My Ectopic Pregnancy: TTC Story, Ectopic Details & Steps Forward
We have been actively trying to start a family for over a year and this experience crushed us both. We still aren’t fully “healed” but are trying to move forward. This past week, my HCG levels finally dropped to zero and life went somewhat back to normal. In this post, I’ll cover our TTC story, ectopic discovery, and experience in the hospital, methotrexate decision, all post-hospital care and treatments, HCG levels rise and drop dates, and steps moving forward.
If you’d like to skip my story and just came to the post for my clinical information, such as HCG levels, post methotrexate reactions, post methotrexate bleeding, and all the other joys of ectopic pregnancies – scroll down and I will clearly mark this section with *’s.
Ectopic Pregnancy: Tying to Conceive (TTC) & Positive Home Pregnancy Test (HPT)
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. My aunt had her first child when I was in my early teens and I remember Brett’s baby smell was intoxicating to me. I know that isn’t the same for all women, but puppies and babies have the most amazing smell to me. That’s the earliest I could remember how badly, I couldn’t wait to be a mother and have a child of my own.
Craig and I met through plenty of fish in the summer of 2014. He was just about to head off to his second year on the Carolina Panthers and our future was unknown. Well, he got injured during camp and was released in preseason. He later got signed in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the BC Lions. I stayed back in Arizona when he played his first season up in Canada, but we got engaged on the 50 yard-line of BC place that year. Our engagement was a short four months and after the wedding in May of 2016, we packed up our life and moved up to Vancouver, full-time.
The start of our marriage was an adventure. Once we were finally settled, Craig’s second season on the BC Lions began. For months before the wedding, I started tracking my cycle because I knew after the wedding we wanted to prevent pregnancy through natural family planning.
About six months into marriage, I discussed that I wanted to start trying for a baby. Craig was hesitant at first but after about a week, he expressed he too wanted to try. That lasted only a few days and he realized he wasn’t quite ready. I was crushed, but understood. Craig wanted to make sure he was able to provide for us and wanted to give us some stability before we brought a baby into the world. I was proud of the man I married, but sad altogether.
Flash forward to October of 2017 and we both are now in agreement with wanting to start our family. I thought, with all the data I had on my body trying to actively prevent things naturally that getting pregnant would be easy. I even was as naive to tell my girlfriend that I didn’t need her TTC book because I felt we’d get pregnant “easily.” I seriously laugh at my arrogance and stupidity now.
Month after month single pink lines appeared and aunt flow reared her ugly face. I was sad, frustrated, angry, and all the emotions in between. We tried just about everything the next year. Less caffeine (under 300mg), no working out in the two-week-wait (TWW), various supplements, castor oil packs, reflexology, lab work for the both of us, semen analysis, essential oils, legs up in the air after baby dance (BD), fertility smoothies, and even meditation. I was constantly praying for God to just give me peace about it all. All-the-while, I had everyone I know telling me I need to “chill out” and I seriously wanted to punch them all in the throat.
All the tests we both received showed no reasons why we weren’t getting pregnant. The only thing that was found was a polyp and my doc had scheduled the D&C to remove it in early November, along with an HSG. Well, those two pink lines finally did come – the month I decided to lift a ton of heavy weight and drink all the coffee I wanted! There might be something to this “chill out” thing, but seriously, don’t be that person to tell someone who wants a baby that they just need to relax. Or you just might get punched in the face and it’s your own dang fault!
I remember the morning I got my first positive HPT vividly. Craig had just gotten home from an away game and I had spent that weekend with my friend Kristina and her kids. My period was a few days late, but I didn’t think anything of it because with the polyp we thought we wouldn’t get pregnant until it was removed. I woke up on day four of no cycle and went to the washroom first thing in the morning. I sat on the toilet and saw all my LH Strips and a few HCG strips. Those real cheapy ones that are sent a 100 in a pack. I thought, “What the heck, why not?!” At this point, I had probably dipped well over 100 of those strips. Five minutes later, I see a strong single line….. and a faint second line. FOR OVER A YEAR, I had squinted intently at pregnancy tests praying for that second line and it was faintly there. I had saved one of those expensive pregnancy tests with the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant” for this very moment. I ripped that thing open and dipped it. I remember sitting there having it flipped upside down for about five minutes just praying for a single word. I flipped it over and “pregnant” flashed across its screen. The feelings I felt moments after I read that word, I will never forget in my life. I ugly cried like Kim Kardashian for well over five minutes and then settled myself down enough so I wouldn’t wake Craig. I wanted to tell him and make it as special as I could for him. Well, that only lasted a few hours. lol
Ectopic Pregnancy Discovery & Fiasco
We were both thrilled about finally becoming parents but were still trying to live in the reality that it was still early. A few days later, I started spotting. I called my OB/GYN and she said it was normal, apart of the implantation process. She called to check in with me a week
I got the HCG labs first thing that next morning and in the afternoon I had my ultrasound. When I arrived at the hospital in the afternoon, I excitedly headed to the ultrasound department. I was greeted by a student who would be taking my ultrasound. A few weeks prior, I received one when they discovered by polyp so I knew the drill. This time, however, I was going to be able to see a baby on the screen – or so I thought. Never in my life did I suspect an ectopic pregnancy. He began the procedure and I asked him if I could send pictures to my husband because he wasn’t able to come
By this time, I was completely freaking out. I stormed out of there in search for answers and he was writing on a pink sticky note when I finally reached him down the hall. Around a ton of patients, he proceeds to tell me that my baby is growing outside of my uterus and I need to head up to the sixth floor to be admitted immediately so it could be “taken care of.” That’s it. In the middle of the hall around a dozen patients, my baby wouldn’t ever be coming home with me and we needed to “take care of it.” He didn’t sit with me or console me, at all. He just left.
At this point, I completely broke down in the middle of the hallway. I called my mother-in-law immediately, who had multiple miscarriages in the past. I explained that the doctor told me they found the baby “outside” my uterus and it was an ectopic pregnancy. At this point, I didn’t even know where the baby was growing so there was no way I was going to admit myself without more information. Once I finally got a hold of Craig who was in a business meeting, I waited in the hospital’s entryway until he arrived. By this time, an hour and a half had passed before I went up to the floor to admit myself. Supposedly, six people were scouring the hospital looking all over for me. My doctor wasn’t in the hospital that day, but I was supposed to see another doc in her practice. I was admitted and immediately, the nurses wanted to stick an IV in me and get blood work. I refused and we asked to speak with a doctor. Dr. Taylor, the doctor I was supposed to see got pulled into an emergency C-section and her intern came in to see us.
I explained my confusion and what the radiologist told me. I asked to see the Ultrasound and the placement of the baby. At that time, the intern read the radiologists report stating that he saw the baby in my right tube. When she pulled up the ultrasound, we scoured through the entire thing and she wasn’t able to find anything. I got my HCG drawn again at that time and we waited around an hour for the results. At that time, the intern discussed our two options. First, was the methotrexate and the other was surgery. I’m an American living in Canada, so the healthcare system is a bit behind what I’m used to. From what I knew about tubal pregnancies is if they were early enough, doctors were able to go in laparoscopically and remove the baby from the tube. So, to me. Surgery sounded like the better option rather than being given a chemotherapy drug and waiting it out. I expressed this to the intern and she flat out told me that my tube was “toast.” That’s right, TOAST.
First, my baby wouldn’t ever make it and now, I don’t have a right fallopian tube. Let me clarify this before I go any further, the intern was FLAT OUT WRONG. For one, her bedside manner was shit, but she wasn’t even correct with her information. The resident for Dr. Taylor came in two hours after the dang “toast” comment and she clarified everything. While there was a possibility they wouldn’t be able to save the tube if they went in surgically, she explained the best decision to try and save the tube was the methotrexate. My HCG levels were in the high 800’s which was extremely low and abnormal for almost being six weeks pregnant – thus confirming the ectopic pregnancy. We decided on the methotrexate shots in my bum and I was discharged after six hours in the hospital.
For 48 hours, we weren’t allowed to kiss or share drinks. This was due to the possibility of passing on the chemo drug to Craig, as it was still active in my system. I took two days off of work and went to a movie by myself for the very first time. I did everything to keep my mind off of it but also allowed myself to grieve and feel all the pain. At this time, I still had consistent pain in my right tube. The words ectopic pregnancy rang constantly through my head. I got my blood drawn on day four and day seven as instructed. Dr. Taylor told me she expected my levels to rise on day four but on day seven they needed my levels to drop 30% or so. That wasn’t the case. Dr. Paterson, my OB, called me and asked me to check into the hospital – as she was working there that day.
They set me up with a private room, which was nice considering it’s Canadian healthcare. As I walked through the halls, I had vivid recollections of the trauma I faced a week ago. Total despair. I’ve only experienced PTSD once in my life, after my car accident and I had a mini panic attack walking up to the gyny ward. They took my blood and four hours later, it was confirmed that my levels doubled from a week ago and weren’t going down. Again, they considered surgery, but there was a 90% chance they would have to take the tube if they put
After six hours of waiting in the hospital, I was given IV methotrexate. Before the second-round of methotrexate, I only had light spotting that started a few days after my first positive HPT. During my hospital stay and before my second-round of the drug my bleeding began to increase. I was discharged after an hour of the second dose.
I worked the next day and didn’t feel much of a difference. I started having some lower abdominal cramping and was about to pick up Craig from work. I quickly rushed to Shoppers Drug Mart to grab some pain meds. I was instructed to take ibuprofen, as the kidneys take quite a beating from Methotrexate. I went to confirm with the pharmacist, even though I had my paperwork with me and she knew nothing about ectopic pregnancies – scary. By this time, the pain had turned into the worst period cramps I’ve ever experienced and I could barely walk.
I picked up Craig and had to do concentrated breathing to get through the pain. We got home and I immediately went into the bathroom. Once I sat down, my period officially started. Except, it was the heaviest thing I’ve ever experienced. At this time, it felt like I was going through a mini-labor. My stomach would contract and cramp for a couple of seconds, getting longer and stronger as time passed and when the cramp would release clots were passed. It. Was. Intense.
Unfortunately, every ectopic and miscarriage is different. I called the on-call doc and they said that it was “normal.” This only lasted about an hour and I felt 80% normal afterward. This is going to get graphic, but I even had grey matter coming out. THIS IS NORMAL. Breathe through it and if it gets to the point where the pain is too bad, go to the ER immediately. My cramps were in my lower abdomen and felt nothing near my tube. Days after this incident, my levels began to drop rapidly. My bloating and swollen breasts began to drop dramatically, although I still felt my tube. I kept up with my labs and my levels hit zero after four weeks of the first injections.
It’s been a rough eight weeks, but I started taking my prenatal again after my levels hit officially zero. Like most women, I’ve done hours of research on post-ectopic pregnancy remedies to help unblock my tube and optimize my fertility. Obviously, I had some sort of inflammation or blockage that was the cause of the ectopic. Through my research, I found a wonderful company – the Natural Fertility Shop.
I started taking their enzymes immediately. In addition to the enzymes, I purchased
*Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms, Post Methotrexate Care & HCG Numbers*
Ectopic Pregnancy Post Methotrexate Care & HCG Numbers
All Information Given Below Was Instructed by My Physician
No kissing or sharing liquids for 48 hours. Double flush the toilet to make sure no fluids are passed in this time too. Just take extra precautions.
Take it easy until your levels hit zero, seriously. No heavy lifting and do not work out until you are cleared by your doctor. I was instructed I could lightly walk, but for a few weeks after the
NO SEX UNTIL YOUR Beta HCG LEVELS ARE AT ZERO (your tube can rupture from the pressure on the uterus and activity.)
Do NOT take your prenatal vitamins. Also, do not eat foods that are rich in folic acid like leafy greens and broccoli. I did organic grocery shopping the day before I found out and couldn’t eat most of what was in my fridge. BINGE ALL YOU WANT, you deserve it. I ate a chocolate bar every morning. lol (I am not back on my healthy lifestyle regimen, but it was fun while it lasted!)
Do not take a bath or go into a hot tub as your cervix is still open and you can get an infection. I was told you can resume once your levels are back to zero.
MY BETA HCG LEVELS
(I messed up my Day 3 and Day 7 and went early.)
DON’T DO WHAT I DID.
However, I would have had to get more methotrexate anyway. Get your labs done in the same lab. That 1367 figure was done in the hospital and the rest were at the lab near my house.
November 13th: 844
November 16th (Day 3): 1473
November 19th (Day 6): 1602
November 20th (Readmitted into the Hospital): 1367
November 24th (Day 4): 1302
November 27th (Day 7): 802
December 4th (Day 14): 420
December 11th: 24
December 18th: 2
Every woman is different. Be patient. Listen to your body. Check in with friends that have gone through this experience. Email me if you want, I’m available any time. Seriously. email@example.com. Take care of yourself, and allow yourself to feel whatever your feeling. Stuffing it down isn’t healthy.
We’re all in this together!