Negative results, disappointment, pregnancy that doesn’t turn out as planned… whatever the result and however difficult it may seem to talk about it, talking actually relieves, helps and liberates.
Sometimes, the best support will come from a close one – a friend, a family member. But unexpectedly often, it will come from someone outside your intimate circle, someone who will understand you perfectly, who will know how to listen and talk to you, because she has lived the same situation.
Here’s Sarah’s story – or how to recover and keep fighting after an ectopic pregnancy.
A few months ago, my partner and I decided to have a baby. We were convinced everything would be easy, and waited for the perfect timing to start trying to get pregnant. But things didn’t come as quickly as my intuition had told me.
At the end of the second cycle, I was sure I had fertility issues. At the end of the third cycle, I was looking at pregnant women with tears in my eyes. In short: not only am I anxious, I’m also a « control freak », and not being able to plan my pregnancy really upset me.
A few months later, we came back from holidays sun-tanned, in love, happy… and pregnant! Everything was perfect, I had worried for nothing.
Not only am I anxious, I’m also a « control freak », and not being able to plan my pregnancy really upset me.
As many of my friends had told me, « it happened when I was relaxed, on holidays and not thinking about it too much » (Not think about it? What a joke!). The timing was perfect too, as the baby would be born just in time to enter a day care centre. Control freak.
However, the day after the pregnancy test, some worrying symptoms make me consult my doctor. An analysis of my hormonal levels shows that the pregnancy is not evolving as it should. After a whole week-end spent waiting and crying, I’m told I’m having a miscarriage. I’m sad, but resigned. I hear people tell me “It’s very common”, “See the positive side: you get pregnant quite easily”, or “I’m sure you’ll be pregnant again within 3 months”. It reassures me. I’m a medical “non-event”: this pregnancy ended up so early that it only existed to me. I’m devastated, but knowing miscarriages are so frequent helps sweeten the pill.
Except that 48 hours later, the hospital calls me because my hormones levels are stagnating when they should go down. They think I’m having an ectopic pregnancy, which can be very serious so I’m urged to go back to Emergencies within the hour. And here I am, in the hands of different doctors. The ultrasound shows nothing, maybe just a tiny little point but it’s unsure. Doctors speak about operations and treatments, ask me my opinion… A few hours later they inject me with “methotrexate”: when I ask the doctors what it is, they tell me it’s “just a little chemotherapy”. Ah, ok, let’s forget this answer, as well as a few other things I’ll be hearing that day:
From an intern whom I meet in a corridor, and who knows nothing about my case: “Damn, an ectopic pregnancy… oh but don’t worry, at least the second fallopian tube is still working “ (really? nobody told me that the first one was damaged…)
Or from that doctor whom I ask if I can go home and who answers: “Madam, we’re not letting you out with a bomb in your body. »
The injection is supposed to be « almost nothing »: the truth is I’ve never felt so terrible. I’m supposed to bleed a little bit: I wake up in my blood 3 days later. But there is worse than the physical symptoms: I feel extremely lonely. The loser of procreation, expelled from the ancestral club of “life givers”.
Worse than the physical symptoms: I feel extremely lonely. The loser of procreation, expelled from the ancestral club of “life givers”.
I owe my mental health to my friends who supported me, and to my best friend’s mother who invited me for a coffee to tell me her own story. She had an ectopic pregnancy in the 80s, nearly died in the process and ended up with only one fallopian tube. But she had three healthy children after that. She perfectly understood my fears (What if I have a real medical problem? What if it happens again? What if I’m never able to have a child? What if… ? What if… ?). She calmed me down by telling me about hers. She handed me as many tissues as needed to soothe my pain. I left her feeling totally understood. I was smiling a little bit more, life could go on.
She also had had an ectopic pregnancy in the 80s. She perfectly understood my fears and calmed me down by telling me about hers. She handed me as many tissues as needed to soothe my pain. I left her feeling totally understood.
Here we are, 4 months later, and I’m pregnant again. The first days were nerve-racking, I was so afraid it would happen again… But analysis after analysis, I started to think that maybe this time I’ve been lucky.
Once again, talking helped me not to fall apart: I shared my fears with my friends, my fantastic companion and with my doctors. The latter followed my hormone levels closely, until they were finally able to rule out another ectopic pregnancy. My lover understood I needed to take my time and couldn’t look to the future yet (although I hope we’ll jump for joy very soon). My friends also respected it, although they knew when to whisper, from time to time, how fantastic this new adventure was going to be.
A week ago, I had my first ultrasound. Everything is in the right place, and actually the doctor who performed the ultrasound can’t believe I had an ectopic pregnancy last time: she thinks it was a non-progressive pregnancy that the doctors didn’t diagnose correctly. I have to make peace with the fact that I’ll never know what happened exactly. I accept it.
Initially, I had thought I would be overwhelmed with stress and fear as soon as I would be pregnant again…. But for the moment, I’m fine. I’m taking thing as they come, step by step, until the famous 12-week ultrasound that will definitely rule out the risk of a miscarriage. I’m trying not to look too much to the future, and sometimes I let myself think of a name, or about what my life may look like in a few months 🙂
Now that I think about it, I believe I owe my mental health to myself, above all. Because I was able to talk about what was happening to me, I was also able to get the help I needed. I’m dreaming of the day when I’ll introduce my future child to my best friend’s mother. I know she’ll understand everything I’ve been through.