Not many people know this, but I’ve only got one fallopian tube.
There’s no reason for anyone to know, but to me it’s a huge part of my journey into parenthood.
When we decided to try for a baby it never occurred to me that we may have any problems. I’d grown up hearing of how easily my parents had fallen pregnant with my brothers and I so assumed it would be a similar experience for me. And it was – at first.
I was incredibly fortunate and fell pregnant straight away. We were over the moon – I remember telling my husband, strolling arm in arm through the fields on an evening walk in the sun. He was thrilled and we immediately began to dream about all our little one would be.
But sadly it wasn’t to be. Six weeks later I had a miscarriage. I was alone when it happened and I didn’t tell anyone. I was paralysed with fear. I daren’t move incase somehow keeping still would stop it from happening. But it did. And I was bereft. The very few people I did confide in had kind words but it’s a hard loss to comprehend when you’ve not experienced it. ‘At least it was early’ – was a well meant phrase, designed to bring comfort of sorts, but when you have placed your hands on your tummy whilst imagining the life that will be….its so incredibly hard.
When we fell pregnant once more I could hardly believe it. My excitement had a shadow – which followed me throughout the whole of my pregnancy – fear. ‘Knicker watch’ was a major thing. Everytime I went to the toilet or got dressed I looked for signs of blood. At three months, there was some, but thankfully my little bump held fast, and despite a further few issues, our first #0938er arrived 6 months later. I was so in love. And so overwhelmingly grateful.
When our little lady reached her first birthday our thoughts turned to trying for another. We felt so lucky to have her, but it had always been our intention to have more if we could (I still remember the husbands **gulp** when I told him I wanted four whilst we were dating!), so we began the process all over again.
By the time I got round to actually doing a test I realised I was already past the two months mark. Stuffing a pillow under my pj top I told the hubby round two of even less sleep would commence in seven months. There was less fear this time – it never goes away entirely, but I was a little more relaxed and enjoyed the anticipation of waiting to meet our daughters little brother or sister. I allowed myself to get excited.
Which is why it all came as such a shock. It was a Friday night and I was in a restaurant, having dinner with friends. They didn’t know I was pregnant – having not passed that golden 3 month mark. I went to the bathroom and all breath left my body as I discovered the red enemy had returned. I made my excuses and drove home. I shook my husband awake, shouting ‘its happening again’. There was nothing either of us could do.
My midwife advised me to go and see my Doctor on Monday. So I did. I knew the drill, having been here before and felt as though I was just going through the motions. But I didn’t have the whole story. My Doctor was incredible and I truly believe she saved my life that day. She examined me and knew all was not as it should be. She referred me to the Early Pregnancy Unit at our local hospital, insisting I was seen as soon as possible. Everything after that is a bit of a blur. Examinations, blood tests, questions, concerned faces and eventually a hospital bed and being prepped for surgery. My pregnancy was ectopic. Our little egg not warm and snug in my womb as it should have been, but instead implanted in my fallopian tube. A laparoscopy (key hole surgery) was performed and my ectopic pregnancy and my left fallopian tube were removed.
It was a traumatic experience but I had survived. Sadly approximately five women a year don’t. I was aware of ectopic pregnancies, as a very close friend had also experienced one some years before. But I didn’t realise that they were quite so common, effecting 1 in every 80 pregnancies.
The spectrum of emotions that I went through was huge. Grief at losing our baby. Relief at being alive. Utter shock that it had happened. Fear of what the future held. So grateful to already have the eldest #0938er. Pain – emotional and physical. And I felt alone at times – even though I was surrounded by a wonderful family and friends (thankfully I did’nt repeat my mistake of keeping the heartache to myself this time) who were all there for me.
I had so many questions. I’d not been given much information so I sought it out for myself – which is when I discovered The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust (EPT). A small charity doing all they can to help women just like me. I poured over all the information they had and discovered I wasn’t alone. I began to feel a tiny spark of hope that things would get better. And over time they did. The physical scars healed, whilst the emotional ones continued to torment me, but I had hope, and it grew. The EPT were there for me when I needed them.
I honestly didn’t think we would be blessed with another baby. And I was ok with that. I knew I was incredibly lucky to have our gorgeous girl already. And I was still there to be her mummy and watch her grow!
But hope must have heard us. It was Boxing Day when a few things fell into place and I thought I better do a test (I’d been falling asleep at the drop of a hat, sore boobs, started to crave salt & vinegar crisps with oranges again…!) I stared at the positive result. And stared again. Then did another test. Then I somehow managed to wait until New Years before telling #dadda0938 that three was to become four.
And we did become four. Our second little rainbow arriving at exactly the same time his sister had to give us our two #0938ers.
Without the support of the EPT I’m not sure what I would have done. At the time I made a mental note that when I felt better I would support them in anyway I could. But then the second #0938er took us by surprise and life got (very welcomely) a whole lot crazier! Then Mumma 0938 was born and it put me in a perfect position to say thanks. Thanks to them for supporting women like me. Thanks to them for tirelessly working to raise awareness. Thanks to them for caring. And so this is why we have a ‘Rainbow collection’ at Mumma 0938. To raise funds for this amazing charity so very close to our heart.