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Helpful information about Adhesion Related Disorder and other conditions that cause Chronic Pelvic Pain. Sharing our experiences...Knowing we are never alone!

My Experience; Ectopic Pregnancy

Monday, July 28, 2008 4 comments

Just a year and a half ago, I lived the healthy active life of a 24 year old. I was passionate about my studies and in love with being newly married to my soul mate. Our relationship was beautiful and my studies were immensely fulfilling; however, something happened in that short time which changed everything and caused me to forget myself and all that I loved.

It started in December 2006. My husband and I were preparing for the holidays when we received a very, very unexpected surprise. For a week or so, I had some suspicions of possibly being pregnant. The suspense was killing me, so we bought a home pregnancy test, even though I knew it was likely too early to tell. The test was negative, but as I suspected, it was too early. A week went by and I started to forget about it. We went about Christmas shopping and attended the usual parties. Just when I thought everything was clear, my husband asked if we should get another test. Mind you, this was after a long day of shopping and spending lots of money we didn’t have to spend. Okay, okay! We bought another test and returned home. Once my husband was distracted with a project, I snuck away to the bathroom and took the test. Almost instantly, I saw one dark line and a second very faint line appear. The test instructions said to wait five minutes for the results; however, I knew if that second line was visible, it was bound to get darker. I hid the test under the sink so my husband would not know I had taken it yet. The anxiety was eating me alive! I peeked under the sink a couple of times and the line was still there. Finally, I called my husband into the bathroom to show him the test results. We were both in shock. I took another test and got the same results. It is amazing how one tiny faint pink line can change your life completely. I began to struggle with the reality that had just sunken in; fear and anxiety swallowed me up like a massive tidal wave. Knowing I had a life within me was incredible, yet more terrifying than I could have imagined. How on earth were we going to support this child? Will I be able to finish college? Life as I had always known it was about to change forever. I was already feeling pregnant. My moods were unstable, I was exhausted all the time, and my breasts were extremely tender. I had so many mixed emotions, but I knew that somehow my husband and I were going to make everything work out.

As I mentioned, it was Christmas time; so, we were unable to get an appointment with the doctor until the day after New Years. My husband was with me during the exam and sonogram. We waited patiently to see anything on the screen, but the technician thought it was too early to see the baby. The doctor ordered a blood test to confirm my pregnancy and said he would call as soon as he got the test results back. The next day, the doctor called to congratulate us and ask me to come in the next week to do another blood test in order to see how much my HCG levels rise. A few days after the blood test, a nurse called to say my numbers were rising well and the doctor was very happy with that. We scheduled an appointment to have another sonogram and see the baby. However, the night before our appointment, I noticed some spotting when I used the restroom. We called our doctor, but he was off that day. The on- call doctor said it was fine for us to wait another day to see our doctor. In the back of my mind I knew something was wrong, but I dismissed it as paranoia. (Looking back, I remember having an extremely strange pain at the top on my shoulder. It felt almost like gas; however, I had never felt anything like it before. No one asked me if I had been experiencing that symptom, so I though it was normal). The next morning, my husband and I were back at the doctor’s office. We saw many, round pregnant women and joked about how that was going to be me soon. We were getting very excited to see our baby for the first time. After what felt like a lifetime, we were called back into a room. The sonogram technician, I will admit, was cold and rude. My husband and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes when she made some sarcastic comments. As she began to look around inside my belly, she remained utterly silent. The longer the procedure, the more huffing and puffing she did. I knew from her unsettling groans that something was wrong. She never pointed anything out to us on the screen. Finally, she said, “Do you know what an ectopic pregnancy is?” I did because I had recently read about it in a pregnancy book. Her next words were: “You can’t carry an ectopic pregnancy. Sorry hun.” On the ultrasound screen, she pointed out a mass in my right fallopian tube. She then told me to dress and turned to her notes and began writing. My heart sunk! I quickly got up from the bed and into the bathroom to change. As I walked towards the bathroom, I could see the devastation and confusion on my husband’s face. I closed the door to the bathroom and just fell to the floor. Tears were pouring down my cheeks, but I knew that I would have to walk out of that bathroom and face everybody. Never in my life have I had to try so hard to be stoic. I washed my face and walked out of the bathroom. My husband was waiting to embrace me. I was very thankful to have him there. We were moved into a waiting room, with other patients, to wait for a meeting with our doctor. We knew from what little I had read that we were now in an emergency situation, but we were also in shock. No longer were we there for a prenatal visit, we were there for my own health. There was so much confusion and it was impossible for us to think clearly. We were never given any privacy to console one another. By the time we met with our doctor, we were silenced by grief, so any questions were inconceivable. All I could do was bite my lip to keep from crying. When I tried to talk, my voice quivered, so I said very little. I tried so hard to just be strong.

The doctor explained that he wanted to give me an injection of medicine (methotrexate) which stops cells from dividing and would “clear up” my pregnancy by inducing a miscarriage. He said the injections were the best way to preserve my fertility. I would need three injections and would need to come in for blood work until my HCG numbers went down. As for instructions, he said there could be mild cramping, but nothing severe, and if I did have strong pains, I should call him. He offered me a prescription for pain medicine, but I declined. He also gave me a piece of paper with brief instructions on it: do not drink alcohol; do not take folic acid; abstain from sex; and report any severe pain to him. He explained the pain of rupture as a “sudden pain that takes your breath away.” My husband and I were never really educated on methotrexate or ectopic pregnancies by anyone in the office. However, after talking with the doctor, we were sent back into the crowded waiting room until a nurse took us to an exam room and administered the injection into my hip. Everything happened so fast.

Three days later, I was back at the doctor’s office where a nurse administered my second methotrexate injection. I asked my doctor to write me a prescription for pain medicine because I was starting to have some discomfort. Before leaving the office, routine blood work was done. It was after this second injection when things went horribly wrong.

Two days after receiving a second injection of methotrexate, horrible pain struck me around 10pm and left me paralyzed. I was unable to move anything but my arms. It took several tries and every ounce of strength in me to yell for my husband’s help. I was having cold sweats, feeling light headed and unable to stand up straight. After seeing me in that condition, my husband ran to get me a pain pill and the doctor’s phone number. After about 15 minutes, I was able to speak. I called the doctor’s office and talked to the on-call doctor. The pain seemed to get better after taking a pain pill. The doctor said, if the pain slows down, I should just rest and take a hot bath; however, if the pain gets worse, go to the emergency room. Around 11pm, another wave of pain hit me; but this time, it was stronger and lasted longer. I had to take another pain pill and wait 30 minutes just to make it to the car. My husband drove me to the emergency room. We were taken into a room very quickly where they inserted an IV and started me on fluids. Blood was drawn for tests and I was given morphine for the pain. A catheter was inserted and a urine sample was taken. Then, I was sent to get a sonogram. The pain was excruciating and all of the tests were intensifying it. For the sonogram, I had to lie on top of wedged pad to raise my pelvis. The technician used the catheter to fill my bladder with saline, and then performed a transvaginal ultrasound. My doctor arrived at the ER around 7am and said that he did not think my tube was ruptured, but wanted to admit me to the hospital for observation and pain control. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything because the possibility of surgery was high. Someone came to draw my blood about every three hours during my stay at the hospital. I received a third methotrexate injection at the hospital and was discharged with prescriptions for pain medication and instructed to take iron supplements. I was loosing a lot of blood, so the iron was to help with that.

My doctor scheduled a follow up appointment for Monday morning. He checked my blood count, did an ultrasound, and a pelvic exam. He said that my HCG numbers were going down nicely, so hopefully there would be no more problems.

For the next 10 days, I had moderate vaginal bleeding and was completely bed ridden. I was unable to stand because the pain was excruciating. I could not lie flat, so I spent all of my time on the couch where I was able to raise my knees. The only time I got up was to go to the bathroom. I had a hard time urinating and once I could go, it was very painful. I was constipated and felt very bloated. Finally, on January 27th, I started to feel a little better. I was able to move slowly and had more flexibility around my abdomen. On January 28th, my husband ran to a local sandwich shop to pick up dinner. I was sitting on the couch when a wave of paralyzing pain hit me. This was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. The pain was so sharp that I could not move an inch. I could not even reach out to the coffee table to get a pain pill. When my husband finally walked through the door, all I could do was cry. The pain was so horrible and I was alone!!!! My husband gave me a pain pill and we waited for it to take some of the pain away so I could get to the car. We went back to the ER.

On our second trip to the ER, we were again placed in a room quickly. However, this time they only did blood work and gave me pain medicine. Once my blood work came back, I was released without being admitted. The doctor gave me a prescription for pain medicine and sent me home. We had to stand in a hallway for 20 minutes, waiting to check out. I was told to go to my doctor’s office the next morning to follow up.

The next week, nothing got better. I was bleeding, still bed ridden and could not walk. I continued to have problems going to the bathroom. On February 2nd, the pain got worse again. I had a fever of 101, felt like I was going to pass out, and had paralyzing pain. We went back to the ER after my husband spoke to the doctor on-call. This was our third trip to the ER. My pulse was racing, oxygen was low, and I was extremely pale. They wanted to insert two IV’s in triage because they wanted to prepare me for a blood transfusion. The first IV was inserted fine. The nurse got the second IV in my vein, but said she “hit a valve” and gave up. She said she did not want to put me through any more pain, so they would be able to do it later if it was needed. I was placed in a room and given morphine. When this did not help, the ER doctor ordered something stronger. She did a pelvic exam and sent me to get a sonogram. After submitting the images to radiology, the technician told me that the radiologist and herself were wondering why they had not performed surgery on me yet. When she took me back to my room, she said that I would probably need to have surgery, but it would make me feel much better. However, according to my doctor, he did not think that surgery was necessary. So instead, I was kept in the hospital to monitor my blood and control my pain. I spent two nights there. I was sent home, but my pain continued. I followed up with my doctor regularly until my HCG numbers dropped and kept him informed on any symptoms I was having.

Over time, the intense, debilitating pain started to diminish; however, I continued to have pain and vaginal bleeding. The pain persisted for six months, so I asked my doctor to look into the cause. Another ultrasound was done which showed many abnormalities, so my doctor wanted to do a diagnostic laparoscopy. I had surgery on July 10th. The doctor was unable to see my reproductive organs due to massive adhesions. He explained that everything was stuck together and I could no longer get pregnant. When I asked him what he thought caused the problem, he suggested that it was unrelated to the pregnancy and may have been there before. However, every ultrasound I had before June 18th showed no abnormalities aside from the ectopic pregnancy in my right tube. His only suggestion was to do a total hysterectomy. I was 24 and had no children; therefore, I wanted a second opinion.

I went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. On August 31st, I had extensive robotic surgery. The surgeon discovered that my fallopian tube had ruptured “due to unsuccessful medical treatment with methotrexate.” My surgical report explains that I had a ruptured right tube, secondary to an ectopic, which caused the dense scar tissue. The surgeon spent about five hours cleaning everything up and determined that both of my tubes were damaged and blocked. My right fallopian tube had a hole in it and there was necrotic tissue surrounding the tube. He removed the dead tissue along with a portion of the tube. The tube was then reconnected. The adhesions were removed along with my appendix.

Unfortunately, most of the adhesions came back after surgery. My new doctor has diagnosed me with adhesions related disorder. I continue to have constant pelvic pain along with other complications and spend a great deal of time with doctors. When I started searching for new doctors, I had people in the medical field say to me, “If you suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, you would be dead.” I have to take my surgical reports with me to prove I am not exaggerating. However, it has been very difficult for me to get answers from doctors about my ordeal. To this day I wonder how I survived seven months with a ruptured fallopian tube, when all the literature points against it. I would love to know if this has happened to anyone else. Even with all the answers I have received, I still have so many unanswered questions.

For a long time, I have been reaching out to doctors for support, but have received little in return. In a very short period of time, I have been reaching out to people like you, and have received more support than I could have ever imagined. I hope we can help each other. Thank you for listening!

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4 comments: to “ My Experience; Ectopic Pregnancy so far...

  • Anonymous August 10, 2008 at 8:27 AM

    I want to just briefly share a recent experience simalar to yours. I was experiencing this sharp intense pain for about two months in my stomach and vaginal area. I had a normal period in June and then bleed off and on with sharp pains for the month of July. I thought it was gas. I couldn't take the pain any longer so i went to the doctors. My pregnancy test came back positive which shocked me. I was then sent for blood work and an ultrasound. Thank god they sent me right away because as soon as I went for surgery my right tube ruptured. They said I was eight weeks pregnant. The doctors were shocked to find that the tube ruptured causing them to slice my stomach open and removing everything. I went the hospital at 8pm fora Laproscopty surgery that was suppossed to last for an hour. I woke up 3 hours later with a catheter and a NG tube down my nose and throat. It was the most horrible experience for me. I cried often wondering why me. I now have one fallopian tube w/two ovaries. I'm hurt that there is a high risk of this happening again. I just got a 3 year birth control because if I have to go through this again I might not be as strong as I was through my last ordeal with this awful surgery. I do commend you on this story because I thought maybe the doctors did something wrong.

  • Journey77 August 10, 2008 at 1:48 PM

    I am so sorry you had to experience so much trauma…one after another! I completely understand your concerns and reservations about getting pregnant again and I have learned that only time can calm those fears. Also, learning as much as you can about ectopic pregnancies, will prepare you better for the future.

    When I was diagnosed, I had only read about it a few days before in a week-by-week pregnancy book. The most important thing for a woman who has suffered an ectopic is early check ups. If you try to get pregnant, the second you think you may be…get to your doctor. Mine was caught very early, so they were able to treat me with a medication; however, even with the medicine, your tube can rupture at any time, so you go for follow up appointments about every 2-3 days. Unfortunately, my doctors ignored my symptoms of rupture (but this is very rare). Studies show that methotrexate (medicine) is successful in many cases, but you can also choose to have laparoscopic surgery instead. You may go on to have a perfectly normal pregnancy…many women do.

    You have a lot of healing to do now, both physically and mentally, but when you feel ready, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Also, there are many great forums on the web with women talking about their experiences trying to conceive after an ectopic pregnancy.

    I hope this helps a bit. Thank you for sharing your story! I am here if you need to talk.

  • Anonymous April 19, 2016 at 1:53 PM

    Six months into trying, I discovered I wasn't ovulating. My doctor prescribed Clomid but I went six more months without ovulating, and then saw a fertility specialist. Several tests and pills later, still no ovulation. "It was so disheartening and frustrating, and although I tried not to blame myself, it was tough not to feel somewhat responsible that my body wouldn't cooperate,. Me and my husband, Marty, took turns being strong for each other. "I made the decision to let myself cry and to be angry and sad the day of and the day after getting one of my many negative pregnancy results. On the third day, I forced myself to once again start thinking positive and regain all the hope I could muster up. That very month, I decide to try any herbal medication and I reach out to priest Eka on (dreka14demons@gmail.com) whom I read his herbal medication effectiveness online:
    The Positive: Seventeen months into the process, I Jen ovulated. "It was Mother's Day morning when I got the blessed smiley face on my ovulation test. "I cried! I was so excited that for the very first time we at least had a chance to get pregnant." Later that month I saw something else I had been waiting for: a plus sign on the pregnancy test. Marty and I welcomed our daughter, Rya, to the family in January 2011. "Weird as it sounds, we are grateful for all the spiritual work and the herbal medication of priest Eka that put us in the side of parenthood of life.”It makes us appreciate even more what an amazing miracle it is to have her with us now."

  • Dr Eka April 19, 2016 at 2:06 PM

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