For the past six months, I’ve been chronicling my family’s struggle with secondary infertility on Blisstree’s sister-site, Mommyish. It’s been a long, emotional journey filled with plenty of frustration and more than a couple tears. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for nineteen months and counting. This December, I prepared to write a good-bye to my weekly posts on in vitro fertilization and fertility clinic drama. Finally, miraculously, joyously… we were pregnant. I was so ecstatic that I simply didn’t know how to hold it in. At seven weeks along, I shared the good news with my family and some co-workers. It was just before the holidays and my life seemed to be one big cloud of optimism and hope: At long last, I was pregnant and I simply couldn’t contain it.
But on Christmas Eve, as my family was celebrating another important birth, I suddenly doubled over in pain. I had cramps worse than any PMS I’d ever known. I was terrified, and my fears tripled when I realized that I was bleeding. After frantic calls to my OB-GYN, I got off my feet and settled down. I scheduled emergency appointments and waited in terror. After four days, three blood tests and more internal ultrasounds than I care to remember, I got the most heart-wrenching news I have ever encountered in my adult life: My pregnancy was ectopic, stuck in my Fallopian tube and impossible to save. The situation simply didn’t seem real. I know I cried. I know that I nodded blankly as the doctor talked about my options. It’s all a blur.
The doctor suggested I take a medicine called Methotrexate to end the pregnancy. At my hormone level and the baby’s size, it was the best chance of removing the pregnancy without doing further damage to my Fallopian tube. The more scar tissue in the tube, the more likely that I could have the same problem again. My only other option was surgery. So I laid in the hospital ER and received an injection that would end the pregnancy that I’d been so overjoyed about. A half hour later and I was on my way home to deal with the side effects. (Of which there are many–I later found out that Methotrexate is often used in chemotherapy; it attacks fast-growing cells. Such as cancer… and babies.)
On my first day at home, I didn’t feel much at all. I remember feeling guilty that I wasn’t more nauseous or sore.
“Losing a baby shouldn’t be easy,” I told my husband. “I would feel less guilty if it hurt more.”
Of course, it was a good sign that I wasn’t experiencing pain. If you’re cramping, it’s a sign that the drug didn’t work fast enough and your Fallopian tube has burst which, though rare, can be fatal. If I was in pain, my husband was under explicit instructions to rush me to the hospital. Still, it seemed more difficult to feel nothing at all.
After two days, I seemed to have gotten my wish. At 11 p.m., I stood up from the couch and suddenly experienced so much pain that I could hardly move. My entire body was shaking as I tried to cope with stabbing in my abdomen. My teeth with chattering uncontrollably. I woke up my husband and begged him to take me the emergency room. So in the middle of the night, we wrapped our three-year-old daughter in blankets and bundled her into the SUV to race to the hospital. Thankfully, I thought ahead enough to call my parents and have them meet us at the hospital. My daughter, who was thoroughly terrified by my crying and moaning, only had to endure a few minutes of the emergency room before my dad arrived to take her back to bed.
If all of this wasn’t awful enough, it turns out it was only the prelude to my real horror story: My trip to the emergency room.