Motherhood! No one explained how difficult, yet, satisfying motherhood could be. Things that challenge us throughout motherhood we don’t think at the time make us a strong Mom. We were young when we had our first born and at the time didn’t even want to think about having any more children. My husband received orders for the first remote tour he would go on, and we had no idea how we were going to live apart for a year. We considered ourselves newlyweds, even though married a couple of years.
I decided what many military spouses left behind do, and moved back in with my mother. She was single and had a huge house, so we knew this was the best solution for us. Especially since our first born was only 15 months old at the time. What we didn’t know was that my mother would end up going through an immediate open-heart bypass surgery that would call my husband home. He was home for a few weeks, and I ended up in the hospital myself. Unbeknownst to us, I had a serious complication from an Ectopic pregnancy. We had NO idea what to expect when taken into surgery. Holy Cow, I didn’t even know how something like this could even cause so much pain.
The military doctors and nurses
When you go to the doctors on base at times, you feel like a social security number and not a human being. I remember thinking to myself how in the world could I be pregnant and what did this mean that it was in the tube and was surgically removed. At a young age, just having our first and now being told this when we weren’t sure we wanted more my head was spinning.
Nurses and the doctor came in to explain to me what was happening and what to expect. After my husband finally arrived at the hospital, I learned I didn’t understand what the doctor even explained to me. My emotions were running high and so much was happening at lightening speed. Then I heard the doctor say, it is vital we get her into surgery now. What I didn’t know was just how life threatening an Ectopic pregnancy was for a woman.
An Ectopic Pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the fallopian tube and not the inside of the uterus. You will hear it called a Tubal Pregnancy many times. The egg cannot develop properly as the fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo. This type of pregnancy is considered rare with less than 200,000 cases per year in the United States.
I came out of the surgery fine, although was told my fallopian tube had ruptured just as they were opening me up for surgery. When I heard this, I got scared after hearing that some women can lose a chance at having another baby and even die during surgery if this happens. After my initial hospital stay and getting back home to my husband, daughter and mother is when the healing part began. Not with the scars externally and internally from the procedure, but with the emotional scars.
Let the healing begin
Once people started to hear what happened, all I heard was “it’s okay, lucky for you, you didn’t know you had even been pregnant.” Then the statement of “at least it wasn’t a miscarriage.” There were much more, but I won’t bore you with those negative comments. It’s then that I began to wonder why me, what was wrong with my body, was it my husband’s fault??? I second guessed why I was feeling this way as we hadn’t decided to have (or want) any more children. That didn’t stop me from thinking there was something wrong with me inside to have caused such devastation. Did I eat the wrong things, not take care of my body, have too much stress? So many questions with very little answers from the medical staff and research. Something completely out of my control caused a dangerous spiral in my emotions.
Still today I often feel my body failed me and wondered what if this baby had been in the proper place. We did finally decide to have another baby and during the process was told it could be difficult to conceive. It wasn’t nearly as challenging as the doctors thought it would be and I know God had his hand in us deciding we could be parents again. Two years after the Ectopic Pregnancy we had another little girl who would complete our family of four.
I still have some emotions that pop up when asked in a doctor’s office from “how many pregnancies and how many live births.” Women and mothers can feel a failure for things completely out of their control. It’s up to us for the strength to carry on throughout our motherhood challenges.