"On a scale from 1 to 10, how bad is the pain ?"
This is a question that many or all of you reading this may have heard before at some point in your life. Whether it applies to a past accident which has caused bruising, a graze, a burn, a cut or even during a long labour before childbirth, there is no one way to answer this question.
Pain is not an objective measure, how one person feels and responds to pain is completely different to another person and so to cut to the chase the pain of an ectopic was indescribable.
After an ectopic pregnancy was confirmed I was instructed to not eat until after the surgery. This is because the scan had shown that there was internal bleeding inside my uterus as my left fallopian tube had started to rupture, and therefore I had no choice but to undergo surgery under general anaesthetic to remove the pregnancy. Pay attention to the fact that I said 'remove a pregnancy'. These were the words the consultant nurse chose to use when explaining the course of treatment as opposed to her saying 'remove the baby' . I don't know which of the two are worse, but the first thing that came to mind were the implications on removing a baby that was positioned inside my left tube.
I was admitted and told to undress and put my clothes aside. That kind of talk prepares you to know that you need to make yourself at 'home', as this was just the start of a long few days. The irony is that I folded and packed my clothes away with no excitement - there would be no reward at the end of this surgery.
Something that was a very part of me for those short few months was being taken away from me so abruptly.
During the night, I was so compelled to read about an ectopic pregnancy.
However, after reading through various articles I was plagued by the statistics reminding me how life threatening ectopic pregnancies are, So that night , the unbearable pain was distracted by my anxious thoughts ;
'What if i don't survive this ?
'What if I don't wake up after being put to sleep for the surgery? '
The morphine finally worked wonders , and so I managed to get a few hours of sleep until the 'big day'.
I woke up the next morning with disappointment because I was expecting it all to be a dream, but when I'd fully comprehended where I was, as I looked down to be welcomed with a pink gown and not so sexy stockings. I realised that this was very real.
To reaffirm the thoughts running wild in my head, I across to the other side of the room and was introduced to a lady in her 60's who explained that she was waiting to have a hysterectomy. The lady to my left was a friendly, beautiful Indian lady - I wanted to look down and not have any further conversations that would confirm the reality of the reason I was in that ward, however it was a little too late when she had so forwardly introduced herself and said ;
'Hi, I'm _________, what are you in here for ?'
I reluctantly explained the very situation that you have just read through, and she replied,
My husband and I have been trying for a baby for 8 years, and we found out a week ago that we had fallen pregnant naturally. However, mine is also an ectopic and I have surgery in a few hours to remove my tube and end the pregnancy.
Just when I thought my heart couldn't break into any more pieces, I felt so sad for her. I could not even fathom how painful it would be to finally get to the end of 'the wait', only for the prize to be taken away.
It suddenly put my thoughts into perspective, and we continued talking until they wheeled her away into theatre. This conversation gave me time to start thinking about how fortunate I was to be alive and also have Sebastian and my husband.
I spent the last few hours before the surgery signing consent forms about the risk of the operation, and whether I wanted to cremate the baby or bury the baby.
It felt so strange to have to make such rational decisions in such a state of vulnerability.
Another few hours later I was stripped of my jewellery down to my colourful pink nail polish and was wheeled away to theatre. The last few moments I remember being in a large room with various nurses and doctors in the room rushing around in chaos .
There was one particular consultant who appeared more familiar and was talking to me at the pace of something I couldn't even measure , and she reminded me that I had given her permission to remove my entire left fallopian tube if it was severely damaged.
I was then injected with anaesthetic and a breathing mask was forced on my face.
The last thing I then realised as I floated away until a deep sleep was this lady was the same lady who was a lead consultant at the fertility clinic where I underwent IVF treatment.
She whispered in my ear,
'It's OK Vanessa. You're going to be fine, and I am going to look after you'
Within the blink of an eye I had closed my eyes and had opened them again in a large room with bright lights. As weird and strange as it was , I knew I wasn't in my present body and hadn't passed into another 'realm'. My first point of reassurance came in the form of a white coat , and no this isn't turning into a familiar story of near death experience which have claimed to meet Jesus.
The man who stood in front of my very eyes was a tall male in the recovery room who said to me [paraphrasing],
'Hi Vanessa, you've just woken up from your surgery and you're currently in the recovery room. I'm pleased to say that the operation successful however your left fallopian tube was severely damaged and unfortunately we had to remove the entire left fallopian tube along with your baby'.
I looked down and lifted the very slightly blood stained white cloth from my body, and there was my very bloated stomach with neatly placed bandages on my wounds...
“Even if there were pains in Heaven, all who understand would desire them.”~ CS Lewis