Today we went for our first ultrasound. I don’t know how far along I am for certain, but we guess 6, maybe 7 weeks at the most. My last ectopic pregnancy, 7 years ago, taught me to not expect much from ultrasounds. They are far from perfect. If they see a gestational sac in the uterus, that is pretty definitive. If they see tubal dilation, that may be pretty definitive as well, although I have never had a tubal pregnancy so I can’t know that for certain. But I can tell you that gestational sacs on the ovary can look a whole lot like cysts. That’s where they think they saw my baby’s gestational sac today, just like last time. Yet they really couldn’t honestly say for certain.
The photograph shows an unborn child aged 6-7 weeks, from an ectopic pregnancy. This award winning photograph was taken by Robert Wolfe, Medical Photographer at the University of Minnesota.
Most people would say that while it is nice to hear of ectopic survival stories, they are only able to survive because they are abdominal pregnancies, rather than tubal pregnancies which are assumed to have a 0% survival rate. I would like to present some facts to the contrary.
I have had one ectopic pregnancy. It was hard because there are no real treatment options. No mother should be asked to choose her own life over the life of her child. The risks are real and scary. I was in pain for about four weeks of my ectopic pregnancy. I had bleeding early on and my progesterone dropped very low. It was assumed that I lost the baby. But the placenta can continue to grow if it isn’t expelled. In retrospect I believe that is what happened to me, but at the time I didn’t want to make any assumptions about the life of my child. I was being monitored closely every two days and harassed to take the shot, and once that window of opportunity passed because of my higher HCG levels, to have surgery.