Mind & Body

Ectopic Pregnancy

I'm Katie

Former hairstylist and makeup artist, current wellness enthusiast.

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A  weekly note full honest conversations about wellness, insights to the things that keep me going every week, and TCO loved and approved product recommendations.


I feel more compelled than ever to share my personal story of ectopic pregnancy based on the recent overturn of Roe vs. Wade. This type of pregnancy and loss, like many others, is complex and nuanced. Admittedly I thought it was egg-topic at first lol… doesn’t that just make more sense?

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

To oversimplify, it is a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. This happens after the sperm and egg meet and create an embryo and before making it to the uterus. If left to grow, it may damage nearby organs and cause life-threatening loss of blood.

A Few Years Back

You don’t think these rare types of pregnancy losses are going to happen to you, until they do! I always thought I may have a hard time getting pregnant due to irregular and painful cycles. While I spent most of my 20s struggling with my period, the last 2 years I got really serious about understanding my cycle and getting it more regulated by supporting my nervous system and hormones. I worked with functional medicine doctors, used Modern Fertility, and changed my diet and lifestyle. I had perfect bloodwork and regular cycles and ovulation. We luckily got pregnant on the first try! My exact thoughts were…

Wow, I knew all my hard work paid off…

It’s happening for us….

and so easily?? Lucky for me!!

lol

I had 0 risk factors for a pregnancy like this and so it never crossed my mind it would happen. It is rare and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening. I am now currently in the process of taking steps to ensure it won’t happen again, which I will save for another blog.

Treatment & Diagnosis

It is really important to understand how treatment and diagnosis works with ectopic pregnancy. It isn’t quick and can be scary. You are praying you don’t rupture. Timing was a major factor. I am incredibly lucky my tube didn’t rupture and I didn’t need emergency surgery.

-May 23 – Found out I was pregnant! Calculated due date.. end of January wahoo Aquarius baby!

-May 27 Spotting. Sad & scared.

-May 28 – Ultrasound shows nothing. We do bloodwork to check hCG (pregnancy hormone). Levels are lowish but but maybe I had my dates wrong. Told likely not ectopic. Lots of tears.

-May 30 – Start to heavily bleed and cramp – go to ER. Told it was a miscarriage and will start to pass it. I heavily bled for 4 days. Phew I am out of the woods! Lots of tears but glad thinking I am through the worst of it.

-June 3 – hCG starts to rise again (expected a drop). We do an Endometrial Biopsy to see if fetal tissue left in uterus. VERY painful. I screamed and cried and practically kicked Dr. Kong in the head.

-June 3 – I get sent to get a STAT ultrasound at Radiology. Ultrasound somewhat inconclusive.

-June 4 – Confirmed Pregnancy of Unknown Location because hCG rising again. It is likely ectopic but too small to see on ultrasound.

HCG from first and second ectopic

-June 4- Go to hospital at 10pm to get methotrexate. The shots hurt and are very uncomfortable but they are relatively quick. It burns going in but then it is over! We left an hour later. Sad, scared, and felt like shit.

-June-July – Get hCG tested weekly until it hits 0. It took me about a month. I got my period a few weeks later.

-June-August – Check creatinine levels to make sure no kidney damage from methotrexate. I was slightly elevated for about 4 months.

Creatinine levels elevated for a few months post injection

Second Ectopic

We waited 7 months to try again. You are advised to wait 3-6 after the methotrexate injection. We got pregnant quickly again, and was monitored from the start based on my previous experience. The experiences were almost identical. The only differences were:

– We caught the ectopic quicker because we tracked hCG from the beginning.

– My hCG was higher this time meaning the pregnancy was more developed than the first.

– Ectopic was seen and located in left tube via ultrasound.

– I didn’t have the 4 days of heavy bleeding like the first one. I had much more bleeding over a longer period of time (I bled for 2 weeks) and severe cramping post methotrexate.

Healing

For me it was so important to really sit with my feelings and take time to honor my body and my nervous system. I did therapy, a lot of acupuncture, and slowly eased back into workouts.

I journaled a ton during this time and most importantly I let myself feel everything that was coming up for me. It was really hard watching the days go back where I would have been “6 months” or my “due date”. Those were days I longed to be pregnant.

After avoiding foods with folate while my hCG dropped, I focused on nourishment and hormones. I ate balanced and hearty cooked meals. I hydrated, I slept, I really took the physical aspect to re fueling my body seriously.

If you know someone who is going through loss I urge you to reach out. You don’t have to say anything profound. Just make it known you are there. The conversations are tough but avoiding it because you aren’t sure what to say hurts 10x more.

Next Steps

I was initially told by my OBGYN that I wouldn’t be referred to a fertility specialist until 3 miscarriages. What the literal fuck is that about?! We started working with reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh on my own. She has so many resources on her website and YouTube. She is an angel!

I am awaiting the final results of my HSG exam and that will dictate the next steps of my fertility journey. Right now its looking like little miss lefty tube has gotta go!

Resources

Ectopic Pregnancy Trust (General info and forums I read)

HSG Procedure

Folate Foods Chart (methotrexate depletes folate in the body so I avoided foods high in folate while waiting for my hCG to drop)

Methotrexate Forum – What To Expect

Dr. Kate White

I am so grateful for my friends and family that supported me during these times. It took a long time for me to heal my heart. I cried weekly sometimes daily for months. I still get sad sometimes but I feel confident in our journey ahead that I feel less triggered by the whole ordeal. Find someone you can talk to. It is so important.

And the bigggg thank you to Dubbs for driving me to every appointment. Working from bed with me working from the car, organizing my medicine, making sure I ate, and just being strong for me. Having a partner that shows up for you 10000000% makes these experiences that much easier to navigate.

You Are Not Alone

If you are part of the ectopic club, don’t worry girl you are not alone – Ariel Charnas, Vanessa Carlton, me, and millions of women have experienced this loss. It is scary but there are options to prevent this again. Looking back, I would have pushed for the HSG sooner because I could potentially avoided a second ectopic. Time does heal but it’s a sad and scary chapter of life to navigate. I am here if you feel like you need support!

Our bodies are complex. These experiences and so many others require research, funding, and access for women to fertility resources. We cannot have more red tape and barriers making these necessary and urgent tests harder to come by than they already are.

xoxo

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  1. PATRICIA AYITE says:

    Dear Katie,
    This was so well written and I could just hear your voice through the words.
    And it made me cry. In tears right now for the sadness and the pain that you’ve been through. Big hugs.

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