The same day I peed on 7 sticks and celebrated our conception, my doctor called me with results of our fertility testing. Before he could tell me the results, I interrupted him and told him the news. I think he was truly just as excited as me!
He told me he was interested in scheduling an appointment for an ultrasound a little earlier than normal (since we had gone through so much testing) and wanted to see me in about 4-6 weeks. He added, “unless you have had any spotting or bleeding.” I casually told him about the spotting I had the week before my expected cycle and he decided that it was best to see me later that week to just check everything. I went into the doctor at the end of the week and then he explained that spotting during pregnancy can be completely normal (implantation bleeding) or it can be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy (which I had NEVER heard of before). However, since these “ectopic pregnancies” are not extremely common and are very difficult to diagnose at early stages in pregnancies, he explained that they would just keep a close eye on my pregnancy progression.
At that time, I really wasn’t worried. I changed my status on my TTC app and was on Pinterest getting ideas on how I wanted to tell our families about my pregnancy (check out my favorite- Songfinch), doing some research about being a first time mom, and even making a “wish list” for things I wanted to make sure to have when the baby comes. The entire week was filled with pins, talks about “Baby K,” and just a feeling of excitement and fulfillment that my husband and I chose to keep to ourselves until we decided on how we were going to share the news with our parents and families.
July 8th is when everything took a turn for the worst.
We were out to dinner and “drinks” with some friends of ours when I began feeling an incredibly uncomfortable cramping in my lower back on the left side accompanied with a shooting pain in my lower left abdomen. I remember thinking I must have eaten something bad and needed to use the bathroom, so I was getting up about every 15 minutes or so to use the restroom with no relief or any results (if you know what I mean). As the cramping began getting worse, I knew something was seriously wrong. We left to go home and I curled up in a ball on our bed. The pain was so bad I was getting nauseous and couldn’t move.
What does every person do in 2017?
We started googling my symptoms in relation with “early pregnancy.” We read that it was normal and that it could be a sign of implantation, or it could be constipation (which I clearly had not ruled out at this point), or it could be much worse such as a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Personally, I knew in my gut that it had to be one of the “worst case scenarios” although my husband was trying to convince me (as well as himself) that it wasn’t. I decided to sleep on it to see if it got better (I do NOT recommend this strategy. Seek medical advice immediately if you are experiencing any concerning symptoms).
When I woke up Sunday morning, I was in even more excruciating pain, more nervous, and sick to my stomach. We had big plans to go out to the city to redeem the Father’s Day gift to my dad at the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism with my siblings and niece. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin this day for my dad, especially because The Rolling Stones is kind of “our thing,” but I knew my situation could be serious. I decided to call the emergency number for my doctor and wait for a call back.
I took that morning minute by minute and decided I was going to attempt to go with the plans and hope for the best. As we left for the city, the doctor on call called me back. I explained my symptoms and he told me that it sounded like constipation (most likely because I convinced him of that through what I was telling him) and recommended some medication to take. He added that the only other concern he has in the “back of his mind” is an ectopic pregnancy. Immediately, I began thinking about how much those two words have been brought to my attention recently and I still didn’t understand exactly what an ectopic pregnancy was. I went with his prediction about constipation and made it to the city while singing all my favorite Rolling Stones tunes in the car with my dad and husband.
We got to our lunch reservations and the smell and sight of food made me want to vomit. I was taking frequent trips to the bathroom (especially since no one knew I was pregnant and simply thought I was dealing with a bad case of constipation) and sipping lots of water. The pain grew worse and worse as I sat there for lunch and finally I broke down. I was in the bathroom and texted my husband to send my sister-in-law into the bathroom for me. I told her what was going on and she convinced me to leave and go to the ER immediately (God, I love her for talking sense into me- among other reasons). I said good-bye in tears and my husband drove me all the way back to the western suburbs to the hospital.
A visit to the ER is never “normal,” but this was INSANE. When I told them I was pregnant (4 ½-5 weeks at this point), a man ran at me with a wheelchair and made me sit, they put a bunch of different bracelets on me and IMMEDIATELY took me to the back for vitals. Not even five minutes later, a doctor came into my room to discuss the plan as the nurse was administering the IV. During this craziness, my husband contacted my mom and she met us at the hospital. It broke my heart to tell her the news of my pregnancy under these circumstances.
I went through the ultrasounds, blood work, urine samples, and all the testing and received a pretty quick, heartbreaking diagnosis. The doctor I had in the ER was seriously a Godsend; he was so empathetic and thorough with his explanation of what was going on. He began by telling me that the technician read him the results of all the tests combined.
He explained the following:
- I am most likely about 7-8 weeks pregnant
- The baby is in my uterus and visible through the ultrasound
- My body is preparing for a miscarriage
Although I knew deep down that the results weren’t going to be positive, I just wasn’t prepared for this. I broke down. I lost it. I would NEVER meet my baby…MY BABY.
I failed. I failed myself. I failed my husband. I failed our marriage. And most importantly, I failed our baby.
The doctor had tears welling up in his eyes and shared with me how sorry he was and told me that he and his wife had 4 miscarriages before they had their 3 perfect, beautiful babies. Like I said before, I’m confident he was a Godsend. Although it helped, there was nothing to prepare myself or my husband for this news.
I was numb, broken, and empty. I had already shut down and just wanted to go home.