Friday, 7 February 2014

The Second Ectopic Pregnancy

The bracelet I bought after my first miscarriage
Having had to wait 9 months to try again with my first pregnancy, I was happy that the doctor who did my surgery said that I could start trying again as soon as my period returned. It took 6 weeks for my body to get back to its regular cycle. In that time, I had a tubal patency test done on my right ovary to make sure that it was clear. It was a huge relief to find out that everything looked okay on that side.

We started trying again as soon as my cycle returned. I had my doubts about how long it would take as the average person in their early 30's has less than a 20% chance of getting pregnant every month. And since I am one tube down (if I ever start a band, that's going to be our name!), my chances are reduced to about 12%. That's not very high but somehow I managed to get pregnant after a couple of months of trying. The human body is a pretty amazing thing. A scan would reveal that I had ovulated from my left ovary (the side with no fallopian tube), and yet somehow, my right tube managed to pick up the egg.

For those who have suffered repeated losses, you'll know what I mean when I say that I felt so robbed when I found out I was pregnant again. Don't get me wrong - I was really happy, but that feeling of happiness was completely overshadowed by fear. When I got a positive on my pregnancy test, instead of screaming and shouting with excitement, my husband and I looked at each other with wry smiles as if to say, "here we go again." It shouldn't be that way. At this point we know better now than to get excited about a pregnancy. It's more of a "wait and see" situation.

I called up a specialist who dealt with difficult fertility cases and over the next couple of weeks I went through regular blood tests to check on my hCG levels. Unlike my last pregnancy, the levels looked really good and were more than doubling each time. My doctor even joked that he thought it might be twins!

Over the course of two weeks I began to have the familiar sharp gas pains that I had had with my previous ectopic pregnancy. I tried to tell myself that it was probably constipation which pregnancy tends to give me, but I was extremely worried. What I couldn't figure out was that the pains were on the left side again, just like the last time. I tried to reassure myself that it couldn't be another ectopic because I had no tube on that side.

On the day of my first scan, I suddenly began to have terrible abdominal pains, worse than I had ever had, and found myself on the bed, doubled over in pain. Standing up, I nearly passed out and decided that I needed to call my doctor. He managed to get me in for an earlier appointment and gave me an ultrasound. Once again, there was blood in my uterus and he wasn't able to see a gestational sac. He admitted me to hospital for more tests but I already knew the answer. One of the signs of an ectopic pregnancy is shoulder tip pain, and while I hadn't felt any with my first ectopic, I had now begun to feel it alternating in each shoulder. Another scan confirmed my worst fears - the embryo had implanted again on my left side, but this time in the STUMP of what was left of my fallopian tube. The chances of this happening are almost impossible. Almost.

One of the things that will stay in my mind forever is lying on the operating table right before they put me under. In my previous pregnancies, I had already lost the babies by the time I realised that I had miscarried, but this one was still very much alive. I closed my eyes and took a moment to say goodbye to my child who was about to be terminated. To the child whose birthday should have been the day after my husbands' and who I had so desperately hoped would be our rainbow baby.

The rest of the story is pretty much how the second ectopic went: laparoscopic surgery, an overnight stay in the hospital, and then sent home to grieve and recover. The chances of having a molar pregnancy followed by not one, but two ectopics, is literally a million to one. With those odds I feel like I should be playing the lottery.

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