The heartbeat scan went well. But I guess you can't pick up every ectopic pregnancy on every apparently-normal heartbeat scan. A week later her fallopian tube burst without warning and she was rushed to the OR.

The baby is obviously gone. She's ok.


I know when she told me it looked normal at eight weeks I was relieved.
I know much of what I'd been feeling before was a sort of displaced early pregnancy anxiety, rather than pure maternal grief.
I know there was still a touch of grief. 
I know she's upset but she's handling it well. So is he.
I know ultimately, I wanted it to work.


When, how, how often, and with what words should I contact them?
How do I feel that we gave them the opportunity to experience a life-threatening miscarriage?
Should I feel good that we held up "our end of the bargain" - a good embryo for our recipients - or bad that we didn't hold up "our end of the bargain" - a safe uterus for our embryo?
Is three remaining embryos enough?
When will we get to find out?
Don't the stakes seem kind of high now?
How sad am I supposed to be, and how much of my sadness am I allowed to share with them in theirs?
What's the protocol for this?
What if it never works again? 


Mali said...

I'm really sorry for all concerned. I've had two ectopic pregnancies. Although the shock of coming face to face with my own mortality is life-changing, the grief of the loss was more intense. IVF pregnancies have a much higher rate of ectopics than natural pregnancies, probably due to conditions that contributed to the infertility in the first place. So you're not responsible for the fact she had an ectopic. You gave her a gift of a pregnancy. Whatever happened in the future, I think she'll be grateful for that. But it might take her a while to really feel it (i.e. don't point it out!)

There's an organisation called The Ectopic Trust ( where they could find support and answers, about what happened and what it means for the future. It also has suggestions on information for family and friends, including suggestions of what to say.

As for you, you're allowed to feel whatever it is you feel. Roll with the emotions, and be kind to yourself.

Aerotropolitan Comitissa said...

Thanks Mali. I think we'll all sort through it in the end but it's a bit of a shock and it feels so abstract. I'm involved, but I'm not Capital I Involved. Thanks for the website suggestion - I will tuck that away for our next chat. Good to hear your perspective from having been through ectopic pregnancies - not what you would have chosen to go through, I'm sure.

MrsSpock said...

How scary! I hope she is doing OK. I'm sure showing concern with a short email or a card would be OK. They do make cards nowadays for miscarriage loss.

Non Sequitur Chica said...

I can understand how you would feel a bit guilty over the fact that she had an ectopic pregnancy, but it certainly isn't your fault. I would just take her lead and every once in a while check in with her if she hasn't contacted you to see if she needs to talk/needs anything.

If it never works again then that is just what happens. You are giving them the chance and unfortunately even with IVF, that's what it is- a chance and not a certainty.

Aerotropolitan Comitissa said...

Mrs Spock - she is doing ok. The doctors are saying she should be home again before too long then she has some time off work as well. And she seems to be pretty resilient emotionally. I guess she's had some practice at this stage of the game. That said, it'll take a while to get over things. I'll take a look to see if I can find some of those cards.

Aerotropolitan Comitissa said...

Non Sequitur Chica: thanks for your kind words. I know you're right, I guess it'll take a little while to settle down in my head. And in the meantime here's hoping the next one works.

torthĂșil said...

Oh, this is so complicated and sad. I am glad the recipient is ok, that has to be a terrifying experience, not to mention the heartache. Of course it's not your fault, but that doesn't mean there isn't a snarl of emotions.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

What a strange kind of grief you are facing. In adoption world, we talk a lot about "ambiguous grief," and this seems like it qualifies.

Hugs on all the feelings. I think feelings are beyond shoulds. You just feel what you feel. And sometimes you feel two opposite things at the same time. It's part of why going through something like this seems so big, so breaky.

(Sorry, looks like it's called "ambiguous loss":

Dora said...

Oh, no! Just seeing this post. So sorry all around. What Non Sequitur Chica said, ditto. You're giving them a chance, not a guarantee.

As I mentioned before, my first donor embryo FET failed. My donor felt responsible for the quality of the embryos. I think the failed FET was harder on her than me. This is all such an emotional roller coaster. I've always hated roller coasters. :-(

Valery said...

Hugs for such complex feelings.
I don't mean to be a party pooper, but it might be safer not to assume too much about the future or other embryos. After a life threatening experience (and the higher than normal risk of it happening again) trying again may not be something she wants to think about very soon. ( For me almost dying once was enough.While a different situation, it changed my family building plans)
Here from Mel's roundup.

Aerotropolitan Comitissa said...

torthĂșil : Thanks for understanding. That sounds a bit short and lame but hopefully you know it's neither. Understanding is a lot.

Lori: Wise words as always. I followed your link and yes, I think a lot of it fits well. It all feels a little difficult to latch onto - like there's not enough concrete "stuff" to really grab.

Dora: Good to hear from you again. Rollercoasters do suck. I'm ok, and I'll be ok - I still get the feeling in this case it's harder on them (or maybe we just always think that).

Valery: Yep, good point. She has since this post told me she plans to get back to it as soon as she's recovered, but I think it's probably a good idea to take that with a grain of salt and see how it unfolds in practice. I can understand she (and he as well) might go through a course of different feelings about the future until they settle on an actual plan. So we'll just wait and see for now. I'm glad you made it through and sorry you had to go through it in the first place.

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