Wow... Where do I start this post? The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. Happy, Excited, Worried, Scared, Sad, and now Patiently Waiting. This is the story of my ectopic pregnancy confirmed as of yesterday (TMI Warning Below).
On Tuesday, November 15th I had this feeling I might be pregnant. I had spotted several days ago, but my period never came. Yep, sure enough there was a faint line on the HPT. In disbelief, I told my husband who was also in shock. After we processed the fact we were having a baby, the excitement started. Where would we put the nursery? Are we having a boy or a girl? When should we tell our parents?
It was still way early, but we decided to tell our parents over Thanksgiving. I photoshopped a recent family photo of my son to announce the big news.
Unfortunately, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I started spotting. Nothing major, but enough to warrant a call to the OB. She had me come in the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to get my HCG levels checked, however, due to the holidays we would have to wait until Monday to get the results. I didn't think too much of it though, because I had the same symptoms with my first pregnancy and went on to deliver a healthy baby boy.
Thanksgiving came and we made the big announcement. Everyone was excited. We did make the disclaimer that it was still way early and that anything could happen. Boy, was that an understatement. Later that night, what was once scant spotting turned into mild bleeding. Nothing major, but enough to worry me. I was sure I was going to miscarry. But, after the weekend and no major cramping or signs of miscarriage (except for one episode where I almost fainted), I was confused. What could be causing the bleeding? After lots of crying and worrying, I came to peace that the pregnancy was not viable. I knew that this baby was not meant to be and that it was in God's hands at this point.
On Monday morning, I called the nurse and explained to her what had happened over the weekend. She looked up my HCG results from last week and said they were only 192 (very low for being 5 weeks along). She had me come in again to get another blood draw. While waiting for the results of Monday's blood draw, I began to do research on the internet about early pregnancy complications as well as successful pregnancy stories with low HCG levels. Although I prayed that the pregnancy was normal, deep down I had a gut feeling that this was an ectopic pregnancy. I'm not sure why I thought this, but I did.
Well, the next day we got the results - my HCG had risen but not like they should have. They only went up to 315. And that was after 5 days between tests. The nurse explained that I had most likely miscarried and that my numbers probably peaked over the weekend and now they were on the way down. At this point, I was super paranoid about ectopic pregnancy. I expressed my concern and she said I would need to come in to draw more blood work and that they won't do an ultrasound at this point because my HCG levels were so low.
That night, after doing more research online (damn google!), I just knew that it was an ectopic and my fear was that my tube would rupture before the ectopic was actually diagnosed. I was even more paranoid because my husband was leaving for out of the country for business. I was imagining the worst possible scenario - I would be home alone with my 4 year-old son and my tube would rupture and I wouldn't be able to get to the hospital in time to save me. Awful, I know. So after fretting about it all afternoon, I told my husband we were going to the ER to get checked out. It wasn't an emergency situation, I only had mild cramping and lower back ache, but I needed to see if they could confirm or rule out an ectopic for my peace of mind. So off we go with our 4 year-old in tow.
I decided to go to a local ER that I knew would not be crowded. In hindsight I probably should have gone to the other local hospital that has a decent L&D department, but I didn't want to spend all night in the ER. They got me in right away and the testing started. Cervix was closed, HCG 345, and ultrasound showed no signs of a gestational sac in the uterus (classic sign of ectopic). They also didn't see anything in my fallopian tubes. So, the ER doctor said things were still inconclusive and I would need to follow up with my OB. Here I was still in limbo with no answers. I was going crazy with worry at this point. Normally, I'm a very laid back person, but I just had this nagging feeling that would not go away. I HAD to find out if this pregnancy was ectopic before Brian took off for Africa.
That next morning, I called the OB office and spoke to the nurse. I explained I had gone to the ER and that my HCG results had risen and that the u/s showed no sac in the uterus, but not by much, and that I was sure that this was an ectopic pregnancy. I think she could sense the worry in my voice, so she had the OB call me. After talking to my OB, she had me come in for another stat HCG level - 471. Not going down, not a good sign. She scheduled me for an u/s at The Woman's Hospital for Friday and we would do another stat HCG level. At this point, all I could do was be a nervous wreck. I was so anxious that my tube was going to rupture before my appointment. I have never been so scared. I was afraid to even go to sleep.
The next day, I tried to remain calm and went in to work. I can remember that morning asking God for a sign that would let me know whether the pregnancy was in the uterus or ectopic. Well, during lunch I started to experience much stronger cramps and lower back pain. They began to localize on the right side and were getting stronger by the minute. I debated whether to call the doctor or try and wait it out. I broke down and called just in case my tube was rupturing. Again, after hearing the anxiety in my voice, the nurse sent me to the ER at Woman's Hospital for an emergency ultrasound. By the time I got there, my cramps were super bad. Not unbearable, but almost. Brian was about to leave for the airport, but I told him he needed to come meet me at the ER. I'm glad I did and he did not get on the flight. Things happen for a reason.
They gave me Dilaudid to help with the pain. Oh my gosh, it was such relief! They then sent me to ultrasound, where after a thorough imaging, the radiologist came in and said that it was definitely ectopic. Thank you!! I was so relieved. Not that it was ectopic, but that I got confirmation that my instinct was correct and we could now move forward with a plan of action. Plus, I was super grateful that we caught the pregnancy before it ruptured. So then the decision needed to be made whether I wanted to undergo surgery or take the methotrexate shot. At first, I was sure I wanted surgery. Just get this over with and know that the ectopic portion is removed. But, after talking with the doctor, she highly recommended the medication route. We ultimately agreed this was the best course of action. The ectopic was less than 3.5 cm in diameter, my HCG was less than 4,000, and there was no fetal cardiac activity. I prayed that this was the best course of action.
Two hours later and two shots in the butt, I was sent home to wait for the ectopic to resolve. I slept much better that night knowing what we were up against and that we would get through this. I was still nervous about possible rupture, but I am remaining positive. So the rest of the journey begins...