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.