What now?!

What’s happening this time!

So after the ectopic pregnancy I managed to have one monthly (af) after the initial post-surgery bleed, I have skipped cycle 2 completely and am now late for cycle 3.

I’m not pregnant.

I called the doctor – she doesn’t know and I have to call back in 2 day’s time if nothing has occurred meanwhile although I have no idea what she is going to do about it!

I have read handfuls of forum posts and the main concerns are as to when your first bleed might happen after surgery – then nothing. No one has really mentioned skipping periods after that.

Does anyone know?

I have been thinking about what my chances may be of trying again and have concluded the following:

Aged, mouldy old eggs + 1 less fallopian tube + disappearing monthly’s + 2/1 chance of miscarriage = zero chance whatsoever!

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Breast Clinic Update…

I received the letter to attend the breast clinic on my return from hospital after my surgery to remove my ectopic pregnancy.

The appointment was for 4 days later.

The next day I called the clinic and told the lady I wished to cancel, I explained about the operation and also that I felt that probably the lumps were pregnancy related. I felt that once the pregnancy hormones subsided then the lumps would (hopefully) disappear.

She said that I should still attend the appointment to get it checked, but still I felt like it would still be a waste of everyone’s time. Also I felt weak and drained from losing the pregnancy and emotionally dead.

I probably wouldn’t have cared much if my head had fallen off at the time.

I told her to go ahead and cancel the appointment as I wanted the appointment to be available for someone who needed it more.

The day after the appointment the breast clinic rang.

‘You missed your appointment yesterday,’ she said, ‘we would like you to make another one.’

!

I explained that I had made sure I had cancelled the appointment as I wanted to make sure that the appointment time could be made available for someone else to make use of.

‘Ok,’ she said. The message hadn’t got through to the right department.

!

‘Please make an appointment to see your doctor.’ She said.

A few days later the doctor rang.

‘Please make an appointment to come and see me.’

‘Ok.’

At the appointment the doctor said how sorry she was to hear how the pregnancy ended.

‘I didn’t expect that.’ She said.

‘I did,’ I said, ‘but no one would listen to me.’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘you said something was wrong didn’t you.’

‘Yes.’

She gave me a breast examination.

‘All clear.’ She said, ‘no need for referral.’

‘That’s great.’ I said.

‘Are you feeling ok with everything?’ she says.

‘No,’ I said, ‘I feel completely crap.’

‘I’d be very happy to give you a sick note for a while.’

‘No thanks, I have to work. I’m self-employed and a sick note won’t cut it.’

A week later I miss a call and am freaked out completely when a message is left on the answerphone from the doctor’s surgery asking me to call.

‘The doctor would like you to make an appointment to come and see her.’

‘Why?’ I say when I phone them back, ‘I only saw her last week.’

‘Oh,’ she says, ‘for a breast examination.’

‘Another one?’ I say, ‘I only had one last week!’

‘Oh did you,’ she says, ‘let me have a look. Oh yes no problem then.’
!

Is This Really a Mother’s Place in Society!

This is my concluding note on my recent ectopic pregnancy, it may be a trigger for pregnancy and loss, TMI.

I have found recovery from the ectopic pregnancy much tougher than I could have imagined.
I’ve suffered such a range of emotions and the deepest of sadness, but the over-riding feeling has been one of anger.
Anger that no-one listened to me.

I know me quite well (!) and I remember saying that if on that fateful Friday they did not listen and scan me properly then I would have not gone back, not ever. I’m stubborn and felt so embarrassed that I know I wouldn’t have gone… regardless.
What would have happened – I would have died, for sure. I was already bleeding internally and gathering from the emergency situation of the operation, I suspect it wouldn’t have been long.

I was presenting with every symptom of an ectopic pregnancy but no-one took me seriously.
I was made to feel embarrassed, foolish, deluded, even somewhat ridiculed for my persistence in asking for help and telling these ‘professionals’ that it wasn’t right and that something was wrong. I was even told that my positive tests were negative even when I was staring straight at the tests in front of me.

I had several visits to the doctor, 2 visits to the EPU, several telephone conversations with the doctors etc, and 1 visit to A&E and no one listened.

In some cultures ‘elders’ are the most well respected members of a community where other people go to have their questions answered from those who have already lived some life, those with experience. I am at the tail end of my reproductive life, I have 5 children, one may have assumed that in this scenario I might well have known what I was talking about. Instead I was completely disempowered by the very people who were supposed to help, right up to nearly losing my life and leaving 5 children without a mother who loves them.

Maybe some of the cultures I refer to might be considered to be in countries less ‘developed’, however I have to conclude that we have somehow become ‘over developed’. The cost of human life is measured in purely monetary terms and whatever their drain might be on society’s pocket, their cost, where the lives of mothers and their babies are cast aside as an inconvenience to progress, a waste of someone’s time –someone more important.

The stories I have read on-line lead me to the certainty that I am not the only one to have suffered like this.

Has everyone forgotten that without mothers there would be nothing – no people at all to bring about any sort of progress anywhere. That it is us mothers that are actually supplying people!

Yet women in our wonderful developed country are still lesser citizens, we have to scream and shout for our children, to be heard. Our babies lost are offered no respect in their short lives or in burial, ‘just have another one’ they say, ‘get over it.’

Maybe we don’t want to ‘get over it.’ Maybe we should be allowed the time to grieve for the future that we lost, to acknowledge that our babies were people and honour them respectfully.

If I had died I’m sure I wouldn’t have appreciated being disposed of with the rest of the hospital’s bodily waste, multi-cultural blessing or not.

I shudder if I think back to the ‘me’ I was when I had my first child, I was quiet, didn’t like to make a fuss.

Where would I be know?

DEAD. I wouldn’t have questioned the conclusions of a professional like that of the consultant that ruled out my pregnancy on the basis of 2 HCG tests and offered me no further follow up or even a conversation on my symptoms. I was terrified, did he know that? What was he thinking? I had a baby inside me and he just sent me away without due care or attention.

I read recently somewhere that ‘no pregnancy should be ruled out without conclusive evidence to the contrary.’ Clearly my consultant hadn’t read that.

I’ve suffered emotionally from the ectopic pregnancy a great deal in the 6 weeks that have passed, mainly because of my anger at my treatment, and of the way that I was made to feel. Maybe if I was looked after properly in the first place then it all wouldn’t have carried on so long, and I could have grieved instead of fighting to keep myself alive. I didn’t want to die, I wanted to have a baby.

I could complain that it was the NHS’s fault but it wasn’t. There was every facility there to help me, ready for me to access. It was (some of) the ‘Professionals’ that just wouldn’t listen. I was refused a scan over and over, I suspect this was to do with cost/time. I shouldn’t have to remind them that my baby was priceless. However if we look back over the countless visits we had to make to be heard at various places, the operation, the aftercare , oh no sorry there wasn’t any aftercare (!), the tests etc, etc then it probably would have been a lot cheaper to listen to me in the first place.

If I could go back in time I would insist on talking to that first Doctor again and the Consultant who couldn’t be bothered to speak to me directly. I would tell them that I think they are first class assholes.

I would mention that I wouldn’t trust them to take out my rubbish let alone take care of mine or my baby’s health. That I shiver when I think of the young women under their care, and really if I could, I would take those young women who trust them and take care of them myself. I would empower them to listen to their bodies to realise what fabulous things they are capable of, and remind them that they should trust their instincts always.

I would tell those professionals not to ever dismiss one of my children like they don’t matter, because those children are my life and they matter to me, and if I have to I will fight to the ends of the earth to protect them.

I would ask them that if they aren’t compassionate, kind, caring, or simply can’t be bothered then why they are in the health profession at all? I would tell them that for us mere mortals on the receiving end that’s really scary. Also that if they can’t read a pregnancy test correctly what the hell are they doing working in an EPU?

When my daughters or my daughter-in-law’s are ready to have children of their own I’m going with them. I will be at every appointment, I will be there to hold their hands when it goes good and if it goes bad. I will make sure they get the correct treatment and are treated with kindness and compassion. I will make sure they know that to grow a human being inside of them is the most remarkable and fantastic thing that they will ever do in their lives but that it’s tough too. That the fight starts when that sperm reaches the egg and then it will continue for the rest of their lives. The rewards are profound, the heartache unbearable.

In my 44 years of life I have now found that I have learnt 2 very valuable life lessons and I will continue to stick rigidly with them, they are as follows, please take note:

1) Never ever go outside without your hair and make-up done.
2) Trust yourself and no one else. Even when people should know better, get paid (usually an awful lot of money) to know better, that doesn’t mean that they actually do.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCT ALWAYS –THEY ARE THERE FOR A REASON
And now I will continue with life, I push on and I push through because – that is what mothers do…

After the Operation…

Trigger for pregnancy and loss, TMI.

I awoke in a lot of pain, I don’t know why but I didn’t expect it.

The nurse in recovery promptly knocked me back out with a big dose of morphine.

I woke again and they gave me anti-sickness medication and I asked for a sick bowl.

I was in recovery for ages, I asked if I could go back to the ward but informed that I couldn’t as the surgeon had forgot to write my notes up and the ward wouldn’t accept me back without them.

I asked if the operation had gone as expected – no-one knew.

I asked that they inform The Husband that I was ok, because so much time had passed I knew he would be worried.

Over 5 hours later I was taking back to the ward regardless of my lack of notes.

I asked if the operation had gone as expected to everyone I saw but still no one knew!

I found that difficult, they could have removed all of my reproductive system but I didn’t know, I didn’t know what to think.

The pain continued all day. I was super hungry and ate everything in sight, although my throat was really sore.

The whole day passed without anyone knowing anything about the operation whatsoever. I had questions, how big had the foetus been? Was it alive? Where was it? Is my womb still there? My tubes? Were they mistaken and the baby was really ok after all??

Finally at about 7pm a rather embarrassed nurse returned with some abbreviated notes she had found.

My left tube had been removed. There was no mention that the foetus had been retained, she said she didn’t know I had wanted to keep it. No other details. They still couldn’t get hold of the surgeon and she was the only one who could answer my questions.

I said I wanted to go home, asked that the surgeon phone me when they found her.

The pain was difficult and I was offered more morphine but I decided that I could manage the pain and I discharged myself, I felt bad that I was using a bed when others might need it more. The Husband was overtired and unhappy. I could barely walk but just wanted to get home and away from this situation.

The surgeon called about 9:30pm and I bombarded her with question.

All was ok, she didn’t know I wanted the baby returned (!) said she would do her best but that the lab might not allow it. I felt sick and I hated everybody.

The Husband went to bed and I sat alone, empty inside, and sobbed until I ran out of tears.

The Operation…

Trigger for pregnancy and loss, TMI.

The husband and I sit on our bed, inform the few relatives that knew about the pregnancy and try and rest.

Nice Nurse rings about tea time.

‘Your HCG levels aren’t as reduced as much as we’d have expected so we’d like to get you in now.’

First they didn’t like them because they weren’t high enough, now they weren’t low enough.

That was scary.

I hugged Number’s 2 & 3 goodbye wondering if I might see them again, I feel bad like I’ve let them down to put them through this.

I had no faith in the hospital whatsoever.

We made the trip back in, The Husband was going to stay with me the night and we settled into the ward directly above the maternity wing where I gave birth to Numbers 4 & 5.

A cannula was immediately fitted into my right hand, it was vile and made me cringe. I wish I had given her the other hand as it was difficult to go to the toilet!

My obs were checked and re-checked every hour or so throughout the night.

I was still nervous every time I went to the toilet, worried that I was bleeding again. I kept forgetting that it didn’t matter anymore, it was just me bleeding out, that this was my body failing. I wasn’t losing the baby, the baby was already lost. I was sad every time I remembered.

The Doctor managed to get to see me about ten thirty that evening but I was so tired that I can’t really remember an awful lot of what she said. But she did say that my operation would be in the morning unless any emergencies came in, and that they would try for keyhole surgery but if that didn’t work it would be more like a caesarean type operation and I would have a bigger scar. That they were pretty certain the baby was in the fallopian tube but wouldn’t know for sure until they opened me up, that they would do what they had to do to save my life.

I was told not to eat or drink after midnight.

They had said that they would bring a spare mattress for The Husband to sleep on but must have forgotten or were too busy. We shared my hospital bed and managed a couple of hours of fitful sleep here and there.

A nurse came in at just after 8am to get me ready for the operation, time of operation still unknown. She gave me weird socks and a gown to put on.

I asked if I could have a hospital identity band put on saying who I was, no one had given me one and I didn’t want them to get confused and chop off the wrong bits.

The anaesthetist came in shortly afterwards and I realised the operation was imminent, and I burst into tears every time he asked me a question.

I reminded everyone that I wanted my baby to be returned to me and not disposed of in any way whatsoever. They listed it on my consent form and I signed.

Within minutes we were on our way to theatre. The porter was nice and spoke loudly over my sobs, The Husband trailed after us and we said a sad farewell at the door.

The porter noticed in the theatre that they had filled my identity bracelet out wrong and that my date of birth was incorrect.

‘Oh God!’ I thought.

The anaesthetist held my hand to comfort me and moments later I was out for the count.

Waiting for the operation…

trigger pregnancy and loss, TMI

The sonographer’s assistant returned a short while later and told us how sorry she was. She was nice and I knew she meant it. She handed me a box of tissues and showed us out of the back door this time away from the room of pregnant women which was thoughtful.

We didn’t miss the waiting room together though and as I passed through I could feel the eyes of the women all on me, I could feel the room dip into quiet as I passed. I knew how they felt, I would have felt the same. Regardless of our differences we all are united in motherhood and it was so sad.

We were directed into a little side room, mostly we sat quietly as we waited for a doctor.
It seemed like an age before ‘nice nurse’ appeared, I was so glad to see it was her. She told me I would need an operation.

‘I would actually rather die than stay in this hospital and have an operation.’ I said.

‘And you will.’ She said.

I thought about that for a moment, I was so run down and tired, exhausted that I was trying to work out if I actually cared.

I’m scared of hospitals, not really scared I just don’t like to be in them. I hate to be away from the children and as much as I like to think they need me, I’m much more sure that it’s actually the other way around.

The doctor that we’re waiting for comes in, not to see me but to get something. Nice nurse explains that I’m reluctant to have the operation. The doctors writes something in code on the writing pad on the desk.

The nurse explains that I could try an injection, something that would stop the baby from growing further, a drug used to treat cancer, something that would stop all my cells growing for 3 months. It might work or it might not, if not then I would still have to have the operation.

My mind whirls, I want to go home. It’s exhausting. I consider running away then I suddenly turn into a grown up, ‘No,’ I say, ‘do the operation I can’t stand this anymore.’

They indicate that it’s an emergency situation and they hope that I’ll have the operation that afternoon.

Weird I think as they’ve spent the past few weeks telling me I wasn’t pregnant at all!

I sit there for a moment and wonder how I went from happily pregnant to waiting to see if I might die.

I remember asking someone if the baby had a heartbeat, they said no but I have a feeling that they wouldn’t have told me anyway, I wish now I had insisted on the truth.

It was hard to think. I ask to step outside to call my children and arrange for them to be taken care of.

I called the ones I could get hold of, it was a hard call for us all. Number 3 couldn’t bear to stay in school so I had him excused. Number 2 was excused from work but stayed as he didn’t know what to do with himself. The little ones would be taken care of by their dad.

I spoke to The Sister and asked her to take care of everyone should the worst happen.

I spoke to my Dad and he told me that I would be ok and that he loved me, that made everything seem scarier, I don’t think my Dad had ever said that before.

I went back in to see the first Doctor I had seen that morning. She was kind. I asked her what would happen to my baby once it was removed.

‘Baby would receive a multi-cultural blessing and then be treated with the rest of the bodily waste (!) is that ok?’ she said.

‘No that is not ok,’ I said, ‘I would like it returned to me please and I will sort something out when I get home.’ I don’t really know what exactly but I could think about that later.

‘Ok,’ she said, ‘make sure you make your wishes clear when you get up on the ward. I could see that she thought that was weird but I didn’t care.

This was something I had thought a lot about over the past couple of weeks as I waited to have a miscarriage. A nurse had said that most women suffer their losses on the toilet. The thought of accidently flushing my baby down the toilet made me feel sick, now the thought of my baby being disposed of without care made me feel sicker.

Luckily some nice lady had posted something on a forum about such things and women had replied with stories of private burials and planted trees for their losses and I wanted to do that.

I know that my baby was not a baby in its fullest form but it was still my baby. I wanted it, I loved it, and it would have made a wonderful addition to our family. This baby had a name. It was a product of love from The husband and I, and it was mine and they weren’t having it.

The doctor informed me that there was no space on the ward for me and that there would probably be later that evening, and the operation was likely to be scheduled first thing in the morning, unless anything changed.

They said they wanted me to stay there in case something happened, I said I would rather go home and get my bits and pieces together first, see some of my other children knowing they would be frantic and need me.

She wasn’t happy, gave a rundown of things to look out for, pain etc. The nurse said any serious pain call 999.

They took blood etc. I explained that my family had some clotting issues and that I would prefer not to bleed out on the operating table if they could help it. The Doctor assured me that my clotting factors would be checked.

We left in silence, there was nothing to say. We stopped off to get a sandwich and had to stop at the car repair shop. I wandered around wondering if I was going to keel over and die at any moment. I thought about the things I hadn’t managed to do with my life yet.

I tried to imagine how I would feel at not being pregnant anymore if I woke up from the operation. I couldn’t really imagine it.
I didn’t want to think about those things today.

And there it was

trigger for pregnancy and loss, TMI

I have an awful sleepless night, the thought of baby clouded by my frustration at not being taken seriously. My anger surpasses my grief, I decide first I have to get them to take me seriously, then I can grieve if necessary.

I have faith though, not in them but in me.

We arrive early at the EPU and join the waiting queue. There is a young woman in front of me, she’s crying and being comforted by her partner. There is a couple of heavily pregnant women there who look happy.

I feel sick, I still have pregnancy nausea and I haven’t eaten.
There are no chairs.

The husband visits the bathroom and I stand there alone and cry right there in the queue. He comes back and gives me a hug.

‘It’ll be alright,’ he says.

I shake my head.

I need the bathroom more than I’ve ever needed it in my life but the ladies toilets are behind the locked door. It’s not the first time lately that I’ve wished I were a man.

We go in and all race to fill out the obligatory form and shove in the basket to avoid delay. Been here done that and my form is in first with the letter to the doctor clipped to the front.

The husband has bought me a chocolate bar from the vending machine and I wolf it down before I throw up.

The crying woman gets called in first, she doesn’t have a bump, and I assume she’s had early bleeding. I want to tell her that lots of women have early bleeding and it’s not always the end of the world.

I get called next and my heart sinks when I see that the Doctor calling me is not one of the nice nurses I’d wished for.

We follow her into her office, my heart is pounding.

She smiles warmly.

‘What’s been going on then, tell me everything? She says.

‘Everything,’ I say. ‘how long have you got!’

She laughs and urges me to start to the beginning, I only manage a few sentences without tears.

‘Let’s get you a scan.’ She says.

‘Oh thank God,’ I say, ‘yes please.’

We go back out to the waiting room full of heavily pregnant women and take a couple of the few remaining seats. We share a cup of tea. I know the scan will be internal and I have to have an empty bladder.

The crying woman is waiting for her scan. She’s stopped crying now, like me she probably knows that there is nothing she can do now but wait and see.
She goes in first and I anxiously await her return, not only because I know I’m in after her but I know I will be able to tell by her face when she comes out if her baby is ok. She seems nice, her partner loves her I can tell, and this probably is their first child. I tell myself that I’ve had my time, I shouldn’t have wished for more. and I’ve been an idiot.

I sit there hoping that every doubt has been a mistake and I’m going to be one of the lucky ones and in a moment I’m going to see my tiny baby bean on the screen.

I feel sad for The Husband, I feel I’ve let him down.

Crying lady returns quickly and she is smiling, the weight on her shoulders has gone. I’m pleased and smile for her.

My turn.

This time the sonographer is not young enough to be my daughter. She already has her compassionate face on and I note that she looks as worried as me. I already know she is going to do a thorough job. One way or another today we will receive a conclusion after nearly 2 months of worry.

I get onto the couch, apologising for bleeding. The scan begins.

‘What can you see?’ I ask.

‘Lots of blood.’ She says.

I watch her face for a sign of whats to come but nothing. It seems an age. Finally she nods.

‘I can see what’s going on here.’ She says.

She can see the baby, I feel relieved but my heart is pounding.

‘I was going to double check with an external scan but I can see everything I need to.’

I will her to continue, give me the best news.

‘Little baby is stuck in your left fallopian tube, I can see it. It’s an ectopic pregnancy.’

I stop breathing. Here it was, now she’d gone and said it – the worst case scenario.

‘Could you check please, with the other scan?’

‘Yes of course.’

I don’t really remember that scan but the ectopic was confirmed. The pregnancy wasn’t right – JUST LIKE I SAID ALL ALONG BUT NOBODY WOULD LISTEN.

The Husband and I were left alone for me to get dressed. I sobbed.

‘It’ll be ok.’ he said.

I shook my head, I knew what was coming next.