So for the past month I have been going through a miscarriage, which we later found out was an ectopic pregnancy (Resulting in a salpingectomy. Yes, I am using the medical term because it sounds awesome.). I wouldn’t say I am the most private person in the world, but I have hesitated to write about or publicize this experience for a couple of reasons. I think the main one being I don’t want to seem like I am sharing this for pats on the back or sympathy. That is mostly my pride talking, but sometimes in this day and age it seems like nothing is private anymore.
I also don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their healthy pregnancy or like they can’t share happy baby news with me, because that is NOT true at all. So for the last few weeks, I have kept relatively mum about what has been going on, just because I didn’t know how to go about sharing in an appropriate way.
However, I really feel impressed to be honest and open about it, and while I am not sure exactly why, maybe someone reading this will find something they can relate to here. When I found out what was going on with my pregnancy, I immediately wanted to reach out to those I knew who had been through similar circumstances, and I was so thankful for their perspective and thoughts about it. I hope that maybe this could be helpful to someone out there if you do go through this, or any kind of loss, because at the end of the day that’s what this was. This post will mostly be about the physical aspect, just because I want to record it, and I hope to do another post with some more spiritual thoughts about miscarriage, or facing trials in general. So here we go:
On March 10th I found out I was pregnant. While I wanted to feel excited like I did with Ella, something just felt “off.” I think the Lord was preparing me for what lay ahead, honestly, and I am thankful for that. We calculated that I was probably about 4-5 week pregnant. Within two days I started having all of the textbook symptoms of a miscarriage. I called my doctor and they said that it probably was going to be a lost pregnancy, but to come and get bloodwork done just in case. What they do in these situations is measure the HCG (pregnancy hormone) in your blood over the course of 48 hours. Early on in a healthy pregnancy, it should double in two days. Well, mine was going down, which meant that this probably wasn’t a viable pregnancy.
While it was hard to hear, I wasn’t really surprised by the results, and I just buckled down and tried to get through it. Miscarriage is weird. I guess any personal tragedy is. You usually haven’t told many people you are pregnant, so you have to just try to carry on with business as usual. Inside, you are so so sad. So that totally stunk. But I’ll write more about the emotional side later 🙂 Moral of the story, though, it’s not just emotional–physically, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into and it was not fun at all. I was thankful that it seemed to wrap up within about a week, though.
Anyway, I went into the doctor the next week and it seemed like everything had passed and my body should be on the way to recovering and being back to normal, but they had me take a pregnancy test and it was still positive. The doctor said he wasn’t really worried, though, and that I should come in again in two weeks and meet with a nurse and just do another test to make sure the HCG had left my body. If it hadn’t, that was a sign that there had been some sort of complication, and if it was gone, I could carry on with my life.
So I wasn’t really very worried, and went on my merry way. I was determined to distract myself and try to fill my time with positive stuff that kept my mind off of the fact that I had lost a pregnancy, so we made some fun family plans for weekend trips and whatnot. While trying to stay busy with fun stuff and not think about things may not have been the absolute best way to deal with the loss, I was coping and I think we were doing pretty well.
Two weeks rolled around and I went back in–and the pregnancy test was still positive. Now I started to just feel annoyed that I was still dealing with this, but not really overly worried. The nurse had me do another blood test and said they would call me tomorrow with a game plan, but there was probably some retained tissue that I hadn’t passed.
Sure enough, they called me the next day and my HCG levels had gone up to way higher than they were originally. That’s when I started to worry! The nurse was calm but really adamant that I go to the hospital and get an ultrasound ASAP. I scrambled to find a babysitter for Ella and a way to the hospital since Dave was at work with the car, and I am so thankful for my friends and my sisters who totally dropped everything to make it happen! Thinking about it makes me all teary.
I got the ultrasound in the outpatient center and within a few minutes it was clear to me that something was wrong. To save time I won’t go into detail but I could tell by the ultrasound tech’s body language and just what I was seeing on the screen. They called in the radiologist, who wasn’t really giving me a straight answer, but once he threw out words like, “mass by your left ovary,” I pushed him harder and he said it looked like an ectopic pregnancy, and that my doctor was on his way over. He then sent me over to the main part of the hospital because I was having surgery NOW.
My completely non-certified definition of an ectopic pregnancy, if you’ve never heard of it (totally understandable, I didn’t know much about it before either), is when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, usually (and in my case) one of the Fallopian tubes. If it goes unnoticed it can rupture and not only cause insane amounts of pain, but massive internal bleeding, which can be deadly if not treated. I am so so so lucky that mine didn’t rupture, and I didn’t have to go through the pain and blood loss. In fact, they offered me a wheelchair to get over to surgery, and I laughed because I felt totally fine (should’ve taken them up on it though, since once I got into the main part of the hospital I realized I had no idea where same-day surgery actually was and had to wander around like a little lost child for a while until I found it).
Anyway, I was, at this point, frantically trying to get ahold of Dave at work to tell him to ditch the pizza truck and come be with his terrified wife, my friend who was watching Ella to tell her what was going on (I had told her I would be back in less than an hour, so I was way off), my sisters to see if they could come take Ella off of my friend’s hands and drop everything in their day to take care of her, and my parents to tell them what was happening, etc. Miraculously, it all worked out, and Dave was able to get there, Grace and Anne were champions and took care of Ella like pros, my friends helped with dinners, etc. Everyone was so great and so helpful, and I am forever thankful.
What was originally so rush, rush, rush of course slowed down once I got admitted and in the hospital bed with the IV and the lovely papery surgical gown. Since I didn’t have acute symptoms (aka awful pain) I wasn’t at the top of the list for the OR. Dave and I waited around for like four hours watching stupid TV (it was oddly fun, though, having him all to myself with nothing to do but watch and make fun of silly shows) and the doctor finally came and explained things in more detail.
Luckily in the meantime we also had time for lots of dorky cell phone pics:
And Dave was kind enough to put my hair in this lovely side ponytail for me when I couldn’t move my arm with the IV (well I could but…..I am way too squeamish and I can’t stand the feeling of that needle moving around in there so I just stay as still as humanly possible). I wish I could claim I was high on some kind of medication at this point but the IV was just saline and I am just a nerd.
It was a huge relief to finally talk to the doctor (just for record’s sake, it was a different doctor than the one I had originally seen, the practice I go to has like ten doctors), even though he wasn’t exactly the bearer of good news, since the radiologist had kind of been dodging my questions (understandably, but I was still ticked in the heat of the moment). He said that the pregnancy had grown to the point that my left Fallopian tube would have to be removed completely (aka, a salpingectomy). This was hard to hear, even though I kind of suspected it already. The reality is, my fertility was being damaged in the prime of my life, when we were still at the beginning of the large family we hoped (and still hope!) to have. However, the doctor was really reassuring that I should still be able to have babies naturally. And Dave was able to give me a priesthood blessing which calmed my fears a lot.
I finally got wheeled up to pre-op and met the nurses and the anesthesiologist, who were all really nice. As they wheeled me into the OR it was SO sad saying goodbye to Dave. I don’t know why, but thinking about it still makes me cry and in that moment I was fighting back tears like nobody’s business. I just was so thankful for his support and I knew he was worried about me but trying to be his normal, un-shakeable self so I wouldn’t be scared. It’s moments like that when you really realize how lucky you are to be with such a loyal guy. Haha I make it sound like I was having brain surgery or something. In the moment I was feeling a bit dramatic and nostalgic 🙂
The OR was as cold and sterile as I had imagined. Thankfully I got hooked up to the loopy meds ASAP so I didn’t really have time to freak out. The greatest part of surgery is that you are asleep for it 🙂 I woke up an hour and a half later, and I felt some pain but I was just relieved that it was over. Dave told me that Dr. Drewes had come out and told him that everything went great and even showed him some pictures (???? I would not want to see that but Dave loved it of course) which I appreciated.
I got wheeled up to my room for the night, and Dave met me and got me settled in my room. He went home to be with Ella and relieve my sisters, and I had a not-so-great night of sleep at the hospital. Honestly, though, I am thankful that they admitted me, even though I was originally hoping to go home after the surgery. I wouldn’t have slept well at home either, and it was really helpful to have someone at my beck and call all night. AND you can’t beat the constant drink refills! I was just determined to get my money’s worth (hey, I had already been to the hospital for one pregnancy, albeit a different situation, and I knew how it worked) so I ordered the biggest breakfast you’ve seen in your life and enjoyed all four hours of the Today Show in peace the next morning before I was discharged.
My recovery wasn’t actually too bad at all. I really gained a lot of respect for my friends that have had C-sections though, because my incisions were tiny compared to theirs, and it was bad enough for me! I wasn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than a jug of milk for a week, though, which was complicated with Ella. I came home on a Thursday, and we had a lot of help from my sisters and friends until the weekend, when Dave was able to be home and help out, and I was basically fine by Monday.
While this was a hard experience physically as well as emotionally, I really have a lot to be grateful for when I look back on it. And I am thankful for anyone who made it through this colossal and probably extremely boring story. I’ll most some more of my thoughts in another post, but I just want to say that if anyone has lost a pregnancy and ever wants someone to talk to about it, I would be happy to listen! And thanks for listening to me! 🙂