Going through an ectopic pregnancy for a second time, initially, was not as scary. I knew the hospital, the staff, the tests, and the terminology. Yes, I was emotional, but I recognised the grief. But as the process became more and more drawn out, I couldn’t understand why I continued to be so emotional. I’d been through this before. Surely I should be coping better than this? Couldn't I just brush it aside and get on with recovery? But I learned there is no Get Out of Jail Free Card in grief, even if you have been there before. Grief compounds grief. My hopes had been high, and were dashed. I had been stressed and emotional. In retrospect, it’s not surprising I found it hard.
Our expectations, our hopes and dreams, changed hugely over a matter of weeks. From the positive pregnancy test when we hoped and believed it would be okay, to the time when we realised we’d lost the baby, but hoped and believed it was “only” a miscarriage. To finding ourselves hoping and believing that it was “only” an ectopic pregnancy, not cancer, or that if it was cancer, it would be easily treatable. Worst case scenario – the meaning of those words changed dramatically over those weeks.
I was in disbelief. I knew ectopic pregnancy was dangerous. But I didn’t know there were other ways a pregnancy could kill me. And I was torn between fear that I might have cancer, and fear that having cancer might mean that I could not try to conceive again for at least a year. With pregnancy hormones swirling about in my body and brain, I was more concerned with the consequences of cancer on my fertility, rather than the consequences of cancer on my life. I was able to look at myself at the time, and be amazed at this. But it didn’t change the way I felt.
The results were a relief. But the ongoing surgeries and procedures necessary to resolve my pregnancy, each one with their own real dangers, were tortuous - more so emotionally more than physically. It was the uncertainty, and the waiting - the months of waiting before I even knew if I could try again - that I found incredibly hard. I was more stressed than I had ever been. After all I was 40. Time was running out. And I was panicking.