"How many pregnancies have you had?"
"Three. Three pregnancies, one baby."
That conversation took place this past weekend at the hospital. I was writhing in pain, and sobbing, and desperately hoping the nurse would hurry with the morphine. The doctors were trying to determine what was going on, but we all kind of knew already.
Let's go back to the beginning.
Last Tuesday, I was scheduled for an MRI to try and determine what was causing my sciatica. I had been eagerly anticipating this scan for a while because the pain was getting out of control and I couldn't imagine living my life this way for much longer. I was in the staging area, waiting for the tech to bring me into the imaging room, and he came in and said they had a couple questions they needed me to answer before we could proceed. Basically, even though I told them I had had a period within the last two weeks, they needed proof I wasn't pregnant before they'd let me have the scan. I got upset because that meant I'd have to reschedule until I could get blood drawn and the results forwarded to them. Arrgghh, another delay, and more days of painful sciatica. I was able to get my doctor to order the blood test that same day, so I went ahead and rescheduled the MRI for Friday, knowing the blood results would be ready by Wednesday. Meezy left for Chicago that evening for work, so the last he heard, I was going to have the MRI done on Friday, because we both knew I wasn't pregnant.
Tuesday night, I was giving Dutch a bath, and I got a call from my doctor's on-call nurse around 8pm. She said, "Umm, you got blood drawn today because you are about to have an MRI, right?" Yes. "Well, I wanted to call you immediately because the pregnancy hormone is present in your blood." What? Are you sure? That doesn't seem biologically possible. "Yes, it's present. This test doesn't report the quantitative level of hcg, but it tells us that it's there." My mind started furiously working, and it dawned on me that maybe what I thought was a period, was actually a miscarriage. They say that some women never know that they miscarry because it happens around the time of when they were expecting a period, and it mimics one. Maybe that's why there is hcg in my blood, because it hasn't completely been flushed out of my system yet. I talked to the nurse about this, and she agreed that it was a possibility. She recommended another blood test, so we could actually see what the level of hcg was. I went in on Wednesday for a quantitative draw, and was told the hcg level was 2999. That would correlate with being about 4-5 weeks pregnant. I was thoroughly confused. I really was not convinced I was actually pregnant, so we scheduled another blood draw for Friday. We needed to see if the level was going up or down. In the meantime, the MRI would have to be postponed indefinitely.
I did the blood draw on Friday, and was told I'd have to wait until Monday to know the results. I really wasn't holding my breath, because everything about this felt wrong from the beginning. On Saturday morning, I started having very painful cramps. Meezy told me to just lay in bed until I felt better, and he took care of Dutch for a couple of hours. By lunch time, I felt normal again, so I got up and we went about our day. I did have a little bit of bleeding during the day, but it was light, and I didn't feel bad otherwise, so I didn't think much of it.
On Sunday morning, I woke up in immense pain. I was nauseated, a little dizzy, and felt sweaty. The cramps were unbearable, and I knew something was really wrong. The pain was worse on my left side, and got worse when I coughed. I texted my friend, Colleen, because I needed advice on if this was normal, and if I could handle the miscarriage at home, or if this was something more that needed medical attention. We talked about it and decided an ectopic pregnancy was definitely a possibility, and I needed to go to the hospital just to be safe. Meezy and I dropped Dutch off at my sister's house and went to the ER. By the time we got there, I was so glad we made that decision. While Meezy signed me in, I went to the bathroom and threw up. I came back to the waiting room and laid down, for what felt like an eternity. I couldn't believe I was in this much pain. When we got back to a room, I was given morphine, and the doctors started examining me. They pushed on my abdomen, and it was torture. They took me for an ultrasound and drew blood, and confirmed I had an ectopic pregnancy. It hadn't ruptured, but they saw fluid in my belly, which meant it was probably leaking. That was part of the reason why I was in so much pain. This didn't explain what the "period" was that I experienced about two weeks ago, but we knew what we were dealing with now, so we had to proceed.
I had to schedule my surgery for that same day, because it was too dangerous to wait. Ectopic pregnancies are very serious, and they can be life-threatening. Before surgery, I had to sign various consent forms. If my tube was too damaged, they would need to remove it. If they found serious damage had been done to an ovary, they would need to remove it. If, there was overall extensive damage found during surgery, they might even have to perform a hysterectomy. Talk about devastating possibilities. Luckily, none of those options came into play, and the surgery was a success. I was able to be discharged late on Sunday night.
I am so thankful to my family for rallying together to help us with Dutch on Sunday. My parents and my sisters made sure we didn't have to worry about his care during the day while we were dealing with this emergent issue. I am so thankful to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for driving over from Ft. Worth to bring Meezy dinner and to make sure I wasn't alone at any time. I am so thankful to my sister for driving me home from the hospital at almost midnight, so that Meezy could be home with Dutch, so that his routine wasn't disrupted too much. My friends have also been an enormous support through this time, from the texts, visits, cookies, flowers, meals, etc. We are feeling very loved and we really appreciate it.
This whole situation developed very quickly and was completely a surprise. Right now, I'm resting at home and letting my body heal. The hardest part is not being able to pick up Dutch for a few weeks. We'll just have to work around that and be creative. I've seen the statistics and what the future could hold for someone with an ectopic pregnancy, but I can't let that get to me. I'm not going to repeat them here, because I'm not going to be a slave to them. This experience doesn't define me, it just makes me stronger. With all that I've been through, I still am able to say I'm incredibly lucky to have the life I do. Lots of love to my family and friends.