Friday, 21 June 2013

An Ectopic Pregnancy

I think life can be steered by a series of defining moments. I believe my choice to have many kids was directed by one of these.

I intended to have only two children. You can read a past post with more about that here.
I got the golden duo first; a girl and a boy. So many people were so happy for us. "Well done! Now you can stop!"
Surprisingly, when I had my planned quota of kids, I felt there were more to be had and strongly.
I remember my former employer calling me when my son was just 3 months old. He offered me my beloved job back. An attractive salary package and an exciting proposition. Really, it was what I had initially planned; have my two babies and return to the career. I remember hanging up the phone with the promise to think it over.

As the days passed and I held the new and warm sleeping body of my baby son close, I knew that an internal shift had changed me. I would not be able to go back to the old me. The career girl had changed clothes and lives.
I turned the offer down accordingly and strangely felt little remorse.
As the months ticked by, the thought of a third child began to stir in me. This was in part due to the intensity of attention I noticed the two kids received. I started to think they might become spoilt. Always receiving gifts, constant attention and expectations ladelled upon them. A third child might mix that up, add some chaos, change the dynamic...
My husband reluctantly agreed to go again. He was a little overcome in the early years, (as we both were) by the suddeness of the children. Such a change!
Here begins the tale of my ectopic pregnancy.
I remember pain. Strange pain. A swelling sensation in my abdomen and bleeding. I had already had my period so I knew I was not pregnant. Two weeks after that period (and a very normal one at that), I noticed a one kilo weight gain. I distinctly remember hanging the washing and smelling the bakery very strongly. We lived at the time, very close to a large supermarket and this is where the waft of donuts greeted me with a bang not normally so intense. I recall looking at myself in the mirror after the donuts experience and thinking 'could I be pregnant?' I was in two minds and very confused.

With all my pregnancies prior and since, I knew days before my period was even due that I was expecting: Rapid heart rate, deeper breathing and that familiar sense of not being 'alone' always came before the due time.
Excitement and fear in equal degrees sent me on a visit to my Doctor that evening. She confirmed on the spot that I was indeed pregnant. She also immediately expressed concern over the symptoms I was experiencing and advised me to visit the closest women's hospital that evening. In fact, she even called ahead to tell them to expect me.
I travelled to the hospital by tram that night, alone. My husband stayed home to look after our two children.
Upon arrival I was given an ultrasound scan which revealed a perfectly formed foetus of around 8 weeks gestation. The Doctor did not seem to be too concerned and thought everything seemed to be okay. She told me to return the next day for a second scan by an ultrasound technician skilled in these matters.
So home I went in the dark. My fears somewhat smoothed over by the black and white images I had seen of a baby I hadn't known I was carrying. The pain and bleeding continued into the night...
The next day began much the same as any other. I dropped my daughter at creche and caught another tram to the hospital with my toddler son, feeling confident I would be sent away with a happy diagnosis.

Instead, the ultrasound technician confirmed my worst nightmare. The pregnancy was ectopic. I was to have immediate surgery as my left fallopian tube had burst and I was bleeding internally.
I remember the shock of the news as the surgeons rushed to organise the next available operating suite.
The one thing that really stuck in my mind clearly at this time was the surgeon who spoke to me just as I was being wheeled into the operating theatre. He told me that it was an uncommon occurrence and that I had a 10% higher risk of a repeat ectopic. He also said there was nothing to stop me from becoming pregnant the next cycle - a suggestion I laughed at! "No way!"
My husband brought my two little babies to see me in hospital that night. Fearing for my fertility, I remember looking at the two of them and thinking 'am I only destined to have two children?' It just didn't seem right and I felt a deep sadness so many women know around these experiences.
Following my surgery I developed a severe infection in my throat (golden staph) which was far worse than any post-operative pain. I felt sad at the loss of my baby and went through the hormonal withdrawal of the pregnancy. I was in shock for about 10 days while I recovered and came to terms with the experience.

On the 10th day I awoke after a dream that I had walked from the rolling waves of the ocean and into the warmth of the full sun. I felt sensational! In my mind, the surgeon's words came back to me with strength - maybe I could conceive on my next cycle!
I returned to the hospital six weeks later for a post-op check up. The Doctor assigned to me that day picked through my responses to her questions with the usual military precision so prevalent in their profession. She scoffed at my strong sense that I was again expecting. I told her I had taken a pregnancy test that day and it was negative but it was very early. I was convinced I was despite her firm opposition. Apparently women who have experienced such a loss can sometimes desire a baby so much that they 'invent' a pregnancy.

Happily, I was pregnant - a 'positive' the day after my hospital follow-up! My tale had ended and life expanded with the conception of my third child, Joaquin. He was conceived just 36 days following my surgery! No complications following my ectopic experience. My gorgeous blond, blue-eyed boy...

Joaquin aged 8

 I was required to have a very early ultrasound scan with every subsequent pregnancy to detect whether my babies had implanted in my uterus. I did this just the once with Joaquin. All my subsequent babies following the ectopic had the strong familiar pregnancy symptoms in the days before a due period - excellent indicators that all was in good order. (HCG hormone levels in ectopic circumstances fail to rise in the correct levels which explains why my ectopic pregnancy went undetected by me).

All four children following my surgery were conceived first try. The loss of one fallopian tube was no further disadvantage to us. How fortunate we have been. I have met several women who, following my same experience, finished motherhood for fear of a repeat experience. Or even had repeat ectopic conceptions.
I believe my experience shifted my desire from two kids to the idea of a larger family. It was through this time where I learned to feel so blessed. The loss of one baby gave me four more as compensation.
Do other Mums feel a situation such as this changed their family plans? Have you experienced an ectopic pregnancy? Please feel free to share a comment below. 


  1. No ectopic pregnancy for me - no pregnancy for me... I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at around the age of 30.. the specialist could not tell me if this was the cause of infertility or vise versa.. However I was offered a course of 'Government' approved drugs to overcome 'the' problem of which I refused.... We then decided if we were to have children it would be by other means - and IVF for me was not an option (personal reasons) so the means was by adoption.. So now today we are the very proud parents of a *sigh* 21 year old whom we first met when he was 4months old...Sadly people used to avoid telling us when they were pregnant - it just may upset them mentality - I was always so happy for folks when they fell pregnant if only they could have shared that with us... Deep down in my own being I always knew my child/children would be from a 'different' way... By the time all the officialdom was completed via the state Government - oh the time and money it cost - we were only able to go the adoption route once, BUT we have the most amazing Son who has THE most amazing Birth Mother with whom we were able to spend 10 wonderful days very recently right here in our own home..
    Bless you for an open and honest post.. :-)

    1. Lynne, what a beautiful story with such a happy 'ending.'
      Thankyou so much for sharing it here! :D

  2. Thanks for sharing your moving story. I haven't had an ectopic pregnancy, but I did experience two miscarriages between my two my sons which I found extremely traumatic. I love the name of your blog - 6 little hearts. Although I have 2 living children I consider myself to have 4 little hearts. Cheers Leanne

    1. Leanne, I understand that reasoning perfectly. I like to think of my children in the same way.
      Thankyou for sharing!

  3. No ectopic pregnancies, but we lost our third child at three months gestation. We were both keen to have a third child, andd for some reason after the miscarriage I was convinced I'd never conceive again, and that I was only destined to have two. I finally did get pregnant again with number 3, and when she was eleven weeks old we got the news that number 4 was on the way! This was a beautifully written post that must've been difficult to write. Bless you xo

    1. Wow! How special! Must have been a busy time too!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I just experienced an ectopic pregnancy in June, where I also had my left fallopion tube removed. This was after 2 1/2 years of trying to conceive. I was 8 weeks pregnant and SO excited. The news devastated me and I am still affected by it. I still think about it and dream about it. Hearing other stories, like yours give me the courage to keep moving forwards. Thank you for your story! Love the blog as well!

    1. Thank you for visiting and sharing your story here as well. Much appreciated.

  5. its really fantastic blog . its realy informational and a such a good job. i love this Jenny 

  6. I had a "regular" miscarriage and then a blighted ovum miscarriage. That one was odd, not like "regular" miscarriages either and I also hemorraged and my body lost dur much blood I began going into shock and had to be carried to he hospital in an ambulance and have emergency situation surgical treatment. Yes, Miscarriages are extremely hard.

    1. So sorry to hear about your story and so very grateful you shared it here. Thank you.

  7. Thank you, your story is the most similar to my own that I have found so far. As you said, "I had already had my period so I knew I was not pregnant. Two weeks after that period (and a very normal one at that)," ...I started bleeding again and having more severe cramping. The first day I thought it was another (strange) menstrual cycle. But the second day, we started suspecting my appendix. Between the doctor (former abdominal surgeon), ultrasound, pregnancy test, and CT scan - it was confirmed ruptured ectopic pregnancy with internal bleeding. I had an emergency laproscopic surgery and my right tube was removed.

    I am currently living outside my home country and so even though we have good English-speaking doctors, there is still some language/cultural barriers in getting all of our questions answered. This all happened two weeks ago, and I still don't know how old my baby was.

    1. Natalie, I am so sorry!
      It is such a shocking experience and really the only comfort is the help of others at this time. I hope you have a good circle of understanding friends. (I found these most helpful and the kindness of strangers was startling.)
      I hope you recover very quickly and bounce back to full health soon. It sounds as though you were at the same stage of pregnancy as I was when mine burst.
      Good luck and I hope you will stop back here in future to tell me some happier news when the time is right for you to conceive again. x

  8. Thank you for joining the link-up and sharing your story. I'm the same in terms of the ectopic pregnacy, but I knew I was pregnant because it was through IVF so all the testing is so early. We were incredibly unlucky to have an ectopic pregnancy through IVF because the embryos are implanted in the uterus and basically have to to wandering into the tube to get stuck. As I think you know, I never feel pregnant again (that I know of) so I'm unlucky but also incredibly lucky to have our two kids through adoption. Let's always remember these lost angels - they make us appreciate all that we have.

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  11. I know this is an older post but I'm so thankful I came across it. I'm 25, have been married for a year and a half and have experienced two losses in the past 8 months. The first baby was a missed miscarriage, he died at 13 weeks and we didn't know until 17 weeks. Now I'm currently recovering from a ruptured ectopic where they had to remove my right tube. I'm so heartbroken. I have dreams of a big family and now I feel like they're slipping away. I'm so glad I found this post though, it's encouraging to know that you had 4 children with one tube. I'm hoping and praying that my story will be similar. Thank you for sharing.

    1. There's hope. I had an ectopic pregnancy and lost one of my tubes too. I got pregnant 3 months after the surgery and have another healthy baby who is 6 months old now.

  12. Thanks for the useful information I would suggest that you learn with this video. Be helpful and get maximum knowledge about the Pregnancy. This Video'll suggest you : Signs of Pregnancy Before Missed Period


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