I believe that one of the gifts that writing gives you, is healing. I hope that is exactly what you get from Mmatshepo’s story, as she shares her experience with an ectopic pregnancy. Whether you have lived through this heartbreaking experience, or have had to support someone who has, there is something in this for all of us. to learn.
Mmatshepo, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. In my own corner, I pray that you will continue to carry the deeply entrenched hope that have and that you and your husband will continue to walk this path together, despite what may come.
Here is Mmatshepo’s story:
We had only known that we were pregnant for a few hours when the gynecologist said it was an ‘ectopic pregnancy.’
My husband and I had been married a few months when I started experiencing excruciating pain around my abdomen. The pain was unfamiliar and hard to explain, but somehow I knew something was seriously wrong. I managed to convince myself out of worrying and the next morning the pain was gone. Life carried on for a few more weeks until one Tuesday morning when I was woken up by sharp abdominal pains. It was the same pain from three weeks ago, but this time pain killers did nothing to ease the agony. I endured the pain for another day until I knew it was time to call my mother. She’s a health professional, so I figured she would know what was wrong. So when my husband dropped me off at my mother’s place that evening, I confidently said to him “I’ll be home in no time”.
The next morning we took some blood tests because everyone, except me, was convinced I was pregnant. And sure enough, the results came back and confirmed that I was 7-8 weeks into my pregnancy. The doctor wasn’t too worried but said it had to be checked out by a gynae immediately. By then the pain was pretty much gone so I wasn’t too concerned either. I remember thinking to myself “oookay, this wasn’t planned, but goodness what a blessing!” and my husband was equally, if not more, elated at the news when I called to tell him. I told him not to worry because it was probably just normal pregnancy related pains and that my mom and I were “quickly” getting it checked out. While at the hospital he called back and said “Screw it, I’m coming anyway. You need me.” And boy was he right…
“It’s another ectopic pregnancy – our second today” and I don’t remember anything else the doctor said. Our baby was growing inside my fallopian tube, and although there was still a heartbeat, they had to terminate it immediately.
By the time my husband got to the hospital I was already being prepared for surgery. I reached out for my phone and googled “can an ectopic pregnancy be saved” but Google confidently responded “unfortunately not…” That night I had an emergency op to terminate the pregnancy, which pretty much left the tube spoiled. “It’s very common for a first time pregnancy,” “you can still fall pregnant through the other tube and if that doesn’t work we can look at options like surrogacy” – as if that was any consolation. Our baby was gone and there was nothing we could do to bring them back or fill the gap in our hearts.
My surgery went so well, I was out of hospital the next morning, but I was left with lots of questions and regrets about how this could have been different. I keep wondering if there was something we could’ve done to prevent it; maybe I drank more alcohol than the baby could handle. Perhaps I should’ve gone to the doctor the first time I experienced the pain, or maybe I should’ve chosen a more reliable contraceptive. I know I could’ve definitely listened to my body a bit better, because had I gone a few more days or weeks undiagnosed I could have actually died.
We’re still healing, but our lives are not falling apart. Amid crying ourselves to bed and wondering if this could have been avoided, we are absolutely certain that GOD IS GOOD. We may never understand why he didn’t want us to have this baby, but we know He could’ve given us the miracle we so desperately wanted, if we needed it. But, I guess we didn’t. Losing our baby has taught me that it’s okay to let go of pain. Embrace it, honour the process and let go.