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.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Meet Sarah!

Sarah suffered an ectopic pregnancy recently and has decided to share her story. Thank you so much from the team of Ectopic Pregnancy Ireland!

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
I experienced an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube in February 2012. I was 10 weeks pregnant and this was my first pregnancy.

What were your symptoms? 
The only symptoms I had was an agonising pain in my lower right back and a pain that I suspected was my appendix. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I thought I was constipated but after a glass of orange juice I vomited and my mother and Fiancé insisted I go to the hospital (luckily!!).

How was your experience with the Doctor, & how were you treated?
I had taken 4 HPT’s over two months, all were negative, I even had a negative result with my GP a week before I went into hospital. So when I was told in the hospital that I was pregnant I was in shock. I was in so much pain that I could not register it. I was transferred to Drogheda hospital by ambulance, when I got to the hospital I had lots of people around me. The gynaecologist came down and examined me and told me the likelihood of it being an ectopic pregnancy was high. It was my gut feeling that it was and in my heart I knew it was too, I went for a scan and it was confirmed. I went for the operation to have the pregnancy removed, when I came around I was panicking about my fallopian tube, and I kept asking about it. When I eventually came around I was told that my fallopian tube was removed but that the operation was successful, I had keyhole surgery but my left tube was good and my ovaries looked healthy.
My experience with the doctors and nurses was great. One of the nurses even took the time out to sit with me and my fiancé to talk to us about what had happened, explaining both the procedure and the ectopic pregnancy. They all enforced that it was a definite pregnancy and that I needed to accept that and mourn it and try and move on from it.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, Family support (if shared) etc..
When it comes to support, I didn’t tell a lot of people but looking back I wish I did. Trying to act normal and hide my tears when I see a new baby or hiding my pain when someone tells me they are pregnant is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. A lot of people seem to be avoiding me probably because they are afraid of upsetting me. I feel like I can’t talk to a lot of people my mam and my fiancé excluded. I am very fragile at the moment and hate that everyone is just moving on and ignoring/avoiding me because they don’t want to upset me. Sometimes talking about it and having a good cry is what you need.
Although the pregnancy tests where coming back negative, I knew deep down I was pregnant, I had a lot of pregnancy symptoms. We were not trying for a baby or in a great position to have one but with each negative we got we were a little devastated, as the baby would have been loved and wanted. Since the loss of the baby, I have not really pulled myself together properly. I want to just have a magic wand to make it all better but I have to keep reminding myself it’s only been 6 weeks since the loss. I think about my little baby first thing every morning and last thing at night. I keep thinking about how far along I should be and why did this happen to us? I also can’t get over the sense that a part of me is missing.

What has happened since your ectopic pregnancy?
I have just completed my 6 weeks appointment in the hospital. The doctor told me that I was doing great and that I could start trying to get pregnant straight away if I wanted to. He just advised me to arrange a scan if and when I am pregnant again. He said that it was really important that I go in as soon as I find out to ensure that the pregnancy is in the correct place. I had been experiencing pains in my back and stomach and I was told not to worry about these as it can take up to three months for everything to go back to normal. We are not ready to start trying for another baby yet, but we are hopeful for the future.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Meet Susanne!

It is a great pleasure to dedicate this blog post to Susanne. She is one of the strongest and most determined persons I have met. She is also part of our team and I have tears of joy in my eyes that it's finally come the time to post her happy ending story.

What type of Ectopic Pregnancy did you experience?
My first 2 ectopic pregnancies were in my fallopian tubes, both of which were subsequently removed – I had keyhole surgery for both. Then following our first IVF attempt, the embryo migrated to the stump of my right tube. This was treated with methotrexate, and I later had the remainder of my tubes clipped back to reduce the risk of this happening again.

What were your symptoms?
On the first ectopic pregnancy I had very typical symptoms  - bleeding/spotting on and off, bad pain, shooting pains down my back. On the second one I had no symptoms at all, although looking back, somewhere in my mind there was a niggling feeling something wasn’t right, despite the lack of symptoms. On the third ectopic, the symptoms were similar to the one on the first one.

How was your experience with the doctors and how were you treated?
I have to say, I could not fault the care and attention I received one bit – the doctor and nurse in the Early Pregnancy Unit were fantastic on all three occasions . Despite a packed waiting room I never felt I was rushed out the door, they took their time to let the news sink in, they gave us plenty of information and were generally amazing. The doctors and nurses on the ward were equally great, although one of the nurses at one stage told me to “stop crying, 20 years ago you would have been dead”.  In the IVF clinic, initially the possibility of another ectopic was dismissed, despite the obvious symptoms (I guess it was just so unlikely), which was frustrating, as my gut instinct told me it was ectopic. But overall, I was mostly treated with compassion and respect.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support etc. ?
The first ectopic I put down as “one of those things”, so I really didn’t dwell on it very much. Of course I was upset, but I was desperate to get pregnant again, so that’s what I focussed on. When I got pregnant again a year later and was diagnosed with another ectopic, it was a huge blow. I couldn’t believe that I was never going to be able to have children naturally – I was in my late 20s and never thought I’d ever be a candidate for IVF.  But when I got involved with the charity, it really kept me going. Meeting others who had been through the same was such a help, and I put a lot of energy into helping set the charity up. I wanted to make sense of what happened to me, and this way something good was going to come from it all.
Nearly a year and a half after the second ectopic we started the IVF journey, and when that ended in ectopic number three, we were just thinking  “What the hell? How can this happen AGAIN”. But in the end, you just have to get on with it. All the way through, I had good days and bad days, and if I had a bad day, well, that was ok too. I suppose I’m very self aware, and I tend to be able to react to what I need. If I needed to avoid that person who got pregnant after a month of trying, that’s what I did. If I couldn’t face yet another Christening/ kids birthday party, then I simply didn’t go. As we were very open about our journey, friends and family were great and understood. I’m a talker, I need to talk about things, and family and friends allowed me to do so.

What’s happened since your ectopic pregnancy?
Six months after the IVF ectopic we tried again, but the cycle failed. After a bit of a break, cycle number 3 in the summer of 2011 was successful and the result is now 6 weeks and asleep next to me. Our baby girl was born in March and we are over the moon. We’ve been overwhelmed with good wishes and presents. The charity work is and always will be a big part of my life. I have shared my story in newspaper articles, on the local radio and we will also be featured in the RTE documentary “Births of the Nation” on the 30th April 2012. I never thought we’d have to go through as much heartbreak as we did before we would have our baby, but if our story can give even one person hope, then I know something good has come from it all. What happened made me a stronger person, and even though I will never forget the 3 babies we lost, when I look at our perfect little baby girl, all the pain is forgotten.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Meet Ember!

We have a new story! I was almost loosing hope to keep this project going, but thanks to Ember we have our first entry of 2012 and I have the feeling we will have a few more...
Thank you Ember for writing to us and it's another happy ending!

What type of ectopic pregnancy did you experience?
My first pregnancy was diagnosed as ectopic in my right fallopian tube in 2010.

What were your symptoms?
I had no symptoms. I had a routine ultrasound scan at 5 weeks and 5 days to confirm the pregnancy and an ectopic was diagnosed from the scan.

How was your experience with the Doctors, & How were you treated?
I was initially treated with methotrexate. Blood tests after 3 days showed my HCG levels were still rising and I was given another methotrexate injection. More blood tests three days later showed HCG levels still rising and an ultrasound scan showed that the embryo had grown and there was now a heartbeat. I was brought straight to surgery and had a laparoscopy to remove the right tube. I was told afterwards that the left tube looked healthy. All the doctors and nurses were very kind and understanding and couldn't have been nicer to me. I did feel that I wasn't given enough information about future fertility. I was told to wait 6 months before trying to conceive again and that I should try for 1 year before seeing a doctor. Waiting a possible 18 months before having definitive answers about my fertility was quite upsetting for me.

Can you tell us a bit about your emotions, family support (if shared) etc.
I was completely devastated after the ectopic. I had just gotten married and found out I was pregnant on my honeymoon. I still can't enjoy looking at the pictures because I was pregnant in them. I didn't tell anyone outside of my immediate family and my boss in work. I don't live near my family and found they provided no support for me, no phone calls or visits to see how I was. They treated it like I had my appendix removed, not a baby and half of my future fertility. I was very depressed at the time and didn't confront them on this issue which I regret as I feel it permanently damaged my relationship with them. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to tell people because it was very difficult to act happy and carefree around my work colleagues and friends. It would have been much easier to cope if I had spoken with friends about what happened and my concerns about future pregnancies.

What’s happened since your ectopic pregnancy?
The doctors in the hospital advised me to wait 6 months before trying to get pregnant again. I discussed it with my own gynaecologist and she assured me there was no reason to wait longer than 3/4 months. Four months after the ectopic I got pregnant in my first month trying to conceive. The early weeks of the pregnancy were especially difficult. I had phantom pains in my right side and couldn't relax until I got the pregnancy confirmed by ultrasound at 5 weeks. My beautiful little baby boy was born earlier this year.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Another article!

This article was published yesterday on a local newspaper. We are looking forward to feature Francesca on our blog too!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Go Susanne, Go!

She is one of our own!

Published on the Irish Independent on the 15th of February 2012

Thursday 26 January 2012

Plans for 2012

Happy New Year to you all! We hope Christmas brought joy and peace.

A new year has started, days are getting longer and brighter and there is a new sense of hope, isn't there?

We are continuing our project of collecting stories and we are also very interested in the male perspective which is not taken much into account. So please email us if you want to participate and share your experience.

Our network here in Ireland is broadening and we are delighted when we can reach out to women going through EP. Recently, one of the local maternity hospitals has contacted us to see if we can meet with the councillor who offers supports when someone is admitted with an EP. This is a big step and we hope many more will be taken to raise awareness. Some more press releases are in the pipeline too!

Hopefully it won't be too long till our next post!