Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I hope that this is the start of a fabulous new year for everyone.

It's amazing to think back on all of  the things that have happened in the past year.  In 2010 I got pregnant and lost my baby (I hate that saying--it's not like I misplaced them--but I've yet to think of a better term to use), and then got pregnant again.  My daughter started school.  I went through a lot of changes at work.  And this is just the reader's digest version of the year.

In 2011 I'm going to have a baby boy!  I can't wait to find out what else this year will bring.  I don't know most of what will happen this year, but I do have a few resolutions to share.

New year's resolution #1: Be a better blogger.  I realize I've been pretty spastic about posting lately.  I'd like to post once a week until my baby's born.  (After that we'll see what happens.)

New year's resolution #2: Be a more patient parent.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Happy Holidays everyone!  If you're celebrating Christmas, Merry Christmas!  If not, happy holidays to any holidays that you do celebrate at this time of year.

True Blue

My baby boy's foot

I'm now at the halfway point: 20 weeks pregnant! 

We had an ultrasound this week.  Our sonographer was really good.  We got some really good views of our baby wriggling around, and could see that everything looked healthy.  It's amazing to see their little fingers and toes, heartbeat, ribs, etc.  Absolutely amazing.

We wanted to find out the baby's sex, and luckily our baby obliged with some very clear views.  There was absolutely no mistaking that we're having a little boy!  We're really excited, especially to know who our baby is.

Friday, 10 December 2010


For the first time since starting this blog, I have a visible bump!  I didn't show at all for a long time, and although I had started to feel bigger lately, no one else could see a difference.  Suddenly, though, my tummy has popped out into a big baby oval.  It finally looks like I'm pregnant, and just this week I've switched to wearing mostly maternity clothes.  Not many people know that I'm pregnant yet, so it will  be fun to see people's reactions as they see me (and now evidence of baby).

I'm almost 19 weeks pregnant!  Hard to believe that this could easily be about halfway!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


I'm not sure if it counts as a pregnancy craving or not, but I seem to be drinking hot chocolate by the bucket lately.  Maybe it's a pregnancy thing...or maybe it's just because it's getting cold outside and festive inside.  At any rate, this is definitely my new vice.  I justify it because the only way I'll drink milk is in hot chocolate, and calcium is good for you, right?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Telling The Kids

We wanted to tell our kids before it became public knowledge that I was pregnant.  So after everything was fine at the scan, we sat down our kids and told them.

My four-year-old is absolutely delighted.  She says she's "quite pleased" and she sang a little baby song.

Our two-year-old doesn't really understand what's going on, but at least this time she didn't say she'd rather be a car.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dating Scan

As you can see, we didn't get very good pictures at our scan this time.  The baby was still really low in my pelvis and tucked up at an awkward angle, so the sonographer had a hard time seeing him (or her) clearly.  So unfortunately my baby still just looks like a splodge on the scan photos.

The good news is that they were able to do a couple of measurements, see the heartbeat, and generally see that it is a healthy pregnancy and that the baby looks fine.  I was really anxious to make sure that everything's OK, so I'm very relieved.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sleep...or lack of it.

It's one of life's little paradoxes that being pregnant makes you more tired, but it can also make it more difficult to sleep.  You wake up to pee a lot more than normal (or at least I do).  Once you start feeling your baby kick, they'll probably decide that the middle of the night is a good time to practice their baby kick boxing.  By the last weeks you're big and it's hard to get comfortable and awkward to move around in bed.

Here's the thing though: I'm only 12 weeks along.  I don't look pregnant yet, and my baby's too small for me to feel their movements.  For some reason, though, I've had a really hard time sleeping this week.  There's no obvious reason why.  I feel fine; I'm not stressed.  I just can't sleep.  I'll toss and turn and then when I finally do fall asleep, I'll wake up and look at the clock--only to discover that it's only about 20 minutes later than the last time I looked.  All of this not sleeping and restlessness has made my neck stiff and sore.  It does seem to help to have a wheat pillow.  I have one of those roll shaped pillows filled with wheat and lavender.  The great thing about it is that you can pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and then go to bed with it warm and soothing against your neck.  I still didn't get a good night's sleep with it, but my neck hurt less after using it.

Here's hoping that I can start sleeping again soon.

Here are a few articles I found about sleeping difficulties during pregnancy ("Ways To Cope With Insomnia During Pregnancy" and "Sleep During Pregnancy") .  Hopefully they'll have some helpful advice.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pregnancy Test (backtracking a few weeks)

Surprise!  Obviously this was how I found out, but when I took the test I didn't expect it to be positive.  Luckily this is a good surprise.  According to the early scan, it was way more than three weeks.  In fact, I'm now 12 weeks pregnant--almost finished with the first trimester!!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

First Meeting With My Midwife

Today I had my first appointment with my midwife.  Mostly it was just administration stuff.  We filled out a bunch of forms and my pregnancy records, which means that I spent a lot of the appointment repeating my date of birth, address, etc. and explaining all of my past history.  Yet again I had to explain that it wasn't helpful to ask when my last period was.  She persisted, so I explained that it was last May.  She looked at me in shock because that would make me significantly further along.  Once again I explained (she'd already written this down in my notes at this point) that I had an ectopic pregnancy and underwent surgery in July, and hadn't had a period since before I got pregnant with that pregnancy.  So my last period gave us dates for my previous pregnancy, not this one.  She wrote down May in my notes anyway.  Later, though, she wrote me down as being two weeks earlier that I actually am (not as far along).  So anyone who sees my notes is going to be extremely confused about how far along I am and when I'm actually due.  Who knew it was so complicated?

Otherwise she seems fine.  It's good to finally have a point of contact and know that, if I need to, I do actually have a midwife.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Maternity Clothes

In the past, I've always known that I was pregnant really early (before I was due to start).  With my first daughter, I was pretty thin when I got pregnant, so I started showing really early.  It was a bit later with my second kid.  The third time I was pregnant I busted out the maternity clothes really early (partially because I was just in need of a wardrobe boost).

This time, I didn't even know that I was pregnant until I was over 9 weeks.  Since I didn't know I was pregnant, before then I was still doing everything as normal (including riding my bike most days pulling my kids behind me in their bike trailer).  My normal clothes fit like normal.  I was a bit annoyed that I was doing all of this cycling without seeming to lose weight, but otherwise it was fine.

Even after I found out, I was pretty pleased that my normal clothes still fit.  We're not really planning on telling people until after the 12 week scan, so I was hoping not to wear maternity clothes until then.  So I was getting ready this morning and told my husband how glad I was that all of my clothes still fit me just fine.  My jeans were getting a bit snug at the front and a bit loose at the back (I guess the cycling did something after all).  I go to put on my jeans, and the first pair (my tighter pair) won't zip up.  Serves me right for being proud.  Overnight I can literally feel a difference in the shape of my stomach.  Most of my normal clothes are still fine, but as I'm just going to be at home today I went ahead and pulled out my maternity jeans. 

The only problem is that my maternity jeans are still too big and so they keep sagging down.  I've spent more time yanking up my jeans today than doing just about anything else.  I wish I could find a belt.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pregnancy Confirmed

After taking the positive pregnancy test, I called and set up an appointment with my doctor's office.  My husband came into the appointment with me.  The doctor kept asking when the first day of my last period had been, and I kept having to explain that I hadn't had a period in a long time (when was it?  Last May maybe) since I hadn't had a period since before I got pregnant before and it was ectopic.  So we had no way to date this pregnancy.  As we had no idea on dates and needed to make sure that it wasn't ectopic again, she immediately booked me in for an ultrasound at the hospital.  Once again I was booked for a vaginal scan as they are clearer in earlier pregnancy than abdominal scans.

We went to the hospital and were shown into the exact same room where we had been scanned last time before I was rushed into surgery.  I was terrified of having a similar experience again.  Luckily, this time the sonographer could tell us almost immediately that it was not an ectopic pregnancy.  This pregnancy is in the right place and everything (so far) looks healthy and normal.  And (here's the big surprise) I was already 9 1/2 weeks along!!!!  That means that we conceived just 2 1/2 weeks after the ectopic pregnancy surgery!  So that was definitely a shock, but we're excited.

Monday, 11 October 2010


After the last post, I feel like I should backtrack a bit and explain...

I'd mentioned before that I hadn't restarted my period yet after having an ectopic pregnancy end several months ago.  I knew that it would take a little while for my cycle to get back to normal, but hadn't expected it to take more than a couple of months.  So I was putting things away in the bathroom cupboard one day, and found a pregnancy test.  I took it.  As we have used contraception 100% of the time, I was expecting to just rule it out.  Instead, after a very long minute, the test came up positive! 

It was one of the tests that dates as well, so it said that conception had occurred over three weeks ago (the longest time on the test).  I was in shock.  I wanted to be excited, but part of me was scared that it could be something residual from my last pregnancy or (even worse) that it could be another ectopic.

I called my husband to tell him, and then immediately called to set up an appointment with my doctor.  At this point I was still just kind of literally in shock because I didn't know exactly what was going on or what to expect and how to respond.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


It had been awhile since I had to worry about contraception.  My husband and I were trying for a baby, and then I was pregnant.  Suddenly, afterwards, we were stuck worrying about contraception again.

Has anyone else had to try to figure out which contraceptive is best after an ectopic pregnancy?  I didn't want an implant or anything like that for a lot of reasons.  I feel like my hormones have been through enough already this year, so I don't feel like going back on the pill (at least not yet).  In the end, we settled on the most basic method: condoms.

Maybe in the long term we'll switch, but I still don't know what the long term holds.  I think that, eventually, we'll probably try one more time for another baby.  I don't know when we'll be ready though.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Follow Up Appointment

It's been about two months now since I lost my baby because it was an ectopic pregnancy.  I had a follow up appointment with the specialist at the hospital.  Tactfully, the appointment was not in the maternity ward.  In fact, I seemed to be surrounded in the waiting room mostly by old people waiting for blood tests.

I'm not sure what I expected from my follow up appointment, but this wasn't it.  First of all, it was extremely brief.  The doctor asked if my wounds were healed, and I said yes.  He didn't look at them at all.  He asked if I'd started my period again yet, and I answered no.  He said to expect them to be abnormal for a few months when I do restart and that it's normal for your cycle to take awhile to be regular again.  Then he asked if we were planning for another baby in the future, and advised us to wait at least three months (from the time of the surgery) and until I had had a normal period.  Then he said goodbye.  The whole appointment lasted about two minutes tops. 

I had expected to be given more long-term information and more discussion, but I'm not really sure what the purpose of the appointment was as the doctor didn't actually check anything or tell me anything that I hadn't been told in the hospital at the time.  Also, although he spoke about ectopic pregnancies in general, I felt like he wasn't very particular about my circumstances.  I got the impression that he hadn't bothered to read over my notes, and that he just wanted to get rid of me and my husband as quickly as possible so that he could go on with his day.

It was all completely medical.  I could have been recovering from any surgery (as far as the doctor's statements went).

I really wish medical care was more personal.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Finding Peace

It can be hard to make peace with an ectopic pregnancy.  For the few days, it was just panic and overwhelming and medical necessities.  There was too much urgency to really stop and think.  Once I got home from the hospital, grief moved in with us.  Grief is not polite.  It doesn't ask when would be convenient or offer to come back later.  Grief sneaks into bed with you, embraces you in your sleep, taps you shoulder when you're getting dressed, shadows you. 

Somehow we had to move on.  As much as I just wanted to curl up in a ball somewhere and give up, I still had two kids who needed me and didn't understand what was going on.

Here's how we made peace.  My husband and I felt that we needed some type of memorial, and my husband had the great idea to plant a tree.  We took our daughters out to nurseries and garden centers with us, and eventually we picked a beautiful little weeping willow. 

One day we sent the girls out with a relative so that we  could have a couple of hours without them.  My husband and I held our own little service.  We sang a couple of hymns, although saying we sung isn't really very accurate as we don't sound very good at the best of times and both of us were trying not to sob.  We prayed.  We read some religious quotes about the eternal nature of families and the hope of seeing our baby again.  We went outside and planted the tree, and then we planted flowers around it.  It's in a spot in the yard where we can see it easily from the biggest windows in the house.  We held onto each other and cried, but in a new, healing way.

We also picked a name for our baby.  It was too depressing for me to think that they never had a name.  So we picked a name with a beautiful and appropriate meaning.  

We concluded our little memorial service by praying together, and then we just sat and cried and hugged and looked out at our new little garden.

It seems like such a simple thing, but we've both felt so much better and more peaceful since then.  I still miss my baby and mourn for them, of course I do, but it is manageable. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Holding up

When I was pregnant, one of the very noticeable effects was that my breasts were fuller.  Also, the underwire in bras was really irritating.  Basically, even though I was still in the first trimester, I needed a maternity bra.  I special ordered one from a store that I usually buy my bras from. 

Today I managed to go into the store and explain that I no longer needed the maternity bra.  Without bursting into tears or even my voice cracking.  I even held it together in order to get refitted and get a normal bra instead.

Amazingly, I think I'm coping.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


A few things about the physical recovery after being operated on for ectopic pregnancy...

Like with any pregnancy, your body has prepared itself to be pregnant.  This includes the lining of the womb thickening and blood capacity starting to increase.  When you're suddenly not pregnant anymore, your body must re-adjust to being normal.  This includes shedding the extra lining.  As a result, after an ectopic pregnancy you will bleed for awhile (about a week and a half in my case, although it was not at all steady).  Like after childbirth, you can't use tampons because of the risk of infection.  You also can't have sex again until you've completely finished bleeding (to give your body a chance to recover and because of the risk of infection).

If you have surgery, you won't be allowed to shower for the first day or two.  After that, you can take shower, but you can't submerge your wounds in water until they're completely healed over.  So no baths, swimming, etc.

Even if you do everything you're told to, you can still get an infection.  One of my incision sites got infected and so I had to go through two rounds of antibiotics.  If your wound starts to look really red and inflamed, stink, or have a yellow colored discharge (yes, I do realize it's gross), see your doctor immediately and make them swab it and prescribe antibiotics.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

After the sun goes down...

During the day it is easier to get distracted.  Whether or not we always want it to, life goes on.  We still have to take care of the kids we have, take care of the house, pay the bills, etc.  The grief is still there, but you can move it to the background for awhile, let it simmer on the back burner while you go through the motions.

At night it demands your attention.  For the first week after it happened, I went to bed at night and the tears just came.  My husband just put his arms around me and held me while I sobbed for hours at a time.  He usually ended up crying with me.

Weeping should be listed as one of the side effects of an ectopic pregnancy.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Other People

We hadn't told anyone that I was pregnant yet.  When I was first went into the ER, my husband called both of our sets of parents.  Our siblings got filled in as well.  That's it.  Those are the only people we told.  I understand that some people in my situation would probably want to tell all of their friends and would need to talk and get support. 

For us, we just found it too painful to have to keep explaining it to everyone.  There was nothing that they could do to help, and I really didn't want any platitudes.  It was hard enough to process to ourselves that it had been an ectopic pregnancy and that our baby was gone.  Explaining it to lots of other people (and--even worse--having word get around so that acquaintances brought it up to us) was just too much.  I needed to recover from the surgery anyway, so we just kind of dropped out of society for a few weeks.  (It was easier because we had planned to be out of town about now, so people just thought that we were on summer vacation like everybody else.)  That's all of the people we told, although I know that my mom did tell some people (at least a few relatives, but I suspect many more of her friends as well).

A few people who know have been fantastic, and I will be forever grateful for their unconditional and absolute sympathy and love.  Some people, though, just don't know how to react.  Perhaps worst of all, my parents seem determined to just avoid the subject completely.  They will discuss my physical recovery (as briefly as possible) if I bring it up, but there's been absolutely no mention that this was their grandbaby.  That's hard too.

So here's my advice.  If you know someone who suffers through an ectopic pregnancy (or miscarriage, for that matter), don't avoid them or keep bringing the subject up.  Just be ready to sit down with them, let them talk, cry with them, and then give them a hug if you're the hugging type.  Maybe bring by some food for them.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Things I want to remember about this pregnancy:

  • We were so happy and excited.  I can remember all of the anticipation before hand, and how absolutely thrilled we were when I took the test and it came back positive.
  • Like with all of my pregnancies, I was really tired during the first couple of weeks.  It was a satisfying kind of tired, the kind that makes you sleepy but also a bit smug because you know the reason why.   My husband was fantastic about getting up with our girls in the morning and letting me rest (sometimes for naps in the afternoon too).  The girls were also very patient about watching children's TV more often than normal so that I could rest.
  • This little baby was (and is) greatly loved.  I remember my husband saying "I love you", then putting his hand over my tummy and saying "and you."
  • I may only have been in the first trimester, but being pregnant definitely affected my eating.  I ate stuffed vine leaves like crazy.  My husband kept buying them for me, and I just couldn't get enough of them.  I remember one perfect day when I felt pregnant and fantastic.  We went to the market and the olive guy gave me a huge free pot of stuffed vine leaves.  A kind lady on Freecycle gave me a huge bag of fantastic maternity clothes.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we played outside with our girls.  It was just a bunch of little things, but it was such a happy day.
  • I also really liked shakes.  It was really hot, and we don't have air conditioning.  Pretty much every day I made myself a shake for breakfast with ice, a banana, some milk, some nesquik, a spoonful of peanut butter, and some flaxseed.

Monday, 16 August 2010


Only a few weeks ago, I told my husband that the only thing that I was really afraid of was something happening to him or any of our kids (including the one not born yet).  I can't say that I really faced that fear, but because of my pregnancy being ectopic pregnancy I have been forced to live through it.

Unless you have had this experience, you can not imagine how heart-wrenching the loss is.  You walk into the surgery pregnant, and you walk out empty with a huge gaping aching spot instead.  It's not a hole, because a hole is passive.  It's more of a black hole that threatens to suck everything into its grief.

If we hadn't already have had two kids, I don't know how I would have made it through.  My daughters were my reason for trying to hold it together.  This baby, this tiny baby who will never be born now, was already a part of our family.  My husband packed away the baby things that had already started accumulating so that I wouldn't have to see them.  I packed away the maternity clothes calmly, then burst into tears.

I need to go now, but I'll write more about this later.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Hospital: Part Four

I was able to walk back to the preparation room adjacent to the operating room.  I was accompanied by one of the nurses (she pushed along my IV stand).

They immediately had me lay down on the operating table.  I remember most vividly that it was extremely cold (it probably seemed more extreme to me as I was just wearing a hospital gown and by this point had multiple bags of cold liquid pumping into my IV).  The only real preparation left was that I had to take out my contact lenses. 

The surgeons, anesthesiologists, etc. made small talk during the short time between my entering the OR and going under.  Most of it was fine, but some one asked if I had known that I was pregnant.  I nodded and struggled to keep it together and not just break out into tears.  I kept trying not to think about it, but I knew that at that point my baby was still alive and fine.  Logically I knew that although my baby was still alive for the moment, there's no way that they could have survived for much longer--whether or not I went in for the surgery.  Emotionally, I felt horrifically guilty knowing that the surgery that was going to save my life was going to kill my baby...even if everyone at the hospital was very careful not to word it that way.

As had been explained to me previously, the anesthetic was administered through my IV.  I was out within seconds.

Obviously I don't remember what happened next.  According to my husband, I was in surgery for about three hours.  I don't want to speak for him, but I think it's safe to say that they were three of the more miserable and nerve wracking hours of his life.

I woke up in recovery.  It was extra disorienting because I couldn't see (they gave me my glasses after they realized I had come to).  After only a couple of minutes I was wheeled on the bed back to the ward where my husband was waiting for me.  Considering all of the horror stories that I had heard about general anesthetic, physically I felt much better than I had expected.

The surgeon came and spoke with us and explained that the surgery was successful.  They "removed the pregnancy", stopped the internal bleeding, and removed most of my right fallopian tube.  Amazingly they did not have to remove my right ovary, which they had anticipated they would probably have to do.  The surgery was performed laproscopically.  I had a small incision in my belly button for the camera, a slightly larger incision on the left side of my tummy for tools (suction, etc.), and the largest incision about four inches below my belly button (right next to my C-section scar).  That was the incision they worked through.

We realized what a hurry they had been in to get me into surgery when I noticed, with surprise, that although I had been under general anesthetic, they hadn't taken the time to put in a catheter.

The rest of my time in the hospital was just recovering enough to go home.  I was still on an IV until shortly before I was discharged.  I was also still being observed fairly regularly, although not as strictly as before going into surgery.  Although I kind of shuffled, I was able to walk myself to the toilet (with my husband's support and help with the IV) within an hour or so of the surgery.  By the end of the day I could walk slowly unassisted.

When they discharged me, they gave me a leaflet on miscarriage.  I looked through it, and it really upsets me that they didn't have any better information to give out about ectopic pregnancies.  None of the miscarriage application was really applicable to my situation, and it just seemed worse than being given nothing at all.  It made me realize how little information and support is available for people who lose a baby through ectopic pregnancy.  I was also given a leaflet on recovering from laproscopic surgery and two types of prescription painkillers (cocodamol and ibuprofen).  I was also given instructions about recovery and future care (I'll discuss that later).

Although an ectopic pregnancy is an absolutely horrid reason to be in hospital, I did appreciate the staff there.  They were kind, which I really needed.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Hospital: Part 3

I was transferred to the breast and gynecological ward to be prepared for surgery. 

I was put under observation.  At regular intervals (it seemed like constantly), nurses came and checked my blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and temperature.

The main thing that they needed to do before surgery was to take more blood for further testing, and to get some good lines in.  The nurse couldn't find a vein.  The phlebotomist put such a tight tourniquet on me that my hand was going all pins and needly, but she couldn't find a vein either.  The doctor came back and explained that my veins were basically shutting down.  So much of my blood supply was pumping into my tummy that there just wasn't enough left for the rest of my body.  I felt very cold (due to low circulation) and at times very light-headed.  Normally I can donate blood without a problem, and no one's ever had a problem taking my blood before.  However, my veins were just collapsing, and so a whole host of medical professionals couldn't find a good vein.

Eventually, in hopes of increasing their chances, the doctor had my arm wrapped up.  Warming it can help, so my arm was wrapped in layers of padding before they tried again.  After a lot of tapping and prodding at my veins (and several false attempts), the department's chief anesthesiologist finally managed to get a cannula into my hand.  Although she finally managed to feed the tube into my vein, they couldn't get any blood to come out of it.  There was just nothing there to draw.  So they gave up on drawing blood then and just started pumping me full of fluids instead.  I wasn't allowed to drink or eat as I was about to go in for surgery, but they started me on an IV.  Normally when you see IV's, they are at a slow drip.  This was more like a waterfall.  It was a steady pour into my veins trying to rehydrate me as much as possible.  (They also went ahead and ordered several units of blood in my type to be sent to the operating room as they expected me to need a transfusion.)

After having my other arm wrapped up and then tourniqueted again, and being on the IV, they managed to draw some blood.  I also had to do your standard hospital pee in a cup for testing.  (This was particularly great as I already had an IV in, so I had to go use the toilet with an IV stand and tubes hooked up to my hand.)

It seems that there was a steady stream of people to see us.  The anesthesiologist (two of them, actually) came and explained what would happen.  For surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, they use a general anesthetic.  They explained what I should expect and checked on my cannula (the tube into my hand that could be used for IV's).  For surgery, they usually require patients to have two working IV lines.  That way, just in case they have a problem with one, they already have a back-up.  In my case, they gave up on getting a second line in, and said they were just thankful that they managed the one.

I also had the doctor come back several times to check on me and to discuss things to my husband and myself.  I had to sign consent forms for the surgery, and they explained all of the possible risks to me.  Honestly, though, I didn't really have a choice.  I could either have the surgery, or I could refuse medical help and die.  It was an absolutely heart-wrenching thing to sign the consent forms, but there just wasn't another option.

There were also nurses and student nurses constantly checking me, checking my blood pressure, etc.  The surgeon also came out to speak with me.  They also dry shaved me to prepare for the surgery.  (If you go in for abdominal surgery, don't be surprised if they shave off the top couple of inches of your hair first.  If you know in advance that you're going in, it's definitely preferable to do it yourself.)

Then we just had to wait for the operating room to be ready.  They pushed all of the other surgeries back so that they could fit me in next.  We literally just waited long enough for them to clean the operating room, and then it was my turn.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Hospital: Part 2

After finishing with the scan, it wasn't long before we spoke with one of the doctors.  She was really good and we had actually seen her before when Princess was born.  She explained to us that it was definitely an ectopic pregnancy, and that our only real choice was for me to go in for emergency surgery. 

If you're not familiar with what an ectopic pregnancy is, I'll give just a brief explanation.  An ectopic pregnancy is basically when the pregnancy is in the wrong place.  Normally, the ovary releases the egg.  It then travels along the Fallopian Tube.  Somewhere along the way, the egg gets fertilized by sperm.  In a healthy pregnancy, the fertilized egg then keeps going down the tube and implants itself in the lining of the uterus.  In an ectopic pregnancy, the egg implants itself somewhere else (normally, including in my case, inside the Fallopian Tube).  Sometimes there is a reason for this to happen (infections, having a contraceptive coil, damage to or malformations of the tubes, etc.).  About half of the time there is no apparent reason for it to happen.  (The surgeon eventually told me that it was "bad luck" as there was no apparent reason for me to have had an ectopic pregnancy.)

Ectopic pregnancies are never viable.  That sounds really clinical.  What it really means is that your baby has absolutely no chance of survival.  Ectopic pregnancies never make it to term (in fact they almost never survive past about 7 weeks, and most end much sooner), and there is no way to save the baby. 

Ectopic pregnancies can also be dangerous for the mothers.  According to WebMD, ectopic pregnancies are: "the leading cause of pregnancy-related death during the first trimester in the United States."  Many ectopic pregnancies will naturally miscarry before they become dangerous for the mother (often before she even knows that she was pregnant).  In other cases, they are caught early enough to avoid serious health risks.  A lot of the time, though, ectopic pregnancies aren't diagnosed until they rupture the area where they have implanted.  In my case, the first sign that my pregnancy was ectopic was when I experienced severe abdominal pain, etc. because the pregnancy had grown large enough that it was literally causing my fallopian tube to burst (leading to internal bleeding, etc.).  In many parts of the world, this still leads to a lot of maternal fatalities.  Where people don't have access to prompt and quality medical care, they can die from the internal bleeding and infections.

My ectopic pregnancy had reached the point where the only option was to have emergency surgery to remove it.  There was no chance of saving my baby.  At this point, the doctors were concerned about saving my life.  The doctor that we were meeting with sent me over to the ward to be prepared for emergency surgery.  Then she rushed off to book me for the next available operating room in the hospital, and to enlist the help of the best surgery team that she could.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Hospital: Part 1

I mentioned in my last post that I ended up in the ER with severe abdominal pain (especially on the right side) and a few other symptoms.  After spending a very emotional day at home, we went in for our appointment at the hospital's early pregnancy unit.  Although it was in the same building as the maternity ward, I was really grateful that it was on the other side of the building so that we weren't surrounded by happy couples sporting huge bumps or new babies.  I just couldn't have handled it then.

First they looked at my blood work.  For 6 weeks pregnant, my hormone level (Hcg) was about 4x what they are looking for.  Otherwise, although no single thing was glaringly dangerous, everything was slightly off.  Although it didn't give an obvious answer as to what, my blood test results showed that something was definitely wrong.

Then I had a vaginal scan.  I'd never had a vaginal ultrasound before, but it was the best way to see exactly what was happening at this stage of pregnancy.  I had to lie back in a chair with stirrups.  My husband sat next to me holding my hand.  The sonographer spoke the whole time, explaining what she was doing and what she could see.  When she started, she could immediately see a thick endometrius.  This means that the lining of the womb was very thick, as would be expected during pregnancy.  However, it was also empty.  She couldn't see any signs of pregnancy: either there or recently miscarried.

As she moved the wand, she saw more things that worried her.  By this point the screen was turned so that I couldn't see what was happening during the scan, and she had the clearest view.  She found the pregnancy, but in the right fallopian tube.  My baby was still alive, but in the wrong place.  She also found another worrying area on my right tube.  She could also see signs of fluid. 

At this point, she wanted a second opinion (or verifications of the seriousness of what she was seeing).  She left for a minute and then came back with another experienced sonographer.  Together they confirmed that I had an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube that had grown to the point of rupturing my tube.  This was causing significant internal bleeding.  My abdomen was basically filling up with blood.  They said it was common to see some signs of fluid around the tube itself during an ectopic pregnancy, but that they could see it pretty much everywhere they looked with me.  They took pictures and measurements on the ultrasound machine the whole time.

At this point I was able to get up, wipe off all of the jelly they use for scans, and get re-dressed.  Then my husband and I were ushered into a private office to wait to speak with a specialist.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Last night I had severe abdominal pain.  It was the worst pain that I've ever experienced.  I also bled some and threw up a couple of times.  My husband took me to the ER.  They did tests on my blood and urine, and couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  We're booked in with the specialist tommorow to get an ultrasound and hopefully some answers.

Today has been absolute hell.  I'm probably losing my baby, and there's nothing that I can do about it.  I feel so helpless.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Week Five

Today I'm exactly five weeks pregnant!  It's amazing how quickly my little baby is developing.  According to a book I looked at, he or she is already 10,000 times bigger than at conception!  Imagine if we kept growing at that rate.  Already his little heart and nervous system and other organs are forming.  Amazing.

To read an article on the 5th week of pregnancy, click here.

Friday, 23 July 2010


If I didn't already know that I was pregnant, I definitely would have known after this week.  I have been absolutely exhausted.  One day I found it hard to keep my eyes open, and fell asleep three times during the day!  Rather than getting up with my little girls in the morning, I've been getting up, leaving them in front of the TV, and going back to bed, or else my husband gets up with them. 

When I was pregnant with Princess and Angel I was really tired in the first trimester as well, so I know that I'll get more energy again soon.  Right now, though, I'm feeling pretty tired.  It's hardly surprising, actually, when you think about how much is going on right now with the pregnancy.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Big sister to be

My toddler is obsessed with cars.  Angel's the most beautiful little girl you've ever seen, and she loves anything on wheels.  In the garden, she loves to play with her little tikes car.  Her favorite toys are cars and trains.  When other kids her age get scared from noisy big vehicles driving by, she jumps with excitement and points, saying "Wow!  Big Car!" 

Having found out that she's going to be a big sister, my husband and I have thought a lot about how this will affect her and how she'll react.  The day that I took the pregnancy test, my husband was very excited to pull her up into his lap and tell her that she's going to be a big sister.

Her response?

"No Daddy.  I car."

He tried again, and she just kept insisting that she's going to grow up into a car.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Baby Blogs

I read an e-article today on the best pregnancy blogs.  (Click here to read the article.)  I enjoyed looking at other people's blogs about pregnancy, and particularly liked His Boys Can Swim.  It did seem, though, like as I was looking at pregnancy blogs I found quite a few that dealt with very serious problems during the pregnancy, and some of the stories ended either in miscarriage or the baby dying soon after birth.  It was really upsetting for me to read about.  I appreciate and respect all of the parents who shared their experience, but as somebody planning a kid, it made me feel anxious.  It's so easy to worry about everything that could happen...

Looking at other peoples' blogs also made me realize how far I have to go with this little blogging adventure of mine.  I was often impressed and humbled.

Thursday, 8 July 2010


I'm in that phase again where the most fertile time of my cycle is ending, but it's too soon to know if anything's happened.  It's the wondering stage.  Am I pregnant already?  Could I still get pregnant this month?   If not, how long will we have to keep trying?  I feel like I do when I look up at the stars on a summer night and make a wish and wonder about people all over the world (and through time) looking up at the same stars.  Wondering if this month my wish will happen, even if I wouldn't know it for a few more weeks.   This is the time of waiting and wondering.

Monday, 5 July 2010

"Straight Away"

One of my oldest daughter's teachers is pregnant.  She's about to go on maternity leave, and so my daughter was talking about making a card for her.  After discussing her teacher having a baby, Princess looked at me and said, "Daddy needs to put a baby in your tummy straight away so that we can have another baby in the family very soon."

Sunday, 4 July 2010

4th of July BBQ

I've had a great Independence Day.  We went to a barbecue with some friends. The weather was perfect, and I love the nice smoky smell of barbecue.  It seems like we've been so busy lately and just working non-stop, so it was a welcome break to just lounge about for an afternoon eating and chatting with friends.  Our kids had a great time with all of the other children there running around, playing games, and stealing sausages as quickly as they came off the BBQ.   Happy 4th of July everybody.

Some of our friends were there with their toddler and newborn baby.  She just slept peacefully in her dad's lap, and then woke up and wriggled happily on the picnic blanket.  Everyone there couldn't help but coo over her.  My husband looked at her and noted how beautiful and tiny she was.  "I want one", he summed up.   Nice to know that I'm not the only one who's broody.

Now I just need some fireworks to finish off a great 4th.

(Fireworks image borrowed from Blah-g.  Thanks.  My fireworks definitely won't be this impressive.)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Happy Anniversary

Last night we celebrated our anniversary.  We got a sitter for the night and enjoyed a romantic evening out together.  We went out for dinner and then revisted some of our favourite spots from when we were dating and engaged.  It was a really romantic evening; it was perfect for our anniversary to take a trip down memory lane, so to speak.  I am an incredibly lucky woman to have my husband.  I know it sounds really cheesy, and I try not to get all gushy, but it's true.  Revisiting former haunts (and make-out spots) of ours was fantastic, but it made me realize how much more I love him now.  If you read this, happy anniversary hun.

Our fantastic date also made me more confident about our decision to try for a baby right now.  We may not be perfect parents, but this baby will definitely be born to a loving family.  My last period started about two weeks ago, so who knows?  Maybe we'll get a special anniversary present this year :)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A little bit of our history

(Picture of rings from the Silver Wedding Rings Website.)

  I met my now-husband when I was a grad. student.  I was very focused on my goals (education, career, etc.).  I wanted to settle down, get married and have a family someday.  The key word being someday.  Then I met my husband.  There was instant chemistry between us, but it took us awhile to admit it.  We became good friends first and then falling in love was the most natural thing in the world.  It didn't take long for us to realize that we always wanted to be together and get engaged.

While we were engaged, it seemed as though we talked for hours and hours about absolutely everything.  One of the things we discussed a lot was having a family.  We both really felt like we wanted to start trying for a baby right after we got married.  We also discussed how many kids we wanted, parenting ideas, etc.  We had a magical engagement and then a beautiful, elegant wedding.

Our wedding night was our first try for #1.  It wasn't that night (not that you want to know), but it didn't take long.  Ten months after getting married, our beautiful little girl was born.  I had a great pregnancy.  Other than getting really tired in the first trimester and roughly the size of a whale by the last trimester, there were no real concerns or complaints.  She was a really active baby in the womb, and wriggled and kicked constantly (especially to music).  It was pretty common to see a hand or foot pressed against my tummy.  She also would try to push things off of my tummy.   

Unfortunately the birth was less straightforward.  She was two weeks late before I went into labour.  I had wanted a natural home birth, so my husband called the midwife and we started walking around the neighbourhood to try to get labour established.  Nothing went to plan though.  Instead of having my midwife with us the whole time, a midwife we had never met before left us alone for hours at a time and seemed annoyed when we would call her.  I was in labour for a long time and nothing really seemed to be happening.  After over 24 hours of labour, I started puking and just felt that something was wrong.  We demanded that a new midwife come check, and she sent us rushing into hospital in an ambulance.  Our baby was in distress and I had to have an emergency C-section.  It is absolutely amazing how quickly they can deliver a baby when necessary.  Within minutes of signing the forms, I was in the operating room and they had delivered her.  She wasn't breathing when she was born and had to be resuscitated.  There was also concern about infection by Strep B.

Luckily, she turned out to be just fine.  Once they got her taken care of and me sewn back together, I started breastfeeding her and it seemed so easy and natural.  Our beautiful baby girl is now getting ready to start school this September!  She is the sweetest child and really does believe that she is a princess (like daddy always calls her).

When Princess was a toddler, we decided we were ready for another kid (deciding was a long process.  Maybe I'll discuss that another time).  Again we didn't seem to have any fertility problems.  It only took about two months to conceive.  This pregnancy was generally good, but had some more concerning times.  At 13 weeks, I woke up one morning to find my legs and the bed covered in blood.  While I panicked, my husband started calling the midwife, OBGYN, etc.  The midwife basically said that I was miscarrying and that there was nothing they could do about it.  No one would bring us in for a scan or to check.  Finally he got ahold of our normal family doctor, who brought me in and found a heartbeat.  Thankfully, I did not miscarry.  It was probably breakthrough bleeding.

Once again, my due date came and went.  They tried everything to get me to go into labour.  Eventually it became obvious that nothing was going to get labour going, and I had to have another C-section.  Even then our daughter didn't want to be born.  They had to use forceps during the section!  She was absolutely perfect though and fine and healthy. 

Her daddy calls her angel (even though she's way more mischievous than her big sister), and now she's a toddler.  There's about a two years' age difference between them, and it's a really nice gap.  We've never had any real problems with jealousy or anything like that, and they adore each other.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


This is my first hello from Blogging With Bump. Nobody knows about this blog yet, so I'm just kind of sending my greetings and story into cyberspace. Hopefully somebody will hear it and be interested.

Just so that we don't start out under false pretences, I'll clarify a few things.

First off, despite the blog title, I don't have a bump...yet.

My husband and I are trying for a baby. I'm starting this blog now because when you're trying for a baby, it occupies a lot of your thought time, but you don't neccessarily want to talk about it all the time in your real life. So this is kind of a fertility blog that hopefully will progress into a pregnancy blog.

Secondly, no, I'm not using our real names. I am a real, normal person, and I'm only going to write the truth...but sometimes you don't want your mother-in-law or grandmother or random acquaintances from work or church reading all of the personal things that you have to say.

I've chosen the pseudonym Damara because it means fertile. I guess I'm just being hopeful.

So that's my hello. I hope it reaches you.
I'll get a real post up soon.