My Story: I am a Survivor :-)

In many cultures like the Nigerian one, having a baby is the next thing on the "to do list" right after getting married. I remember during my wedding early this year many of the prayer points centered around guests coming back to celebrate with us during the naming ceremonies of our baby in 9months time...I gladly said Amen in 99 folds...Anyone that knows me knows I love kids and always pray for twins every chance I get...Even when I was a little girl, I would run after female beggars carrying twins having heard that if I gave them money, I would have a better chance of having twins.....If only I knew what I know now!!!

Few months before my wedding, after I announced I was engaged, many friends and even some family members will engage me to tell me of the benefits of getting pregnant before the wedding. Some said 'Lie down well for your husband you can get pregnant now and that will put your mind at rest when you get married...(Yes, many people referred to my fiance as my husband ..I found it weird but I wasn't interested in getting to an argument. Moreover, I figured confess what you I went along with it)...Others told me stories of how it would be stressful trying to conceive when married as the pressure could make it hard to conceive. I figured I wasn't going to worry about that, I knew lots of people that got pregnant while married ..Pressure or no Pressure....

Fast forward 2 months after the wedding, I was very proactive (I am in my 30s), I called clinics in Lagos to inquire about fertility treatment. I had always assumed you would get pregnant as soon as you had unprotected sex. I was clueless about the ovulation times and the key times for conception. Luckily, I got to speak with a female doctor at the clinic who laughed and said it was too early to be thinking of fertility treatment, she advised me to ttc for at least 6 months before calling back. I decided to access Dr Google for all information and found loads of information about ttc; temping, prenatal vitamins, best sex position, ovulation kits, cervical mucus and much more. I read about putting a pillow underneath your butt after sex to ensure the sperm didn't pour out, best sex positions..etc ..I was so happy and proceeded to actively try in the 3rd month.
Luckily in that same month, I did a pregnancy test and got a BFP..I started to dance but quickly stopped as I thought that might be bad for the baby..just in case I was dancing with too much force (I quickly switched to mother mode,), I was shaking with excitement, got on my knees and started praising God for his favor and blessings. I got a blank card and wrote "Guess who is going to be a dad" on the card. I inserted the pregnancy test in it and waited till my DH came home. I showed him the card and he was over the moon..We had friends that had been married longer and still waiting on the Lord, so together, we prayed again and thanked God.

Soon enough we were discussing baby names and searching for powerful biblical names for our baby...I registered on some baby sites for weekly updates about pregnancy and confirmed the due date based on the last day of my period. I started sending my DH links about information for Dads to be..I spent most of my days day dreaming and thinking of my baby on the way..I stopped drinking my beloved drink, Schweppes as I learnt it can lead to miscarriages (now I am not sure if this is actually true, but I was not taking any risks!), no more Lipton tea due to the caffeine content and I even started sleeping on my left side because according to Dr Google, that is the best side to sleep on during pregnancy...

Few days later, I started spotting and my DH and I decided to go to the clinic. I was told it was probably implantation bleeding and was ordered to have complete bed rest. The spotting reduced and 1 week later I decided to go to the clinic just for follow up. The doctors did blood work to check the pregnancy hormone and compare to the previous week and the hormone was doubling as it should. The scan was done and that was fine too. I was given a follow up appointment for a few weeks.
When I got back home, I still took things easy, worked from home. I started speaking to my baby, praying for the baby and making plans of what country to have the baby.
I considered the USA, and the most affordable state. I heard Texas was cheaper than most states to have a baby, and considered which family member I could sweet talk to accompany me.

DH travelled for work and my mum came over to stay with me. One fateful morning, I woke up around 4am to pee, afterwards I started feeling bloated, and I prayed to God for relief but started feeling uncomfortable in my spirit. Something didn't seem right. I went to the guest room where my mum was and realized she was up praying, I told her I was uncomfortable and wanted to go to the clinic. My mum reassured me that bloating was normal symptom in pregnancy and even Dr Google confirmed it but I still insisted on going to the clinic. My mum grudgingly agreed to come with me to the hospital, she thought I was being dramatic and really didn't see the need.
I messaged my DH letting him know I was going to the clinic and that I was uncomfortable. I quoted the scripture Psalm 118:17: I shall not die but live and declare the works of God. DH called me right after asking why I was sending such a message, I told him I wasn't in pain but something didn't feel right and that was the scripture that kept coming to my mind. Looking back, I can see why the message would have freaked him out, but for the life of me, I am unsure why that scripture kept coming to mind as I drove to the clinic.
On getting to the Hospital, they asked what the issue was and I just told them I was uncomfortable. I was taking to a bed, my vitals checked out and some blood work was done. All vitals were fine. The nurses came and asked for my level of pain, and I said zero, I wasn't in any pain. The doctors came to speak with me and by this time, I was no longer feeling bloated and felt much better. I started feeling perhaps I shouldn't have come. I told the doctor I was better now but explained I was previously uncomfortable. Doctor decided on a scan to check the baby.

I was taken on a wheelchair to get the scan done (I was told this was precautionary as I felt well enough to walk or so I thought). When I got outside the scan room, I got up and proceeded to walk into the room and I started feeling lightheaded and collapsed to the ground. Soon after, I woke up and heard the nurse screaming my name and getting someone to call a number to alert the doctors and other nurses. I started foaming at the mouth and was soon surrounded by many doctors ….My blood pressure had dropped and I could hear the panic in their voices…. They called out my name several times to ask if I was aware of my surrounding and I raised my hand in affirmation because it was too much stress to talk…

They asked if I was epileptic and I said no…but the foaming continued and I started to throw up. I was lifted up and taken to the treatment room for further examination…..
On getting to the treatment room, the foaming at the mouth and vomiting stopped and I suddenly felt some relief…I told the doctors I was much better now and even had the strength to walk…But they were not taking any chances and got the scan done in the treatment room….
The scan showed fluid around my lungs and kidneys. My blood work was also monitored and they noticed a significant drop in the haemoglobin, which dropped from 12 when I came in to the clinic to now 8.5 which is considered a low range and potentially life-threatening (The normal range for women is 12.0 to 15.5 grams per decilitre).

My doctor advised she would want to make an incision in the belly just to ensure there was no internal bleeding. Called DH and he advised he would be more comfortable if I traveled for a 2nd opinion. My doctor however indicated that if it was indeed internal bleeding, there was no time to travel as it could lead to death if it wasn't stopped. My DH gave consent, we prayed and proceeded to have the surgery.
After a few hours in darkness, I slowly regained my consciousness and heard some people talking about my surgery but it was too hard to understand what they were saying. Everything seemed to be going so fast, I could hear I was being taken to the female ward but I soon drifted off to sleep again. When I awoke again, I saw a nurse standing next to me smiling at me and asking if I was okay. My mum came in and the nurse advised it was late and my mum should go home and rest.

Soon afterwards, the doctor came and advised I had massive internal bleeding with over 30% blood loss and would need blood transfusion. I had a heterotopic pregnancy; a rare combined ectopic pregnancy. I had twins, a pregnancy in the tube and another in the uterus. Because 1 of the pregnancies was in the uterus, all blood work in terms of the hormones were fine and the scan was fine and didn't raise any red flags.

The doctor went on to say that with the massive bleeding I had, I should have been in excruciating pain, and that some people may not have come to the clinic and it would have led to death. She did mention my case was unique due to the lack of pain and perfectly doubling pregnancy hormone. One of my tubes was taken out because it had ruptured due to the baby growing too big in the tube and the 2nd baby in the uterus was lost as well due to the shock from the internal bleeding. I was told no household chores, exercise, to take it easy for 6weeks. In addition no tummy exercises for 3months.
At that moment, I was grateful for life, knowing fully well that my guardian angel had been working overtime watching over me.   I was glad for the uneasiness that forced me to come to the clinic, was thankful that God didn't let me bleed to death at home, I realized there was a reason why the Psalm 118:17 kept on coming to mind.

I was thirsty and asked for water, but was told no water for 2 days and no food until the 3rd day. I was placed on drips for fluids. My DH flew back in the next day and brought my flowers and chocolates. I burst out in tears when I saw him and explained what had happened to our babies. Not sure how he did it, but he just kept reassuring me that God will restore all that has been lost.

The next few days were hard, I cried a lot sadness creeped in, I was broken and was in lots of pain. I was downing lots of painkillers and still felt like I needed more. I had lost my pregnancy with TWINS...I was devastated....I deleted all my subscription to baby sites and removed all due date alerts...I couldn't watch any baby news and remember switching off CNN because it was all about the Royal Princess that had just been introduced to the world...

My parents and siblings came with inspirational books and music to lift up my spirits, I was shown a lot of love and my room was constantly filled with visitors. I remember the nurses saying I needed to rest but it was easy to just chat and think about other things when other people were with me. When the room was empty, I found myself crying a lot.

I am not sure how I got through the initial days after I left the hospital. I spent all day searching for ectopic forums and people who had lost one or two tubes. I realized that even though my combined ectopic was rare; lots of women do have ectopic pregnancies.  The forums had stories from many women who successfully went on to conceive and have children after an ectopic. It showed it is possible for conceive with only one tube, and even without both tubes with the help of IVF.
We have been told to allow fully recovery before trying to conceive again and that is a minimum of 3month wait.

I decided to share my own story because I realized I was encouraged when I connected with others that had gone through similar situations. Creating a forum in Nigeria where women can share stories, connect with others and also encourage each other. I realize the importance of a space to share experiences, struggles and success stories.

Today, few weeks after my surgery, I am doing much better, eating well, started taking short walks, reading magazines and watching movies.  My DH and family have been wonderful supporting me every step of the way. Some days are harder when I feel sad, but most days, I am happy, hopeful and I know I have every reason to be thankful for my life and the plans God has for me.

Tamoura, The Apple of God's Eye


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