You are not alone
2 weeks ago I read this heartbreaking story here, about a woman who had just gone through an ectopic pregnancy. I felt I could relate only too well and wished there was a way I could reach out to her. Let her know that it gets better. This is a topic that I’ve learned to avoid because it comes with a lot of pain. One would think that after almost 5 years it should have gotten easier to talk about. The truth is it hasn’t! I keep it buried at the back of my head. Every August I revisit it and wonder what could have been.
How it happened
It was around mid November 2010 when I got pregnant. I knew even before taking the test that it had happened. My body has always worked like a clockwork, which I’m so grateful for. I know exactly when I’m ovulating when my days will be here and all.
Although I was not married and had no clear plan of where my relationship with the dad to be was headed, I could not help feeling euphoric. My body must have been releasing way more Endorphins because I was in a constant state of ecstasy! I had never been so happy in my life! I had no idea pregnancy felt so good 🙂 I woke up in my happy bubble and went to bed still in it! It did not matter what anybody around me did or did not do. I was seriously intoxicated on my happy hormones.
I remember being extremely tired and sleepy too. I could hardly sit down for 5 minutes without falling asleep. Oh, I also became so obsessed with my Mom. I’d call her almost daily which was so damn expensive (I was living in Germany and my mom was back home in Kenya) I didn’t tell her about the baby. The only people who knew about it were my best friend Eunice, and my sissy Soph.
As nice as my host family was to me, I could not let them find out. Mainly because I had no idea how they were gonna take it, and if they would still want me to stay on. So I chose to keep it a secret.
When I was about 8 weeks into the first trimester is when all hell broke loose! I remember we were watching tv when I started cramping, not the normal kind of period cramps, but the straight from hell cramps! I was in the most excruciating, agonizing pain. It felt like someone was literally pulling my intestines out! I could not sit, could not stand, could not lay down, there was just no comfortable position. I thought I had to go to the bathroom but nothing came.
My host dad offered me pain killers, but of course, I was not going to take them and risk harming my baby. He kept saying he was sure it was just a bladder infection. Since I didn’t want to tell him the truth, I said I thought so too. In my brain I was just thinking, my baby, oh God please let it be okay, I kept praying. I had to be alone so I went to bed.
The pain kept knocking me out. Then the most horrifying thing happened, blood! I remember crying out, noooo! I was bleeding, not spotting just a little, but oozing bright red blood out of me. I knew I had lost it! My first thought was I had suffered a miscarriage. I came undone, my heart broke into a million tiny little pieces. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed for hours none stop, I was lost in my anguish. I mourned and grieved my unborn baby who nobody knew about, whom nobody will ever know. I was sure that if this was not going to kill me, the feelings of desolation and despair would. I was so utterly alone. I wished for my mother or my sister or Eunice, but as fate would have it, I had to bare it all alone. I got myself together, wobbled to the bathroom, popped some painkillers and cried myself to sleep.
The guilt and questioning
The next 2 days that followed, I still did not tell a soul what had happened. I kept going through what I could possibly have done wrong. I thought about the coffee and the hot bath that I had taken and convinced myself that it was somehow my fault. I felt some sort of guilt for my body not being able to do what it’s naturally meant for.
The cramping kept on. I started experiencing so much dizziness I thought I was going to pass out. I was trying really hard to go on with my day as normal as possible, so nobody would notice something was amiss. On the third day, I could not bear it anymore, the pain was multiplying by hundreds! I had to see a doctor asap. There was no way of doing that without my host family finding out.
Finally, I wore a brave face and told my host mom. She was rather shocked that I had not confided in her. From there everything went fast. Within the next 30 minutes, I was talking to an OB/GYN. I took a blood test and as it turned out, I was still pregnant! Wait, what? I felt my heart beating again with hope. Minutes later after doing an ultrasound, my heart sunk again, there was nothing in my uterus! My baby must have implanted somewhere else, so he needed to look around.
He started saying things like surgery, internal bleeding, my life in danger..and at that point, nobody cared about my baby. It went from being my source of so much happiness and daydreams to this dreadful thing that was threatening my life. I remember my wistful thinking, Can’t they transplant it to the womb? No such chance. I woke up hours later with bandages on my abdomen and an empty dark hole inside of me. Despondence and heartache were my only companions.
I spent 5 awful days in the hospital. Then I was expected to resume my life like my world had not just been shattered. I wanted so bad to lay down, sleep and never wake up. My host family tried to be there for me but I just needed to be alone. There was nowhere I could seek comfort. No one who understood to talk to. My days became so grey. I forgot how it felt to be happy. I cried myself to sleep all the time. All along pretending to be okay because I could not stand a pity party!
The doctors stopped my internal bleeding but nobody could stop my heart from bleeding pain! I remember the bitterness I felt whenever I saw a pregnant woman. I kept thinking, why me God? Why did you do this to me? The emotional pain was too much to bare!
By some good luck, I found online forums where people shared their ectopic stories. It was the best thing that had happened in a while. Through meeting these anonymous ladies my healing process began.
Although I did not have the courage to share my story, reading similar stories kept me going. Misery loves company 😊. It took me a while to get myself together, to laugh again, to let go and not feel robbed. Now I have 3 little scars on my abdomen that remind me every so often of what could have been. I have one less tube but my body still works like clockwork despite that loss.
Up to this day, I’m scared of getting pregnant. This is a fear I have learned to love, why? Because it will keep me safe. It reminds me that as soon as I’m pregnant I will need to be knocking on my OB/GYN’s door. There will be no waiting to see what happens. It is a fear I’m willing to face in the next 2 years or when God sees it fit.
The doctor assured me that my chances of getting pregnant are as good as any other woman. I try not to worry too much about it. I’m crazy for kids and so is my Man. Although we are not ready yet, we look forward to helping create life when the time is right.“Que sera sera”. I also have it on my bucket list to adopt a baby and I can hardly wait!
In case you have suffered this kind of loss or any other kind, I hope my story brings you some sort of consolation. Remember this is not the end, it may feel like it but trust me, it gets better. To anybody who thinks that the loss of an unborn baby is not a real loss, well, I’m telling you that it is. As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant, she plans for the baby, thinks about it, dreams about it, talks to it and yes, loves it. The opportunity to make those dreams come true is gone. I mourned the days, the weeks, the years that will never be. I mourned the memories that will never be created.
The loss of an unborn child is the loneliest place to be since no one really understands the grief.