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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

An ectopic pregnancy is a loss

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Thirteen years ago, my ex-husband and I found out we were expecting what should have been my second child. We were so excited. He told everyone at work, we told our oldest, we started making plans and setting up doctor's appointments. Life was amazing.

I started having a discomfort in my side. Previously, I had experienced ruptured ovarian cysts so my doctor's office assured me that it was probably just that. They scheduled my ultrasound for a few weeks out and I went about my life.

I will never forget that day. I went in to my ultrasound alone. Looking forward to seeing the first picture of my new baby that I could take home and share with my husband, I was brimming with excitement — until the technician ran from the room. She abruptly dropped the wand without a word. The fear set in immediately. My whole life changed in the next few minutes. Within hours I was rushed into emergency surgery, my husband barely made it, and forms were thrust in front of me that I could barely comprehend. Sign it, they said, you need to sign this. The forms gave them the right to remove my baby. I couldn't read the document. My eyes were dried out from crying, my mind couldn't keep up with the process and I just remember thinking that this was the worst day of my life. I'm Catholic — how can I sign this document? But my small son was at home waiting for me so I clearly had no choice. I woke up a few hours later in pain. No baby, one less Fallopian tube, and I was shattered.

No one understood. My life was wrecked. I couldn't process it. I appeared OK on the outside but I was a disaster on the inside. Every sniffle my son had sent me into a full panic. The poor child was subjected to more doctor's appointments for any minor fever or cough. I couldn't sleep at night from the nightmares of the doctor's cutting out my baby and I lost all interest or drive at work. When we conceived again a year later, what should have been the happiest of pregnancies was stressful, lonely, and incredibly scary. I hated every moment of being pregnant with my daughter and cried constantly. So many of my friends couldn't understand my anxiety and depression and honestly, no one ever felt comfortable when I tried to share. My loss was literally written off as "Something that happens" or "God's will" or I was told that "At least you are young enough to have another one."

It took me years to overcome the loss. I am grateful every day for my healthy daughter. I am so blessed by my oldest who is almost 18. But I mourn that baby every day and I wish that those close to me could have acknowledged that loss, that baby, that life just a little more. I lost a piece of myself that day.

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