Yesterday marked six years since I was in the hospital with an ectopic pregnancy. My pregnancy was terminated on December 15, 2008 although not by my choice. And yet, it was my choice. This is part of the reason why I think it’s hard to put all of this into words. An ectopic pregnancy happens when the baby implants inside the fallopian tubes (in most cases) as opposed to the uterus (in case you are not familiar with this). The baby cannot remain in the fallopian tubes because as it grows, so will the tube, eventually causing it to rupture. There is simply not enough room (or resources) to accommodate a growing baby. If you want to be technical about it, I did make the decision to end my pregnancy; however, it was only because the pregnancy would NOT result in a live birth and because it was a risk to my life as well.
I will admit that this was much different than my first loss. With my first, I went to the doctor because I was in severe pain. It wasn’t until I went to the doctor that I learned I was pregnant and it didn’t take me long to realize that the pain I initially went in for was likely due to the miscarriage taking place. With my second pregnancy, I felt nauseous and that led me to take a pregnancy test, which was positive. I had many of your typical pregnancy symptoms, although I will admit now that I did feel something wasn’t quite right. I brushed it off because I had never been this far into the pregnancy before and I assumed I didn’t know what pregnancy should feel like. There was this one day I remember so vividly with that pregnancy. I went to the bathroom and was feeling slightly dizzy. I began to feel this intense pain in my lower abdomen and it was so severe that I curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor for a good fifteen minutes. To me, that pain indicated something was wrong so I made a call to my doctor’s office. I had an appointment in a couple of days and since I wasn’t bleeding, I was told that it was probably the uterus stretching and I shouldn’t worry too much. I felt uneasy about ignoring that pain, but I definitely wasn’t bleeding so I figured they knew better than I did. The day before my first appointment, I was taking a shower and noticed some blood. Having had that previous miscarriage, I immediately wanted to go to the ER and check on my baby. Inside, I was riddled with worry and fear, but I just had to know what was going on. After checking in and having a sonogram, I was told that I was likely having an ectopic. My baby was alive, but in the wrong place and wasn’t going to survive. I was insensitively told that if I didn’t “take care of” this “problem,” I had a chance of losing my own life as well. It was a devastating decision that haunts me to this day. It was the right decision and pretty much the ONLY decision to be made, but I was the one who made it. I allowed the hospital to inject me with a drug that killed my baby. For many years, I have lived with guilt from this decision. My rational self tells me that I did what I had to do and it wasn’t worth risking my life for something that scientifically wouldn’t come to be. Try telling that to the heart of a mom; it’s a completely different story on the other side. To me, I felt as though I couldn’t protect my child. My body failed me and as such, I failed my baby. You could probably tell me over and over again that this wasn’t my fault and my mind would agree with you. My heart, however, is the one that fights that rationale every time. Some people might think this loss wasn’t such a big deal. I mean, come on…it’s not like I lost a living child or had a stillbirth. It was much too early for me to be attached and I probably shouldn’t have gotten so emotional over “tissue.” This is not how I saw it at all. My baby had a heartbeat; he/she was alive inside me. Terminating that pregnancy wasn’t just about expelling tissue. It was about the death of all the hopes, dreams and possibilities that child would bring me and my husband.
Even though I know God has a plan for me, I hated thinking that His plan included losing two precious babies and living with the guilt that I chose to essentially abort one. It was a monumental loss to me. I cried for days on end, I scarcely ate and I questioned everything. That baby was a reality for me from the day I saw two lines on the pregnancy test. And now, I don’t even have a sonogram picture to remember my baby by. All I have are memories, many of which are difficult to revisit. And although I do have two precious miracles, it doesn’t change the hurt from that day. Every child is unique and even when you have more than one, you love them all just the same. This isn’t any different for me just because I never got to meet them or even see them on a sonogram screen. Those babies lived inside me and were a part of me. They will always be a part of me and I can take a small measure of comfort in the hopes of seeing them one day. To any woman that has ever had to wade through the gamut of emotions (including ones you didn’t even know you were capable of feeling), my heart goes out to you. It is one of the hardest things to mother a child that you cannot hold in your arms. We love them, care for them and miss them from afar. Knowing my babies still live inside my heart is not a consolation at all, but since it is all I have, I cling to it fiercely. Please be kind to any mother who has lost her child. Be gentle and even though you may not understand, please don’t judge her feelings. It is something that is indescribable until you’ve gone through it and it’s not something I would wish on anyone. To my sweet and precious child that I lost on that December day: you are loved, cherished and never, ever forgotten.