On December 30, 2014, a few weeks after my husband and I got engaged, I got a positive pregnancy test while on birth control.
My husband and I were elated. We were newly engaged and expecting! We quickly decided to get married in the spring.
He wanted to tell his family right away and I wanted to tell no one until the magical 12-week date. Of course, we didn’t know what my date was since we had no clue when we conceived. On the night of January 1, I went to the bathroom and wiped dark red blood. Like, a ton of blood, but it was bright red the way blood would look if you cut open your hand. Not period blood. Wipe after wipe after wipe coated in bright red blood. I called the urgent care line at my doctor’s office and described what was happening to a nurse. Minutes later, Dr. R called me back. I’d never spoken to or met him before. I explained everything to him.
“Well, if you’re on birth control, I don’t see how you could be pregnant.”
“Well, I took a test and it was positive, so I think I am. Am I losing it?”
“Do you see tissue? Are you soaking through a pad an hour?”
“It’s probably just your period.”
Common sense would tell you that a woman who has seen her period for 21 years knows better than you what her period looks like. But I was brushed off like I was being crazy.
My ultrasound was January 14 and over these next two weeks I had this heavy red bleeding repeatedly. Dr. N, who was overseeing my case, insisted on referring to it as “spotting” even though I kept referring to it as “gushing.” A copy of my medical records later showed they repeatedly noted it as “spotting.”
We told my family about the pregnancy because I wanted help planning our now early wedding. My husband told his family about it because he wanted them to be able to celebrate, too, even though I really wanted to keep things private until we knew everything was ok. My husband was so excited he wanted everyone to know. Later in the hospital, I found out my brother was the first one to say he thought I was pregnant with twins.
My husband and I were both somehow convinced that I was pregnant with twins from the beginning, and picked out twin boy and girl names. We confessed to each other that we’d both fantasized about having twins all of our lives.
By the morning of my ultrasound I was convinced something was wrong because of the bleeding.
The ultrasound showed an empty uterus, but my HCG was up over 12,000. Dr. N did an exam, saw some tissue in my cervix, decided I was having a miscarriage, and tore off the placental tissue that was growing on my cervix. I felt a warm gush pour out and pour down onto the table underneath me, soaking through the pads on the exam table, and Dr. N shouted for someone to call an ambulance. I realized later it was blood.
I had four doctors and two nurses trying to stop the bleeding and I remember feeling like they all needed me to stay calm and keep it together. I looked around and found my husband in the corner.
“Are you okay?” I asked him. I felt so sorry for him. He was so sure we’d be seeing a baby on the ultrasound that morning.
“I’m okay, are you okay?” He said and reached out for my hand. That’s when I finally cried. One of the nurses leaned over me and held me tight.
I was in the hospital for three days. The medical team couldn’t decide if I had a cervical pregnancy and an ovarian mass, or an ovarian pregnancy and a cervical polyp. What I had was a twin ectopic pregnancy, one cervical, one ovarian.
At first it looked like I could need a hysterectomy. I will never forget in the emergency room when my husband, who was then my fiancé, told me, “I will stay by your side forever, even if we can’t have children, we can adopt, or we can just be me and you forever.” After an MRI and surgery, it was determined that they could treat me with methotrexate. I needed two doses. It took me nearly 60 days to stop bleeding, and I was told to call 911 if I started hemorrhaging at any time.
We didn’t get married in the spring. It was at least a year before I felt fully emotionally recovered. As if the loss, trauma, and pain were not enough, my doctors repeatedly said ridiculously insensitive things like, “Well don’t worry about having a baby, you have a wedding to plan,” or, “This wasn’t a planned pregnancy though, right?”
There is very little information on ectopic pregnancies out there aside from tubal ectopic pregnancies. The incidences are so rare that the doctors could only describe it as a fluke. I was the first one that any of the seven doctors in that practice and hospital had ever seen. We thought we would be able to have a baby in the future. We saw no indication that I was prone to any kind of loss or infertility.