I have had a hard time mustering the will to write this update on my ectopic pregnancy. We knew the dangers, yet we believed there was always hope.
My doctor, an older Christian man, was willing to take a more conservative watch and wait approach with me. He told me of a patient he once had who was found to be pregnant with twins. One twin was in the uterus; the other was an abdominal ectopic. He was reluctant to do surgery for fear it might endanger the uterine pregnancy. So they monitored her closely. As they had hoped, the ectopic baby passed away quietly and the other baby was eventually born without complications. He told this story to me and my husband as if that were a happy ending. There was still a child to mourn. But, like so many, he didn’t see it that way.
So when I went for my ultrasound January 4th, I was told the “good” news – my ectopic baby had died. It took me completely off guard, both the tragic news and my doctors attitude about it. I can understand, as a doctor, why he felt it was good news. But it was my BABY for Pete’s sake. Why can’t people seem to understand this?
It took me a month of dragging myself around before I could even begin to act normally. Even now, almost 2 months later, I’m still sad about it. Yes, life goes on. And yes, God is seeing me through this difficult time. But it is still hard to lose a child, no matter how small and no matter where it was implanted.
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.
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.