My Past & My Present: Miscarriages & Ectopic

Written on Thursday 23/03/2011
This is a very personal post, but I believe that sharing an experience like this can help others who may be faced with something similar down the track. It’s a little like therapy for me as well.

Yesterday after work, my husband and I excitedly went for our 7 week pregnancy scan. I had spent the last 3 1/2 weeks feeling exhausted, queasy in the arvos and sore in the chest area – the usual pregnancy signs were really strong already.

The scan was devastating.

But first let me backtrack to give you some history.

Last year we had two unexpected miscarriages. It was a really difficult time, but I learned heaps. My marriage, which was already super strong went to another level I didn’t realise existed – we stuck together like glue and it deepened beyond what I ever thought a marriage could be like. From two traumatic experiences to blessing, God is amazing! We both learned to enjoy every second of our time together and appreciate all the things we have and can do at this stage in our life – instead of focusing on what we didn’t have yet.

After these suspicious losses we had some blood tests and it was discovered that my husband had inherited a genetic disorder called Reciprocal Translocation, which means two out of his 23 chromosomes that combine with my 23 chromosomes for the baby’s 46 chromosomes swap data and the baby can no longer develop. We have an adjusted ‘percentage’ of having a baby or losing it in comparison with a couple who have normal genetics…as the doctors and Genetic Counselors told us, “it’s basically ‘luck’ whether is works or not.” My husband and I can do nothing. It is obviously not something we can fix by eating more bananas, or going on a holiday or wearing loose underwear (as some people have suggested :) ). You can’t change your genetic makeup.

We looked into the option of IVF which would cost us $12,500 with the extra testing of the embryos (to see which ones wouldn’t have the genetic disorder and would result in a successful pregnancy). We can end up with a few okay embryos or no okay embryos. The process of testing can also destroy perfectly good embryos as the tests are invasive. Bye, bye $12,500.
We decided to bite the bullet and keep trying until we ended up with a healthy baby. We figured we could emotionally handle more miscarriages armed with the statistics and knowledge we now had. It hopefully would be easier to deal with instead of the usual stress and hormones of IVF plus having a high chance of the embryos having the disorder and it not working out at all.

We never expected yesterdays disaster.

So, back to the scan. The sonographer was giving me the ultrasound and was very quiet. There was nothing on the screen. He asked me what my plans were for the afternoon? Which I thought was a little strange so we asked why, and he replies that he is not sure yet. I start to cry knowing something is terribly wrong, again, and I should be seeing a little baby with a heart beat on there and it’s blank. He shows us what size the baby should be on the screen and my womb is definitely empty. I’ve already had 2 blood tests that showed the pregnancy was coming along perfectly and a good sign that miscarriage at that stage was unlikely. He keeps looking around and after some more of the silent treatment he asks me again what I am doing tonight. “Nothing. Am I going to miscarry tonight?” He replies by telling me, “No. Worse.” Okay…..WHAT is going on? There is no baby on the screen. There is however a sac in my left fallopian tube. He thinks I have an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic has nothing to do with the genetic disorder, just more ‘bad luck’. Side-swiped, shocked, unexpected, but deep down I’m thinking ‘typical’. So disappointed something else has gone wrong and that another pregnancy is about to come to an abrupt end for the third time in 12 months.
We go straight to my doctor who organises for me to go to the emergency ward at Nambour Hospital.
The first thing we do is wait, as you do. Then I get an IV cannula on the back of my hand and some blood taken out. I don’t even register that he is doing this. I can hear two nurses outside my curtain discussing our miscarriages and the ectopic. The blood tests show my hormone levels are where they should be for a normal pregnancy. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear that.

I was told what would be most likely happening to me – I’d get taken to the operating room either that night or the next morning to have my fallopian tube taken out. Awesome. The surgeon reassures me that it will not affect my fertility as the other tube will just step in for the removed one. Awesome.
Thank goodness I have my mum (a theater nurse at another hospital) and my husband (a complete legend) there with me. We also had a friend who works in ICU come down and visit me twice just to check up on me. It was so uplifting talking to someone and being told it’ll be alright even though it all sucks right now.
We are now waiting in emergency for a place in the operating room so the surgeon can do his thing. Screaming kids, old men with broken legs, teenagers with fractures…all night going on around me. Mum asks if there is a ward I can go to so I might be able to get some peaceful sleep. Unfortunately there is no way that can happen as I need to be monitored closely incase my tube erupts suddenly, which is very dangerous and could cause hemorrhaging. I manage to convince mum and Kirk to go home and get some sleep as it is now 11.30pm and it’s not looking like anything will happen that night. I said I’ll call them immediately if I get prepped for the op. The nurse tells me there have been too many caesareans coming in and babies just can’t wait. She immediately puts her hand over her mouth and apologises. I don’t get it until she explains what she describes as an ‘insensitive comment’ by her. It really doesn’t bother me and I try to reassure her – other people’s babies and pregnancies are not my own, they are separate to me, so why compare and get down about it. I just want to go to sleep. My own pregnancy hormones have left me longing for sleep all day. It has been one topsy-turvy, crazy 7 1/2 hours.

After more blood pressure tests every hour or so, the nurse comes in at 2.30am to tell me they can transfer me to a ward to have some sleep as I am not getting any worse. I think she felt sorry for me with all the commotions going on both sides of my bed behind flimsy curtains. I learned a lot about my neighbour’s year-long bowel troubles.
After being wheeled around the hospital in my bed, finally I have darkness in the new room and the slurring/snoring/groaning/slurping noises of my new old man neighbour. At least it is consistent and I’m drained…..sleep.

Early the next morning I am told to have an antiseptic shower and get into my purple operation dress and pressure stockings. Mum and Kirk arrive early after mum has spent the last 45 minutes stuck in an elevator with 2 other nurses. Both of them look like they have had no sleep and have brought some supplies – toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

After many similar questions over and over by different people, I am finally told it is action time by about 9am and I am wheeled into the operation theater.Being wheeled into the operating theater after saying goodbye to Kirk and mum. I was so, so frightened. 29 years old and I have never slept in a hospital or been operated on. So many unfamiliar experiences. At this point I wish I had never seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or RPA! Saying goodbye to hubby and mum and meeting a bunch of strangers (who were incredibly friendly) and being transferred onto the operating table with big lights and cold air is daunting. I get some ‘knock-her-out’ stuff put into my IV thing and a few sucks on the oxygen mask and I’m waking up with it all over….in so.much.pain. I tell the nurse that I think I’m going to be sick and the nurse hands me a bucket…I think, and quickly gives me something through the IV which I can actually feel flow through my whole body. I start to feel much better. My eyelids may as well have been elephants and when I could finally open them, I can’t focus on anything for 10 minutes or so.
I find out they had to make three incisions in my tummy/uterus zone to check everything out and then to take out my blocked tube. They had to pump my tummy with CO2 so it would expand and separate my organs so they could see everything properly. I’m told this will cause neck, shoulders and rib cage pain later as the air plays with my nerves, and boy did it ever! I’m still feeling it and have to sit and sleep in an upright position until the CO2 is absorbed. Getting in breaths is a trial and painful.

They give me morphine and wheel me back to my room (after more drowsy questions). I sleep and sleep and after a few hours I finally drink and eat for the first time in 24 hours. So good!

But before I consume anything, I get up to do the required bladder test and become wobbly and nauseous and faint. I put it down to lack of food, but the sweet nurse disagrees and thinks it’s from the operation and I need to rest. More sleep, more pain relief. My IV drip becomes my best friend as I lean on it and make my way back to bed.

Finally, late in the afternoon I get to go home! I say I’m feeling tops and they decide that’s good enough. They take out the cannula in my hand and I manage to drip blood all over me and the bed. At least I have healthy blood the nurse tells me. I sign off and get wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair.

My mum drivesJodi's stealthy ways in making us feel loved! me home and my husband goes to buy some supplies, the hero that he is. I make my way from the car to our kitchen and BAM, discovered that my gorgeous friend who has been there through each and every loss, had broken in and left us this (see in photo), along with gourmet ice-cream, strawbs, choc puddings, cream, pasta and a beautiful salad, plus a 1 hour massage, magazine, gluten free delights and more! The three helium balloons represent our three babies that we can release up to heaven.

My other beautiful friend dropped over a delicious mushroom risotto…and she wasn’t feeling 100% herself and made US dinner! I was floored by her generosity and so touched by this.

I got home and my sister in law had posted us a letter (she didn’t know we were even pregnant as we were waiting for our 7 week scan) and enclosed in her letter was an article she had tore out of a magazine about pregnancy loss, to encourage me from our previous miscarriages. It was the most timely, perfect thing and I couldn’t believe that I had just returned home from another loss and God had lined that up already.

Tonight I’m finding home beautifully quiet. Mum and my husband are fussing over me, even though they are completely sleep deprived. I’m propped up in bed, achy and nauseous but reflecting on how awesome my life is! A marriage that captivates me, solid loving family, supportive friends who make life so incredibly beautiful (thank you for all the texts, meals upon meals, messages, and chocolates), a job that I love, in a region that I’m so thankful to live in, our own home, my relationship with God which is life-sustaining….there is so much to be grateful for.

Hiccups along the way is character building and I hope I make good use of the situations we have found ourselves in. I don’t want to waste the opportunity to grow.

29 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by amanda jones on March 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

    what an amazing story, you are so brave and positive! yes this is character building and i believe you will have a beautiful baby.. or two soon! loadsa luv
    Amanda

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  2. Posted by Esther on March 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hi, guys.
    Can only imagine how painful it must be. I thank God for your relationships with him and the blessings he is giving you through this. Will be praying for some more blessings of a different kind.
    Be praying you are all better soon, and we all think you both are amazing!

    Reply

  3. I am so sorry for your loss…thank you for sharing your story, you are an amazing woman, with what sounds like an amazing family…hugs to you all…

    Reply

  4. Posted by Mum xx on March 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    What a beautiful woman of God you are Treens…so special and so brave! Inspite of all you were going through, I was so amazed at your grace, your smile and your gratitude for everyone around you. I saw you brighten tired nurses…and you were so lovely with your care of Kirk and my needs…I’m so blessed to have you as my daughter!! And you’re 100% right…you have an amazing husband and it was beautiful to see the comfort and peace you shared through such a traumatic ordeal for both of you. It was a blessing to see how you both drew from your strength in the Lord and I am amazed at the flood of love and prayer support you have received from so many lovely, caring people. Your Dad and I love you both, and we know and believe in our heart of hearts that the Lord is going to bless you with a beautiful baby very soon! Much love, Mum xxx

    Reply

  5. Posted by Fiona Hitchens on March 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Oh Katrina, I don’t think I have ever known a person to be so positive and uplifting under such sad circumstances. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles and you certainly brought a tear to my eye, however, your strength and courage that was evident through reading this truly inspired me. I am sure that you will be blessed with a beautiful baby, who will be so lucky to have such a strong and inspiring mother like you. Thinking of you always my sweet. xx

    Reply

  6. Posted by Gwenda Brooks on March 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Dearest Katrina, what an extremley brave girl you are and I am soso sorry you had to go through such an ordeal…you truly are a blessing to those around you and what a wonderful hubby you have in Kirk. Oh how your folks love you and they must be very proud of you right now, and it just trills me to see you blossoming into such a lovely woman of God knowing that He has a wonderful future for you and Kirk and I just know you will be blessed with children…This quote from oswald Chambers is timely I think…”Faith is a deliberate confidence in the character of God whos way you may not understand at the time”… much love and Shalom
    Gwenda B 1 xoxox

    Reply

  7. Posted by Lyn Barnard on March 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Dearest Katrina all of our hearts and prayers are with you both at this time. And I wish i had read earlier to know what you guys have been going through. We pray Dear Lord that you heal and touch this mighty two people of God with all of their desires of their hearts. You both are a awesome couple.
    With much love and prayers The Barnards

    Reply

  8. Posted by clarissa passman on March 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    You are a mighty woman of God Katrina, one who has discovered how to truly be content in all things!! No matter what. My husband Robin has read your blog and you have impressed him. Very special. love you and admire your courage, how Kirk must love you. see you real soon. love Clarissa

    Reply

  9. [...] article and thought of me and all the things my hubby and I had been going through (read about it here).  It is a fantastic source of encouragement for whatever anyone is going through: Lake Mystic by [...]

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  10. I loved reading this Katrina. It shows that you are truly learning “the secret of being content in every circumstance”. What an encouragement to see. I do pray that it is in God’s will for you and your husband to become parents really soon.

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  11. Posted by Jenna Brady on April 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Hello Katrina! Caroline shared this blog post with me, and it is an absolute blessing. It really affected me and my own struggles with failing to conceive a baby, and I am going to get David to read it, too. What a woman of faith you are! I hope you are doing well, and God bless. Love Jenna

    Reply

    • Hi Jenna, thanks so much for your message. So glad that this post could be encouraging to you, although I am sad to hear that things are not going to plan for you guys. It can be so frustrating! Praying for you both and so lovely to be in touch again. Lot of love Treens x

      Reply

  12. [...] fuzziness and extreme tiredness.  I didn’t realise this until last year when I had my first miscarriage and blamed myself thinking my body was just retarded and couldn’t hack building a baby. [...]

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  13. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: What a touching story … you are beautiful peaple ♥

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  14. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: What an ordeal you have been through. Thinking and praying for you and Kirk. Just remember the Lord will give you the desires of your heart – keep on trusting Him. Relax and rest up. Miss you at school. Lots of love to both of you.

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  15. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Hi Katrina, you have been heavy on all our hearts, in our thoughts and prayers…Hope you are feeling much better soon..we are all very sad to hear of your heart breaking experience and pray God’s comfort and love give you peace, protection and strength. Praying for God to do what He is best at for you which is the miracle of life, and hope with you, for that miracle to become tangible for you in the near future (no pressure though… in His timing and yours). Love you so dearly…you and Kirk are so very precious to so many people. May you be truly and fully blessed with every desire of your hearts as you deserve to be, xu, sue xoxo

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  16. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Wow! Katrina, you have certainly been through the works. I fondly remember our conversations about you and Kirk and what a wonderful marriage you have, it seems like it has only gotten better. So Sorry to hear what you have been through. My fingers toes and everything else is crossed for you to have some luck in the near future. Take care.xo

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  17. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Thanks for sharing your story Treens. What a courageous woman you are! I love the way you are so grateful to God for everything He has given you. You are truly a blessed woman & I know He is going to give you guys the secret desires of your hearts. Praying for you & looking forward to a catch up xox

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  18. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: I love you. Amazing woman. xxx

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  19. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: You ARE THE most amazing woman… you’re so brave and so courageous- thanks so much for sharing that with us- as blurry as it was (some kind of watery thing in my eyes!) you’re an inspiration and SUCH a blessing to us all- love you heaps

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  20. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: You guys are such amazing special people. We love you guys and are so thankful in the way you can still manage to encourage us all despite your challenging time. Love and prayers are with you. You are such a blessing Treens xoxox.
    25 March at 15:08 · Like

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  21. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Love to you and kirk … been praying for the both of you xoxo

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  22. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Thank You for sharing your experience with us Katrina, as heartbreaking as it is. You are truly an amazing woman. Much love and prayers to you and Kirk.

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  23. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Hi Treens. I just read your post and Im so sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Kirk for now and for the future xx

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  24. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK: Thinking of you and Kirk!

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  25. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK: What a beautiful woman of God you are Treens…so special and so brave! Inspite of all you were going through, I was so amazed at your grace, your smile and your gratitude for everyone around you. I saw you brighten tired nurses…and you were so lovely with your care of Kirk and my needs…I’m so blessed to have you as my daughter!! And you’re 100% right…you have an amazing husband and it was beautiful to see the comfort and peace you shared through such a traumatic ordeal for both of you. It was a blessing to see how you both drew from your strength in the Lord and I am amazed at the flood of love and prayer support you have received from so many lovely, caring people. Your Dad and I love you both, and we know and believe in our heart of hearts that the Lord is going to bless you with a beautiful baby very soon! Much love, Mum xxx

    Reply

  26. [...] brother-in-law sent this to me after our ectopic pregnancy.  It is so beautiful and thought I would share it as I know many of my readers have faced [...]

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  27. [...] we were trying for a baby, it was recommended by his specialist that he go off Humira (even though studies have shown there [...]

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  28. [...] fuzziness and extreme tiredness.  I didn’t realise this until last year when I had my first miscarriage and blamed myself thinking my body was just retarded and couldn’t hack building a baby.  So, [...]

    Reply

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