Tuesday 4 November 2014

Life after the happy ending

Susanne opens up about her life after a very longed for baby finally arrived. Thank you Susanne!

So, what’s life like when you have longed for a baby for so long, have gone through so much heartache, so much pain. When your life was consumed for years by the longing for a baby.
What’s it like when you finally have what you wanted all this time? It’s not something I ever thought about before our daughter was born (you can ready my story here if you haven’t already).
And then there she was, and she was beautiful and it was amazing. And then - and I can’t remember when I first noticed something was not right – my husband changed. Finally, about 5 months after she was born, he was diagnosed with depression. He had been there for me all that time, had kept it together, stayed strong for me. It was as if once she was born, he knew I was ok and he fell apart. I won’t go into detail, but anyone who has experience of living with someone with depression knows it’s very hard. He went to get help and started his road to recovery.
At the same time he was diagnosed, I got an offer for a job. I’d always planned to leave my old job after I had my baby, and I was truly lucky with the opportunity I got. It was a strange time – on one hand, I would have loved to be able to stay at home (we couldn’t afford it), on the other hand, I was looking forward to getting back to work, simply to get out of the house.
So I started the new job and threw myself into it. After years of being consumed by the longing for a baby I felt I had been defined by everything that happened to us.  I felt I was simply “the girl who had 3 ectopics”, our story, our road to our happy ending was my only identity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret being so public about our story, as so much good has come from it.
But starting a new job, with new people, who got to know me as ME, not as “my story” was so refreshing, it was so powerful. People didn’t look at me and think of me as the girl with 3 ectopics, they looked at me and saw someone who was great at her job. I did, of course over time share parts of what happened with my colleagues, but it wasn’t what defined me. Throw a bit of a social life with the colleagues into it, and that was what kept me going -  any new mother knows working full time (with all the guilt that comes with it) and having a baby at home is challenging. Throw a husband recovering from depression into the mix and you can imagine how difficult it was.
I absolutely adore our daughter, she’s 2.5 now, changing every day, and we have so much fun. I enjoy the time with her so much. I also enjoy my work, I’m good at it, and I feel there are opportunities for me I never thought I could have. It took me a long time to forgive myself for that – I spent so many years longing for a baby, I felt I should want to spend every single minute with her. I felt I had no right to complain when it was tough, so I kept going, tried to do it all myself.  Well, guess what – it catches up on you. You can only go for so long until you, or those close to you realise it’s getting too much.
When you are in the middle of your journey, and all you do is cling on to hope that it will happen for you, you don’t think about what happens afterwards. When you first find out you are finally pregnant, and everything is going as planned, you get more and more excited the closer your due date gets. You don’t think about what happens when the baby is born – you expect to be deliriously happy and for your life to be suddenly complete. And in a way, for a while it really was like that. But then normal life resumes, and for me  - for us -  that was a bit overwhelming. Finding your identity again - realising you are not just a mother, but also still a wife, a friend, an employee, an auntie etc etc – it can take time.
So now I make sure I have time to myself and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying my job with the odd night away. And I know I’m a better mother for it. Thankfully my husband has fully recovered too.

Life is good, and with any luck, in a year or two we might be in a position to see if one of our frozen embryos can grow into a little brother or sister for our daughter. Who knows what life will bring.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Helene's story

Look who is back!! I can't believe we didn't have a story to post for almost two years!! Sometimes as you know, life gets in the way and we are trying to add a few more posts to this blog to keep it alive and reach out to as many people as we can who may be looking for support.

Big big thank you to Helene who did write to us and told her story. See below, she is one resilient woman and while her experience is still very recent, her spirits are high. We are also delighted to read that her overall experience was very positive, maybe our work is making a difference!

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
I had an eventful year with two Ectopic Pregnancies (EP). The good thing I guess is we got pregnant twice in one year after trying for over 12 months. Both times I was 5 weeks pregnant and it was in my right tube.

What were your symptoms?
Symptoms were the same for both EPs – slight pain in my right side that just did not feel right.
In March I knew I was pregnant immediately and we were just so excited because it had taken us 15 months to get here. We have one child already and had no problems conceiving with him so it was a shock when it didn't happen straight away on our second. Two days after I took the pregnancy test I started getting pains in my right side - niggles that would come and go at first and then on the Friday they lasted all day long. I remember clearly as I was visiting my friend who had just come home with her new baby girl. I drove home and went straight to my GP who sent me up to EPU immediately. That was 5pm on a Friday evening. It took a week to diagnose it as an EP based on scans and my BetaHCG results and then we opted for Methotrexate (MTX) treatment. 
On my second EP again I knew immediately I was pregnant and within 2 days of taking a home pregnancy test I got the same pains on my right side again. I tried to ignore them for a day or so, really couldn’t believe it could happen again; but when they were constant I knew what was happening and went straight to my EPU. This time they were able to tell straight away from the scan that it was an EP and I opted for another shot of MTX. A week later I ruptured at home and ended up having emergency surgery to remove my right tube. That was on a Friday and by Sunday I had to have a transfusion as I had lost so much blood. I came home on Monday to recover. 
When you have an EP all the warnings and precautions are in place and now I know why! I ruptured at home a week after having a shot of MTX and knew immediately what was happening. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life and one I really would not wish to repeat! 

How was your experience with the doctor? And how were you treated?
Overall my experience with the midwives in the EPU was amazing…they were so supportive and empathetic. They treated me emotionally as well as physically. Some of the doctors were the same but I found the Consultants very off hand and abrupt about the whole thing. Their knowledge of EPs, when I l look back, was phenomenal really and they laid out all my options for me.
I ended up staying in hospital for a week on two separate occasions this year and each time I cannot praise the staff highly enough. 
Before I was given MTX about 3 or 4 different doctors explained and walked us through what the procedure was and what the Do’s and Don’ts are. When I had surgery they were very supportive as well. 
I wasn’t afraid to ask lots of questions though, and my husband did as well, so we really armed ourselves with as much information as we could, and were involved with all decisions and aspects of my treatment.
On my second EP my Consultant did not feel I needed to come in for the 6 week follow up in the Gynae clinic but 2 days after I got home, my EPU phoned me to say that she had spoken with the Consultant and did not agree with that decision; she felt I needed to have the choice and in 6 weeks’ time I could have a lot of questions so I opted to go to the 6 week checkup. I was very grateful for the midwife in my EPU for thinking about me.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support, if shared etc
This is a tough one because most conversations you have about EPs are about the facts and figures and the BHCG levels and what is happening next…not many of them get to the emotional side of it all. On both EPs my parents, sisters and best friend were amazing. They stayed with me, either on phone or in person, throughout the whole experience – or at least up until I was over the 3 month waiting after the MTX. I felt very hard done-by; like the universe was punishing me for something in a past life! Silly I know but I still think that sometimes. It’s the hardest thing to get your head around and I am grateful that both my EPs were at 5 weeks and so I hadn’t formed too close a bond with my baby-to-be. I think of them both, or who they might have been, every day though and November and April will be particularly tough months for me. We are still trying to decide if we try again – it’s an extremely tough conversation to have with my husband because I know he was so scared for me on both occasions but particularly when I had the tube removed as I lost a lot of blood.  I am absolutely petrified to try again and have another EP but the alternative is worse for me – not having another baby and having to accept that decision. 
I was relieved to have my right rube removed in the end – as this was where both my EPs were so I felt better knowing it was gone and the risk reduced for a repeat performance. 
I found the Ectopic Ireland Forum a good source of information and support and my local EPU was really good – but they don’t have the time to talk to you on every visit. 

What has happened since? 

Not a lot! I had surgery 8 weeks ago and am just focusing on getting my body healthy again – I’m running a lot and trying to get physically strong. It also helps keep the head clear . We will most likely try again but this would be the last time as age is not on my side. 

Monday 17 December 2012

Meet Ethna!

Ethna's experience is still so fresh, her pain is transpiring through her words. There is hope Ethna, we are glad writing this down helped you a bit, you are one strong lady and will come through this even stronger.

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
On November the 28th, the day after my four year old son's birthday I was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery and had my 7 week old baby and right Fallopian tube removed.

What were your symptoms?
I knew I was pregnant immediately. I had just experienced a miscarriage at 12 weeks in early September and while we had decided to wait and allow time to heal after that traumatic experience we were thrilled to discover I was pregnant again. I was naturally very nervous but was feeling great. Then I started having a lot of severe pain in my right side and back and some spotting. I rang the hospital over the weekend as with my recent history the midwife in the EPAU had told me to get in touch as soon as I knew I was pregnant again but particularly if I had pain. I was told to sit tight over the weekend and that I was better off at home than sitting down there. Looking back now, I'm so thankful that it didn't progress into a more serious situation. I was light headed and dizzy but by Monday my pain had disappeared and spotting stopped and I put it down to implantation bleeding but rang EPAU anyway and was told to come in on Wednesday. I was again feeling great. Myself and my husband packed up our two children and headed to the hospital, planning on going for a nice lunch and doing some Christmas shopping. My husband stayed in the car with the children as our 15 month old was asleep.

How was your experience with the doctor? And how were you treated?
I was waiting over an hour for my scan which was a very anxious time, given that last time we were there we were told our baby had died so I was very nervous but at the same time pretty confident everything was ok. When I was brought in I couldn't look at the screen. I just lay there looking at the ceiling hoping to God everything would be ok. In the initial scan they didn't find anything in the womb and even though the sonographer said the scan doesn't always show up so early, my heart sank and I knew something was wrong. They did an internal then and the pain came back like a dull ache creeping over me. The two nurses were very quiet and one was telling the other to take measurements etc but no words of reassurance. So I asked could they see anything. The nurse sat down beside me and started rubbing my arms, I was already crying. She told me that sadly what they were seeing was an ectopic pregnancy and that there was no way the baby could survive. I was devastated. I just thought life couldn't be that cruel. She asked would I like to see my baby and at first I said no but then asked to see and there was my tiny bean with a little heart beat. She then showed me my empty womb. I really just couldn't take it in. The last scan I'd had showed a dead baby in the right place and here I was looking at a strong, beating heartbeat just in the wrong place. I was convinced it was my own fault for getting pregnant so soon after my miscarriage but the nurse assured me the two were completely unrelated. I was really floored. She said I had internal bleeding and would need emergency surgery to remove my tube. I think that's when the real fear set in. I phoned my husband in tears but conscious he had our children with him and told him he needed to come in. When he did I took great comfort from seeing my children and knew I had to be strong so as not to frighten them. The doctor came in and explained the surgery and why they would take my tube and feeling like I was signing my life away, I signed the consent form and was admitted. After calculating my last meal, they said I'd have surgery at three. It was about lunchtime and I just couldn't believe the speed at which it all happened. The staff were so lovely and treated me and my family with great respect and dignity. After I was admitted I walked out to the car with my husband who was going to bring the kids to my mum's, pack a bag for me and come back. I thought about getting in the car and just going home with them, convinced everything would be fine but I knew I was in shock and in danger of being very ill and needed to go back. Walking into the hospital alone, knowing they were going to take away that flickering white heart beat was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support, if shared etc
I'm never really away from my children. I had a home birth with my daughter and am still breastfeeding her so knew physically she'd miss me but I was worried about my son. He'd left me at the hospital upset and I knew that would play on his mind. When I went back to my room I went into a kind of daze. I just lay there, not really feeling anything. Saying goodbye to my husband and being wheeled down to theatre when the time came was so sad. When I woke up I just wanted him and was calling for him. I was brought back to my room and rested with him beside me holding my hand. I was in my own room but on the maternity ward and the sound of the tiny newborn babies crying broke my heart. I lay there thinking I've two dead babies now and all I wanted was to hold one. I was very confused, very hurt and very angry. I didn't sleep much, just wept huge heart wrenching tears one minute and then I'd be completely calm the next.

I spent two nights in hospital and since coming home I've gotten fantastic support, my mum took my son to preschool and collected him everyday for a week so I didn't even have to get dressed, just lit the fire most days and stayed cuddled up with my daughter. My children are what get me up in the morning. And even though I take great comfort in them it also saddens me as I know another little baby would be so loved and would grow into an amazing little person just like their big brother and sister, so the enormity of what I'm missing out on hits me a lot.
I have good days and bad but overall I know that when the hurt and anger subside I'll be a better mother because I truly know just how precious my babies are. I also have wonderful family and friends, who have listened and cried with me, both now and over the past few months. I rely on my husband and although initially very angry with him ( I'm not sure why) I know we'll get through all the horribleness together.

What has happened since? 
It's still very raw for us. I was brought back into hospital with severe pains and bleeding 9 days after surgery but thankfully after more scans everything appears fine. Today was my first pain free day and myself and my husband went for lunch and spent some time out together. It felt good putting on lipstick! I was devastated to hear from the hospital that my baby won't be coming home. After my miscarriage we made a beautiful little garden for the children and we buried that baby there and I really wanted to be able to do the same for this baby so that when I close my eyes at night I know we are all close by. The hospital said that my baby was so tiny there is nothing for them to give me. I'm angry at that and confused as I saw my baby on screen but I'm just going to have to accept it and in time we'll do something special to mark this sad time and say goodbye.

My biggest concern now is for the future. I've gone from having two perfect pregnancies, births and children to having two very traumatic pregnancies ending in emptiness and sadness. I always wanted a big family but now I'm worried that something like this could happen again and I'm not sure I could deal with the heartache. I need time to heal, I know that and hopefully down the line we'll see how things go. I'm thankful to yourselves for giving me this space to share and grieve and for the beautiful tea light holder to remember my jelly bean x

Monday 26 November 2012

Meet Leigh!

Meet Leigh! Another story, another experience. Still so so fresh in Leigh's mind as it only happened days ago. She has a wonderful family support and the special comfort of her sister who experienced also an EP. Thank you so much for sharing Leigh.

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
I experienced an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube in November 2012. This was my second pregnancy and I was just under 6 weeks pregnant.

What were your symptoms?
I only discovered I was pregnant on 01 November, the day before I was due to have surgery on my leg after a fall. They assured me it was ok to have the anaesthetic although I was pregnant I started spotting 3 days after the surgery & I was also having cramping like bad period pains and was naturally concerned the anaesthetic had done some harm. I thought it was maybe implantation but decided I should probably have a scan to see everything was ok.

How was your experience with the doctor? And how where you treated?
I have to say overall that was the one positive thing in the whole experience. I rang the obstetrician and explained my symptoms. He said it could be a possible miscarriage or just implantation but arranged a scan for me on 07 Nov. They saw what looked like a tiny gestational sac in the uterus but no yolk sac. Also the uterine lining was thickened and they could see I ovulated from right side. All good signs. The sonographer felt it was most likely a very early pregnancy but without the yolk sac couldn't 100% rule out ectopic. She ordered bloods to measure HCG levels which were 841 and then in 48 hrs rose to 1758. So they more than doubled which I was told pretty much ruled out an ectopic. Feeling so positive that the pain and spotting was implantation I booked in for my first ante natal app on 31 Dec. That night I was doubled over with what felt like trapped wind and actually vomited. But I just went to bed with a hot water bottle on my tummy and put it out of my mind. Next morning I felt fine, the spotting which alternated between brown and dark red just stopped and I had little or no cramping. I was delighted! That was the weekend of 09 Nov. Then on 15th Nov I had another reassurance scan just so they could see the yolk sac and and be 100% sure all was ok, although I was told it was very routine and not even really necessary. My husband couldn't come due to work commitment but I told him not to worry as it was routine and probably too early even for a heartbeat! The whole way through the scan the sonographer said nothing to me and there was an eerie silence. I just knew something wasn't right. Then suddenly I heard the heartbeat and I smiled to myself, thinking my little baby was ok. Still no word from the sonographer and I started to think she was just rude. Then she said " I'll just show you what I found, that's your uterus but there is no gestational sac" I was so confused as I heard the heart beat!! Surely she was mistaken.... Then I'll never forget when she said "There's a gestational sac with a little baby with a beating heart, but it's outside your uterus in your tube" I sobbed so hard I nearly got sick. This couldn't be happening. I had to call my husband who rushed straight to the hospital. The OB came in to see us and said he would have to operate to remove the pregnancy and the right tube there was no other option. My tube hadn't actually ruptured but hey could see swelling on the scan and felt pretty sure it was inevitable any time soon. He was the doctor on call as my own doctor was away for 2 days. In hindsight he seemed almost a little cold but it was more just that he was very matter of fact. I needed surgery and there was no other option. I then had the agonising wait for 5 hrs as I hadn't been fasting and they needed to wait because of the anaesthetic. That was at 11 am. I then went in for surgery at 4pm where took my little baby away. The emptiness I felt when I came around will stay with me forever. The doctor came to see me the next morning and said he partially removed the right tube but what was left was non functional. The remaining tube and ovaries are perfect and he said I have a good chance of conceiving again. But that won't bring back the little one we've lost :( I'm also terrified having a partial tube puts me at higher risk of a repeat ectopic. I just don't understand enough of what they did. My head was too confused to take it all in. I guess my biggest fear is another ectopic and I have so many questions I didn't get a chance to ask.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support (if shared) etc.
I was really heartbroken and felt such an immense grief. Although I was only 6 weeks pregnant this little baby was already a huge part of me. We had allowed ourselves to get excited. Also after the blood results it seemed the pregnancy was progressing normally. It was like a triple edged sword, the loss of our baby, the surgery and pain following it plus the fear for my future fertility. I cried non stop for the first few days and really started to wonder how I would cope. I also felt a degree of anger, why me? And angry also that the sonographer had the volume up on the ultrasound machine, knowing things were not as they should be, hearing that heartbeat will stay with me forever and made the pain all the more unbearable. Sadly my sister experienced the pain of an ectopic pregnancy only in April of last year. We cried together and she was a great comfort as she completely understood what I was going through and also allowed me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a wonderfully supportive family and friends and they are getting me through this difficult time. I'm the type of person that needs to talk about how I feel, it's one of my coping mechanisms. Also I have a very beautiful 22 month old daughter who I look at every day and thank God for her. My husband has been a tower of strength for both of us.

What has happened since?
Not an awful lot has happened since as it has only been a week since surgery.I am taking one day at a time and allowing myself to grieve. I think once the physical wounds have healed I will be emotionally a little stronger too. I will see the Obstetrician on 07th January for a follow up and hopefully get the answers I need. But I'm trying to stay positive and not give up on the idea that one day Georgia will have a little brother or sister to grow up with :)

Friday 23 November 2012

Meet Little Miss Home Life!

Another story for our blog. Thank you so much for sharing it with us Little Miss Home Life, we are positive this is very therapeutic and above all will make you feel less alone.

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
April 2012 I had an Ectopic Pregnancy in my right tube and I was 6 weeks pregnant, this was my first pregnancy. We have been trying for over 3 years

What were your symptoms?
Within minutes of finding out I was pregnant I had stomach cramps, I thought it was shock.
The cramps started to get worse and were winding me under my ribs and around the side and back. Then the shoulder pain started which is called shoulder tip pain and is when you bleed internally. I didn’t have any spotting or bleeding, it was all internal. The pain came on in waves and I felt sick and dizzy.

How was your experience with the Doctor? How were you treated?
As I had just found out I was pregnant I knew this wasn't normal, I had a feeling something was wrong so we went to A&E. It was around 10pm so we pretty much got shown to a cubicle straight away. I told them my symptoms and that I might be pregnant. A couple of doctors came to see me but they wanted me to give a urine sample so they could see if I was pregnant before they could do anything else. I tried to go a couple of times but every time I got to the toilet I felt sick and thought I was going to faint. After awhile the pain was getting worse so the last thing I could think of doing was peeing in a cup. They drew some blood and came back to let me know, yes I am pregnant and they are going to admit me. They said I could either have a complication with the pregnancy or it was an ectopic but I couldn’t have a scan until 8am the next day. By this time I was a bit out of it because the pain was so bad, the shoulder tip pain was now unbearable. After now doing some research I had typical signs of an ectopic that had ruptured and internal bleeding so god knows why they didn’t spot it sooner, I think they were short staffed.
My husband had to go home as it was after visiting hours and was told to come back for the scan at 8am. They came and checked me every 15 minutes but it didn't come quick enough as I had to press the buzzer for them to give me morphine but it wasn't doing anything for the pain. By 4am my blood pressure went very low the nurse made the call to the registrar and I'm glad she did as she saved my life.  They did a bed side scan and realised I had a ruptured ectopic in my right tube and was bleeding internally, I was 6 weeks pregnant. I knew it was quite serious as they were shouting to prep surgery and they were all rushing around. The registrar told me what was going on and that I might lose my tube, all I wanted was the pain to stop. While in surgery they had to remove my right tube, I lost 6 pints of blood and had to have a blood transfusion.  In recovery the nurses said I was very lucky to be alive.
While back on the ward and in the 6 days of recovering they didn’t really tell me much in why it had happened, aftercare advice and where I go from here in trying to conceive. All they said was keep trying for a year and go to my GP if nothing happens after that.
Throughout my stay the nurses were very lovely and helpful with anything I needed.

What has happened since?
While in the hospital they told me to wait one cycle then I could start trying again.  I felt more than ever now that I wanted to get pregnant again.
A week after being discharged I was told I needed to have blood tests done to make sure everything was settling down, I think this was because of my blood transfusion. Everything came back normal apart from my liver levels which were high, after another week they had come down.
6 Months after the ectopic and still trying to conceive nothing had happened so I thought enough is enough. I went to my GP to have some tests for my fertility, they came back normal apart from my testosterone levels which were on the border line of normal and my liver levels again were high.  After an ultrasound scan they ruled out poly-cystic ovaries and said everything looked normal.  Next week my husband is getting some fertility test and we shall see what the Doctor says our next step is.
We are positive and feel like we are getting closer to starting our family but we just can’t wait to have that baby in our arms.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Meet Lynn!

We have another story for our blog! I know it's been a while so please keep them coming! Sharing is a great way to reach out. And without further ado, meet Lynn!

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
I experienced my ectopic on my left fallopian tube in August 2012, this was my second pregnancy.
I was only 5 weeks gone.

How was your experience with the doctor? And how where you treated?
They where no help, I felt like a farm animal. It really started off as a confusing experience, I took my test but it was a very shy positive, for confirmation my doctor gave me a test also but it was still a very shy positive. He took some bloods to be sure I was indeed pregnant. I waited days for the results, but the day before I got them I got a horrible pain on the left side of my groin shooting down my leg and darting up to my shoulder, I was in agony and was faint and pumping sweat. I was terrified. Within the hour the pain had stopped. I thought nothing of it as I had experienced implantation cramping before. Two days later we got a phone call, the bloods where in and it was good news, I was without a doubt  pregnant.  The doctor didn't seem too concern with the pain I had a few days previous so neither was I. That was short lived, over the course of the next week and a half the pains would come and go and some more painful than others and some days not at all. Constant calls to the hospital were no help, the usual response was "too soon to do anything"  but no one seemed worried, but something just wasn't right. To make matters worse I started spotting, but it wasn't heavy enough to alarm the doctors. One night after dinner I felt the pain slowly start to come back, I just cried broken hearted and frustrated, I needed to know! My best friend put me and my hubby into the car and drove us from the house to the nearest maternity hospital in the city which was still about 25 km away, it felt like hours in the car and the pains got worse and worse! By the time we arrived I couldn't stand, my hubby Chris ran in for a wheelchair. I must have looked bad cause I was seen straight away.
The exam was excruciating, I screamed with the pain of it. I fainted on the bed twice.  When it was over the doctor came in with the nurse who examined me and told me it was an ectopic pregnancy. Things started happening so fast one nurse shoving an iv in my hand, the doctor getting me to sign a consent form and being put into a hospital gown by a second nurse. They allowed Chris as far as the OR doors. I just cried the whole time.
I woke up in a recovery room and my first words where "do I still have my tube" of course I didn't ! My tube and my baby where gone and honestly so was my hope.  Back in the room it was awful everyone was still pregnant, when ever I needed to use a bathroom it didn't matter how much I rang for a nurse, no one came.
The next morning the doctor told us I had been internally bleeding for a little over a week, the shoulder pain should have been a giveaway. A little over a litre . He said I didn't have 2 hours left in me when I got there, any longer and I wouldn't have survived the drive there! My tube had ruptured!!
How did I let it get that bad!?

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support (if shared) etc.
The support of my friends and family was overwhelming and unfortunately underwhelming from some.
My mam and dad where great throughout it, they where emotional with me. My mother refused to leave the hospital when she was asked to, as the nurses where not answering the calls. My best friend Nikki looked after my daughter and kept her occupied while I was in hospital. And my hubby and two best friends Wendy and Andie never left my side even after I came home, cooking and cleaning and being good company for me all together. My friends Nicole and Lisa came to our place and spent the night cheering me up. My poor hubby Chris didn't know how to cope, tried staying strong for me and my daughter Zoe but it was taking its toll on him. Even friends from my school days and Facebook where so so loving and supportive to us.

What has happened since?
Losing the baby took its toll on me, I didn't get out of bed for weeks. At first because of the pain but somewhere down the line it stopped being about the pain and more about not facing the world. Despite gentle encouragement from friends and family I didn't even want to go downstairs. I'd just lay in bed thinking about the fact that I came so scarily close to dying but even worse the biggest wound was the baby I'd made so many plans for, that I would now never see, hold, name. I go about my day now. I get up and make my bed. It's been a very slow journey. It's only been 3 months and I still have my dark days and I still cry,  not as much and I don't sleep much at night but I am thinking much more positive now and that's a start.

Monday 30 July 2012

Meet Fiona!

Fiona is another strong lady who went through the mills and came out the other side. Thank you Fiona for sharing your story with us!

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
 I experienced an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube in August 2008. It was my first pregnancy and I was 8 weeks pregnant.

What were your symptoms?
 Inititally I had a small amount of brown spotting.  This went away but at around 6.5 weeks I had small bleed.  I never had any pain only a mild cramp on my left side (opposite side to the ectopic).  They told me it was a ‘silent’ ectopic.

How was your experience with the Doctor, & how were you treated?
 Unfortunately my experience wasn’t very positive.  I went to casualty after the small bleed. Although it wasn’t much I instinctively knew something was wrong.  I was scanned by a junior doctor and then a senior doctor.  They were very busy and he, very matter of factly (in a busy corridor), told me I was pregnant but they didn’t know where the pregnancy was and that was it.  I went home with my head in a spin.  I didn’t understand what that meant and I didn’t ask enough/any questions at the time.  I spent the night searching the internet for information.  The next week was tough I had to go back every 48 hours for bloods and scanning.  The HCG levels were rising but not enough so they knew there was a problem but nothing was showing on the scan so I was continually sent home and told to come back if I got a bad pain.  After a week I started to feel unwell, had a mild cramp on the left side and heavier bleeding so they told me to come back in.  They still couldn’t see anything on the scan but the doctor in casualty thought I looked very pale and wasn’t happy sending me home.  On the ward I was examined by a very rough doctor who told me to go home that there was no way it was an ectopic as I would be in a lot more pain and wouldn’t be able to stand the examination. Even if it was ectopic she said casually ‘its not going to burst right away you would be in way more pain’.  I was so emotionally drained at this stage it seemed endless and I just wanted it to be over.  The next day they called me and asked me to come back in urgently that they were not happy with the latest bloods.  This time thankfully they could see the ectopic on my right tube and I was admitted.  I felt really light headed, sweaty and generally very unwell. It was late that evening so they said a doctor would discuss it with me in the morning.  I felt so sad that night and there was just no support or kindness from anyone on the night shift. At every stage I dealt with different doctors and nurses and had to explain everything from scratch to each of them. Every time I came into the hospital for bloods/scans etc I was waiting for hours which added to the stress. That night the nurse started to ask me it all again for the file   ‘Is this is your first pregnancy?’  It was all too much and I started to cry.  She just looked at the other nurse and said ‘She’s a bit upset’ and they drew the curtains around me and left.  No one took even five minutes to talk to me about anything that was happening.  I was devastated over the loss of the baby but at that stage I just wanted the surgery as I was really scared.  The next morning before surgery I did get one fleeting stabbing pain in my right.  The doctor told me the operation would be 10 minutes if they decided not to operate or 40 minutes if they operated.  I woke up 40 minutes later.  The ectopic was large and had ruptured and I was bleeding into the stomach.  After the operation (literally right after I was half unconscious and my husband hadn’t even seen me) the doctor told me what happened and said they were surprised I wasn’t in agony and I was very lucky.  I managed to ask about future fertility and she said no problem try again whenever you want but come in for an early scan when pregnant.  That was it released with no follow up and no further discussions.  Looking back I know my case was not textbook for an ectopic so was difficult to diagnose but the experience was made a alot worse by the lack of any medical or emotional support from start to finish in the hospital.  Although medication may not have been an option for me it was never discussed.  In fact there was no discussions at any point and I never saw the same doctor to ask any question too.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support (if shared) etc.
It was a huge surprise to me how much of an emotional rollarcoaster this all was. I’m usually a very good coper, easy going and take things in my stride.  My mother had experienced several miscarriages (some late) and often talked openly about how devastated she was over these.  I could never really understand this until this happened to me.  I also had the added concern about my future fertility given the surgery. My husband, close family and friends were great and very supportive.  I didn’t tell a lot of people as found it too painful to talk about.  Looking back I wasn’t really in a good place and went through a range of emotions and perhaps even a bit of post traumatic stress.  Months later I ended up going for a couple of counselling sessions (first time in my life) which were very helpful. Although it was never going to be easy I do believe that if the hospital/doctors had talked to me a bit more that it wouldn’t have been so traumatic. 

What has happened since?
Life could not be better for me since those dark days.  In 2009, I got pregnant and thankfully I had a perfect baby girl.  I had miscarriage in 2011 which was very upsetting but I personally didn’t find it in any way as traumatic as the ectopic.  I’m very happy to say I am now typing this beside my beautiful baby boy born over 8 weeks ago.  I can’t express how lucky I feel to have these two babies. While the experience of ectopic was terrible I don’t think I would appreciate them as much if it were not for the experience.  I take nothing for granted anymore and know that these babies and life in general is very precious.