This Week #10 | Little Things

Friday, November 24, 2017

This week I've been enjoying the little things. Snuggling up on the sofa with my husband and cats, spending time with friends, watching birds in the garden, and slowly working my way through the Game of Thrones boxset.

This week has been much better than last week, and significantly better than the week before.

The week before, at 11 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I was taken into hospital with severe abdominal pains.

At first I thought I was just constipated - a common 'gift' of pregnancy - I had a dull ache in my lower belly, but after a few hours the pain changed, it got worse, it became a cramping sensation that squeezed my entire abdomen. If I moved the pain intensified, my stomach cramped so violently I felt like I couldn't breathe. It was at this point Andy dialled 111.

They sent an ambulance. It took over two hours to arrive. The paramedics gave me gas and air, and once in the ambulance IV paracetamol, which eased the pain a little. In A&E, they took away the gas and air as it belonged on the ambulance and they couldn't leave without it.

I was left in a corridor for a while, then I was moved and left in a cubicle. It wasn't until a nurse walked by and saw me during a cramping episode that I got some attention. I had no idea how long I'd been there, but Andy tells me it was a few hours. I was given some pain relief that took the edge off the pain, but still it was pretty bad.

I had an IV line in each hand and had my heart rate and blood pressure monitored, but no one could offer any explanation. The medical staff were lovely, and very kind, but no one seemed to know what to do with me.

I willed myself to stay as still as I possibly could, but even then sometimes the cramping would take hold and I'd be doubled up in pain. Sometime in the early hours I was taken to the emergency gynae unit, and left in a corridor. The Doctor was in surgery and had other patients to see. The pain relief I was given in A&E wore off.

When I was seen by the Doctor, she stood watching me as the pain took hold once, twice, and then a third time. She kept asking me questions. I remember thinking 'why aren't you helping me?' I realise now that she was assessing me.

It was at this point, at nearly 5am, over 12 hours after dialling 111, that I was given some pain relief that finally eased the pain. I could relax enough to be examined and was told that my cervix was closed and as I'd had no bleeding, it was a good sign. I allowed myself to hope that our baby would be OK.

I was moved to a room on the gynae ward and told I would have an ultrasound scan at 8:20am that morning. There is no out-of-hours emergency sonographer at my local hospital, which is why they couldn't ascertain what was wrong, and why they could do little to help me.

At 9:45am I was taken for my ultrasound scan. The sonographer took her time to assess the situation, and then she told me that my pregnancy was ectopic, our baby had a heartbeat but was outside of the womb.

She didn't have to tell me what this meant.

Things happened very quickly from here. An ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening and within less half an hour I was being wheeled into surgery. We were told I'd be back on the ward within a few hours, but I didn't return to the ward until gone 6pm that evening.

I can not imagine what Andy must have gone through, sitting alone in that little room, waiting all that time for me to be wheeled back in.

I had laparoscopic surgery and, among other complications, they discovered that I had internal bleeding, which was the cause of the pain. They estimated that I'd been bleeding for a week, and where very surprised that I'd felt no pain before.

These things meant surgery took much longer than expected, I was given six units of blood and stayed in recovery for hours, although I remember little of this.

Despite unexpected complications, the surgery went well. I'd been very lucky.

I stayed in hospital for four nights, being discharged on the day I was meant to have my 12 week scan. As we'd approached our scan date we'd allowed ourselves to relax a little and get excited about telling our family and friends our good news.

I've been home a fortnight. I've been taking it easy, with Andy and my Mum looking after me.

Physically I feel OK, I get tired easily but I can feel myself getting stronger everyday. Small things feel like huge steps forward - being able to yawn without pain, being able to get in and out of the bath unaided, eating a proper sized meal - these things all seem like little victories.

But emotionally I still feel numb. It feels surreal, like it didn't happen, or it happened to someone else. I can feel the aftermath lurking, knowing will hit me one day soon. I've been told that it's common, that my body is focussed on healing physically, and that the emotions will come later.

For now I'm taking it easy, appreciating the little things, enjoying every little victory, comforted by the fact that I'm surrounded by love and support.

Time will heal, I know that, but I can't help but wish I was already on the other side of what's still to come.

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24 comments

  1. Oh, Hazel. I feel for you. What a terrible thing to happen. Sending you lots of virtual love and best wishes. Thanks for sharing x

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  2. I'm so sorry, Hazel, how awful for you and for Andy. You're very brave to share your experiences, I hope writing them down helped.
    Look after yourself and enjoy the kitty love. xxx

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    1. Thanks Vix. I think writing it all down has helped a little.
      xx

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  3. oh Hazel, this is horrific. So brave of you to have written it here. Wishing you all the best. Big hugs xx

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    1. Thanks lovely, even having written it all down it still seems surreal. I know it happened but I feel so far removed from it all still. I'm not sure if it will ever seem real.
      xx

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  4. I am sorry that you had to go through such an awful and heartrending experience, Hazel. Writing about it can indeed be helpful. Take good care of yourself. Sending you a big virtual hug xxx

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    1. Thank you. I'm being very well looked after, and luckily working for myself has allowed me to work when I can, if only for a few hours a day.
      xx

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  5. I am so sorry. Take very good care of yourself. X

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  6. How terrible, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's all about taking care of yourself now, helping yourself to heal, both physically and emotionally. That goes for Andy too, I think the dads are left out somewhat in these situations but I'm sure he's feeling everything just as you are. Sending lots of love. xx

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    1. Thanks Jo. I agree Dads are often pushed to the side. Andy has lost exactly what I have. He's has been absolutely amazing. When people ask how I am, I always talk about how we are.

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  7. I'm so sorry for yours and Andy's loss, Hazel, and that it has had such a big physical impact as well as the (already massive) emotional one. I'm glad you've got people there to support you. One day at a time. Sending you a great big virtual hug. xx

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    1. Thank you, big virtual hug received and appreciated:)
      xx

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  8. Having trouble leaving a comment but just wanted to say that i hope the love and care of your hubby and family will help you through this really sad experience and that you will feel better soon.

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    1. Thank you for commenting. I know it's not the easiest thing to respond to. I am feeling stronger, the emotions are starting to bubble to the surface, it's all progress.
      xx

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  9. Oh hazel I am so sorry I am only just catching up on this! I spent nearly a week in the emergency Gynae ward prior to my cyst surgery at the end of October and met a few women who had ectopic pregnancies and they sound very painful!

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    1. They're not at lot fun that's for sure.
      I hope you're recovering well, I was so surprised when they told me how long recovery could be. I'm getting frustrated by not feeling normal again already.
      xx

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  10. Oh Hazel, I am so sorry. What an awful experience to go through- firstly the pain and illness, the anxiety for both Andy and you and the loss. You are very brave to write about it, especially so soon. I am sending you very big hugs. I do hope your recovery is ok. Time, as you say, does heal, but as you also say, it would be nice to be past that and the present doesn't necessarily feel like that. Sending you hugs. x

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    1. Thanks Kezzie. Recovery is going well, I feel stronger everyday. We're just taking each day as it comes.
      xx

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  11. I can't say how sorry I am that you've gone through this, for me miscarrying at 12 weeks was such a trauma and shock, and that was without the added complications of an ectopic pregnancy. You will make it through these worst days, I hope you and Andy are both able to take all the time you need to heal together. I'm sure you have lots of support around you, but feel free to email me if you want to talk/rant/complain. Sending you lots of love and good wishes xxx

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    1. I'm so sorry you've been through this too. We're doing well, I have moments of great sadness and I know this will take time to pass, but we've got amazing support. Thank you for your offer of emailing, it's very kind. I'll never forget the kindness we have been shown from so many different parts of our lives, it's truly touching. xx
      xx

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  12. I haven't been reading blogs for a while, for various reasons, so have only just seen this but I wanted to say how sad I am for you and Andy. I think you're very brave to write about your experiences but I'm pleased you did - pregnancy loss is so little talked about, and ectopic pregnancy even less so. A friend of mine experienced the same thing and so I'll be sending her a link to this post.

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    1. Thanks Janet. I wanted to write this, both for myself, to try to get my thoughts together, but also for others. I know that it helps to know you're not alone.
      If your friend wants to email me to talk / rant my email hazelsworldofjoy (at) gmail (dot) com
      x

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Thank you for taking the time to comment x

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