Saturday, 12 November 2016

Ectopic one year on

1 year ago today I had surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. The surgery saved my life and my fertility, but I lost the pregnancy and my left fallopian tube. I blogged about it here

A year later, and all of the worries and questions about my fertility have been answered, as I'm now 8 months pregnant! I also blogged about that, here However, just because I've been lucky enough to get pregnant again relatively quickly after my ectopic. doesn't mean that it's forgotten or that it doesn't continue to affect me. I think anyone who's had something like this happen to them carries it with them forever - it's part of who I am now, and shapes the way I look at life. That's not a negative thing, it just is what it is.

The main thing that I think the ectopic has done to me is made me more aware that bad things can and do happen, and that they can and do happen to me. An ectopic is no longer something that happens to other people, so I'm super aware that other bad things might not just happen to other people either. Being pregnant doesn't hold the naive excitement it may have otherwise done - I know that things can go wrong - my body has let me down once before so I don't blindly trust that it won't let me down again. I pride myself on my positivity, but I'm also cautious in a way I may not otherwise have been.

A year is a long time, but it can pass by in the blink of an eye. I don't like to think of what might have been... the pregnancy was never meant to be, so there's no point thinking how old the baby would be now, what I might be doing. I do remember, but I don't dwell. I ended my first ectopic blog post by saying that "this happened, but I am ok. I will remain ok, and better." One year on, I really am better than ok. That little light of mine shone brightly, and I am nearly at the end of the tunnel it lights, where a rainbow awaits.

Friday, 1 July 2016

THIS little light of mine... an update

Nearly 8 months ago, I posted about my ectopic pregnancy and how I was trying to remain positive after my operation to remove "our Pip" and my fallopian tube.

We'd been told that I would still be able to conceive with my remaining tube, but that it may take a little longer - my fertility had reduced by around 30% as a result of the operation. We were also told that once a woman has had 1 ectopic pregnancy, the odds of her having another greatly increase - from one in eighty, to one in ten. Scary odds, but what would Linford do? PMA, that's what.

I won't bore you with the ins and outs of trying to get pregnant (pun intended...) but let me just tell you that the saying "relax and it will happen" is just irritating bullshit when you're trying to conceive, especially after a loss.

Long story short, we didn't relax - but we tracked, we timed and we tried, and it worked! On 8th April, I had a positive result on a pregnancy test. This line was much darker than any of the lines I'd got with Pip, so we dared to hope this one had made it all the way to my uterus...

Anyone who's been through an ectopic has to have an early scan at 6 weeks along, to check that the new pregnancy has made it into the right place. Ours was booked in for 2 weeks later, and so the wait began. That fortnight was a weird one. Pleased that we've mounted hurdle one and got pregnant again, but scared that Piptwo is just as lazy as their predecessor and has decided to stick around in my one remaining tube. Which would be pretty shit. Meaning more surgery, another failed pregnancy and drastically reduced fertility. So, yeah - it was a long two weeks waiting for the dildo cam moment.

Going for that first scan appointment was a very deja vu morning. We sat in the same waiting room as we had 5 months earlier, filling out the same forms and listening to the same radio station. We walked into the same room to get scanned so it was quite a relief to have a different sonographer doing the honours! She was brilliant - no messing around and just got straight on with it as she knew we didn't want to wait around making small talk. Right away she said "there it is! In the uterus!" which was such a relief. Second hurdle jumped! After a nervy few minutes while she poked around looking for a twin pregnancy (either in the right place or the wrong) she confirmed there was just one embryo, where it should be, and printed off a photo of a blurry tadpole for us to proudly show off to family.

So here we are now, 10 weeks and 2 more scans later and daring to hope this one might be the keeper. Piptwo is making themselves known - giving me a pot belly that makes me look like I've been hitting the mars bars hard (clue: I have) and an unquenchable thirst for milk. I'm 16 weeks today, and due on 16th December. This is our official "coming out" post - I'm pregnant!

I want to end by telling anyone else who's gone through a #misCOURAGE to keep hoping, keep shining. We'll get there, if we believe. PMA.

Monday, 16 November 2015

This little light of mine...

I've never been one to keep secrets, or hide things from my friends. I've always said that I am an open book – ask me and I will tell you. I'm also a firm believer in holding your head up high through whatever life throws at you, and finding the positives in even the most negative of experiences, whenever you can. I am a staunch believer in being loud and proud about what you believe in, so this is my #misCOURAGE story, for those of you who would like to know, but don’t feel you can ask.

On Monday 26th October 2015 my boyfriend and I found out I was pregnant. We’d been trying to conceive so it wasn't a shock, but the test line was so faint it took another four days of tests culminating in a digital one that read “pregnant” for us to really believe it.  On Monday 2nd November I woke up to a small amount of blood when I went to the toilet. Panicking, I rushed to the doctor who examined me and confirmed I was still pregnant, but booked me in for a scan to check things were progressing as they should. Bleeding can be normal, but it can be bad news too. The scan was booked for the following Wednesday, because scanning before then would be pointless – nothing can be seen before the sixth week of pregnancy so we must wait until we’re past that mark.

After the longest ever 9 days (throughout which I was still “spotting” with brown blood, but no pain) we arrived at hospital for our early scan. Nothing could be found in my uterus but my urine tests were still coming back positive for a pregnancy and “something” could be seen in my fallopian tube, near to my left ovary. Blood tests were taken, and then we waited. And waited. 6 hours later it was confirmed the hormone levels in my blood were so high I must be pregnant, but the lack of anything in my uterus meant the pregnancy must be ectopic – growing in my tube, and “not viable” for survival. Because of how far along I was, the only option was keyhole surgery to remove the pregnancy (or “Pip” as Dan and I were calling it by then). This surgery would likely mean my fallopian tube would be removed too, and there was also a risk my left ovary would have to be taken because of how close it was to where the pregnancy had implanted. I wasn't in any pain so because the placement of the pregnancy meant my operation was somewhat riskier than a “normal” ectopic removal, I was admitted to hospital overnight, to wait for the operation the next day.

On Thursday 12th November when I was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant I had my operation. They removed the pregnancy and my left fallopian tube, but it went well and my ovary was saved. I came home on Friday, after receiving excellent care from the surgeons, doctors, nurses and staff at the NHS hospital who looked after me.

Today is Monday, and I am 4 days post op. I'm healing well, my bleeding is lessening and I am moving around with more ease despite a sore tummy. The future is a positive one as there is every chance my 2 ovaries and 1 tube will do a job and I can successfully fall pregnant (in the right place!) in the future. Because I am a positive person, I am feeling ok. I'm of course very sad that our little Pip wasn't meant to be, but I refuse to wallow and am looking to the future. I know that many, many women are not as lucky as I was, or as well-equipped emotionally to cope with the fallout. I've had such an outpouring of love and support from my friends and family that I feel strong and confident to move forwards with whatever is next for me and my body.

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in eighty pregnancies is ectopic. I may now be an official statistic, but I am also a person and that makes my story unique, however common it actually is. People deal with things like this very differently, and there is no wrong or right way to do that – just whatever way is right for you. The right way for me is to be loud and proud about it, then put it behind me. This happened, but I am ok. I will remain ok, and better.

In the words of the song I sang to my Pip in those 9 days waiting for our scan, “this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine…” I'm looking forward to a shining future.

To find out more about ectopic pregnancy, check out The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust: