my ectopic pregnancy

Wednesday, August 2

If you've seen any of my Instagram stories within the last week or so, then you probably have a good idea of what's in this post. But I still feel the need to write about it. Because that's just what we do here. That's what this place is for. Feel free to skip if you don't want to read anything having to do with fallopian tubes.


We weren’t trying for a baby. We honestly were’t even considering trying for another until maybe next year sometime. (At least I wasn’t. Tyson would’ve already had a newborn wrapped to him right now if it were totally up to him.) So a possible pregnancy was the absolute last thing on my mind when I started bleeding. I had an IUD, (still have an IUD, though not for much longer) and with the kind that I had (the Mirena) I hadn’t had a period for the three years since I’d gotten it. I didn’t think much of it at first, I thought maybe I had just pushed my luck with the three blissful years of not buying tampons, and now my time was up. It wasn’t until I hit the two week mark that I started to think that maybe this was more than just an incredibly delayed period. I called my midwives back in Virginia, who were the ones who gave me the IUD after Isla was born, and their first response was to tell me that I should probably take a pregnancy test. This was the exact opposite advice I expected to hear. I hung up with them, and Everett who was in the backseat of the car at the time, asked me if I was pregnant. I answered with at least half a dozen toned-down versions of “there is no way in hell” while we finished driving over to Walgreens to pick up a pregnancy test. I drove home, drank a ton of water, and then took one. I didn’t even have to wait 10 seconds before the line started to appear. And in between the perfect storm of swear words and also an unexpected excitement and peace, I laughed. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. Ok. I’m pregnant!

I called Tyson at work and congratulated him on officially winning the “when are we having the next baby” debate ;), and then called my aunt to see if she could get me a last minute appt with her incredible OB/GYN sister-in-law.

At this point, I was still taking it all in with a grain of salt, since the only sign of the pregnancy was the bleeding. I hadn’t felt sick, no sore boobs, no unusual tiredness. I had felt 100% myself. It was such a strange range of emotions to experience, all so contradictory to each other, and all surfacing at the exact same time. The shock, and then more shock, the excitement, the peace, the fear, the visualization of doing it all for the third time, the imagining of the tiny little bean I didn’t know was in my body, while also mentally preparing to lose it, and kicking myself for waiting two weeks to ask questions.

The next day Tyson met me at the hospital for a blood draw and ultrasound. The ultrasound techs never really tell you anything until the doctor can meet with you, but after a long while of looking at a bunch of black, it was pretty clear that my uterus was empty, except for the IUD, which was exactly in the place that it should’ve been. Afterwards we met with the doctor, and had it confirmed that this was most likely an ectopic pregnancy, which means that the pregnancy had implanted in one of my fallopian tubes. Their best guess was that I was between 6-8 weeks along, which was incredibly lucky because the risk of the tube rupturing grows significantly after 8 weeks. Since there’s no way to move the fetus from the tube and into the uterus, this type of pregnancy isn’t viable. The only options are to either inject a chemotherapy drug called methotrexate, that will dissolve the pregnancy, or go in through surgery and remove it that way. The surgery also presents the likely risk of losing the tube and ovary completely, so obviously the methotrexate is the recommended first step.

We waited for about three days and then did another blood draw to confirm that my HCG levels did actually indicate an irregular pregnancy (in case we had missed something on the ultrasound). It was a Sunday when the on-call doctor called to confirm that it was, indeed, ectopic and that I needed to go in immediately for the methotrexate. This was when it really started to suck.

Up until that point, I’d been in a fairly peaceful state. I knew logically what I would have to do if it was an ectopic pregnancy. And it was actually what I was planning on, with only the slightest, tiniest, barely-there part of me holding out hope that my levels would be normal and the baby was just merely too tiny to see in the ultrasound. So when he called, I was completely thrown off guard when I felt instant, stinging sadness.

I did not want to take that drug. I hated that drug. I hated knowing what it was going to do. I hated that this baby was made to grow in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hated that it had been put there as a side effect of the thing I had put in my body. I hated the word “dissolve”. I hated sitting there with the wonderful nurse that was trying so hard to make the injection suck less, and feeling the sting spread throughout the muscle, knowing that it was on its way.

The physical pain that followed in the next week was almost a welcome distraction. I feel so incredibly awful for those cancer patients who have to get chemotherapy on a regular basis. One injection alone put me on the ground. 10 days later and my abdomen still feels like a beat up piece of meat.

I went back to the hospital to take another blood test on Monday and then had a follow-up appt yesterday. My pregnancy levels started out as 198 and they need to get to 0. Yesterday they were only at 175. So that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll have to get more blood tests over the next two weeks to monitor their descent, and hopefully they’ll start to go down faster, but if not, I’ll need to take another shot of methotrexate. I try not to think about what all these numbers mean with what's physically happening in my body. I really really try not to think about it. Most of the day I don't. And I’ve told myself again and again that everything happens for a reason, and it has helped, because it has to.

Two things that I've discovered since all this happened is that

1. I must talk about Dr. Pepper a lot, because I have been showered in love and Dr. Pepper. I am the luckiest son of a gun with the kindest, most thoughtful friends and family. We have been so well taken care of, and I am forever grateful to everyone who has reached out to us, and to me especially. I am not alone, and neither are any of us. I feel so strongly about the power of bringing our individual places of dark into the light. And about placing the ups and downs of our lives where they can be seen and normalized. Outfit posts and ectopic pregnancies can co-exist in the same space. Anxiety attacks and a favorite recipe can co-exist in the same space. Depression and a vacation recap can co-exist in the same space. Make-up tutorials and a struggle with self-worth can co-exist in the same space. All are allowed. And all, when shared from a place of love and trust, are uniting and powerful. Thank you so much for hearing me and hurting with me and lifting me up this week, I just love you.

And 2. I'm ready for a baby now. I didn't think I was. But I felt like I lost this baby, whether it was mine to begin with or not. And I cried for what it had to go through, logical or not. And I wished that it could've been real. And so now I'm ready to try again. We won't be able to for four months, until the doctors are sure that the chemo is out of my system. But then we will. And that makes me happy.

21 comments:

Courtney said...

I also went through a miscarriage with my third pregnancy. This post helped me feel more normal and less alone, so thank you for sharing.

Chelsea D said...

I am heartbroken for you but cheers to bringing our dark places into the light. I'm going through a break up and needed to be reminded things happen for a reason so THANKYOu pretty girl-I sincerely hope your body and mind heal

Anonymous said...

"Outfit posts and ectopic pregnancies can co-exist in the same space. Anxiety attacks and a favorite recipe can co-exist in the same space. Depression and a vacation recap can co-exist in the same space. Make-up tutorials and a struggle with self-worth can co-exist in the same space."

THIS. All of this. Thank you.

This is such a hard topic but thank you for sharing it with us.

Maggie said...

I am heartbroken for you😔 Wishing you the very best, all the way from Portugal❤️

Laura Maldonado said...

<3

Sarah said...

Sending you so much love, Sydney! Thank you for sharing your story ❤️

Anonymous said...

So sorry. Much love to you and your family and hope you heal quickly!

M said...

I agree with the anonymous commenter who excerpted a quote from #1 of your 2 points; for some reason that was incredibly resonant and powerful and PEOPLE SHOULD SAY STUFF LIKE THAT MORE.

I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

It still makes me feel warm and glad that you feel you can share about it here.

Catie Diaz said...

Sydney,

I am so sorry you have to go through this pain. I am also grateful that you wrote this post, because I know how hard it had to have been. I recently went through a similar traumatic experience where I was diagnosed with a Complete Molar Pregnancy. This rare condition gives off the impression of a pregnancy, but there is no baby, only an empty sac. A lot of the times, methotrexate is used to bring down the high hormone levels from this condition if they are not decreasing at a reasonable rate, and instead increase. I am thankful that after a month of anxiety, pain and tears that I am just above zero. Because of this condition I have had to get weekly blood draws until I hit zero, then I will have to get month draws for 6 months, after which I can try again for another baby. It has been heartbreaking, scary, and depressing all together. I feel your pain, and I hope that you heal from this and you receive your rainbow baby as soon as you are able to.

Thank you for sharing your story, because ones like these are not talked about often enough, and not can the awareness help save a life, it also helps those that have been through these situations feel less isolated. I am still waiting to share my story with the rest of my family and friends, but it has been difficult to do so. Thank you for being so brave, and an inspiration to all of us.

Mon. said...

Everything happens for a reason and God knows very well what He is doing. Stay strong :*

Miss Jewells said...

I might so sorry you are going through this! I had two ectopic pregnancies in 2013. Everything you're going through brings back so many memories and emotions. Thinking of you and praying you can avoid surgery and will have a healthy pregnancy again before you know it!

mollyluc said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us - you are so incredibly strong and your writing is always so incredibly piercing, perfectly put and honest. Such stunning words, always and those last two points are EVERYTHING. Thinking of you and sending so much love your way! <3

Shannon said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I had a miscarriage my first pregnancy (since then we've had 2 wonderful little girls), but it's heartbreaking. I currently have the mirena as well (still deciding if we want to try for #3 or not), and have been scared of this happening. I'll be praying for you (and your whole family) for strength during this difficult time.

Edie said...

Oh, Sydney. My heart goes out to you. I have been following your blog for years, but I haven't ever said hello. Hi :) Despite the fact that our lives are so different and you have two kids (and I'm yet to be a mama), I've always felt the most genuine and sincere connection with you. You have this way of always writing from the heart, speaking to your readers like we're sitting down on the couch with you. You share the most intimate and often times, silly, memoirs, and everything here is just so wonderful (but sometimes heart wrenching) to read. That's life, though. So, thank you. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with us that is so vulnerable. I'll be praying for you and your sweet family!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I wanted to just say that it's not your fault and that the IUD doesn't exactly cause this. What the doctor means when they say the risk of ectopic pregnancy increases with an IUD is that if you do get pregnant when you have an IUD, it is most likely to be an ectopic pregnancy since IUDs don't always prevent pregnancy in the tubes, but the absolute risk of an ectopic pregnancy is not actually higher with an IUD than without one. Not your fault at all. Take care of yourself! And I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss and that you had to go thru this. I had a molar pregnancy spring of this year (my number was over 400,000! and took about 3-ish months to come down to less than 5). I had a D&C less than a week before my 40th birthday. Not a cool way to celebrate. Such a hard experience and for some reason I felt like I didn't want to share with people. It probably would have been a little easier if I would have.

Anonymous said...

I'm so so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing - not everyone can - and making it that much more ok to talk about the hard, important, isolating things.

frozenlipstick said...

I've been wondering about you and how you're doing. It never occurred to me till now to come over here to your blog. I'm so glad you're doing better. I'm so glad you shared with us, and we can share with you. I'm also so sorry for your loss, because it just is. It's very important that these topics can be shared and talked about, support is needed. Much love to you and your family. Ramoneschick 💗

Leanne Rees said...

Thank you for being real and open. I hope it all goes smoothly, well as smoothly as these things can go, and that no operation is needed.
I'm sorry for what you've been through and are going through. You are supported and uplifted by a large sisterhood. xxx

Kim Cao said...

Thanks for sharing! Being a new mom is super scary without other factors..I'm going through it right now.

Sending you well wishes and support

Anonymous said...

Good on you for sharing your painful experience so that others can feel less alone. Really appreciate it.

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