Talking about ectopic pregnancy

Author: Weiting Bollu | Date Posted: January 2022

Context

Women experience unviable pregnancies all the time and it isn't talked about. It is often embarrassing, disappointing, and tiring talking or thinking about it. The following is the mini journal I kept when we went through the ectopic pregnancy. It's rough and it's raw - like how it's supposed to be. I didn't embellish it nor did I edit out how I felt at the time of writing it many months ago.

I am sharing this with others so that others who may be going through this know they aren't alone, that there are still going to be happy times, and that there will be days where you feel REALLY REALLY SAD.

If you're popping by and you're not pregnant (yet), you're welcome too. Perhaps you'll learn a little more about what it feels like, what the experience was like, what goes on in a lady's mind, and how you can support families who go through unviable pregnancies.

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is one where the egg didn't attach itself in the uterus. See the American Pregnancy Association for an in-depth overview. 2% of pregnancies are ectopic and we happened to fall into this percentage. Ectopics can be very dangerous for the child-bearing mother because it could rupture fallopian tubes and cause internal bleeding. It is one of the top reasons for maternal death.

On Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Today is the day we are going for the first ultrasound for the baby!

Vishal and I were happily heading to the clinic to hear our little one's heartbeat.

On the car ride down the suburb country-side, we are getting a little nervous because we cannot believe we are creating what will be, a living human being.

I brought a 2L water bottle and started chugging it in the car because the administrator told me to drink lots of water for this ultrasound. Of course, I followed orders because I wanted everything to be just-right.

We got to the plaza, I hopped off. Put on my mask (hello COVID 19) and went on in. Vishal wasn't able to go in due to COVID-19 guidelines of 1 patient only.

The administrator got me registered, and I sat down waiting for my name to be called. I felt my bladder filling up very quickly. It was getting uncomfortable.

"Weiting Bollu" they called.

"That's me!"

In the lab I go.

They gave me a towel to put over the top of my pants. The cold lubricant gel landed on my stomach. The technician Sheryl started doing her job to check out what the little one was like.

"When was your last period?" She asked

"January 19th, 2021" I replied.

"Did you notice any pain anywhere?" She pressed on "Were you bleeding at all? Any abdominal pain over the last few weeks? Any discomfort? Cramping? "

"Nope" I replied.

She then told me she needs to do a transvaginal due to the fact she cannot see anything in the uterus so she needs to go inside to check it out.

I went to empty my bladder. Well, that was comforting at the very least.

I then went back onto the clinic bed and removed my bottoms. She stuck a wand up my vagina and did another check.

At this point, she looked concerned. She didn't speak much to me. She dodged all of my questions.

When she finished, she said she needs to consult the Radiologist who is on-call.

10 minutes later, she came back.

She said she was unable to find anything in the uterus. That I need to go to the Emergency Department at the nearest hospital.

At that moment, I remember thinking 'what the heck is happening...? They must have had it wrong. Well, whatever. I'll go to the hospital and they can do a proper test.'

On the drive to the hospital, I started researching why an egg wasn't in the uterus. Turns out there is something called an 'Ectopic Pregnancy' where an egg gets fertilized in and doesn't move into the uterus.

Ugh, I told Vishal that I think it's the Ectopic. Being Vishal, he said not to overthink it.

I got to the hospital, registered in emergency, and then my family doctor called.

"Weiting, how are you doing? I saw the report. This is really unfortunate. We suspect this to be an Ectopic Pregnancy, one where the egg is not in the uterus. The Technician is not able to detect a heartbeat. It's honestly bad luck..... "

In that moment, I felt an immense amount of emotion.

I mean, at 9 weeks, how did I grow so attached to something already? I only found out at week 6. I only had 3 weeks of knowing there was something beyond me that I am carrying. Crazy right?

I remember hanging up the phone and heading straight to the washroom at the hospital. I went in and I just curled up into a ball. I just cried out loud for about 30 seconds. I felt myself hyperventilating for the very first time.

Then I heard "Weiting Bollu, Weiting Bollu".

I wiped my tears away and went back out to the lobby. I had to get my shit together. It's time to do a second ultrasound.

The Technician here asked me a few questions and did the same thing the first technician did. One ultrasound and one transvaginal.

Then, I went to get my bloodwork done. They left the needle inside my left arm for the next 5 hours.

The time went on and on and on.

At about 8:30, I was called into the private room. The doctor enters and tells me I have an ectopic pregnancy. And that an OBGYN will see me after.

Back out the lobby we go.

At about 10:30 PM, OBGYN comes to see me. I requested to call Vishal. She says that I absolutely could.

She confirms again that I have an ectopic pregnancy.

I mean, come on. How many times do I need to be told this? I've basically searched up everything about Ectopic pregnancy there is to know during the last 5 hours.

Dr. Singh tells me that I am in a good position right now with no rupture. Ectopics are the top reason for maternal fatality. She says since I haven't felt any pain, we can do an injection. No surgery needed!

Well, whew!

She tells me they are, in fact, going to do an injection - Methotrexate. After that, I need to be monitored super closely in case my HCG levels don't go down fast enough.

She also mentioned several times that if I feel pain, it means I've ruptured and that I need to go to the hospital emergency. At which point Vishal can actually join me because I will need help.

Ouch. That sounds like a very serious matter.

I wait about another hour. The nurse gave me a blue popsicle to eat. I haven't eaten dinner at this point.

When she came back, I got two injections. 30mg on the right butt cheek and 50mg on the left butt cheek.

When she landed the shots, it tickled a little bit.

After that, she took out my needle IV. I must have maneuvered so much that the needle poked me in various places on my arm. I noticed that it left me with some pretty heavy bruising!!!

At about 12:15 AM, Vishal arrives to pick me up. I just remember being in his arms and him saying "thanks for coming back to me". He's always told me that I'm like a factory. Sometimes the factory goes out of commission for repairs and clogs. The main factory will get fixed and then produce widgets again. But if the factory goes down, they can't produce more widgets, ever. Therefore, I am number 1.

😁

Well.....

Ah, it's been an adventure.

Wow, what a sucky day.

A joyous occasion turned into an absolute shit show.


On Monday, March 29th, 2021

I head into the hospital for 5 hours. Got my bloodwork and did another ultrasound + transvaginal exam.

Results came back where I was originally at 16,000 HCG and now I'm at 11,500 HCG. The doctor advises that the HCG needs to reduce to 0 before I can start trying again.

"I will see you again on Wednesday says the nurse."

When I exited the room, I walked down the hall of baby donors. I see a few couples walking their newborn baby out of the hospital.

It made me very sentimental. I thought I was over it. It turns out, I wasn't.

I felt an innate sense of "the world is telling me I cannot. I must now prove that I can" type of momentum. 4 weeks ago, I was thinking I wasn't ready yet.

Now, I want to try again. I want to be a mom. I want to start a family of our own. I am so ready to knock this out of the park.

I just need to be:

1) Healthy mentally

2) Health physically.

I got this. We got this. We are going to try again in 3 months' time. Let's go!!!!!!!!


From April to June end 2021

Vishal drove me to the hospital every single week for follow-up appointments to see the nurse. They kept monitoring my HCG levels. It took 8 weeks to get back to below 5 HCG - i.e. low enough to start trying again.

Every time we went to the hospital, I felt sad, disappointed, ashamed, angry, and lonely. But, I also felt loved, cared for, respected by my loved ones - especially Vishal. I've always had the mentality that failing once, or twice, or multiple times will not break me. It doesn't stop us from trying again.

During this time, I had no periods. When I saw the first period come through (although not the same flow as before the pregnancy), I felt a sigh of relief. It's time to try again!

Determined we are. Want to find out what happened next?!