing my 41st birthday. Can my body take all of this? Even if we were to get pregnant, could my cervix hold? It’d be a very difficult pregnancy.
Right now I’m sore from 3 abdominal incisions and from barely being able to get around on my own (I’m stuck laying on my back a lot of the time). The medicine for the pain doesn’t give me restful sleep. I have no appetite but I’m forced to eat when I take the pills. I’m emotionally all over the place- circling around anger and sadness over and over again. I’ve got left over pregnancy hormones coursing through my body while my uterus sheds- constant reminders of the baby that didn’t make it and the big unknowns of what’s next for us on our journey to become parents.
I wanted to write about this even if I’m unable to be eloquent about it because I feel myself needing to hide away. It’s very hard to process this and it’s going to take a lot of time. We’re doing our best to lean on each other and are very grateful to the outpouring of kindness from everyone. A year ago we were facing my cervical cancer. I never thought something worse could strike us down but it has. It’s all just too much to comprehend honestly.