When my wife, Anna, asked me to share the story of our ectopic pregnancy from my point of view, I thought it would be simple. However, as I take the time to write out my story, I am amazed by the flurry of emotions that come up when I look back at the pictures that Anna has documented.
I’m not an emotional guy. I don’t often cry, and rarely do I get worked up to the point of anger. I am the type that you could describe as being ‘laid back.’ But this experience did bring out some of the worst and best emotions for me as both a husband and a father.
So here it is; a husband’s perspective.
Before we even began trying to get pregnant, I expressed to Anna that I wanted to wait until I had finished graduate school before we were pregnant. I wanted a secure job, and I wanted to be making money before we added a little one to our family. Like many husbands, I valued security for our future. I wanted to have all of our ducks in a row before we got pregnant. Although Anna and I did not totally agree on time lines, we compromised and before we knew it, we were pregnant 2 months prior to my graduation date.
Partially because I did not get my way and partially because I did not feel secure enough financially, I was not particularly excited when Anna came to me with the news that we were pregnant. I mean I was happy that she was happy, but deep down I was scared. This sense of uncertainty left me with a mixture of emotions: happy, scared, hopeful, and anxious. Although I did not know what I should be feeling, I was happy to see how excited Anna was. She had a glowing smile for the entire day as she pondered the future of our baby.
The next two weeks flew by, by now I had fully accepted the idea that we were having a child. The fears slowly began to fade, and I was feeling excited & hopeful for our future family of three. I can remember clearly that during these two weeks Anna did experience some minor spotting. Despite the bleeding I remained confident that the pregnancy would go along as planned. It was then that Anna abruptly called me on the phone, and told me that she was experiencing heavy bleeding. Bewildered, I drove down to the hospital and met her at the ER. We must have been at the ER for nearly 6 hours as we were ushered through a couple rounds of blood draws and ultrasounds. Although inconclusive, the doctors came with the horrible news that we should prepare ourselves for a miscarriage. Again, a mixture of emotions swelled up inside; I was just warming up the idea of a child and now it was being stripped away. At this point I started to feel numb.
Time passed on and the bleeding continued. Obviously something was wrong, but in my naivety, I figured it was the miscarriage running its course. I had accepted the fact we were going to have a miscarriage and I chalked it up as “I guess God must have other plans.” It hurt my heart to see Anna so sad and disappointed, as I felt helpless in the situation. There was no way for me to comfort her. She had been dreaming of having a child for many years and I had been dreaming for only two weeks. Her pain was exponentially worse than mine, and it pained me to see her cry.
Another few days passed and we were not sure whether or not Anna had had a miscarriage. I was out of state for a sporting event when I got a phone call from Anna. She called to fill me in on some horrifying news. She was at the ER for a second time and was told she had been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby is healthy but outside of the uterus). What; I thought the doctors had ruled out ectopic and it was supposed to be a miscarriage? To be honest, an ectopic pregnancy wasn’t even on my radar so I was shocked. And here I was some 5,000 miles away, totally helpless in the situation. I felt horrible that I was out of the state as Anna cried on the phone and told me how badly she wished I were home. My heart sank at the thought of Anna having to make the decision to accept the Methotrexate in order to terminate the pregnancy because her own life was at risk. First we were loosing our child naturally and now we were forced to choose to end the growth of our baby. All I wanted was to be home so that I could be with her and comfort her.
When I returned home, I fully expected to spend some days comforting Anna and then start trying for a child as soon as possible. The strange thing was that the bleeding continued on for another week. Again we found ourselves in the ER and in a series of hospital trips and blood draws we found ourselves in the emergency room for the 3rd weekend in a row with Anna in severe pain. This time at the ER was much different as a whirlwind of doctors, nurses, and technicians prepped Anna for emergent surgery. At this point I felt powerless. Here was Anna with a baby outside of her uterus and it was literally killing her. Now that we had discovered that Anna’s fallopian tube had ruptured, I wanted nothing more than to have the baby removed. At this point, the baby was no longer my concern. My only concern was that Anna was going to be safe.
I can remember Anna being prepped for surgery. She was scared. I was scared. I wanted to be strong for her and let her know that I was confident, but honestly I was too nervous to be strong. Together Anna and I cried and prayed, and the surgeons raced her off to surgery.
I can remember the two hours in the waiting room. They were two of the longest hours of my life. I was surrounded by friends and family, but I just wanted time alone with God. I escaped to the bathroom on multiple occasions just so that I could be alone to pray and take in the gravity of the situation.
Tick tock tick tock.
One of the biggest reliefs of my life was when the surgeon came to the waiting room and gave the wonderful news that Anna was going to be all right. She had lost a fallopian tube and nearly 1/3 of her blood during surgery, but she was stable and expected to make a full recovery. At this point I was filled with relief. Although we had lost a child, the only thing that was on my mind in these moments was that my wife was alive. After a blood transfusion and 3 days in the hospital she was discharged to go home.
Although it may sound bad, this is where I would end the ectopic pregnancy story. We were pregnant, the pregnancy was ectopic, Anna had emergent surgery, and in the end the most important part is that Anna survived. It was much different than Anna’s take on our story. You see it is different for guys and girls (I know I am generalizing here). Anna and I have had different emotional journeys throughout this whole experience. For me, Anna has always been my main priority. The fact that she is safe and the fact that we still have the opportunity to get pregnant gives me hope. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but my connection with our baby was not the same as Anna’s. Her dreams for our future family were finally falling into place and my dreams for our future family were just beginning to evolve in those same moments that they were being taken from us.
When Anna asked me to share my side of the story I wanted to explain all the emotions that I experienced. I think it is important for women to understand that men think differently than women; and that is okay. Anna loved our child deeply and her dreams had become a reality until it was suddenly snatched away. I loved our child too, and although it was not to the same extent as Anna, the loss of our baby pains me. And it has continued to pain me to see Anna struggle through our loss and regaining hope for our future family. I am confident that we will meet our baby In Heaven one day and I continue to remain confident that we will be pregnant again, and one day will have a house filled with beautiful children. In the mean time I will never forget the first time I saw our baby's little body on the ultrasound. I will always remember the child that we lost too soon. And I will never stop loving and supporting Anna on this journey to Motherhood.