My Ectopic Pregnancy + Near-Death Experience
“We were going to have a baby, but instead, had an angel.”
It’s been 15 weeks and 6 days today since the most terrifying day of my life. Since this heartbreaking near-death experience, and loss, that has forever changed my life.
Everything was so uncertain. The pandemic was just getting started and it had me really stressed out, worried, and scared. Then my father is rushed to the emergency room with heart failure. I thought he was going to die. I haven’t felt this stressed in a very long time. So, I decided to try CBD oil for the first time to help with my increasing anxiety. It did help. But then my body started acting odd…
In April, my monthly cycle was off which is unusual for me. Very off. I bled extremely heavy and for much longer than usual. I had a horrible pain that went with it that I’ve never felt before, and it wrapped all around my abdomen. It felt as if I was kicked in the uterus, hard. But after 7 days it stopped and so did the pain so I figured it was just a fluke so I brushed it off.
Then May comes around and I miss my cycle completely. There are no pregnancy symptoms whatsoever so I chalk it up to the tremendous amount of stress I was under, plus possible side effects of the CBD oil. I know when I’m pregnant. I’m keenly aware of my body and I know even before a pregnancy test when I’m pregnant. None of that was happening so I assumed I was not pregnant, that it was just my body responding to the stress or the CBD oil. I also figured, if I was pregnant, I would find out eventually. I have no history of issues around pregnancy so in my mind there was nothing to worry about.
I wasn’t exactly wanting to be pregnant again. I had already gone through the grieving process of coming to terms with not having anymore kids. I already have 3 children – my oldest being 19 – and my husband and I had already decided we were done. I also didn’t want to go through the physical pain of carrying another child, the extreme pain of labor + delivery again (I don’t use pain meds during labor + delivery), and then another round of years with no sleep. My kids just don’t sleep. So I was in complete denial of being pregnant, and I never did take a pregnancy test. I was too afraid it would be positive, something I was afraid of. I was waiting until the last possibly moment to find out if I was.
But then I started to think that I may be pregnant after all. I was getting intuitive thoughts that I was carrying a baby boy and that he was asking me to connect with him through meditation. Twice. I was going to, but then I made excuses why I couldn’t and I blew it off thinking I had time. I regret doing this.
Then come June, I start bleeding the same time I was scheduled for my next cycle. I thought it was my normal cycle finally coming back, but it wasn’t normal at all. It was thick, sticky, and very brown with what looked like pieces of paper in it. Nothing I ever experienced before. I also feel this weird sensation on the left side of my lower abdomen with the need to bare down and push for some reason. Sort of like labor pains but not as severe. Now, I’m starting to realize that there is a serious problem and I need to see a doctor asap.
At this point, my body had started to get really bloated. Severely bloated. I can’t fit my clothes anymore. They won’t even go up past my hips or button. I figured it was extra weight I had put on from being stuck at home because of the stay-at-home order because of pandemic. In reality, I was starting to show and have (different) pregnancy symptoms. My breasts were also sore now. I thought this was also part of my odd cycle but they just never stopped hurting. My mood was also all over the place. I was moody, emotional, and crying all the time and couldn’t understand why. My sex drive also became non-existent. Which was a good thing because sex would have been disastrous! Sex will rupture an ectopic pregnancy. Something I learned long after all this.
That Sunday morning, I went to the bathroom and then suddenly became extremely ill out of nowhere. My stomach starts to burn, I feel like I’m going to throw up, I’m hot and dizzy. I laid on the couch until it passed, which it did, other than a bit of nausea that ended up fading throughout the day. I was fine after that. But then that Wednesday – July 1, 2020 – it happened again. I went to use the bathroom that morning and suddenly I was hit with a wave of heat and dizziness. The same as before but much, much worse. I thought I was going to pass out. I felt like I was going to throw up. I was struggling to stay conscious.
I struggled my way to the couch again, which was only a short distance away. I was extremely lightheaded. I was sick to my stomach in the worse way. I couldn’t move. At all. Not anything. Not even a little bit. Not even to wiggle my toes without feeling like I would blackout. I couldn’t even pick up my phone to call my husband. I laid there for hours trying to get to a point that I could tell someone that I needed help. I eventually felt okay enough to message my sister and my husband many hours later and let them know something is wrong.
I thought my appendix had burst.
When my husband gets home from work, I’m in bad shape. I want to lay in my bed instead of the couch because my shoulder started to hurt, badly. (Shoulder pain is a symptom of internal bleeding. I did not know that initially.) Then I start bleeding, a lot. I could barely stay conscious to make my way to my room. I lay there not able to move at all without excruciating pain with every breath or movement. I wanted to call an ambulance at this point. It’s time to go to the Emergency Room. I should have gone in much sooner.
Within 10 minutes of being at the Emergency Room, they take me in the back and ask questions. When was your last cycle, where is your pain, are you pregnant? They want me to give a urine sample for a pregnancy test but nothing would come out. At all. Then, they wheel me to the Major Trauma room immediately.
Thankfully, they allowed my husband in with me. I really think because it was 2am at this point and no one else was in the Emergency Room, so they allowed him to be with me as an exception. Because of Covid, no one is allowed in the back except the patient. We were really lucky for this! I’m so glad I wasn’t alone.
They start hooking me up to machines and get an IV in. They take blood for a pregnancy test and we wait for what seems like forever for the results. The entire time I’m still proclaiming I’m not pregnant.
Then we get confirmation. YOU’RE PREGNANT.
I’m shocked. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face at this point…
BOY then pops into my head. Dammit. My baby was trying to communicate with me after all!
Every scenario is now going through my head. I just stare at the blood splatter on the ceiling going through every possible thought ever. There is something major wrong. Is the baby ok? Why didn’t I just take a test!? Am I ok? I didn’t initally want to be pregnant… but now since it happened I want another one. I start thinking about announcing the pregnancy. When might I be due? Where will the baby’s room be? What is he going to look like? I hope he’s ok. I hope I’m ok! What is going on?! I was so scared.
After what feels like forever, they wheel me off to the ultrasound without my husband. During the ultrasound, they wouldn’t let me look at the screen. They did an internal and outer ultrasound scan where I had to thrust my pelvis up into the air as high as I could get it. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably. The nurse never let go of my hand, not once. I appreciate from the bottom of my heart that she did that because I was so terrified.
And then I hear it…. my baby’s heartbeat! I am filled with so many emotions in that moment. I fall in love with him immediately. And then the nurse turns the volume down. Now I know there is something very wrong. They won’t even let me see nor hear my baby. A few moments later, I hear the heartbeat again, and again, she turns the volume down faster than the first time. What the hell?! No one is saying a word.
They say to me they can’t tell me anything, that the doctor needs to look at everything first.
I’m wheeled back to my very scared husband, an hour, and a half later. I can only imagine what that wait had to of been like for him. He tells me he’s been google searching stuff and he suspects it’s an ectopic pregnancy. I know nothing of ectopic pregnancies except that it’s a pregnancy in the wrong location. The triage head nurse comes in moments later and confirms it’s a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in my left fallopian tube and I need surgery ASAP. I’m currently bleeding to death.
They also tell us that the baby is alive! Which they say is rare. Babies don’t normally live or thrive in this location and definitely not for as long as mine did. They also tell us that he has features — a face, arms and legs, fingers and toes, and a strong heartbeat. 165 bpm.
Again, every thought I could possibly think is going through my head. The first one is the realization that I’m dying right now unless something is done. Is this how I die, at 38 years old?! Do I even want to go right now?! I don’t want to kill my baby, should I just go with him?! I thought about my kids. My husband. I thought about my baby being killed in order to save my life.
I asked the nurse if it’s viable. I know damn well it’s not, I just had to ask anyway for my own sake. I also asked if he could be moved to my uterus. Again, I know damn well that’s not possible, but I just had to ask. A million thoughts went through my head about the baby and my own life and death.
They ask me if I want the Caplin to come and give the baby his last rights.
My husband and I just cry. We’re both terrified. He’s scared of losing me. I’m afraid of dying. We’re both in shock. We both know our child is about to die. Now, it’s time for us to part ways because they won’t let my husband be with me for the surgery because of Covid. I must do this part alone. We say goodbye in a way that is just in case I don’t make it. Just in case. We’re both crying, clinging to each other, not wanting to let go. I watch him until I can’t see him anymore as he walks out of the doors of the hospital. Within minutes I’m wheeled to the recovery room.
In recovery, I’m all alone. I take this time to message my sister, “I’m pregnant.” I knew it was going to be the only time I would be able to “announce” my pregnancy.
Then the surgery team starts piling in, introducing themselves, and explaining what is going to happen. They said because they don’t know the extent of the damage inside they are unsure if I was going to have 3 incisions, keyhole laparoscopy surgery, or if they were going to have to cut me from end to end, belly button to the uterus and they won’t know until they get inside.
They ask me if I want a DNR order. I denied it. I told them to check everything on their list that will keep me alive. So they do, and I sign the papers.
See, up until this point, I was in such a bad place, going through a dark night of the soul, seeing the world in chaos, people suffering everywhere, desperately wanting to leave this planet. And I got my chance. I wanted to die, but not at my own hands. Life was overwhelming for me and I wanted out. The fact that my chance actually came scared the hell out of me. And I changed my mind very quickly. I didn’t want to leave my kids, nor my husband. So I was sticking around for them if anything.
They remind me again that my baby is alive. That he has ears, eyes, a clear face, arms, legs, fingers, and toes. Then they ask me if I want to send the baby’s body to a funeral home to be cremated. What?! I can do that?! Do I have to find a funeral home, right now?! Can I even afford that? Why didn’t you ask me this when my husband was here?! Can I call my husband right now and talk about what we both want to do?! I was so confused. I was so scared. I was hanging onto consciousness from the severe blood loss. There are so many people around me rushing while the nurse stands there with a clipboard looking at me waiting for me to decide. They gave me only moments to decide. You’d think it would have been an easy decision, but for some reason I was torn. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until hours before this, nor did I even want another baby. I feel like an asshole for feeling this way.
After I give my answer they immediately lay the bed back and put a mask over my face and tell me to breathe deeply. My breathing was very shallow. I no longer could take deep breaths. My body was so filled with blood, up to my lungs, it was very hard to breathe now. The last thing I thought before I fell asleep was that I made a mistake about the baby’s body. Then I was out.
I woke up to my name being called. The first thing I noticed was how much better I felt. No more miserable mood, no more odd pressure, no more bloating, no more pain, or difficulty breathing, or sore boobs, and I’m bleeding normal again. Then it hits me. My baby’s dead now. And I cry, and cry, and cry, all alone, until I fall back asleep.
My phone goes off after some time and it wakes me up. The nurse tells me then, that I was very far along, 3 months along, and that I had keyhole laparoscopy surgery, I lost my left fallopian tube, but they were able to save my ovary. Then she calls my husband and gives him an update. Now, I have an IV in the other arm, with a bag of blood attached to it. If I even move my arm slightly the alarm goes off, so I must stay very still. They tell me I needed a blood infusion. Several, from the blood loss. I fall back asleep again.
I wake up to a man in the next space over coughing non-stop. I’m trying to sleep but his coughing is keeping me awake. I was irritated because I felt so exhausted and I desperately needed sleep. Then after about 20 minutes of listening to his coughing, I hear the doctors come in to talk to him. I don’t want to listen but it’s a quiet room and there’s nothing but a curtain separating us, and I can’t help but hear what’s happening. The doctors tell this man that he has terminal lung cancer. I’ll never forget his reaction. Then they wheel him out of there and it’s quiet yet again. I got a life sentence, while this person got a death sentence. Holy shit!
I’m now wide awake so I message my husband who is anxious to hear from me and he tells me the doctor told him that I was 3 months along, I lost my left fallopian tube, and they siphoned 2 liters of blood out of me. I lost half the amount of blood in me! It was a miracle I was still conscious and speaking throughout the entire ordeal.
I spoke with the midwife/surgeon before I left the hospital who showed me the laparoscopy picture of the baby inside of me. He was just 2 inches in the wrong location. Just 2 inches inside of my tube. He was 3-4 inches big, I was 13 weeks and 4 days pregnant, it was a boy (I knew it!), I had lost 2 liters of blood that made its way all the way up to my diaphragm, and I lost my left fallopian tube. She told me I was an hour or so away from death. If I had decided to go to sleep that night, I would not have woken up. If it had ruptured in my sleep, I would not have woken up. She also said it hadn’t ruptured but tore instead. If it had ruptured fully, with the size the baby was, I would have died immediately. I wouldn’t have even made it to the hospital. I was a ticking time bomb for a while, and I had no idea that there were serious issues until a week before this happened. If I would of had sex, it would have ruptured. The baby moving around is what tore the tube.
Physically healing from this was really hard on me. I had to sleep on the couch, on my back, so I could be upright, for a couple weeks. Moving hurt so bad. My husband had to help me sit up, and do most things, because it was so painful using my core muscles. Walking and standing upright was also painful and I had to use a cane to get around. I had to walk slowly, taking baby steps, for 2 weeks around the house. When I finally tried to sleep in my bed again, I had to sleep practically sitting up for another few weeks. I couldn’t lay on my side for well over a month. The cramping was also excruciating. It felt like labor pains and my body pushed out tissue as my uterine lining shed everything from the pregnancy. I just about screamed out in pain. Thank the gods for strong pain meds! It was horrible. All while crying my eyes out every day with grief, having nightmares every night, and separation anxiety from my husband.
I’m slow at healing. It has taken 3 months for my body to heal enough. Though the left side of my stomach where my fallopian tube was removed still has soreness with random ghost pains, and my cervix still sometimes hurts. I have 3 visible scars now. My cycle has finally gone back to normal, but now my hair is shedding. The psychological and emotional upset, the pregnancy hormones, and severe blood loss has caused my hair to fall out. I had to go through all the afterbirth and postpartum stages but without a baby.
This whole heartbreaking near-death experience has changed my life and me, forever. I now deeply grieve the loss of my baby. I’m incredibly heartbroken over losing him. Every single one of my children are precious to me. He is no different. I would have been 29 weeks (7 months) pregnant right now. I would have been due January 5, 2021. I wish so badly I would have been able to keep him. I dream about him often. I ask him to show me signs that he’s around, and he does. I think about him crawling around the house, playing, what it would have been like sitting on the swing in the backyard feeding him, watching him sleep, go to school, love his siblings, grow up, or see the cheeky grin on his face that I see in my dreams. I feel like I miss him, even though I never got to met him.
I did obtain the ultrasound pictures and saw video of my sweet baby. He was moving around, moving his head, his arms and his legs, and was perfectly perfect. That was very difficult for me. There was nothing wrong with him. He was growing well and healthy, he was just in the wrong spot. And my tube was able to carry him, though not for long. I’ve never been so heart-broken in my life!
When I woke up from my surgery, I felt like I had a seriously profound inner healing. I feel like I left and came back different. Not like a walk-in soul, I’m still me, just very different. Even my husband says I’m different now. It’s a good different. It feels like a new beginning. I no longer carry resentment, or hatred, or rage like I use to. I feel love, compassion and patience instead. Everything I clung to that I resisted letting go of, I let go of with no problem. I realized that life is short, to not waste it on pointless petty things. Facing my mortality at 38 years old was a huge wake-up call. I see beauty where I didn’t before. I see goodness and feel happy where I was unable to before. It’s as if the dial was turned down some so living isn’t as hard for me as it was before being so sensitive to everything. Like I have more of my soul than I did before. And everything that I didn’t need – hate, rage, despair, is somehow, gone now.
I’m also someone who worried non-stop. I am afraid of everything. I learned from this experience, that there is just no point in worrying. Ever. Because anything that does happen will never be close to anything that you conjured up in your mind. Nothing. It will come out of left field and be 100% unexpected. And if it does happen, there is no preparing for it. You just have to wing it through the entire ordeal. So worrying is honestly a complete waste of time. And this is coming from a chronic worrier.
This dark night of the soul I was experiencing ended in a complete death and rebirth that I feel was Divinely inspired. I knew it was coming, just not like this. I knew a breakthrough was approaching. I kept telling the Divine to not give me a near-death experience. I just had a deep feeling one was coming. My precious little boy gifted me with a new outlook on life. He healed me in ways I never could have been able to on my own. This was a sacrifice of love on his part, I believe.
My son died July 2, 2020. I lost a piece of me that day as well.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. October 15th is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. I had no idea this existed until I became 1 in 80.
” How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.”-Dorothy Ferguson
*Someone read my blog here and reached out to interview me about this entire experience for another blog website about surviving situations. If interested it’s at: https://luck-it.net/what-its-like-going-through-an-ectopic-pregnancy/