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.