Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ectopic journey #Pregnancyandinfantlossawarness

Saturday 15th October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day and throughout the whole of October people have been raising awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. It’s something that isn’t talked about much as people don’t know how to approach the subject and that’s something that needs to change because it’s something that is very real and happens every single day. This post might be a long one and not for squeamish people but grab a brew and a biscuit and hopefully see that pregnancy isn’t always as straight forward as you think.

On the 23rd July 2016 I found out I was pregnant after Adam nagged me to take a test because I had been complaining of feeling sick. Out of 5 pregnancy tests 3 came back positive and 2 came back negative, which to me seemed a little strange…. either I was or I wasn’t, which was it? It was a huge shock for both of us as it wasn’t planned and a lot sooner than we had both planned. It was life changing and I don’t think either of us knew what to do. We sat in silence but after speaking about it we decided that we needed to accept it and deal with whatever life was going to throw at us. Adam left to go and do some jobs that he needed to do and that is when my life crumpled into millions of pieces. I started to bleed and I had never been so frightened in my whole life.

I left it for a couple of hours and prayed that it was just implantation bleeding and nothing more serious. I was round at my friend’s house and it just got worse so she insisted in taking me to the hospital to get checked out to make sure everything was okay. As you can imagine I still hadn’t had the time to process all of this and it just felt like everything was happening so fast. I got taken from A&E straight to the early pregnancy unit at my local hospital where I had bloods taken, blood pressure and oxygen levels checked as soon as I got there. After I had everything checked I called Adam to let him know what was going on and he came straight to the hospital. One of the nurses who was working that night made me do one of the hospital pregnancy tests and to my shock she said that it came back negative so I explained that I had done 5 and only 3 came back positive. Usually they throw them away straight away but she believed me and kept It out a little longer. She came back a couple of minutes later and said yes she did see a line on it so she’ll wait for the blood tests to come back to see what’s going on. They came back and it showed that my HCG levels were extremely low, they were 50. HCG is the pregnancy hormone in the body. She said this could be one of two things; it was either a failing pregnancy or it was an extremely early pregnancy that was only just showing. They then carried on and did an internal examination which was both uncomfortable and embarrassing but it was something that had to be done. They said my cervix was only open slightly but I was bleeding.

I got discharged the same night but was told I would need to have blood test every 48 hours to monitor my HCG levels to make sure they were doubling…. which for someone who hates needles was not something that I was looking forward too. I went back on the Tuesday and they had risen to 149 and 48 hours later on the Friday they were at 539. I never let myself get happy about it even though the hospital were telling me that everything was looking good. I had taken the week off work to rest and keep up with my hospital appointments which they were really good about. On the Sunday I went back for another blood test and then carried on my day as normal. I was at the park with my niece and nephew when I got a call saying my HCG has dropped to 400 and something. It broke me…I didn’t know what to say to them all I could do is cry. My niece came up to me and said ‘what’s wrong? Do you want a hug?’ So innocent and had no clue what was going on. At this point they said that it was probably a miscarriage but could not rule out an ectopic pregnancy. They booked me in the following Sunday for another blood test.

I went back to work that following week just because I needed some normality in my life but it wasn’t normal. In my job I work on my own and this is something that they wouldn’t allow me to do. I either had to be supervised at all times or have a man down radio on me all the time while I was there. The man down radio would alert them if I collapsed while working. It was the longest week of my life and I constantly found myself sitting there thinking of different scenarios in my head or scrolling through forums reading other people’s stories. With every story I read that had a bad outcome I felt like I sank deeper into a living hell.

On the Sunday I went back to the hospital for a blood test which I was dreading and wanted to hide from. They called me later that day and to everyone’s shock my HCG had shot up to 2131. They said that we were most likely now dealing with an ectopic pregnancy. My only knowledge about ectopic pregnancies were that they were extremely painful and they could be life threatening but at this moment in time apart from a little bleeding I felt totally normal physically. I went in the next morning so they could do a scan to see if they could locate the pregnancy. They couldn’t, but with a HCG level that high there must have been a pregnancy somewhere. It was so confusing because no one would give me a straight answer and I felt like I was being left in the dark. I was on edge all the time because I knew the longer we left it the higher the chance that my fallopian tube could burst which would put my life in danger. I had an appointment booked for Wednesday so I just tried to get through the next 48 hours without constantly crying or being in pain.

It got to Tuesday night and I started to feel a slight period pain feeling on my right side which got slightly stronger over the next few hours. I called 111 and they told me that I needed to get to the hospital within the next hour either by someone taking me or they would send and ambulance. My mum took me and Adam met us there. I had all the tests done which I had the first time I was admitted and this time they said that my cervix was closed. The lady who put my cannula in must have only been a junior nurse because there was blood everywhere. She must have missed the first time she did it because there was blood all down my arm and dripping onto the bed. Didn’t help that I was already feeling nauseas. I didn’t know what to think…everything was heading in different directions. They kept me in overnight and kept me topped up with pain relief so I could get some rest. I lay there in the hospital bed thinking why has this happened to me? What did I do wrong? That’s when I started to blame myself. I lay with tears streaming down my face in a ward filled with ladies some of which had baby bumps which could have easily been 6/7 months pregnant. I hoped and prayed that none of them were going through anything like I was going though…. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

The next day they woke me up at 9am and took me down for another scan. They told me that from the blood they had taken the night before it showed that my HCG had risen to 3024 and that it was getting dangerous. They did the scan and confirmed that there was no intrauterine pregnancy and no free fluid in the pelvis. If there was free fluid, they would have had to do surgery to remove the ectopic pregnancy as the medication would not work. The sonographer told me that the ectopic pregnancy was in my right tube right next to my ovary. I don’t think I could even find the words to reply to her. The fallopian tubes are less than 1cm in diaminter….no place for a baby to grow and that’s why they rupture. One of the nurses took me back to my bed in the ward and asked me if I wanted to have the surgery that morning as they had a space or did I want to try the medication. I was 18 years old and the thought of them removing one of my fallopian tubes was awful. I knew that if I did have to have my tube removed that it wouldn’t half my chances of conceiving naturally in the future but I did know it would decrease them slightly.  I decided to try a remove the pregnancy with the medication because I’d do everything to try and save my fallopian tube. They gave me the methotrexate which is an injection in one of your bum cheeks which dissolves the pregnancy so it can’t grow anymore and I’m not going to lie it hurts so bad! I was really lucky in the fact that they usually don’t use the methotrexate if your HCG has gone above 3,000 but because mine was only 3,024 they allowed me to have it but made sure I knew that there was a higher risk that it wouldn’t work. They monitored me for an hour and then I was allowed to go home.

Since then I have been having weekly blood tests to make sure my HCG levels were dropping. It has taken 9 weeks for them to fully drop and for this whole horrendous experience to be over. It’s been an experience that has really opened my eyes and shown me that things are not always plain sailing and you can’t just say oh I don’t need to know about that because it will never happen to me. You can’t predict if it’s going to happen and you can’t do anything to stop it. 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. This really shocked me as I never thought that many pregnancies ended with such as horrible thing. It’s something that more people need to be made aware of because I was just like most people before this and just thought it would never happen to me.

1 in every 90 pregnancies ends up being ectopic and this rises to 1 in 10 if you’ve already had one before. I lost my baby at 7/8 weeks and many of you will say oh it wasn’t even a speck then but to me that was mine and Adams child, mine and Adams sibling’s niece or nephew and mine and Adams parent’s grandchild and will always be in the whole families’ heart and will always be remembered.

I’ve learnt that you can’t blame yourself if something like this ever happens because it’s no one fault and it just means that it wasn’t your time yet but will be in the future. My heart goes out to any of you who have had to experience losing a baby and every part of me prays that you have a healthy pregnancy in the future.

Kia x x x 

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