According to the Mayo Clinic, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Pregnancy begins with a fertilized egg. Normally, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in a fallopian tube, which carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This type of ectopic pregnancy is called a tubal pregnancy. Sometimes, an ectopic pregnancy occurs in other areas of the body, such as the ovary, abdominal cavity or the lower part of the uterus (cervix), which connects to the vagina.
October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. On this day, I felt the need to reflect on my pregnancy loss. Below is my story. Everyone is different and deals with loss differently but I remember at the time, feeling alone like it wasn’t something anyone wanted to hear about but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I write this as a form of reflection and therapy but also to let others know about ectopic pregnancy, because it could have turned out much worse if it hadn’t been surgically removed.
On a Saturday morning in September, I remember returning from the park with my husband and son, who was almost 2 at the time. I was about 6 weeks along according to my missed period and noticed I had started spotting blood. I immediately called my OB and she said to take it easy, spotting is normal but if it got worse to call her back. The next morning, it got worse. I was cramping and remember there being so much blood. I called my doctor and she said she was sorry but I was having a miscarriage. I made an appointment to see her in the morning. I wanted to be alone so my husband took our son out and I stood in a hot shower losing so much blood and cried and cried. When I got out I remember being in so much pain I couldn’t sit, I did circles around our kitchen island clenching the countertop. When my husband returned, the pain seemed to have lessened and I remember sleeping the rest of the day away.
The next morning, I went to my OB’s and was just spotting. They did an internal ultrasound and I was told that my uterus was empty so I must have passed the fertilized egg. They took blood and told me to come back in two days for another blood test. Two days later I returned and had another blood test.
On Thursday of that week, I was driving to a play date and my phone rang. It was my OB, she said “Meg, are you in pain?” I wasn’t, physically I felt completely fine. “Well, your blood test results are coming back and you are still pregnant, I’m afraid it might be in your fallopian tube. Please get yourself to the hospital immediately so we can figure out what’s going on.”
I had been warned by an old boss about ectopic pregnancy in my early 20’s, she said if you ever are in extreme pain and cramping, don’t ignore it because it could be an ectopic pregnancy.
If untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to burst which leads to bleeding in your abdomen and can be fatal.
When I arrived to the hospital another internal ultrasound was done and it showed the egg in my tube and it was starting to rupture. Everyone kept asking me what my pain level was and I really felt 100% fine. Everyone was shocked because I should have been in extreme pain. I was rushed into surgery.
In recovery, my OB explained that the damage caused to my right fallopian tube was extensive and she had to remove it all. That’s when I lost it, she held my hand and said don’t worry, I will do everything I can to get you pregnant again.
After recovering from surgery, I dealt with grief in the best way I knew how. Keeping myself busy and researching getting pregnant after having a fallopian tube removed. I was sent to a fertility specialist in Fort Lauderdale and they sent dye through my other tube to ensure that there was nothing blocking the left side. (If you ever have to get this done, I am sorry because I think this was the worse physical pain I had to experience throughout the whole process) They confirmed my left tube was fine.
In December, I went for a post-surgery appointment. They made me pee in a cup and my OB gave me an exam. A nurse knocked on the door and said “Meg, do you know you that you are pregnant?” I was shocked. I hadn’t had my period and had taken a pregnancy test that came back negative. I thought my cycle must be off because of the miscarriage. They took me into the ultrasound room and conducted an internal ultrasound. Where for the first time, I saw my miracle rainbow baby, Patrick Benjamin Palumbo, healthy in my uterus ready to grow and become such a blessing to our family.