First of all, I'd like to thank every one of you who stopped by and left a kind welcome. It makes me wish I had started blogging long ago. I am so excited to share in a forum where everyone "gets it", that I hardly know where to begin. I feel like I'm going to be jumping around a lot in my storytelling. Please bear with me. This will be Part 1 in probably the most tragic chapter of my infertility history, although chronologically, this occurred somewhere in the middle of the book, so to speak. Because my pregnancy loss and recovery occurred in the fall, the months of October, November and even December will always remind me of that time. I know from reading my share of loss blogs, that many of you feel the same way. In the past three years, I haven't been able to make it through this season without remembering, experiencing life through both my memory and reality simultaneously.
As we begin the holiday season, I remember how difficult this time was for my husband and I before we had children. But as a child and young adult, until infertility and loss muddled my perception, I loved the time between Halloween and Christmas. It was easy to get caught up in the wonder and excitement, the anticipation. The year we received our diagnosis, DH was a graduate student, and we were living too far from our families to make a trip home. I was a teacher, off for Christmas break, and I gladly took a seasonal job wrapping Christmas gifts at a local department store to pass the time. We decided to splurge on Christmas Eve, and we got a room at a fairly prestigious golf resort close to where we were living. It was cold and snowing lightly as we arrived, very unusual weather for the region. I vividly remember how empty the lobby was that evening, how our voices echoed, how lonely it was. We ended up going back to our room to order dinner and my husband commented on how quickly we received our meals. I wondered how many other guests were staying at that hotel on that night, and what their stories were. Was there anyone else out there alone on Christmas Eve, as miserable as I was?
Over the next few years, Christmas became a time of rejoicing again, as we brought not one, but two precious miracles into the world. Twice I was able to celebrate the birth of Jesus, while I, too, was heavy with child. For a while, I felt like I could experience that childlike wonder again; I almost felt . . . normal . . . fertile . . . .
In the fall of 2007, when my older children (who I will from now on refer to as F and M) were 4 and 2, I found myself in an unusual situation. I was actually content with life. I had taken up running, participated in my first 5K, and lost all of the infertility and baby weight. My life was busy as a SAHM, but fulfilling. We hadn't used birth control after M was born, but with our history, I just didn't see it happening. Besides, I truly felt blessed to be the mother of two. As September turned into October, I got the shock of my life. When we found out I was pregnant again, we were overjoyed. We immediately told the children (and everyone around us), because our problems were getting pregnant, not staying pregnant, right? I hadn't had any complications with the other two until delivery. I was young, I was fit, and I really thought we had crossed our biggest hurdle by seeing two lines on the pregnancy test. How truly naive I was.
Everything was fine for a while, until I started spotting. My OB, who I had complete faith in, assured me that some spotting was normal. My HCG continued to double, even quadruple and my progesterone looked good. I tried to convince myself that everything would be alright, but I knew right away something was terribly wrong. In addition to the spotting, I had pain and more cramping then I remembered with my other pregnancies. When my OB wouldn't get me in for an ultrasound, I called up my RE. He got me in that day, and that day quickly turned into one of the worst days in my life.
As it turned out, did have a viable pregnancy with a heartbeat. The spotting was because of where it was implanted. I tried to read my RE's face as he did the scan. It seemed to take a long time for him to find anything, and I started to panic. With my history of tubal infertility, I was at higher risk for a tubal ectopic pregnancy, so this was my immediate first thought. When he located the baby, he was quiet for a while and mumbled, "Well, it's not in the tube." With sadness and compassion, he explained that he was fairly certain we were dealing with a cervical ectopic pregnancy, a very rare condition. In fact, only 2% of ectopics occur outside of the fallopian tube. In the past, cervical ectopic pregnancy was associated with significant hemorrhage and was treated with hysterectomy. My RE (who I have a good relationship despite his directness) commented , "Cervical ectopics will bleed like hell." He also shared that in his 20 or so years of practice, I was the first he had ever seen.
Today, because of earlier detection with ultrasound, there are fertility-preserving treatments available. A common conservative method of treatment is methrotrexate. DH and I left the office in a daze, wondering how we were supposed to fill the next three hours while we waited for the hospital ultrasound. On my way out the door, I grabbed a handful of pads and shoved them into my purse. I felt as if I carried a ticking time bomb inside of me . . . wondering when and where it was going to detonate.
To be continued . . . .