Guest Post by
If there ever was a case study-perfect first-trimester pregnancy, it was me. I noticed it after I came back from a nine-day trip. Within two weeks of returning home, I woke up constantly with RLS (restless leg syndrome).
“I haven’t had this since I was pregnant with the eight-year-old,” I told my husband after several nights of waking up.
Soon, extreme fatigue followed and then nausea. The headaches came after that, along with the forgetfulness and the cravings for apple pie for dinner – the entire pie! But it was the side abdominal pain that finally helped my husband convince me to go to the urgent care facility. And while the doctor thought this all sounded like a classic, and scary, case of an ectopic pregnancy, the problem is I can’t get pregnant.
Five years ago, after several miscarriages and two healthy children, I went through a difficult divorce. I went to the doctor and asked him for the safest, most permanent birth control. What was supposed to be a surgery to put clamps on my fallopian tubes turned into a surgery to completely cut my tubes – a type of tubal ligation.
I explained this to the current doctor when she asked me if I was pregnant now. I expected her to tell me I had a cyst, or worse, a blood clot. Instead, she told me my pregnancy test was positive. I froze. And then I cried.
I remarried two-and-a-half years ago and had always wondered what it would be like to have one more child. But I also knew the risk and the chance of my being able to carry a third child to full term was nearly impossible.
And it turns out, I was right. The next doctor told me I was not pregnant. Two days later, I had what would appear to be a very heavy period but to someone who’s had five first-trimester miscarriages with two D&Cs, it’s more than likely that’s what it was.
As soon as I got home and realized what was happening to my body, I immediately wanted to pretend it never happened. I was embarrassed to tell anyone and didn’t say much to my family afterwards. Then I started wondering, “how alone could I possibly be?” Turns out, not very.
Within five years of a tubal ligation, five in 1,000 women will become pregnant. From the research I did, many will miscarry. Like me, many won’t want to talk about it. That’s when I read “I Need To Talk About My Miscarriage.” Ashley Williams wrote about her miscarriage and wondered why women are so afraid to talk to each other about it, especially when it’s something one in four women go through. If that many women are experiencing this kind of emotional and physical pain, why are we ashamed of it?
My first thought when the bleeding started, was “How do I know I was really pregnant in the first place?” That was followed up by, “What’s wrong with my body?”
I worried that if I told family and friends, they’d ask me how I could allow myself to get pregnant in the first place. Or instead, maybe they would think I was looking for some kind of sympathy for a child that I didn’t know existed until I’d already lost him or her – if I was even pregnant to begin with, which depends on which doctor you ask.
Sitting in my medical records I have signs of a positive pregnancy test from a medical facility. Follow up appointments will confirm whether that doctor was right, that fallopian tubes CAN grow back and whether or not mine did. In the meantime, I invite you to join Ashley Williams, myself and 25 percent of women and talk about it. Sometimes sharing our stories is not only emotionally healing to us, but may help another would-be mom out there who is also afraid to tell her family.