Have you ever suffered a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy? It’s taken me 6 years to be able to write this post, and it’s still one of the hardest I’ve ever written.
I've had this post scheduled to go live for the past 6 months, on this very date, as it's the eve of the 6 year anniversary of a not so great thing that happened to us, and even now, this is the most worried I've been about ever hitting publish with a post. I've never had a post sat in the 'published' folder, scheduled to post for such a very long time before! And it deviates massively from what I usually blog about, but it's such a big part of our journey, I thought it was important to share, and maybe it will help someone....
It's a post that has helped me come to terms with what we've gone through, and a post that for my own mental state I've needed to write, and in fact it's been rewritten more times than you'll ever know over the past few years.
Rewind to 6 years ago, and we had just moved into our house and were adjusting to the changes and trying to figure out what we wanted to do with it. It was a 3 bed, and we knew that we wanted to extend it to a 4 bed with a much bigger kitchen.
The evening we moved in, Jon proposed to me, after 9 years together, with the help of Chloe (then 2) and it was quite simply magical.
We started to think about wedding plans whilst getting ideas for the house renovation, totally enjoying life and our little family unit.
One evening in late summer, I started to feel really sicky around 6pm, put it down to feeling a bit tired and possibly coming down with something and didn’t think too much of it. However, this continued for 3 evenings on the trot.
Every time I’ve been pregnant, I always get sickness in the evening!
So, I thought I’d better take a pregnancy test to be sure.
It was positive!
Our family was going to become a family of 4!
Life, isn’t always that kind though, and just 3 weeks later, I suffered a miscarriage, confirmed in hospital over 2 days of tests and internal examinations.
I’ll never forget the exact moment that I lost the baby. The cramps that I’d suffered with for 3 days had become absolutely excruciating, to the point where they were almost taking my breath away. It felt like my insides were being scraped out by a spoon.
A sixth sense told me to go check what was going, and for the squeamish of you, ignore the next paragraph.
On checking, amongst the rest of the stuff you’d expect to see, I found a clear ball, the size of a pearl, perfect in shape and I know with absolute certainty that it was the baby that wasn’t to be. I sat there for the longest time, crying my eyes out, not knowing what to do, either with myself or it. I couldn’t just flush it down the toilet, it was a longed-for baby, something that I’d believed would grow in me, a date to look forward to in the months ahead. The eager anticipation of a life to come.
Eventually, I had to let it go, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve done.
I felt so empty afterwards. All those dreams and the thoughts you go through when you first find out your pregnant. Will it be a boy or girl? Who will it look like? Will it be early/ on time/ late? Working out when you can tell people your happy news. All for it to come crashing down around you.
The worst part for me, and I'm so sorry if this makes me sound awful, I was jealous of every woman I saw who was pregnant. A close friend of mine told me she was pregnant, and I was so incredibly happy for her, but inside it was eating me up. I was insanely jealous of her and her pregnancy. It's crazy to say it now, but at the time, I just couldn't cope with it. The whole world could get pregnant, and was pregnant and rubbing my nose in it. It felt so very lonely!
Little did I know that things were going to be even harder and test Jon and myself to our very core!
Just 2 months later I fell pregnant again. They say you're incredibly fertile right after a miscarriage, and they're not wrong!
This time, we didn’t tell the doctor, we didn’t even acknowledge it properly. We were so worried that it ‘wasn’t to be’ that we decided to get to the magical 12 weeks before confirming with the doctor and getting scans booked.
It’s funny isn’t it, you get a gut feeling when things aren’t quite right.
I’d had a similar feeling with the miscarriage, but this time around, it was incredibly strong.
I voiced my fears to Jon, who understood why I felt that way, and did his best to reassure me.
Sadly, nature had its own views!
The Friday night before everything kicked off gave us a hint of what was to come, but we never expected such a dramatic ending. I awoke around midnight with a severe pain in my right abdomen and an ache in my right shoulder. We assumed it was implantation as I was around 10 weeks along, and that I’d probably slept funny on my shoulder. I've since learned that shoulder pain and tummy cramps are a classic sign of an ectopic pregnancy, so please please get checked out if these symptoms ring true for you!
Jon gave me 2 paracetamol and a hot water bottle and I eventually went back to sleep.
The rest of the weekend was uneventful, apart from the morning sickness that I was feeling, becoming stronger.
All was ok, but alas this wasn’t to be!
The day that changed me (the Monday) dawned much like any other. I dropped a happy and smiley Chloe at nursery, and headed on to work as normal. I was due to go to visit a client at lunch time, but started to get bad tummy cramps beforehand, so headed home to get some IBS medication first.
I had thought that I was having a flare up thanks to the pregnancy.
Looking back, it’s a wonder I was still standing, even my consultant was amazed at what I endured.
I took some tablets, and more paracetamol, got back in the car and started to drive to my client visit. It meant a short drive on the motorway.
Just 5 minutes into driving on the motorway, I began to feel dreadful. My abdomen felt as if it was on fire – I literally can’t describe the pain I was in. My pain threshold is high, and this was on another level!
I pulled off the motorway, and parked up in a layby and called Jon.
I was in near hysterics as I couldn’t even stand up to get out of the car.
He told me to call an ambulance or drive to our GP practice which was just 2 minutes down the road. For my safety, it was better to get to the GP with the pain I was in, so that I could be seen sooner, so I very carefully drove there. To this day, I don’t know how I did it, and I certainly had a guardian angel watching over me.
I walked into the practice, told the receptionist that I was pregnant, and for the first time voiced my fear that it was an ectopic pregnancy and then passed out cold on the floor in front of her!
When I came to, I’d been rushed to the treatment room where they were cannulising me, taking bloods, trying to get vitals and somehow trying to get a urine sample to confirm if I actually was pregnant as I’d still not confirmed it with them before this point.
It came back immediately as pregnant, and I was struggling to stay conscious at this point
Jon had been called, and was rushing from work to be with me, and I had a lovely friend, Camilla, who worked at the practice, who was holding my hand and promised to help Jon with Chloe. God love her, she was just amazing at trying to calm and reassure me, and I’ll always be grateful to her!
I was taken by ambulance to the closest A&E department, and all I know from the journey is that they floored it. Jon struggled to keep sight of them, and eventually had to admit defeat and catch up with us when he could.
Because of the nature of my symptoms, I bypassed A&E and was taken directly to obs/gynae to be examined and then the scanning department. The drugs they’d given me to control my pain had started to kick in, so I was a bit more with it by this point.
They had to do an internal scan to confirm the details, and when I asked the lady scanning me what she thought, I knew it was very serious when she told me with a sad and quiet voice that I’d have to wait for the consultant to confirm the details. The bit that still cuts me to the core to this very day though, we heard the heartbeat.
Our little baby was alive, and had a strong heart beat.
The consultant thought it was a ruptured appendix, and on reading the scans, still believed this to be the cause, so I was told I’d need surgery and Jon and I started to organise childcare for Chloe as nursery would be finishing for the day before I had my surgery. I was still full of hope at this point that the baby would survive.
Half an hour later and my world came crashing down around me. I was getting worse again, and having refused any strong painkillers for fear of harming the baby, I wasn’t in a good way. Gas and air was now being used heavily. You could almost hear my heart shatter into a thousand pieces, as the consultant apologised profusely to us both and advised us that his gut instinct had kicked in (see you must never ignore them!) and he had looked at my scans again.
On close examination, he had seen that the cause of my pain was due to an ectopic that was rupturing, and I had gone from serious to urgent and critical.
Suddenly my room was filled with an anaesthetist, my consultant, nurses, theatre staff. Jon had to sign to agree the surgery, I think I signed something too, and then I was whisked off there and then to surgery.
I remember being so upset at this point. In order to save myself, I had to effectively kill my baby. The level of guilt I still feel to this day is beyond anything I can describe. Some might say that it’s a ridiculous feeling.
The baby would not have been viable
It would not have survived for more than a couple more weeks.
It would kill me.
Chloe needed her mummy to live.
Jon needed me.
We wouldn’t have Callum today if we hadn’t gone through this.
All of this doesn’t matter! As soon as you find out you are pregnant, something changes in you. There is this overwhelming powerful urge to protect this little ball of cells within you. Your whole purpose in life is to keep this most precious of cargo safe.
I felt, and still do feel as if I’d failed as a woman. My heart broke into a thousand pieces that day, never to quite fit back in the same way ever again!
Chloe had longed for a baby brother or sister for so long, and kept asking when she would have one. I couldn’t even do this for her. What did that make me? And why, after being able to have Chloe could I not carry another baby? What the hell was wrong with me?
The surgery was longer than expected. I lost all of my fallopian tube on the right-hand side. It had completely ruptured, which is why I was in such incredible pain.
When they opened me up, they found a pint of fresh blood, and my consultant told me the next morning when he came to check for himself that I was ok, that I would not have survived if the surgery had been even an hour later. I guess it didn’t help that I wouldn’t come round from the anaesthetic for a while, and it took them longer than it should have, for them to wake me up.
I clearly like to keep everyone on their toes
That’s quite a sobering thought though isn’t it, I might not have made it if my consultants instinct hadn’t kicked in!
And trust me, it really doesn’t help when you still have morning sickness raging through you.
Oh yes, even though the pregnancy has been terminated, you still get all the symptoms for 2 weeks afterwards.
Life really can be a bitch at times.
Imagine, trying to recover from life saving surgery, in extreme pain, suffering with morning sickness, feeling like death, drugged up to the eyeballs on morphine, and then trying to act like mummy when you see your little girl so she doesn’t get frightened.
Jon came to see if I was ok after the surgery with Chloe, and brought a few things for me too. Change of clothes, washing stuff, toothbrush,and also a tv card so I would have company in the night.
Whilst he was getting the tv card sorted, Chloe needed the toilet. I had my own room with en suite, right next to the nurses station so they were able to keep a close eye on me. Somehow, Chloe at age 2.5 managed to get on the toilet by herself and go for a wee.
God love her!
But, the toilet was higher than normal ones to make it easier for patients, and the poor girl couldn’t get down. She called for me, but because I’d only been wheeled back from surgery a mere 20 minutes before, I was only just with it, and flying high on the morphine rollercoaster. I remember calling for someone, pressing the buzzer for a nurse to come and help, and luckily Jon reappeared at that moment to help.
That didn’t make me feel too great either, not being able to help my daughter when she needed me!
This all happened a month before Christmas, and our daughter’s birthday is Christmas Eve.
It was the hardest December I have ever had to live through, and I’ve gone through a fair amount of tough stuff, including losing my mother in law just before finding out we were pregnant with Chloe.
This was a gut wrenching, black hole of despair that I really wasn’t sure I’d actually get out of. One of my close friends came to see me a few days after surgery, and she later told me that seeing me had scared her. I was a shell of my normal self and looked so pale I was like a ghost.
Add to this, another close friend was losing her fight against cancer, and I think you’ll all agree that this particular December was quite frankly shit!
We now have our gorgeous Callum, who truly is a miracle baby, as I fell pregnant with him just weeks after all of this had happened. And this was inspite of the fact that we'd been told we had an 85% chance of another ectopic occuring again.
It just goes to show that you must never ever give up hope. I'm a big believer of 'it's meant to be, it will be' and things find a way of getting you on the right track. Never has this been proven to me more, than with Callum arriving.
I am so very grateful to have our 2 wonderful children in our lives, and we can never risk trying for any more, but I will never forget the 2 we lost, and always feel such sadness as we come to the end of each year, over the baby I had to let go of to save me!
Just please do me one favour, unless the information is volunteered, please don't ask a woman when/if she's going to have a baby/ have another baby. When going through something like this, the last thing you need to hear is 'when are you going to have another?'
Thank you! x