Sadly, my journey to become a mummy ended with an ectopic pregnancy in 2021. It hasn’t been that long since it happened and I am still trying to come to terms with the new version of my “happy ever after”.
I married in 2017 and we started trying for a baby soon after, we were so excited about the future, buying and renovating our “family home”. My first miscarriage was in July 2018, my second in April 2019. We started IVF in the summer of 2019, but two embryo transfers failed to implant and almost immediately afterward we were in lockdown and all thoughts of further IVF were on hold. In May 2020, I found I was pregnant naturally, to my absolute delight, but a few weeks later I miscarried once again. When the IVF clinic opened again after the pandemic, we tried one more round, again we had two embryo transfers but they both failed to implant. At this point my husband and I decided to stop trying for a baby, we were both devastated but couldn’t keep going through it. Throughout the Summer of 2021, I was extremely low and I couldn’t understand why I kept losing the babies, there was no explanation from anyone.
The “happy accident” happened in September 2021, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the pregnancy test! I tested every day, believing that I would again miscarry but hoping with every fibre of my being that I would not…maybe this was my rainbow baby that everyone talks about!
On the 7th of October, I woke up feeling fine, tested again and sure enough it was another positive test. I had all the symptoms and I was delighted. At midday I started to feel tired and then the pain started. I could barely walk or move from my bed and I was told to go to A&E as soon as possible. Due to Covid, when I was eventually called through to the Early Pregnancy Unit, my husband wasn’t allowed to accompany me. I sat on my own reading and re-reading the ectopic pregnancy poster, making a ticklist in my head of all the symptoms I was experiencing, and dreading the outcome of this hospital visit. I asked a nurse if there was any circumstance that would make it possible for my husband to join me, she asked why and I said: “I’ve read the poster, I have all the symptoms, and I don’t want to be on my own when they give me the bad news!”. Just ten minutes later I collapsed and was rushed to a private room to be examined by a doctor. He told me it was highly likely that it was an ectopic pregnancy, although there was no bleeding, but given that is was 5pm, I would have to wait until the next morning for a scan.
That night was awful. I was in agony and the pain relief was not working but I think I was still in denial. Until the scan, I still had an ounce of hope. At 11am the next day, I went for my scan and we were told “sorry guys it’s in the wrong place, do you have any questions?”. I was distraught and numb. How could this be happening? I had made the decision not to try again, but now that decision had been taken out of my hands in the most unbelievably cruel way. The only question I asked was ”Is the baby alive?”. My hope was that the answer would be “no” but sadly it was; there was a heartbeat but soon there wouldn’t be.
Soon after the scan the room became frantic with doctors and nurses prepping me for surgery and asking me to sign forms. I wasn’t prepared. I couldn’t think but there was no time because I was bleeding into my abdomen and had been all night. I was given five minutes to talk to my husband about how we wanted the remains disposed of, it wasn’t enough time, my baby wasn’t even gone yet. It was the most heart-breaking moment of my life, I will never forget it, for as long as I live.
My surgery was emergency. It was rushed and brutal and it took me a long time to recover physically but to recover mentally has been much harder.
During my recovery, people would say to me “loads of people have babies after ectopic pregnancies”, “keep trying, you never know”. They were being kind, they were trying to give me hope, but in reality, my hope died with my baby. Initially, I didn’t care about my safety or my body; I would have gone through it all again desperately clinging to the scrap of hope I thought I still had, but I realise now that I was in shock and grieving.
I am not sure if it is bravery or cowardice but I have made the decision not to try again. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, that decision has sent me to counselling, and made me question my mortality and life decisions and my purpose on this planet. But I know in my heart it is the right decision for me. Having a baby does not define who you are, having a baby is an honour and a blessing, but it is not a right. Not everyone gets to be a mummy and that’s ok too. For now, I am concentrating on being Laura, I am looking forward to new adventures and life experiences. I am enjoying being with my husband and I am making the most of my gorgeous niece and nephew, who I adore. Life goes on and I intend to make the most of mine and learn to accept that my “happy ever after” does not include a baby of my own! It has been a hard journey; acceptance is the key but to fully accept something of that magnitude takes time. Some days acceptance is easier and, on the days that it is not, I will be kind to myself.