In a mere two weeks, my hCG levels went back to normal (my doctor’s choice of words – I would’ve preferred a concrete number – am I at 5, or 0?!) and I’ve been given the green light to pick back up on all the can’t-dos that came along with the Methotrexate. And honestly? I’m finally starting to feel more than just “okay”. Not a watch-My-Baby-Is-Gone-on-Lifetime kind of okay, but good enough for now. Regardless of the lingering pressure in my ovaries, I’m pretending this is my ectopic-closure. It’s over(ish).
During this two week wait, I missed TTC enough that I spent my time Side Effect Spotting, which isn’t hard to do when your ovaries are gurgling like a digesting stomach (the memory of that sound, and simultaneous feeling, still makes me shudder). The first few days it was easy to blame everything on the Methotrexate: nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, the gurgles. Even walking provided new challenges as going too far, or too fast, left me gripping at what felt like a runner’s-cramp in my side. I went from religiously going to the gym, to laying on an air mattress in my living room – self soothing with carbs and cookie dough. My physical and emotional pain had to battle for my attention. It was hard to feel so utterly…not me. Eventually, worse side effects moved in: cracking wrists, aching bones, what felt like a bubble sitting in my tube…and bubbles BURST. Was this just my body being weird, or something more sinister? Is this the Dry Socket Fiasco all over again?
The Dry Socket Fiasco (formerly known as The Worst Thing Ever – until now): When I got my wisdom teeth taken out, the nurse that I had claimed as my new best friend (thanks, anesthesia) sent me away with nothing more than a wave and what I assume was a hefty bill for my parents. I spent the first week of my sophomore year winter break lying in bed, dependent on perfectly timed painkillers, none of which actually killed my pain. My mouth had the most unbearable ache, but I continued to tell myself this is how it’s supposed to feel. Except it wasn’t. When I went for my follow-up visit a week later, I discovered that I had dry socket and that I “should’ve came in a lot sooner” (sound familiar?). I was beyond frustrated. They pulled out two of my teeth – how was I supposed to determine what was abnormal and what wasn’t?
The results of my negligence (which is irritating to say even all these years later, because I didn’t know) were that I had to rework my jaw open to a “normal” size”…by myself…using my knuckles. Apparently, if you’re wondering, most people can fit two to three knuckles between their teeth – after only a week of barely speaking and eating due to the pain, I could only fit one. It was a miserable personal rehab, and to this day my jaw still clicks.
This memory left me feeling haunted, not ignoring the fact that I had already ignored all the symptoms pre-ectopic discovery. The stars completely misaligned for me last month (believing I didn’t ovulate…negative pregnancy test…weird spotting that I thought was because of not ovulating); I didn’t want to fall into that same trap. The day after I whimpered in the middle of the night due to my creaky bones (which I firmly believed was caused by me taking Ibuprofen without realizing I wasn’t supposed to be taking Ibuprofen because the handout they gave me did not follow the pharmacy’s instructions that specifically state NOT TO TAKE IBUPROFEN) – I decided to call my doctor’s office. “Hi, um…my bones hurt. I just want to know if like, this is normal, or if I should be concerned, or if I’m making this up.” *nervous laughter* My social anxiety is always pushed to the limit when I make phone calls. Or order at drive-thrus. Or speak to people. Turns out, like I already knew, Methotrexate is akin to chemo and therefore you’re expected to feel achy (though it felt more like my bones were slowly disintegrating), and I should “just take some Ibuprofen.”
So I stopped calling.
There was another sleepless night where I was stuck in my own head and convinced myself that the pressure I was feeling meant that my tube was about to burst. Is this it? What’s it going to feel like? Am I going to just get overwhelmed with pain and have to go to the ER? Am I supposed to go there now? But this really doesn’t feel THAT bad… And it wasn’t. Either I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, or everything I felt was as I described – pressure. discomfort. achy. bearable. Daily I reminded myself of a favorite saying of my Mom’s, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” She usually said that when I had a cold and would probably be horrified to realize I was applying that to what could’ve potentially been a ruptured tube, but here I am: better. Heck, I can even walk without getting a cramp now!
Surreal doesn’t do this experience justice. Even when my doctor called to give me my final results, I sounded skeptical. “So – this is it? No followup ultrasound? No HSG? We’re all good here? …I was seriously pregnant?” She mostly wanted to remind me about not trying to conceive for the next three months – as if I could possibly forget about the time she added to my already long sentence. At least being able to take my prenatal vitamins today felt like a small achievement. Funny how something that once irritated me and made me feel ridiculous on AF days, now fills me with excitement and dare I say…hope.
Like with my clicking jaw though, I can’t help but wonder: what mark is this ectopic pregnancy going to leave behind?