Nov 3, 2011

A Reason to Tell My Story: My Ectopic Pregnancy

Having a baby is a process that most couples expect to be easy.  You know, first comes love then comes marriage then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Only for some women, it's not that easy.

I am one of those women.

When Brett and I decided to have a baby, we assumed it would be easy. Fifteen months later we were at a fertility doctor hearing the bad news that getting pregnant on our own was very unlikely. Our doctor recommended IVF which we did and had Isabella. What many people don't know about fertility treatments is that you are most likely to get pregnant on your own during the first year after you have a baby.

We made the decision to try to have a baby pretty quickly after Isabella was born. We had a miscarriage in Oct of 08 that the doctor suspected was an ectopic pregnancy that took care of itself. Brett and I were devastated.

In February 09 we found out we were pregnant again. With our history, we had an appointment right away to make sure everything was all right. When we went to our ultrasound, I was 6 weeks pregnant and the nurse was very nonchalant about breaking the news. The conversation went a little like this.

Nurse-There is your baby's heartbeat.
Brett- Looks nervous and I can't see the screen.
Nurse-Huh??? That's weird.......
Brett-Gives me a look that scares me a little
Nurse-Oh it looks like your baby is not in your uterus, I think you have an ectopic pregnancy. I'll go get a doctor.

Did you feel loads of compassion? No one talked to us after that. We were alone in the room and we were told to wait until they talked to my doctor. I was beyond devastated. Brett was trying to hold it together for me. What was planned as a happy Friday morning seeing our baby for the first time, turned into emergency surgery.

As luck would have it, my doctor isn't in the office on Fridays since it's his scheduled surgery day. He rushed me into surgery since ectopic pregnancies are life threatening.  I was in surgery 2 hours after my ultrasound. After surgery, I was sent home to recover. My tube was already starting to rupture so I had my only semi working tube removed during the surgery. This made getting pregnant on my own impossible.

As part of our healing and to help other women we are working on research and gathering stories of other women who have gone through an ectopic, which often leads to surgery so fast that a woman is never given the space or time to grieve and ultimately heal. You can help us by sharing the link to our pre-screening survey with women and women’s groups in Massachusetts and beyond.

What will become of our research you ask? An article in a social work journal, perhaps a book…if not anything else than a chance to offer hope and awareness. I feel there needs to be more education on the signs and symptoms for women and their doctors/midwifes to better diagnosis and not misdiagnosis. It is an opportunity for the two of us, and those that participate in the survey and interviews to share our stories and perhaps save a life. Ectopic pregnancies are the leading cause of maternal death and happen in 2% of all pregnancies (and that number is growing) in the United States.

How can you help us? Share this post or re-post on your blog, tweet about our survey, facebook the link to the survey. Help us spread the word and talk to as many woman as we can!

Follow this link to participate in the pre-screening survey
For more information on our project please visit http://shareectopicstories.blogspot.com

Thanks to Laurie at The Family the Laughs Together Stays Together for sharing this with me.  You can read her post about her ectopic pregnancy on her blog.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it takes courage, but i am learning is so important.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I know the pain you go through... I had my first ectopic pregnancy in Aug 98 at 8 weeks along. It is horrible to find out you are pregnant, then only to be rushed to surgery. My 2nd one happened Feb 00. That one I was 22 weeks along, again not knowing I was pregnant to being rushed into surgery. My doctor was wonderful both times. He sat in my room and cried with me for at least an hour after the 2nd surgery.

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  3. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my first baby at 6 weeks pregnant, however it was not an ectopic pregnancy. It was such a tragic experience. Thank you for sharing your story. Hugs.

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