What they don’t teach you…

⚠️Warning: long post where reading is necessary. Pregnancy complications will be discussed. Trigger warning for anyone who had undergone these conditions.⚠️

When getting pregnant we don’t hear a lot about all of the misfortunes and symptoms that come with prenatal conditions.

Some we hear about are miscarriages – pregnancy loss of natural causes before 20 weeks, gestational diabetes – when blood sugar levels are too high during pregnancy which can actually lead to preeclampsia and can be fatal, and depression – postpartum to be exact which occurs after the baby is born.

Maybe some of you are more familiar with others such as placenta previa when the placenta covers the uterine wall which can cause painless bleeding during the second and third trimester, however, hospitalization and birth problems can occur. Or what about placenta abruption? Where the placenta separates from the inner uterine wall and can be so severe the baby will not be able to receive oxygen and nutrients to survive.

This is not to scare anyone out of pregnancy. This is not to say everyone will have to survive through one of these conditions while pregnant. This is just to educate. Because I had no idea about what an ectopic pregnancy was until I lived through it.

I had never heard of it until my doctor kept saying we needed to check for it. Ectopic pregnancies are when the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus. The egg cannot survive and can cause serious damage to nearby organs. Apparently it’s so rare that it’s not something that needs to be worried about. Except, it can be fatal.

I had only known I was pregnant for 2 weeks when I went in for my first ultrasound and they couldn’t find anything in my uterus. I was sent to radiology to see if they could find anything. I was told I was fine and that I could go home. Once home I called the doctor for the results the radiologist technician wouldn’t clearly give me just to say, “I’m not sure why they told you to go home, but you need to come to the emergency room immediately. It’s ectopic on your left side.” We left for the ER.

Once there we were admitted with ease. The doctor did her due diligence to ensure we were taken care of. A clueless doctor, nurse Jackie, and 4 hours later we were told the doctor was in a Caesarean Section Operation so another doctor would be administering the shots of methotrexate that is used on cancer patients. Wait…what?! Apparently it’s in its most diluted form but it reduces the amounts of folic acid in the body which is what a healthy fetus feeds upon.

I got the shots and was allowed to leave. I had to come in to get 2 more labs done to watch hormone levels over the next 7 days. (One had been taken earlier that evening). There was still a chance of rupture that would cause excessive bleeding or severe abdominal pain in which case I would have to rush myself to the ER.

Not eating anything with folate or folic acid for a week was difficult. The American government injects folic acid into practically everything to lessen the chance of birth defects – cereal, noodles, wheat, (beer included), rice, everything. It naturally occurs in leafy greens (and all vegetables at levels I couldn’t eat) and fruits (minus apples and blueberries). I was limited to meat (I had just begun to eat meat more regularly and was considering stopping again), dairy (milk, yogurt, and certain shredded cheese makes me sick), and chocolate. Needless to say I felt disgusting and was already breaking down my body’s health system.

My next doctors appointment had cleared me from eating garbage the rest of my life. I was in good condition and was told to take it easy over the next 2 weeks since anything could still happen. I had felt fine aside from the dietary regimen. I was also still trying to process everything that had happened over a short 3 week span.

After another week passes and everything still feels alright and my life is busy with work, I decide to get on a spin bike. As I spin, I feel it. I felt the rupture. I felt the blood filling my abdomen. I grabbed my things and told my boss I was going to the ER. I was asked if I needed a ride and said I was just heading over there and it wouldn’t be long.

I called the ER, told them I was on my way. I called my husband, asking that he come and be present. My head started spinning and my hands and arms began to go numb. I told him I felt like I was dying. He told me to pull over and call for an ambulance. I got into a parking lot and called 9-1-1. The paramedics were on their way. I turned to grab my purse in the backseat only to find that was not possible in this state. I just kept breathing.

I could hear the ambulance. I was asked my name, what was going on, if I had insurance, and which hospital to go to. I requested my purse be grabbed as I answered their questions and we headed toward Roseville.

The pain was so tremendous I couldn’t recline. Every little breath, touch, or movement shot pain like I never felt throughout my entire body. Finally we were there, my mom was there, dad was in the waiting room, Freddy short after. We waited for a room, finally got a nurse, finally got pain meds. I was knocked out.

When I woke up I was near radiology for an ultrasound and the meds were wearing off. I asked for more. The doctor realized I was a lightweight and only gave me half. The radiology tech couldn’t believe how sensitive I was. Before I knew it we were back in the room waiting. Thank God for pain meds.

The doctor who just started her shift was reading up on me then came in explaining the surgery that was needed. Depending on the severity I would need one or both Fallopian tubes removed and/or one or both ovaries. There was a possibility of never being able to have a child again.

I went to pre-op right away and met my anesthesiologist and nurse who would be in the OR with me. Once in the OR I was instructed of all things to lie flat. The one thing that hurt the worst in all my life. I could feel fluid rushing up into my chest suffocating my lungs as I writhed with pain. The anesthesiologist gave me a dose of numbing magic shortly followed by the general anesthetic.

I woke up surrounded by my husband, mother, and father. And of course, there were popsicles! I was in surgery for 2 hours. There was over a liter of blood in my abdomen that they had to clean out. Half was put back into my body. I had my left Fallopian tube removed with the blueberry sized clot. I was filled with air, but the meds were still kicking. I was sent home.

While home these past few days I have had trouble sleeping, getting up and down, walking, going to the bathroom, basically everything. Little things like coughing, sneezing, crying, and laughing are the most painful sensations I can experience.

It’s been 4 days and I was hoping to be recovered to the point of returning to work already. The doctor said to take it slow – up to 2 weeks in fact. I also cannot try to have children for another 4 months due to the methotrexate they injected me with.

Not being able to do every day tasks alone is unsettling. Knowing I could have died is even more surreal. The fact that all of this is happening still hasn’t fully registered. Now it is all about being patient with my body and allowing myself the time and space to heal.

My heart goes out to anyone who has to experience anything relatively similar to this and I would not wish this experience on anyone. Please don’t feel sorry for me. That was not my intent. I just wanted people to know and be aware of what can happen. If someone else out there is experiencing this or has experienced this, my heart is with you and I don’t know your exact pain but I can relate.

Women are strong and resilient mentally, emotionally, and physically. Our partners who stand by our sides through all of this are loving and incredible beings. All of our other loved ones who are supportive and present never cease to amaze me. Thank you to everyone who has been loving, kind, and supportive through all of this chaos that I am living. I appreciate all of you, and feel loved.

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