My Natural Pregnancy Story

ectopic pregnancy

I hope by sharing my natural pregnancy story I can provide support and inspiration for women who have had infertility challenges like me.

Overcoming Infertility

I’ve spent many nights reading about people’s experiences with infertility, and it gave me strength and reminded me that I’m not alone. For that I am grateful, and I hope I can do the same for others.

My story has a beginning and a middle – but no end. I’m living it everyday, and I’m writing about it. Along with millions of other women, I find myself in the midst of a struggle to conceive a child. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve sobbed uncontrollably, I’ve miscarried, I’ve had surgery, I’ve been to mystic healers, I’ve taken herbs, and I’ve swallowed little white pills better known as Clomid.

It’s been about three years since my husband and I got on the family building rollercoaster – which we didn’t even realize we were on until after about two years of sitting in the front row.

What I came to realize is that there are so many factors that affect fertility that can – if given the chance – be addressed with natural remedies.

How do I know this? I have experienced it first hand.


Natural Pregnancy Alternate Fertility Therapies

After a few rounds of taking progesterone suppositories prescribed by my gynecologist to treat my short luteal phase, I realized that the suppositories were only treating a symptom.

Why do I have a short luteal phase?

Can what is causing it, be healed?

In essence, I wanted a holistic approach, so I turned to acupuncture. This is when I experienced first hand the power of alternative therapies.

Acupuncture and Some Not So Tasty Tea

Traditional Chinese Medicine turned my irregular menstrual cycles, with an average length of 33 days, into regular menstrual cycles with an average length of 28 days.

Impressive results, but the complete astonishment came when the pain that accompanied my menstrual cycle vanished – completely! And this pain was not your average premenstrual cramping; it was an excruciating pain which I used to counter with the pill and various painkillers.

This amazing transformation, after seven months of acupuncture and Chinese herbal tea, seemed to bring me closer to what would be considered more fertile.

But, I did not get pregnant and the effects weren’t all heading in the right direction. My acne worsened, my premenstrual spotting continued and my bleeding with each cycle dwindled down dramatically – to the point where I felt as if the acupuncture were suppressing my cycle altogether.

My husband and I realized that this getting pregnant thing may be a little more involved than we originally thought. So, to eliminate any male factors, he went in for a semen analysis.

When his values all came back normal we headed back to the female factor drawing board.


Back to Conventional Medicine and the Little White Pill

After experiencing the power of alternative medicine I was determined to find a gynecologist that offered both conventional and alternative treatments with a holistic approach, otherwise known as integrative medicine.

This search turned out to be futile. The closest I came was a gynecologist that listed acupuncture as one of her treatment methods.

Sitting across from her in her office, though, there was no talk of alternative treatment options. I walked out that day with a prescription for Clomid and progesterone.

I took the little white Clomid pill on each of my cycle days, five through nine, and then went in several times for monitoring. This involved getting my blood drawn and a few ultrasounds.

Three follicles developed and my husband and I enjoyed this time – in what we hoped would be to conceive our first child. But after obediently taking progesterone suppositories during the second half of my cycle, I was greeted with only one stripe on the pregnancy test.

Kleenex. Ice Cream. Movie Marathon. Need I say more?

Natural Pregnancy With Acupuncture: Take Two

The toggling trend between alternative and conventional medicine continued as I scoured the internet now for a new acupuncturist: one with experience treating infertility.

I found no such specialist nearby, but I did found a medical doctor who was now a certified full-time acupuncturist. On the phone, she oozed with confidence stating that she could treat my infertility having successfully treated a man with a low sperm count.

One patient does not exactly constitute infertility expertise, but it was the best I could find. So, for three and a half months I drove 45 minutes each way for my, initially, weekly and later every other week appointments.

It seemed as though my system could be heading in the right direction. My menstrual pain once again vanished and I noticed a marked improvement in my circulation (my hands and feet no longer passed as ice cubes).

But this time my cycles did not become regular, my acne flared up again and my premenstrual spotting continued. When I pointed out the persistence of these symptoms to my acupuncturist she tensed and said, “I have never had such a situation. There’s no reason you can’t get pregnant – it’s emotional.”

I was confused and taken aback by her response, but she was clearly distraught and it was utterly apparent – there was nothing else she could do.

Time for a Fertility Specialist

After two years of trying to conceive a child I was – to say the least – frustrated.

My reproductive system was struggling to align itself with what’s considered fertile and my efforts had not produced a single positive pregnancy test. So, I felt it was time. Time to turn back to conventional medicine. Time to go deeper into the evaluation process. And time to consider more in-depth testing procedures.

This may mean submitting my body to more invasive tests, but, I reasoned: what’s the point of attempting more alternative treatments if I have, for example, blocked fallopian tubes?

Our Fertility Clinic Experience

My husband and I sat in the fertility clinic like two mice. Not at all typical for us, but we sat there and heard the recommendations, nodding our heads.

I mentioned my interest in combining alternative treatments like acupuncture with conventional medicine, but without hesitation the doctor shot down alternative treatments as a waste of time.

Not giving up, I presented the results I had had with acupuncture so far. He then admitted to trying acupuncture on his patients himself and said that it had had no effect. Stating then boldly, “Of course your menstrual pain was gone but acupuncture doesn’t help infertility.”

I didn’t follow his reasoning here, but before I could ask him to elaborate he continued on with his protocol.

The Important Test

This was not the right doctor for me. That much was clear. But he did recommend one test before beginning conventional infertility treatments: a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG).

I nodded my head in complete agreement for the first time since I entered his office. This procedure would determine if there were any blockages in my fallopian tubes.

With no intentions to become his patient, I scheduled an appointment. After all I wasn’t looking for a new doctor; I only wanted to eliminate any medical conditions that couldn’t be addressed with alternative treatments.

Nervous, I lay on the table in the operating room. A fluid was injected into my uterus that, if all went well, would flow freely through my fallopian tubes.

And indeed – it did! Back to alternative medicine.

A Lesson Learnt: Stop, Look and Listen

 “Before you cross the street you should stop, look and listen” – a good bit of advice for those facing infertility. I was so wrapped up in getting pregnant now, I didn’t have a plan: I just kept running toward the first thing that sounded like a solution to my problem. But it was time: Time to stop running in random directions; time to look at the facts; and time to listen to my feelings.

So, my husband and I made a fertility plan.

natural pregnancyThis was one of the best things we did for our sanity. Facts become clearer in black on white and so many decisions crystallized on how we wanted to proceed.

In our plan we cover what our current situation is, what treatments we are willing to try, how long we are willing to try each one, what resources and fertility centers are available to us, a financial summary, and a timeline of how we want to precede.

Perhaps the most important outcome of making this plan is that we discovered how we feel. We took the time to really listen to our own thoughts and feelings and to discuss them with each other.

We spared nothing; we talked about each individual topic and treatment – no matter how uncomfortable it got.

So what was our Natural Pregnancy plan?

We decided there were several alternative treatments we wanted to try for the next several months and then, if not pregnant, to go to a clinic for conventional infertility treatment. And since the lead time to get into a clinic is long, we began that process in parallel with the alternative treatments.

Everything Alternative

Over the next four months I tried a slew of alternative treatments including: Mayan abdominal massages, castor oil packs, vitamin supplements, chiropractic treatment, a liver cleanse and a gallbladder flush.

I went for daily long walks and adjusted my diet. And yes, my spare time revolved completely around making my body more fertile.

The grand finale to this alternative therapy marathon was a two week ‘fertility vacation’ at a hotel in the foothills of the Alps where we received daily mud baths.

Upon our return home from this trip, I took my ritual pregnancy test and it was – to my utter shock and joy positive!

Unfortunately, it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy (which you can read about in detail in my fertility blog). Certainly a crushing outcome. It was, however, the closest we had ever come to having a child.

It was progress. We knew it was possible. We were not giving up hope.


Our Revised Natural Pregnancy Fertility Plan

Recovering from the laparoscopic surgery for my ectopic pregnancy took a long time emotionally and physically. The surgery was more involved than anticipated because the doctor discovered more than just an ectopic pregnancy. He found and removed a water cyst, a myoma, and stage one endometriosis.

These conditions certainly shed some light on why getting pregnant was proving difficult. But their removal surgically doesn’t equate to a solved problem. The doctor made this clear to my husband and me by suggesting we try again on our own but that we “don’t wait too long before returning to the infertility clinic.”

After the laparoscopic surgery we were given a three month waiting period before we were allowed to try and conceive again so that I could recover.

As it turns out, eight months after the surgery, my body has not yet returned to equilibrium: with cycle lengths of about 38 days.

Emotionally, it took me about six months to completely heal from the miscarriage.

What the surgery did do, though, is improve my quality of life. I no longer have menstrual pain. Life without this pain is wonderful. But a life without children is not yet complete. And so we revised our fertility plan and began again.


Ps: We did it, we had a son by method that we accidently found. It is naturally therapy!



Taking a Break After My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy

In my blog I share why I’m taking a break after my miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

Sometimes you just need a break. Now is one of those times for me.


Following My Ectopic Pregnancy

My hormone values fell last week, meaning that my miscarriage is probably not another ectopic pregnancy. Saying that I’m relieved doesn’t seem to cover it. I mean, to think that I’m sitting here typing away on my computer instead of lying in a hospital bed in pain from a surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy absolutely overwhelms me with feelings of gratitude.

Except for a few more visits to the doctor – to make sure my HCG values return to zero – I consider this miscarriage to be behind me.


Why Take a Break From Trying to Conceive?

ectopic pregnancySo why take a break from the whole infertility topic and trying to conceive?

Well, first of all, we aren’t allowed to try and conceive this cycle. Yes, after three and a half years of infertility we are supposed to use a condom. The irony. But OK, my doctor said that it’s important because a fertilized egg wouldn’t find the right kind of environment in my uterus right now. Makes sense!

So, we have to wait until my next cycle (whenever that is) to try and conceive.


My Plan Whilst Recuperating from My Ectopic Pregnancy

But I also have to say that I don’t feel like diving into the infertility books right now to read or do research. I do need a break. I plan to read and write about digestive health (enzymes and probiotics) – not how they directly relate to fertility but how they relate to overall health.

This isn’t just a decision that my body and soul wants, but my life needs some serious organization at the moment since we just moved last Saturday (it would have been two weeks ago, but the miscarriage delayed it).

I love the new place, but the whole which-box-is-it-in phase is not one I want to be in permanently.


Gynecologist Visit

Today, I have a check-up appointment with my gynecologist for an ultrasound and to surrender my arm again to the prick of a needle. She said she wanted to discuss some infertility issues and procedures like checking again to see if my tubes are clear.

This doesn’t really fit into my taking a break from the topic plan, but I have to be there for the check-up anyway so what’s an extra ten to twenty minutes?

Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy

Laparoscopy Treatment

My mind is trying to grasp reality: I have an ectopic pregnancy; it could explode at any moment. The mass has grown to approximately 2 cm in diameter in my tube. With urgency in his voice my doctor asks when I last ate. I stumble over my words still trying to swallow my diagnosis, “About 10 minutes ago.” I will be undergoing laparoscopic surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.



He frowns. We need to get you into surgery as soon as possible but we’ll have to wait at least four hours since you last ate.

“Your surgery will be at 4pm. The nurse will come up to your room to prepare you and you’ll have the time until then to mentally prepare yourself.”

I turn to leave and as soon as I step outside his office, tears roll down my face. I’m going in for surgery. There is not one more ounce of hope: this pregnancy is over. 

“I’m scared,” is all I can say to Richard.

laparoscopic surgery for an ectopic pregnancyHe holds my hand all the way back to my room. The nurse comes in shortly after we arrive and asks Richard to leave. Everything is feeling more and more like surgery. She gives me an enema and tells me she can shave off my pubic hair or I can do myself in the shower if I prefer.

“Here are some Q-tips to clean your bellybutton too,” she says before leaving the room.

Feeling Terrified

My breathing is shallow and my whole body is stiff. I’m scared. All I can do is try to concentrate on the ‘tasks’ I now have to do.

Richard comes back in and asks how I’m doing as I hold the liquid in a place where liquid is not meant to be inserted.

“I have five minutes until I can go to the bathroom,” I tell him while concentrating.

He somehow manages to make me laugh distracting me from my urge to watch the seconds go by on my watch. Finally, the five minutes are over.



Next, it’s into the shower. I look down in disbelief that I have to do this. Richard waits next to the shower at my request – my tube could theoretically explode any minute. Really though I want him there for moral support. I begin shaving away. It’s a really weird feeling going bald. There seems to be no progress as I try a myriad of different techniques and angles.

Richard is patiently waiting for me and inquires about my progress. “Almost done,” I assure him.

I come out of the shower with no more hair and a clean belly button. “Looks pretty strange, eh?” I ask knowing the answer.

“Yes, that is”, he confirms.


Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy – Waiting!

We killed only an hour. We have three more hours until I go into the laparoscopic surgery procedure. What the hell am I going to do until then?

We talk. Richard reads me an article out of The Oprah Magazine. As time goes by I get more and more accustomed to the fact that I will be having surgery.

My fear does not subside but, I’ve accepted the fact.

Every little twinge in my side makes me paranoid. What if it explodes before surgery? I’m too concerned. I call the nurse in to tell her I’m having pain in my side. She sees the fear on my face and nods her head like she doesn’t know what to do with the information.

To be completely honest, I don’t even know if the pain is real or imagined.


Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy

It’s a quarter to four when the nurse comes in. She is here to take me to surgery. “You need to leave your glasses here”, she says. I put my glasses on the tray next to my bed leaving me completely blind. I say goodbye to Richard as she rolls me out of the room on my bed.

We’re in the elevator and once we roll out into a hallway I realize we’re in a part of the hospital I have never been in. Everything is going by in a blur. She rolls my bed into the prep room.

A doctor is there to help me move over to the surgery bed. I hate that I can’t see his face as he talks to me and tells me where to put my arms.

At this point I wish they would just put me out. I don’t want to know what is going on as I’m being prepped. I’m just getting more and more nervous as my surroundings become more unfamiliar.


Laparoscopic Surgery Anesthesia

I’m rolled into the surgery room by the faceless man. The anesthesiologist goes over some paperwork with me and asks me if I ate anything since noon. Please will you put me out?

Somehow, I realize this is not going to happen soon, so I decide to concentrate on calming myself down. I begin to breathe deeply and say a mantra in my head. My body begins to relax. Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist is using my stomach as a table to finalize the forms.

“Sign here,” he says. I can’t even see that there is a line to sign on. I squint and make my best guess.

Back to breathing. I listen to my heart rate beep on the machine next to me and breathe in for two counts and out for four. The needle is now in my hand it must start working soon …


After Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy

Convulsing, cold and pain. That is all I can remember from waking up in my room. Richard, however, remembers it quite vividly.

The doctor came down to my room before I was out of surgery to tell Richard that it went very well. As they were talking, the nurse rolled me in my room on my bed.


My body was convulsing and my eyes were moving independently of each other. In pain, I pleaded for someone to give me something for my pain. I heard voices assuring me they were working on it.

When my pain did not subside I asked why I heard promises but I still had pain. The pain was accompanied by an indescribable cold.


Having been winter camping for three nights in northern Wisconsin I know what cold is, but after that surgery I felt an indescribable frigidness that topped those nights in the tent. The nurse tucked another blanket around me. And the doctor affectionately brushed his hand along my check.

Richard asked half frustrated, half jokingly if he should run to the pharmacy and get me something for my pain. He then turned to the nurse and asked if this was normal. She could see that he knew the answer was no.

But the explanation as to why I had to endure this was what Richard was after. The nurse looked him in the eye and explained,

“The standard procedure is for the patient to wake up in the wake-up room where drugs are administered that wake the patient up slowly and treat their pain. For this, the patient has to be connected to a breathing machine. We only have the staff here for that during the week. This is an emergency surgery; we usually do not do surgeries here on the weekend.”

In short, they don’t have the staff here to give me a warm fuzzy wake-up.

Eventually, the doctor and nurse left my room and Richard sat next to my bed and held my hand while I moaned in pain. Impatiently waiting for the nurse to return with pain medication, Richard finally pressed the call button.

Relief at Last

Less than a minute later the nurse came into my room with an IV of pain relief. It seemed to take forever but the medication did take effect and my moans got softer.

My brain started to function normally as the evening went on. I woke up and saw Richard reading a magazine in the chair at the foot of my bed. Later, I opened my eyes to see my fertility doctor standing just inside my room. He had a concerned look on his face and didn’t seem to know what to say. I thanked him for making the decision to send me in to the hospital. He nodded and that is all I can remember.

As I became more coherent, I became scared. Thoughts crept into my head uninvited. Did everything go OK? I am going to heal completely?

Richard assured me the My laparoscopic surgery was a complete success.

The evening turned into night and I began fading in and out of sleep. Richard sat by my bed and held my hand. His voice always has the most soothing effect on me.

Tonight was no different. “Can you tell me a story?” I innocently requested.

“Of course”, came the reply I was longing to hear. “There once was a lizard walking through a meadow…” I drifted to sleep.

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Post Surgery- An Angel in the Night

Post Surgery- An Angel in the Night

I guess I didn’t give it much thought, but the first night post surgery following my ectopic pregnancy is a very long one. My body is exhausted – not really interested in sleep, just in survival mode. Nurses come and go regularly to check my blood pressure, empty my drainage bag, and to give me pain medication.


Post Surgery

None of the nurses ever woke me when they came in; I was usually lying in bed with the light on staring at the ceiling.

There were three shifts of nurses. The second shift nurse was there during the most difficult part of the night: when the post surgery pain medication had worn off.

Guardian Angel

She was a petite black woman with the gentlest touch. She came in several times during the night. When I had to take my first trip to the bathroom I pressed the call button and prayed that she was still on duty.

The bathroom was a mere twelve feet away from my bed, but I had been given strict orders not to try it by myself. The door opened and from across the dimly lit room I saw her face and I knew I was in good hands.

Getting Out of Bed Challenge

post surgeryIt’s hard to imagine that getting out of bed can be so difficult. But indeed before I even started to attempt it the nurse gave me instructions, which turned out to be very helpful.

First slide to the edge of the bed, then slowly move your feet off the edge while pulling yourself up on the bar above the bed to a sitting position. As my feet touched the ground, as if out of nowhere, my slippers were already on my feet.

With my arm over her shoulder, the nurse led me to the bathroom and said, “We are strong women, we can do this.” This lady is an angel.

Sure enough, on the way back to my bed I felt a lightheadedness come over me. Not good. I knew I was going to pass out if I didn’t lie down immediately. “I’m light headed,” I confessed.

She said, “OK, let’s hurry.”

Made It

I made it. Lying back down was the greatest feeling. Safety. Comfort. I don’t know that nurse’s name but I will never forget how much she helped me through that night.

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HCG Test for Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy hcg test

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone normally produced by the placenta. If I am pregnant, the test will detect it in my blood. Today I’m having this hCG test for pregnancy.

This clinic is getting too familiar and this blood test is what I’m considering the final call hCG test!

The value didn’t go up on Wednesday and if it does not go up today then I will have broken the pattern of increasing every three days. If that is the case, it will remove the tiniest bit of hope buried deep inside that somehow this pregnancy will work and it will eliminate the possibility of a dangerous ectopic pregnancy.


hCG Test for Pregnancy- Giving Blood and Waiting for Results

Something inside me says that the value is going up. I want more than anything for it to drop. After leaving the clinic with yet another vile of my blood, I tell the lady at the counter that I will call them today for the results. If I do the calling I’ll spare myself the waiting stress – that’s the theory anyway.

I decided to call an hour early; you never know, maybe the results are in early. It rings nine times before someone picks up to tell me that I’m calling too early. I really could have known. I wait until 1:15 to call back.

It takes a couple of calls to get through. I’m relieved to hear someone pick up and ask what results I’m calling for. Before long she puts me on hold. This waiting thing is unavoidable.

I call; they call; what’s the difference. She’s back on to tell me that my hCG test for pregnancy results are still in the doctor’s office for review. I should call back in a half hour.


Can’t Get Through to the Doctor

hCG test for pregnancyNow my impatience is getting unbearable. Richard and I go for a walk. We only have a half hour to kill.

Naturally, I take a b-line for the phone when we get back. It’s Friday and 1:45pm I have fifteen minutes before their phones systems close and I don’t want the panic scenario that I had last week where I had to wait over the weekend.

I can’t get through. The minutes are flying by. Fifteen minutes turn into ten, which turn into five. I begin cursing their phone system.

Now, Richard is trying with his cell phone. I begin calling their other lines hoping I can get through somehow. No luck. It’s now 2:00. The phone lines are telling me that they are now closed. My brow is wrinkled in complete frustration. I haven’t stopped cursing.

What if my hCG value went up? I need to know. This could be dangerous. Worn down nerves are not a good starting point for this. I sit in disbelief with the phone in my hand and my dialing finger literally sore.


The hCG Test for Pregnancy News

That’s it I’m driving to the clinic. I need to go to the store anyway. I’ll bring my cell phone in case they call me and I’ll knock on the door until they open.

Not but two minutes into my fifteen minute drive, my cell phone pierces the silence. In a rush to get to the hCG value I pull over, rip out the head piece and answer my phone.

The caller is from the clinic, but she doesn’t offer me my value. “You are to check into hospital Kuss immediately. Dr. T is waiting for you.”

What? Where? She repeats the instructions and I ask her to repeat the hospital name and the doctor’s name. I have nothing to write with, but am hoping that the names get ingrained into my brain.

“What do I bring?” I ask her.

“You’re overnight things,” she says.

Before I let her hang up I ask her for my hCG test results value. Her voice is stiff, “It’s now over 1300.”

My heart falls into my stomach. Over a thousand is dangerous, rings in my head. The car seems to be on autopilot back home. I call Richard to tell him he is taking me to the hospital.


Packing for Hospital

I’m back at the house instantaneously and Richard is already standing in the driveway ready to hop into the driver’s seat. I forgot to tell him that I need to pack my things first – not to mention that I haven’t the slightest idea where this hospital is. When I pull up next to him I have absolutely no recollection of anything I was told. Yes, it was a mere two minutes ago, but I have no idea anymore.

We go inside. I begin packing and he starts researching to find the hospital. I tell him the details I can remember. With a few threads of information Richard manages to find the hospital and the doctor.

For some reason I think that I need to pack light so I stuff my toothbrush and shampoo into a zip lock bag and pack it in a small duffel bag with my nightgown and some magazines. I have no idea what to bring. It seems so secondary. I need to get to the hospital.


The Stress of Getting to the Hospital

The stress on Richard’s face is easy to see. I wonder if mine is just as visible. He realizes on the way there that he forgot the directions as he had left them in the printer.

“Will you find it?” I ask.

“Yes, I don’t need it,” he confidently says after a pause. He is too stressed; I can’t question him. If I doubt him now he’ll crack.

We sit in silence as he works his way through traffic to the hospital. We turn down a small road near a larger hospital.

“It’s got to be right here,” he says.

I carefully ask questions trying to jog his memory. It’s no use, we are driving in circles. He parallel parks in a disabled parking spot. It seems to take him forever to get into it.

“Are we there?” I ask carefully.

“No, I’m going to ask this person,” he says with a shaky voice. “Why are you parking?? Just pull over”.

I take a deep breath as he finishes his final maneuvering. He gets out to ask an old lady walking by. We’re in luck. I can see her pointing down the street and around the corner.

We’re basically there. We drive around the corner and park against the traffic in front of the entrance. I feel safe. If something happens now, I’m only a few steps away from help.


My Shared Room

We go to check-in. It all seems so surreal. I’m fine. I’m not in pain. The lady checking me in asks for my insurance card and if I want a single room.

“Yes”, Richard answers for me.

“It will cost extra,” she said since it is not listed on my insurance card.

Richard doesn’t flinch with his response, “That’s OK”.

I let him take the lead. I’m too scared to decide anything right now. It turns out the first single room will be available tomorrow.

How long will I be here? How will they decide if I can go home? Are they planning already to operate? This opens the floodgates for questions in my head and I fall into a feeling of being lost and out of place.

We cautiously walk into my double room. There is someone there already chatting with her parents. She has a drainage tube of blood showing from under the covers. I wince. Is that going to be me?

I set my stuff down and feel so relieved that I will have my own room tomorrow. Thank god Richard requested one. I feel strange hopping around the room while this woman obviously has a recovery period ahead of her.

The nurse tells me to put my pajamas on and the doctor will be by. Really, my pajamas? It’s still light out. I’m not sick. This is so strange. Richard feels even more out of place than me.

We both feel uncomfortable in the room with other people so we head outside to the sitting corner. I’m dressed in my pajamas and my dress shoes (forgot my slippers). We wait a couple of hours until we are told to go over to the doctor’s office next door with my paperwork. We head over and I find myself in a regular doctor’s office waiting room – in my pajamas.


hCG Test for Pregnancy- Doctor’s Verdict

Oh, the weirdness just continues. Thankfully, the waiting isn’t long and he calls us in.

He sits behind his desk with dark black hair and friendly eyes. I feel as if I know him already. Without delay, he explains to Richard and I that Doctor K feels this is an ectopic pregnancy and that is why we are here. We talk about my medical history and the risks involved in an ectopic pregnancy.

Richard and I aren’t totally convinced. What evidence is there besides the hCG test for pregnancy values indicate that this pregnancy is not OK?

He senses the hope in our voice. “Some perfectly healthy pregnancies can start off with hCG values like this”, Richard argues.

“There is a slight chance that this is a normal pregnancy but it’s not likely”, Dr. T says with a soft voice, “but Dr. K has a very good feel for these things and is often right.” He goes on to admit that this decision is based more on feelings and experience than on a definitive sign. He sees that we are losing sight of the danger of the situation. He clears his throat and says, “Some women have only a stomach ache, go to bed, and don’t wake up the next morning”.  This of course brings us back to reality.



It’s hard to grasp that I am sitting here listening to the possibility that my fallopian tube is harboring a pregnancy that could explode at any moment. I realize that I have spaced out when the doctor begins to explain how the surgery will be conducted with a diagram in front of me. The next thing I know I am signing consent forms.

“There will be no time if I have to operate in the middle of the night”, he explains and goes on to say, “Also, I want you to know that I have scheduled the surgery for Monday so don’t be surprised if you notice that you’re already on the schedule”.

Richard is still looking a little confused why we are here on a feeling. He wants to take me home. “We don’t live far, if she has pain in the night I can bring her here immediately and we’ll probably even be here before you”, he argues.

The doctor looks like he understands our feelings but advises us strongly to leave me here overnight. The indecision hangs in the air.


Ultrasound, is there a Pregnancy?

Before I head back to my room, the doctor would like an ultrasound. I get undressed and put my legs into the stirrups as if this is my daily routine, which in the past few weeks it has been. He enters the ultrasound wand gently. Not what I expected, but it made me realize his concern. He finds nothing except a built up vaginal wall with no pregnancy. Like the 8 o’clock news: pregnancy reported but missing since week six.

Me in pajamas and dress shoes gives Richard and I both an awkward feeling as we find our place in the sitting area outside my hospital room. We discuss going home. I’m uncomfortable with it, but as a scientist I’m missing hard facts for why I should stay. There aren’t any.

In the middle of this discussion with no resolution the doctor comes up and asks of if we are discussing staying. The doctor came after us to talk to us? My trust in him skyrockets.

“You can go for a walk and out to dinner. This isn’t a jail. But please stay the night, if something happens there are people here that can help immediately,” he says softly.

Richard and I nod our head in agreement. We feel like we’re in good hands.


Going Out

I put on my clothes and we head out to dinner. We are quiet. What is there to say? We have no decisions to make; we are just hanging in midair waiting.

The most expensive appetizer looks good. I don’t hesitate. I’ll have that and the risotto. “What would we do if I started having pain right here?” I ask, breaking the silence.

“Call the ambulance?” Richard says hesitantly.

I guess we wouldn’t have any other option. The hospital is only a couple blocks away, but Richard couldn’t carry me back.


Richard Heads Home

Back in my hospital room, I notice that Richard is uncomfortable. He whispers trying not to disturb my roommate. “Why don’t you head home”, I say. He looks relieved. He hugs me and heads out the door.

It’s only 8:00. I pick up my book to read but notice spite the early hour that I’m falling asleep. I’m exhausted. Why fight it? I double check that I can reach the emergency call button and curl up to sleep.

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Signs of a Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy, or Hope?

Testing for Ectopic Pregnancy

Before sharing with you my experience revisiting the doctor for more tests- the place where I had previously lost my pregnancy- let’s look at the main signs of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy… my greatest fear!

Signs of a Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Pain in lower back
  • Pain in the shoulder due to leakage of blood into the abdomen affecting the diaphragm
  • Dizziness or fainting

Our Appointment With the Doctor

Ectopic pregnancy hcg testA long weekend of crying and healing. We went into the doctor this morning. The tears tried to escape my swollen eyes.

My regular doctor wasn’t in so we saw another doctor. Although he was a little lost as to what my pregnancy situation was, he was attentive, asked questions and listened to what we had to say.

They drew my blood and took another ultrasound – that showed nothing.

Richard and I walked out exhausted. We weren’t expecting any good news, however, going through the motions and living the bad news was painful.

Was I Pregnant or Showing Signs of a Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy?

Coming home I felt closure. I sat down at my laptop and started to begin putting my life back on track. I called about a job interview, replied to some emails and made a phone call.

Later my cell rang, as it rang I remembered that the doctor offered to call personally to tell me what my new Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) values were.

I picked up the phone hoping that he would say that my values were going down as expected, which would mean we could get back to trying soon. He said nothing of the kind.

He took a long pause before telling me that my hCG values had doubled – exactly what they do for a healthy pregnancy! “What does this mean?” cried my brain.

What Does it Mean?

Since the values already went down it couldn’t possibly be a viable pregnancy. Could it?

After firing a few questions at him it became clear that he could not explain what was going on. It was strange: simply strange.

“I don’t want to make you hopeful, but we should not give up yet,” the words he uttered rang in my ear. Not listening, I missed the first part of what he began to say to me. I was in another world. Is this reality?

As I tuned back in and heard him go on to explain that it could be an ectopic pregnancy, it could be an unusual miscarriage, but it has the potential (tiny, but existent) of a viable pregnancy.

As soon as I got off the phone I jumped on the Internet. What does this mean? I typed in rising and falling HCG values. Hit after hit: ectopic pregnancy.

Just sit and wait to see if something happens. This was the advice I had received. What if my tube explodes before anything is done? It was clear I wanted a second opinion… now!

Hanging Onto a Tiny Bit of Hope

Richard called me on his way home and I told him the news that it could be an ectopic pregnancy.

We analyzed while he drove home and when he walked in the door we decided to call his sister, who is a surgeon. Shortly thereafter she gave us the phone number of a very good OB-GYN (a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and female reproductive health).

He reassured us that there was no immediate danger if I was not in pain. “Your values are strange, however, there is a tiny possibility that it could be a viable pregnancy. I have seen so many strange values that have gone on to be health pregnancies”.

“No!”, a voice inside my head screamed you can’t go through this again. I can’t cling to a needle in a haystack probability. Too late. My heart is known for not listening to reason. I lost it. I went to the other side. The side of hope.

Richard’s sister then made an appointment for us at a very well equipped prenatal center that would do an advanced ultrasound to see if they could find the pregnancy. This would be tomorrow.

An Ultrasound to See if I Had an Ectopic Pregnancy

Signs of a Ruptured Ectopic PregnancyI woke up in a light mood. Richard sang all morning. Against our will, hope had crept back in. We worked out, had a late breakfast and went to the prenatal center. Neither of us was directly stressed.

We went into the room and immediately noticed the projector and high quality ultrasound. I lay comfortably down on the bed and watched the ultrasound projected on the wall in front of me. The doctor seemed nervous.


She checked the uterus moving the wand inside my vagina to the left and right, up and down. Nothing. No visible pregnancy.

She then measured with Doppler my pulse in the area. We heard my pulse loud and clear. I couldn’t help but imagine that that was my baby’s heartbeat. Richard confessed afterward to having the same thought.


The search continued to the left and right ovaries. In case there was developing sac in my tubes. The tubes are too small to pick up on the ultrasound but if they are harboring a pregnancy then they could become visible.

We watched the black and white picture in front us. I couldn’t decipher anything.

Then doctor called in another doctor. My stomach sank. Is this good? Why does she need another doctor?

When he came in Richard and I were out of the loop. They whispered back and forth. We eavesdropped. Then I heard that they found a cyst on my left ovary. This seemed to be of concern. But it was not a pregnancy, or could not be determined to be one as of yet.

Still a Glimmer of Hope

Time to go home. Fancy equipment. Qualified people. No new information. It was time again to wait. The only factor that can shed light on the situation is my HCG value. The test is tomorrow. This is when we will know more.

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