Over the years when I’ve had people ask me for my best parenting advice, I’ve always said, “trust your gut.” It’s what has guided me through these nine years of parenting and ultimately what’s helped me most when it comes to confidence in how I parent. While I’ve done a great job at trusting it when it comes to my kids, I could take my own advice when it comes to myself.
A little over five weeks ago, I’d started to have some slight cramping on my right side. It wasn’t something that was incredible painful, but more like a dull ache. I put it aside as more of ovary cramping that was completely normal and didn’t think much of it. Over the next few weeks the pain would get worse at some points and then would subside. One morning while we were on vacation in Hilton Head, the pain got so bad I thought I was having appendix issues. But once again, I took some medicine and waited for it to subside. It eventually did.
I’d had my yearly appointment with my OB about a week after returning from Hilton Head. I still visit the doctor that delivered Avery and Macks, so it’s quite a trek to get into the city (with all three kids,) but I trust her completely and a once a year visit is not only manageable, but a good excuse to spend a day in the city. While at the appointment, I told her about the cramping I’ve had on the right side for the past month (I’d had a little bit of spotting too). She didn’t seem incredibly concerned, but asked that we performed a pregnancy test to rule that out and find the root of the problem. I took the test, the nurse came back in and told me it was negative and I went on my way.
As I was walking with the kids to grab a bite to eat, I saw my phone ring. It was my doctor’s office. My first reaction was that one of the kids forgot something and we’d have to turn around to grab it.
“Hi Lauren, this is the doctor’s office. I wanted you to know your pregnancy test came back positive. We didn’t see anything show up at first, but as I was about to throw it away, I noticed a line. Can you please come back and speak with the doctor?”
I tried to contain myself. We’re not trying to have another baby and I honestly thought we were finished with that part of our lives. So many thoughts were running through my head. I called my sister and MacKay in a slight panic (yet trying to remain calm in front of the kids). They both assured me everything would be okay.
I headed back to the doctor’s office and looked at her in disbelief as I walked into the door.
“We’ll have to take some blood work to get more answers, but my guess is you’re either at the very early stages of pregnancy or the very late stages of a miscarriage.”
Miscarriage? I thought to myself. I was still trying to grasp the thought of being pregnant again, but miscarriage never popped in my mind.
We ran the blood work and the doctor promised me she’d call me that afternoon when the results came back. As cliché as this sounds, that afternoon was one of the longest of my life. I did everything I possibly could to keep my mind distracted and busy.
That evening, right before putting the kids to bed I received a call from my doctor. My numbers indicated that I was going through a miscarriage. She wanted to see me back in a few days to test my blood again, but that I should begin to feel the symptoms of a miscarriage.
The next day was somewhat of a blur. So many mixed emotions ran through my head. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this position before. But this one didn’t feel like the last one. I waited and waited for those symptoms to arrive and yet they never did.
On Wednesday, I went back to the doctor for more blood work. My doctor wasn’t there, but the nurse who took my blood said they’d get the results back the following morning. Two hours later my doctor called. “Your numbers aren’t going down. We need to get you to an ultrasound right away. Right now all of the signs point to an ectopic pregnancy.” She went over a plan for me to go for an ultrasound and then we’d weigh our options.
The first thing the next morning, I went for an ultrasound only to confirm what I already knew. On my right side in my fallopian tube was the fertilized egg along with a giant cyst (two and a half times the size of my ovary) sitting on my right ovary. I proceeded to the doctor’s office in tears. Again, my emotions have been all over the place. And to be honest, I don’t know what I was feeling, but it wall came to a head as I entered that exam room.
“There are a couple things we can do,” she proceeded. “But Lauren, I want you to know how serious this is. If we don’t take care of this right away, you could die.”
We went over my options and both decided that the Methotrexate shot (which stops the growth of cells) would help with both the ectopic pregnancy and the cyst. She gave me the shot, gave me a prescription to get my blood taken for a few times this week and next, and that was it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the side effects of the shot. Again, I thought I’d cramp and bleed, much like my other miscarriage, but that hasn’t happened. I’ve had a little bit of cramping, but nothing overwhelming. The two side effects that are most prevalent are the nausea and exhaustion (both of which are from the medicine.) I went to get my blood drawn yesterday and am still waiting on the results. I go again to test it tomorrow. Depending on my levels, we will see if another shot is needed.
I told MacKay a few nights ago that I should have listened to my gut and saw a doctor sooner. I knew something wasn’t right on my right side, but I kept giving myself excuses. I thank God that I went to my doctor’s office last Monday. Because honestly, I’d probably have never gone and just continued to ignore the issue as I’d done before. I thank God I was already planning on being in the city last week (I had to watch my nephew) because I visited my doctor every single day and it made the commute so much more manageable. I also thank my family and close friends who have constantly texted, prayed, and listened when I needed an ear.
Yesterday was the first day I was able to work out again. (I’d taken the week off per doctor’s orders.) Yesterday was the first day that I’ve started to feel normal again. Yesterday was the first time I’ve told myself I need to make me a priority. I mean a real priority, not anything half-assed. I deserve it.
I wanted to share this story with you not only because writing about it is therapeutic for me, but because I know there are and will be others in my shoes. I wrote about my miscarriage seven years ago and I still have people who have found the post and reach out with questions or in need of support. This is a loss that I shouldn’t feel ashamed about or to blame, no one going through this should. I tell myself it’s okay to feel the emotions I’m feeling and I’ll let myself continue to feel them. If you’re going through this, please don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to friends and family who can help comfort you. This is never a time where someone should be dealing with it alone.