Our very first BFP was ectopic…
My heart was heavy, but I wasn’t comfortable losing my composure in the middle of the ER—crying uncontrollably would only exacerbate that mysterious right upper quadrant pain. The doctors explained they wanted to admit me for monitoring. They suspected I was quite early, which I likely was. (Maybe three weeks.)
As soon as the doctors left, my sobbing husband collapsed onto me, shedding the tears I could not part with. Our mournful embrace was awkward as I laid on the gurney. (My heart broke a little more. This wonderful man had only cried twice like this before in the eight years I had been with him.)
We had never known this heartbreak. Little did we know it, but we would come to know more.
Following a two-night stay in which they ascertained I was stable and my HCG levels were dropping, which indicated a failing pregnancy, I was given methotrexate and sent home. (My right upper quadrant pain had inexplicably improved.) Methotrexate is a nasty drug. In much larger dosages, it is used in chemotherapy. In our case, it was used to stop the division of cells in that little blip that tried to form a new life.
The following day, however, the pain I had been experiencing during bowel movements for upwards of the past week increased. This was the don’t-talk-look-or-even-breathe-around-me type of pain. It started with a burning in my bowels and swooped down like a sharp and seriously unrelenting bruise to my buttocks. I couldn’t pass anything.
Initially my husband called the hospital to inquire as to whether or not I could take a stool softener after receiving methotrexate. (You’re not supposed to ingest anything that contains high levels of folic acid, so we weren’t sure what else I might not be able to take with it.) Once the on-call nurse and doctor learned I was running a low-grade temperature, they insisted we return to the ER. They were concerned I might become septic. I sobbed into my pillow. We had spent countless hours in the ER over the past few weeks and both of us dreaded having to return.
This time, however, we planned for the worst. I packed a proper overnight bag and entertainment supplies for my husband. He picked up snacks on our way out. Mind you, we were grieving, I was in severe pain, and my husband had developed such debilitating migraines, he had been throwing up regularly. We were exhausted. But to the ER we went.
The drive over was awful. Every little bump aggravated my pain. I had drunk so much water knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything after I arrived that my bladder was near bursting. I talked the ER administrator into letting me urinate before I was checked-in. Urinating, however, was more painful and difficult than it had been. My symptoms seemed to be worsening.
We were checked-in and planted in the waiting room where we had to wait for a room assignment. We waited one hour, then two. I tried to urinate again. This time I couldn’t; the pain was much worse all around, and people who came after us and seemed to be in much less distress than myself continued to be placed in rooms before me. I finally broke. I started crying uncontrollably and yelling at my husband that I wanted to leave. Then some woman, a woman who was with one of those seemingly less distressed individuals, turned around and stared at me point-blank. I yelled at her. And finally, I ripped off my bracelet and chucked it at the check-out administrator as I gimped out of the waiting room. My husband, helpless, called after me. He tried to coax me off the ledge, but I wouldn’t have it. While I felt awful in general, I felt worse for making a scene. I just wanted to melt away.
I clutched the railing in the hallway and continued to sob. My husband insisted we had to go back. They finally had a room for us. They allowed me to return and I was quickly brought to a room.
My heart rate was extremely high and my temperature was rising. The doctors were concerned. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They performed an x-ray, CT scan, and then called for the on-call gynecologist. The gynecologist requested her infertility specialists perform a transvaginal ultrasound, which I had the following morning.
The infertility specialists’ recommended course of action: surgery.
I was finally admitted and transferred to a room approximately 12 hours after arriving at the ER.
In the end, I had to have a laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy. Both of my Fallopian tubes were removed. We will never be able to conceive naturally again. While, we had already planned on IVF, it is devastating to know that I am truly infertile. We no longer have even the tiniest bit of hope each cycle that maybe, just maybe it will happen.
Pathology reports revealed I had a burst ectopic pregnancy in my right Fallopian tube; my left Fallopian tube was swollen and had lesions. My abdomen was filled with about two cups of clotted blood, which was likely the cause of the pain in my bowels. The doctors believe my tubal pregnancy burst the week prior to us finding out we were pregnant; this would have been when they initially diagnosed me with a burst cyst.
According to the follow-up gynecologist, my case is a bit unusual and continues to perplex the doctors. I continue to recover. Each day, I try to grapple with what is, what will never be, and what still might be…