Be warned, there’s some harsh emotion/language in this post. If you’ve been through it, you understand. If you haven’t been through it, try to understand.
I still remember the look on the bakery lady’s face as she handed me the small cake with the words “We’re Having a Baby” scrolled on it over the counter. “Good luck,” she said, as she winked and smiled at me. Little did she know how much I was going to need it. Not that it would have helped any.
I knew. I already knew something was wrong. I knew the moment I could barely discern a second pink line on the stick that something was wrong. Shouldn’t I be more excited about my first baby? Shouldn’t I be happy? I forced a smile, forced the laughter, but deep down, I knew. When we got home from telling my parents, cake and all, I found a small spot of dark brown blood, and my worst nightmare began.
The radiologist confirmed what I already knew. Our baby had formed in my tube, my right tube, and there was no way to save her. (I’ll always know she was a girl.) I was alone, so alone. The jerk of a doctor (who was later written up for his manhandling of my emotions) informed me that his “daughter had this happen in both tubes, so there goes extending the family.” Jerk. Then, he informed me I needed to drive myself to the hospital for emergency surgery. Jerk. To top it all off, he patted me on the back and said, “Go Get ‘Em!” Jerk, jerk, jerk!
I drove, in a daze, to the hospital. My husband met me there, worry flooding his puppy-dog eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, they told me there was an alternative. They could give me a drug to dissolve the baby. Dissolve our baby. “Aren’t there any other options?,” I asked, “Can’t you relocate the baby to my uterus?” I knew this wasn’t possible, but I was desperate. No, there was no option. And the drugs meant there was a chance of saving my tube. Like a lamb to slaughter, I had no choice but to let them inject me. And wait.
Two weeks went by, and to my doctor’s amazement, the baby had continued to grow! I was proud. Our daughter was a fighter. Proud and sad. So, so sad. My husband and I would melt together in a puddle of tears at night, helpless and hurting. As it turns out, they’d only given me half of the required dose the first time around, and I had to get another injection. Insult to injury. And I waited. Waited for my child to stop growing. Even as I type this, I can barely see through my tears.
I continued to go to work at my 8-5 through this all, a numb shell. I began having sharp, crippling pains one afternoon, and my (former) OB (idiot) told me it was probably just “constipation.” She advised prune juice. By the time I made it home that night, I could barely walk. I fell to all fours in the living room, and begged my husband to take me to the ER. When we arrived, I informed them of my condition, and they were nonchalant. “I have an ectopic pregnancy!” I told them, “I could die!” Still, they made wait, doubled over and sobbing.
Finally, a room was open. They made me walk. All of the wheelchairs were taken. I grasped onto my husband’s arm, barely able to move my body forward. They told me to lay on the table. I couldn’t. The pain was so intense I couldn’t straighten my body. I screamed. I remember seeing my shell-shocked husband pushed into the corner of the triage room while I was injected with morpheine. Then, the panic set in. I tried to pull out my IV, tried to escape.
Finally, after the drugs flooded my body, they were able to tell me (again) what I already knew. My tube had ruptured. I was bleeding internally. I needed emergency surgery. Family was called, prayers were said. I remember waking up and hearing the end of a word. “Ectomy.” I knew enough about Latin to know that meant something was removed from my body. My tube. Salpingectomy.
I was convinced I would never get pregnant again. I was told that this was a “fluke,” unrelated to any scar tissue or malformation, and that I shouldn’t have problems in the future. I didn’t believe them. After all, they’d screwed up royally so far. I found this blog post I’d written (never published) shortly after the ordeal:
So, I guess I need to write about my struggles. That’ll help, right? Sometimes I just want to flick my womb to get it to wake up. I mean, how the hell hard is it to get pregnant? Crack-whores do it all the time. But, I’m the one-tubed wonder, leaning a little to the left. Even I have to admit that I’m embarrased at how pessimistic I must sound. I have become a more positive person lately. It wasn’t really a conscious choice, but rather a survival mechanism. After all, what choice do I really have? Negative people annoy me, and since I can’t get away from myself, I’d better straighten up.
Our first baby was due in September 2008, and that same month, I peed on a stick again. BFP (big, fat positive). I told my husband, “This time, everything is going to be ok.” And it was. Our darling Anna was born in June 2009, and I can’t imagine life without her. I mourn the loss of our first child, but I know I’ll meet her someday. There are two scars on my lower abdomen to remind me of her, scars that have faded with two subsequent pregnancies, but still remain. Fitting.
She formed outside of my womb, but not outside of my heart. She will forever be our angel baby, stubborn and full of life, just like her sisters. I’m so blessed to have my two daughters here on earth to hold in my arms. And if you’re going through the same thing, don’t lose hope. If you want to be a mother, you will be. Whether through natural birth, adoption, step-children, or other arrangement, you will be a mother. You will.