I feel really guilty for abandoning my blog for so long but a slight tragedy struck the fabulous household and I needed some time to deal with it. I say slight tragedy only because the passage of these past few weeks has allowed me the kind of emotional distance that is not always possible when you are caught up in the eye of a storm. At the time however I thought my world was falling apart
For a while it felt like everything was perfect M and I where planning our Caribbean beach front wedding and I was getting all excited about all the lovely pretty things I could blog about . When much to our surprise and delight I discovered I was pregnant. The pregnancy wasn’t really planned, after the heartbreak of trying to conceive the second time I didn’t want to burden myself or the family with the stress of trying for another baby so we had left it to fate. After 5 years I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen for us, so the pregnancy news was greeted with utter delight. Things couldn’t have been more perfect.
After doing some quick calculations we guessed I was about 10 weeks pregnant. I felt great, really healthy and so full of energy (just like when I was pregnant with my daughter) that I was convinced the baby growing inside me was a girl. I kept telling myself that there is long way between being pregnant and having a baby (We lost our first son at 38weeks) but the truth is as soon as the test flashed pregnant I saw her. My little baby girl, lying on my bed with her dark curly hair and chubby little legs. She was giggling and trying to shove her toes in her mouth and I was blowing raspberries on her tummy making her giggle even more. In that split second I fell in love. I knew I should have held back but I couldn’t help it. I loved her and I couldn’t wait to hold her.
A week or so later I trooped off to the hospital for a scan. The sonographer couldn’t find anything at first. She said maybe the dates where off and suggested an internal scan. For a moment I just stared at a blank screen but then I saw her, her little heart flickering in the small dark splodge on the screen. I was so excited that it didn’t really register that the sonographer had stayed silent for so long, I did fleetingly wonder why she kept scanning the empty space of my womb rather than focusing on the baby but I was just so excited that the pregnancy was real that I didn’t really care. So, when she finally said ‘I’m so sorry dear’ my heart skipped a beat, ‘this pregnancy is ectopic.’ She continued ‘The baby is growing outside the womb and will have to be removed.’ My first reaction (it’s unfortunate that I know how I deal with these kinds of situations) was denial. I thought she has no idea what she is talking about, quickly followed by a desire to get away from her as quickly as possible before she did something to hurt my baby, but she just keep talking and talking. I had no idea what she said all I could think was that I needed to get away from the hospital as fast as I could. Silly I know but it was my first reaction. Like a distant echo I heard her say that they would also need to remove my tube. ‘But I’ve only got one tube’ I said. The other was removed years ago. ‘Well dear ‘she said ‘they will have to remove the other one now.’ ‘So will I still be able to have children’ I asked, I knew the answer to this question but I asked anyway just in case somehow, maybe…. ‘Not naturally’ She said ‘but you can always have IVF, although as you already have children you won’t be able to have it on the NHS and at your age…’ she let the unfinished sentence hang in the air. I just stared at her with a blank expression on my face. My mind was whirring. Then I just grabbed my bag and made a dash for the door. ‘I just need some fresh air’ I said. There was no way this woman was going to take my baby and with it any hope I had of having another one. I ran as fast as I could to the exit and when I was in the relative safety of the car park I called M. ‘You need to come to the hospital’ I said. ‘They said there is something wrong they keep talking to me and I have no idea what they are talking about. I need you here’. Just as he was assuring me he was on his way a nurse came out to the car park to get me. ‘You need to come back inside’ she said. She had that sympathetic look that people give you when you have suffered a loss. I hate that look; it somehow makes everything seem more real. ‘The doctor is waiting to talk you’. At this point I completely broke down and once the tears started I couldn’t stop them. Anticipating my tears the nurse fished out some tissues from her pocket and gently led me back into the hospital.
I sat in the chair opposite the doctor as she confirmed that the baby was growing in the fallopian tube and that I was lucky to have got my dates wrong (I was in fact only 8 weeks.) She said the baby was still growing so posed a significant risk to my health. She asked me when I had last eaten and I said ‘about 10 o’clock’ after doing some calculations on her fingers she said ‘we can have you in surgery by 4pm’. All they needed was a signature from me to say I consented to them taking my baby, they would dispose of the material gathered in any way they saw fit and I would have nothing further to do with it. They would take my one remaining tube and with it my fertility and any hope I ever had of having any more children. All I needed to do was sign on the dotted line. I just sat there dazed staring at a bit of blu tack on the wall. It wasn’t material, they were talking about my baby, I had spent the past week day dreaming about her, she was mine and I loved her and I didn’t want to consent to them disposing of her and I certainly didn’t consent to them rendering me infertile. It just didn’t seem real. Less than half an hour before I had been lying on that couch getting excited that I had had the first glimpse of my baby and now this. It was way too much to comprehend in the space of 20 mins and now they wanted me to sign a surgical consent form. My denial was not helping the situation either. It kept me from even listening to most of what the doctor was saying. Instead I was busy coming up with plausible ways I could make my escape. I didn’t want to look unstable and run screaming from the building but I definitely needed to just get out of there and put an end to this ridiculous debacle. Maybe I could even go to another hospital and get a second opinion. ‘We are going to take you to the ward now’ a nurse said. A ward!, ‘Hang on’ I said ‘this is all a bit much. I need some time. I need to talk with M first. Is it alright if I just step outside and make a few phone calls?’ ‘Why don’t you use this phone’ she said pointing to a phone on the desk. ‘No.’ I said ‘I need some fresh air I’ll go outside if that’s okay.’ She eyed me suspiciously, like I wasn’t the only one she’d seen try to make a run for it when faced with devastating news.’ Okay’ she said finally ‘but please stay just outside the door. The surgeon is on his was to see you.’ I called M but his phone diverted to answer machine so I called my mom. ‘Mom I’m at the hospital’ I managed to blurt out. At this point I was crying so unreservedly that I could barely breath and was finding it increasingly difficult to talk ‘Oh no’ she said grasping the situation immediately. ‘I need you to come down. They said the baby is growing in the wrong place and they need to operate, I don’t really know what is happening, they want me to sign a consent form to let them take my other tube and I don’t know what is going on. They keep talking to me and I don’t understand what they are saying.’ Despite the fact that my mom was over 100 miles away she just said. ‘Don’t sign anything till M gets there. I’m on my way’. I collapsed into the floor of the car park and sobbed uncontrollably until a nurse came to get me.
When M finally arrived he spoke with the surgeon while I just stared at the consent form like a wide eyed rabbit caught in headlights. I heard the noise of the conversation but failed to really take in what was being said. Now that M was with me I had given up the idea of running away but still worried that the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about and had made a massive mistake. M insisted that double check the scans and the surgeon reassured him it was a classic ectopic pregnancy he even got the scan pictures out showed him the womb and the baby in relation to it. There was also the issue of the removal of my last remaining tube and our hope of ever having a baby again. They explained to him that it was the only option then finished off by explaining that if the baby was left to grow it would eventually cause the tube to rupture which would lead to massive internal bleeding which would be fatal. He stressed how lucky we were to have found it so early but they couldn’t risk letting the baby grow any more. This was the tipping point for M he wanted the baby as much as I did and he hated seeing me this upset but there was no way on God’s earth he was about to risk my life. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said ‘I’m sorry baby but we don’t have a choice…You need to sign the forms’. He held me tight as my world fell apart. The decision was made and as they wheeled me up to the ward I prepared to say goodbye to my baby.
Because of my previous operations they said that keyhole surgery was out of the question and so I had a full caesarean. When I woke up the next morning the loss hit me in my heart like sledgehammer and for a few awful moments I struggled to breathe. The aching wound on my stomach served as a physical reminder of the emptiness inside of me. I lay in the hospital bed and closed my eyes in an attempt to halt the flow tears that ran silently down my cheeks but they just kept pouring out of me and there was nothing I could do to stop them. The nurse came to check my blood pressure and administer pain killers and seeing my silent tears she said ‘but you have children don’t you?’ I nodded unable to talk. I wondered if she thought that made it okay. I wanted to tell her that having children didn’t make it easier to lose one in fact it meant that I knew exactly what I was losing. She would have been beautiful like her sister and as loving as her brother and I would have loved her with all my heart. I stared out of the window and wondered if I was crazy to miss something that never really was, but the truth was I did miss her. I missed that I would never get to hold her. I missed that I would never smell her baby newness. I missed that I would never get to feel her little hand on my check and that I would never get to blow raspberries on her tummy and hear her giggle and I missed that I would never get to hold her to my breast and share the precious moments as we silently studied each other. I missed that I would never get to love her. I did miss her and I was so very sad that she was gone.
Over the past few weeks I have taken some much needed time out to heal physically and emotionally from this experience. Amazingly my tube and ovary remain perfectly healthy, apparently the egg passed down the tube into the womb and then somehow managed to implant itself in the stump of the tube that had already been removed. The fact that I have come out of this nightmare with my fertility intact has certainly made it easier to cope and on reflection the experience has definitely made me appreciate how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family. I didn’t think it was possible but I think I love my family even more.
Even though I had only known about the pregnancy for a few weeks the loss, the emotion turmoil and the physical trauma all hit me hard. For the past few weeks I have just felt incredibly sad and sorry for myself, but this is not the legacy my child would have wanted to leave her family. Had she lived she would have loved us as much as we loved even the possibility of her. I don’t want to burden her spirit with tears and sadness so I choose to let her go with love.
The time has come to let go of my grief, my family need me and they deserve the best of me. I will carry my love for our unborn child in my heart as I do for her lost brother but I won’t let the sadness live in our house anymore. I have two truly wonderful children who I adore and for them I want to be a fabulous mom.
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