12 October 2012

The Importance of Hope

In an ideal world, this month would mark my child’s first birthday. Unfortunately despite getting pregnant after two years of trying, the pregnancy was ectopic. Most people assume that this must have been our lowest point, but oddly it wasn't.

We discovered I was pregnant after taking our first cycle of Clomid (a fertility drug). We couldn't believe it! The line was so faint I ended up trying about four pregnancy tests, just trying to get the dark positive line I've seen on telly. Just the fact we were pregnant was such a huge achievement! That was the first positive news we had, we knew that pregnancy was at least possible. I did have a slight worry that it could be ectopic (apparently a possibility when the test line is so faint), but felt we were safely past that by week eight.

It was 11am on Friday when I felt something in my stomach suddenly move. I didn't think much of it, as it really did feel just like an IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) attack. I dashed up the stairs, but nothing seemed amiss. After waiting a while I began to feel a bit queasy and too warm. I felt something similar when I had a kidney stone a few years before, so I wasn't especially worried yet. I rang Mr Goldfish to warn him something wasn't right, but decided to wait it out.

I walked back into the bedroom and the next thing I knew I was lying down. Not sure where I was, I reached above my head and found the edge of my bedside table just inches away. I crawled onto the bed and rang Mr. Goldfish again, this time I demanded he come home. I curled up in bed to wait.

Two hours later it was clear something was wrong, but we weren't sure what. I decided to go to the bathroom again, but this time I didn't make it. I collapsed again and Mr. Goldfish was left trying to hold me up. As I curled up on the hall floor, Mr. Goldfish called the hospital for advice. As I was still talking the hospital told us to call the GP and ask for a home visit. When we called the GP they told us to call an ambulance.

I'm rather glad they did, as by the time the ambulance arrived they were already struggling to get a pulse. They brought in a wheel chair and I'm rather glad I blacked out again before we went down the stairs.

Even at the hospital they couldn't be sure what was wrong. They brought out the ultrasound machine, but by them I’d lost so much blood my insides were sloshing about – making it hard to find the tube and ovaries. In the end they also used the ultrasound to place the IV port as most of my veins had collapsed.

From my point of view the time passed quite quickly, but for poor Mr. Goldfish the three hours dragged. Finally they rolled me off to surgery and Mr. Goldfish had another long wait.

When I finally came around, I'd lost baby, the right tube and four litres of blood. The four litres was impressed upon me by the anaesthetist, surgeons and nurses. So by the time I left hospital 5 days later, we were feeling lucky just to be still together.

Though people expected us to be overwhelmed by our loss, we were actually quite hopeful. After two years of trying we’d finally been pregnant, and though it wasn't viable - it suggested that another cycle of Clomid could get us pregnant again. And we were also riding on a wave of relief after the ectopic pregnancy. Though we had faced a traumatic event, there was still the promise of hope.

In the weeks that followed, we had plenty to focus on. It took several weeks to recover, and after six months we could start trying again. We looked forward to starting another cycle of the Clomid and knew there was always IVF to fall back on.

The IVF in contrast was our last real hope after the Clomid failed us several times. Where the ectopic pregnancy had increased our chances – by proving pregnancy was possible - the IVF revealed that our chances were even slimmer than we expected, and now there is no fall back position.

While the ectopic pregnancy was difficult, we've found mourning a lost pregnancy easy compared with coming to terms with never having a child.


This was originally written for the Emma's Diary Blog