This is my story, my 12 days of ectopic pregnancy.
For a very long time I struggled to accept this – my ectopic pregnancy event. It was not until my partner said to me “the scar say’s that you’re a survivor and I love your scar”, before my mind opened to the reality of the fact that I did…I survived, and I am still loved despite my scar.
It was September 2018 when I felt a pain so sharp, so devastating that I could not fathom what or why could I be feeling this pain. You see, I had my menstrual period the week before and so I was baffled. The pain intensified to the point where I felt like my insides were being ripped from between my thighs and wanted to fall on the floor. It was horrific. At this point I started bleeding.
I had an ultrasound, it showed a collection of fluid in my pouch of Douglas (Peritoneal space or pouch formed between the rectum and the uterus in the female human body). My gynaecologist at the time did not find this alarming and diagnosed me with an infection and so I felt as though my problem was solved. I received my antibiotics and pain relief medication, and I was off to rest and recover for some days.
The bleeding subsided for about two days until it returned. At this point I was very concerned for my life because I began feeling like the problem was intensifying. I called my gynaecologist to inform them that my bleeding had come back, and my stomach was becoming enlarged. I was told to buy contraceptives and so my partner went and did that. I stopped taking them after two days because I knew the problem was not going to be resolved with contraceptives. I told my partner this was not helping me, and that maybe I need to see a gastroenterologist because I thought I could be experiencing a stomach bleed.
It was about day six and I was getting worse. Bed-ridden, still taking the antibiotics, and pain killers given to me by my gynaecologist because I figured maybe I needed to finish my medication before I could say that they didn’t help. To make it worse I was unable to eat for days because of the pain I was in and just how unwell I felt. My partner tried to have me eat, my friend brought me soup and I tried to eat what I could, but it was difficult. So, throughout my 12 days I basically didn’t eat.
One Friday night, I believe it was 21 September 2018, I am sure my heart stopped because I sprang up gasping for air as though it was the first-time breathing air. I asked my partner to carry me to the nearest hospital. At this point, it was day nine not knowing that my problem was not an infection, not stomach bleeding, but rather an ectopic pregnancy. Going to the hospital proved useless as I was told to go and visit my private doctor – that would be the fourth doctor I was now seeing with my cry for help. I waited three more days because my private doctor was closed over the weekend and would only be open on Monday. At this point, I needed answers because I felt death, like I died, and so I wanted to see that specific doctor who had over 40 years of experience.
Day 12. I was waiting to see my doctor, my last doctor because if he couldn’t figure it out, then I am sure I would’ve been out of time. My partner said he thought I needed to take a pregnancy test. I said we would wait and see what this doctor said and if he didn’t recommend it, we could.
As I sat across from my doctor, and we got to talking he told me to go and do a pregnancy test. I told him that no other doctor asked me to do that because I had, had my menstrual bleed and he said still go and take this test and there it was. Two red lines on the test. When I tell this story I fight back tears but when I saw those two lines I bawled (in Jamaican patois – a regional dialect of a language).
To conclude, I was rushed to the hospital, rushed into surgery (as quickly as it took to get back my blood results). I had more than 900mls of blood in my abdomen. My blood levels were less than 6 g/dL (Grams Per Decilitre) going into surgery.
Let’s just say I went under and the rest? Well, I am still here. Grateful to be alive. I hope my story helps someone to identify a cry for help and to think of ‘ectopic pregnancy’ based on symptoms – my own were excruciating abdominal pain, unusual bleeding and swelling of the abdomen. If you have any symptoms, take a pregnancy test right now. I wish I did on my own many days earlier.