It sounds so cold and clinical – “unknown location”. But that’s what it’s called. Your body is sending all the signals that you are pregnant, but a baby can’t be seen on the screen anywhere. It started when I got what I thought was my period. I bled for 11 days straight and had a pain on my right side so I thought I should probably go to the doctor.
I had taken the morning after pill earlier that month, because we had decided we weren’t ready yet. I didn’t realised we had conceived already.
The doctor had told me if I were pregnant, it was likely it could be ectopic because of my symptoms and the fact I had taken the morning after pill, so I was sent straight to Emergency and was handled by the early pregnancy unit.
I was told first of all I was most likely losing this baby, which was already 4 weeks along. My HCG levels were too low and it was not looking good. They did a scan but they could not find a baby at all. As they couldn’t identify a tubal pregnancy, they told me to go home and wait to see what happens. I was asked to come back in a few days to take more blood.
The bleeding continued and a few days later I went in, expecting my HCG to have gone down. It had actually increased, but the scan still did not show a baby. I was told maybe the baby was so small it was not visible yet and was told to come back every 48 hours for a week to measure blood levels. If the count doubled each time, the pregnancy would be viable. My count was not doubling but continued to rise, the bleeding continued and so did the pain.
The doctor finally made the call that even though they couldn’t see the baby, they would need to terminate the pregnancy. They told me they would use a dose of methrotrexate which is a form of cancer drug used to kill the fetus (wherever it was) and it would be absorbed by my body. It was a hard decision to make, but ultimately I knew that waiting longer would be dangerous to my health if my tube were to rupture (if that where baby was hiding).
The took me to the oncology ward and weighed and measured me to give me the correct dosage. A nurse masked up and gave me the shot in my buttock. The pain that followed that night was bad. I was told no hot baths, no alcohol and no kissing my partner for a week in case he would receive some of the cancer drug I was given.
A week later I went in to check my HCG levels. They were still not going down properly so the doctors decided to give me a second dose of methotrexate. I was so upset and couldn’t believe I had to go through it again. I definitely felt the second dose more, like I was burning on the inside. I bled a lot and cried even more.
Finally, six weeks after being told I was pregnant, it was over. I had been in hospital every 48 hours to monitor my levels and they were coming down gradually. When I was finally clinically “not pregnant”, I was relieved, I was sad, but I was also numb. I knew I wouldn’t be the same again.
I think it only really kicked in about three months later what had happened and I withdrew for a while. A year later I can talk about it more. I have pain still and it’s a reminder of what I lost. As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a baby. I wish I had never taken that pill but I have to tell myself I took it for a reason then.
I have everything crossed for my rainbow baby to come and am so much more aware now of how difficult pregnancy can be. My sister is pregnant with a healthy baby. I’m so pleased for her but it was hard for me too.
My day will come, and until then, I will continue to hope and be supportive to the 1 in 4 women who need me.