“Eno, cases like these are medical emergencies. I’ll get them to bring the ambulance around and have you transferred to the specialist’s clinic. They’ll be able to do a thorough scan and determine exactly what to do next.” The doctor said as she patted my leg.
I looked blankly at her as she walked out and as you might have guessed, I had a million and one crazy thoughts rushing through my mind.
How did I get here? Well let’s continue from where I left off…..
On my way to the hospital, I took out my phone and went on a googling spree. In my mind, I was certain I had fibroids. I mean what else could it be? I was obviously not pregnant, I had bled for too long and I was in unbearable pain. All the symptoms that popped up from my search seemed to match exactly what I was going through.
We drove to a private hospital in East Legon since it was closer. The same hospital I had been to the week prior and met the doctor I recognized. I saw my mom as we were parking at the Emergency entrance. Once we arrived, I was transferred into a wheelchair because I could barely walk. I was sent to a ward, my vitals were checked and the nurse inserted an IV. The doctor on duty came in, gave me a full examination and explained that I needed to have a scan done in the morning to find out exactly what was happening in my abdomen. I managed to rest just a little bit but after while I was back to tossing and turning in discomfort. The pain was mainly at the left side of my abdomen. At a point, my left leg felt numb. Kobby and my mother sat there feeling helpless while trying their best to comfort with words of encouragement.
Around 6am, I was called in for the scan. The nurse assisted me to the lab and I lay there waiting for the bad news. The sonographer said nothing as he conducted the ultra sound and that made me even more nervous. After he was done I asked
-“Ermm so do I have fibroids?”
-“No I didn’t see any growth. I saw quite a bit of fluid so I suspect it may be an infection”
-“But did you see a foetus?”
-“Foetus? Why do you suspect you’re pregnant?”
-“No, I just want to be sure I’m not”
-“No you’re not. Don’t worry, the doctor will explain everything to you once he gets the report.”
I was assisted back to the ward. The night doctor had handed over to the morning doctor so she came in to see me. Immediately she walked in she exclaimed
“Eno! It’s you? I had no idea. Oh no what happened?!”
She was the same doctor I had mentioned previously about saving Kobby’s life. She had seen me just a week ago so she was justifiably stunned. I explained all that I had been through and she gave me a side eye.
-“Eno as for you I think I’ll do a pregnancy test just to be sure. I feel strongly about this”
-“But the sonographer didn’t even see any foetus”
-“Well it’s better we rule that out completely before we treat this infection, that is if it really is an infection. I’ll need urine and blood samples from you right away okay?”
-“Alright” I mumbled under my breath. I was exhausted already and I found it unnecessary. I just wanted to be treated for the infection so I could be discharged as early as possible.
The nurse came in and handed me the cup to pee in and took my blood sample. After about an hour and a half the doctor rushed in. I saw a slight smile on her face which could only mean one thing
-“Eno. What did I tell you? The results are here, you’re pregnant! Look at it”
-“Huh?!” my mother yelled in disbelief
Kobby and I looked at each other stunned and then literally almost in unison we all burst out laughing! Well I couldn’t laugh too hard, I was still in pain.
This was beyond shocking especially after having a pregnancy test two weeks ago which I was told was negative and then nearly having an IUD done. I obviously hadn’t had any sexual encounter since then because like I said, I had been on my period since that very day. Also why didn’t the scan pick it up? Maybe it was too early but I had so many questions.
-“So what does the bleeding mean?” I asked
-“I’m not too sure but I suspect it might be a miscarriage but I’ll have to be sure so we know what to do next. I’ll be right back”
I immediately felt sad and confused about what this meant. Yes I wasn’t ready for a third baby but neither was I ready to lose a child. I would’ve definitely preferred to have the baby. Kobby came to comfort me. My mom kept assuring me I’ll be fine. After a couple of hours Kobby had to leave to pick DJ up from school (his mom had taken him to school that morning). My mom stayed behind to hear my fate. The doctor came back in and explained the way forward.
-“Eno, it looks like we’ll have to transfer you to a specialist clinic. The gynecologist there is one of the best and you’ll be in much better hands. They will also conduct a transvaginal ultrasound to find exactly what is wrong and advise.”
-“Okay let me pack her things and take her right away” my mom said.
-“No please. It will be better to have the ambulance take her. If my suspicions are right, it may be an ectopic pregnancy especially because she only feels the pain at one side. The bleeding may also be as a result of a rupture but I’m not too sure. I wouldn’t want to risk anything happening to her on the road. Besides, the ambulance will get you there faster. Eno you’ll be fine okay, don’t worry. I’ll keep in touch with your mum so everything will be okay. I have also spoken to the gyno there and he’s expecting you so you can leave now.”
As she saw my visibly shaken disposition she assured
“Eno, cases like these are medical emergencies. I’ll get them to bring the ambulance around and have you transferred to the specialist’s clinic. They’ll be able to do a thorough scan and determine exactly what to do next.”
The doctor said as she patted my leg.
“Alright Doc. Thank you very much.” my mom responded as the doctor left.
Fear didn’t even begin to explain how I felt. My mother didn’t help the situation as she blurted
-“Eno, we really need to pray. You know a ruptured ectopic can be fatal.”
-“Mom really? Why would I want to hear this now?”
– “Sorry sorry, don’t worry God is with you, you’ll be fine.”
She did her best to stay calm but she was panicking and it was very obvious. The ambulance driver arrived and I was wheeled to it and then placed on the bed in there. My mother sat right beside me. It was all so surreal to me. I had never once in my life been inside an ambulance. I didn’t even know what it looked like in there. Another nurse joined us with my paperwork and off we went.
Once the siren went off, I could feel the ambulance zoom past all the traffic (I was lying down so I couldn’t see much). My mother decided to give me a commentary of all that was going on.
-“Ei Ewurade someone just crossed the ambulance. Ah Ghanaians can be so careless!”
-“So won’t this car give way to the ambulance?”
-“Ah didn’t this driver hear the siren?”
Among a whole lot of other statements which only compounded my fear. I was praying fervently to get there in one piece. Within 16 minutes we had arrived. It would’ve taken us over an hour if we had driven. Once we arrived, I was taken to the lab and examined. I was asked to lie on the examination table and a long thin transvaginal transducer was lubricated and inserted in me. It was uncomfortable but not painful. The sonographer didn’t seem too certain about what he was seeing. The confusion was whether or not, it was a foetus he was seeing in the fallopian tube because it was so tiny and it wasn’t very clear. He did mention that there was a lot of fluid in my abdomen and he couldn’t tell for sure whether or not it was blood. If it was indeed blood, it would mean that my fallopian tube was ruptured and I was bleeding internally. He decided to email all the images he captured from the scan to the gynaecologist and then he would decide what to do next. I was asked to sit in the waiting area till the gyno arrived.
My mother and I sat in silence and I just kept praying and assuring myself I would be fine and live through this. I was partly frustrated that no one could tell me EXACTLY what was happening to me/inside me. About 20 minutes later, a male nurse walked in to speak to us.
-“Doctor says, we need to get you to your ward and prepare you for a laparotomy immediately.”
-“Laparotomy??! What is that?”
-“Once he comes, he’ll explain everything to you.”
We were whisked off to the ward in our confusion and I was given a hospital gown to change into. I did as I was told but all the while, in a daze. The nurse came back in and asked me to lay down while he inserted the IV. My mother stepped out to answer a call. The nurse immediately whispered
-“Sorry, I didn’t want to say anything because your mom was around but it looks like you’ve suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy so we’ll have to have surgery done immediately. The Laparotomy is just to find the issue and resolve it”
-“Alright I understand, but you could’ve said that in front of her. I don’t have any issues with that.”
-“That’s fine. You can tell her when she comes.”
A few minutes later, my mother walked in with the owner of the hospital. Apparently they had known each other for years.
“Eno is that you? I knew you when you were just a toddler! So Eno is now a mother? Unbelievable!”
Understandably, I wasn’t in the mood to be chatty but I managed to force a smile. I heard him assure my mother that the gynaecologist was very good, he had performed surgeries like this many times and we were in good hands. Well, that was all I wanted to hear. After my mother saw him off, the anaesthetist also walked in to introduce himself and explained what was about to happen.
“So normally, once we get in there, if there are no major issues, it should take maximum 30-40 minutes. I will give you an epidural to numb your tummy all the way down to your legs”
I just nodded because I was too exhausted to ask anymore questions.
The gynaecologist walked in and also introduced himself. He seemed like the warmest, most down to earth doctor I had met in a while.
“So sorry I’m late. I am just from a surgery.”
He explained to me that he also wanted to do a quick examination just to be 100% sure it was really a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. If it wasn’t, then he could come up with non surgical ways to solve my issue. I was escorted to the labour ward and asked to lay down. My legs were lifted and placed on the leg support exactly like it is done during labour. I couldn’t believe I was in this position when I wasn’t even pushing out a baby but rather losing one.
-“So I’m going to slowly insert this needle into you and you’ll feel a small discomfort but it will be over before you know it. Have you had a pap smear done?”
-“Then this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s very similar”
He slowly went into my hoohaa with the needle and poked it. I screamed! It was nothing like a pap smear. It really was painful. I started to cry a bit. There was quite a bit of bleeding.
“The bleeding has confirmed that your tube is really ruptured. You’ll be sent to the theatre immediately.” he said.
I was transferred to another bed and wheeled in there. I was so nervous, I was visibly shaking. Everything was happening so fast. I said a prayer under my breath and hoped for the best. They had a radio in there and the presenter was speaking on the banking crisis in Ghana and the fact that GN bank had been shut down. The anaesthetist and the nurse were busily discussing it while casually getting me ready for the surgery. I was asked to sit up with my arms folded in front for the epidural injection.
“Please sit still and don’t move.” I was told.
It was hard sitting still with that big needle going into my spine but I did my best. I was asked to lie down quickly before the numbness kicked in. Almost immediately, I started to feel a warmth slowly move from my spine down to my legs. Then another weird feeling I can’t describe in words. Afterwards I was asked to try to lift my legs (they wanted to be sure it had worked). I tried but I couldn’t, my legs felt very heavy and I couldn’t feel them. I can’t begin to describe how weird that was for me. My arms were still shaking severely so they injected something in the drip which was supposed to help calm me. The doctor walked in and a sheet was placed in front of me blocking me from seeing the actual surgery. I heard him say a word of prayer (which was very comforting) and then they begun. I couldn’t feel much. I turned my head to the left to face the wall clock and started counting down. I was praying there were no complications to extend the surgery. I dozed off a bit but one of the surgeons woke me up and mumbled something I didn’t hear. (Apparently, they like to keep the patients up as much as possible so they don’t fall unconscious or so I hear). I must’ve dozed off again because the next words I heard were
“We’re done. We’re taking you back to the ward”
I checked the time and it was about 7:20 pm. The surgery should’ve been over around 6:30pm. I knew there had been a lot of complications then. Once I got to my ward, I was asked to lie still and rest and not to move for the next 8 hours. My mom and the doctor from the previous hospital (who transferred me) came in to see me briefly but had to leave to allow me to rest. I dozed off again and woke up at about 1am. The next two hours were torture because I couldn’t move a muscle but just lay there. I did a lot of self reflection until my time was up. I turned my neck to the left and saw two bottles on the table with something strange in them and some fluid around it. A nurse came in later on to explain to me that one was my ruptured tube and the other was the foetus.
-“But why do I have to keep it?”
-“For legal reasons, we have to give them to the patient or seek their consent before keeping it here”
I understood the explanation but personally it was an unnecessary reminder of the ordeal I had just been through. What was the point???
Morning couldn’t come soon enough. My mom and Kobby came to see me. I hadn’t moved an inch. I was connected to a catheter so I didn’t have to get up to pee. In fact I didn’t even know I was connected to one until the nurse pointed it out to me, so it must’ve been done in my sleep. My mother prayed with me and thanked God for a successful surgery. The gyno came in to see how I was doing. He explained to me that what I had thought was my period for the past two weeks was actually bleeding from the ectopic pregnancy. I had been bleeding heavily internally and if it had been checked earlier, I could’ve avoided surgery. However, because it coincided with my period (and in my case I had even had a pregnancy (blood)test that came out negative) I couldn’t have assumed anything was wrong. He also added that my tube was so ruptured he was surprised I could move around with that amount of pain. I was surprised too. It’s either my tolerance for pain has increased because of childbirth or mine was different. I was in a lot of pain but I assumed it was very terrible cramps. He also explained to me that I could still have kids with my other fallopian tube but usually the chances of having another ectopic once you’ve had one is higher than someone who hasn’t so if I ever found out I was pregnant, it was best to go to the hospital immediately to have it checked out.
This entire experience was nothing short of a miracle. Every single step of the way was all God directing me. From the fact that I did not get an IUD which would’ve surely caused further complications to the fact that we went to that particular hospital in East Legon that night to the doctor insisting on a pregnancy test after I had told her I had tested negative to being sent to this incredible gynaecologist. Even making it through exam before experiencing all this is a testimony on its own. Truly, this could’ve been fatal and I believe in any other situation, I could’ve died. The doctors couldn’t even understand how I was still alive and they both said that they had seen cases like that but mine was pretty bad. Maybe I was supposed to live to tell this story. I have a new found admiration for anyone out there who has lost a child, had a surgery and just keeps powering through every day.
The incision they made was like that of a c-section and I was told I would start to see improvements in 9 days and then be completely healed in 6 weeks. I had to take it one day at a time. I could only have fluids for the first few days and then gradually start to have porridges (without milk) and then ease into normal food. It was hell. I was never satisfied with the fluids and the porridge and soups were depressing. Of course I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavy so that meant carrying my kids was a no no. I was told I would have to be on admission for 3 days.
I was in excruciating pain the first two days. I was told the more I walked, the faster I would heal. Getting off the bed was even a problem. I had to turn sideways then prop myself up to sit up and then slowly get off the bed. The catheter was taken off on day 2 to force me to walk to the bathroom anytime I needed to pee. One of the nurses assigned to assist me helped me bath and taught me how to avoid getting my incision wet. The incision was on my lower abdomen and covered with a bandage and a plaster. I hated bathing at the hospital because I didn’t feel clean enough and I couldn’t wait to have the bandage removed so I could see the incision for myself.
Close friends and family came over to visit so I wasn’t totally bored. I also watched youtube videos and Netflix on my phone since there was nothing on the tv. My hand got swollen at a point because I kept holding my phone with with the needle in it.
I was constantly face timing Kobby to find out how the kids were because I didn’t want them at the hospital. First of all it was a HOSPITAL, talk about infections and stuff. Secondly, they wouldn’t even understand what was going on and at some point Drew would want to be carried and I wouldn’t be able to. I wouldn’t be able to really hold them like I want to and it would break my heart so we just didn’t do it. He would facetime me when he was bathing the kids ( you won’t believe his lazy self gave both boys a bath at the SAME TIME?! How do you bath a baby and a toddler both at once? Well ask Kobby lol!) He would be dressing DJ up and Drew would be crawling away with his bare bum! I admit it was hilarious and sooo typical Kobby.
On day 3, the doctor came in to have a look at the incision and said I was healing well. Since I couldn’t bend all the way down, I took a picture of it and at first I was shocked but later I was impressed by how clean it looked. I was told once it was completely healed, I would only see a faint line.
Throughout my stay at the hospital, one of the main things that hit me was the fact that a lot of women who go through this are people probably trying for their first child. How insensitive is it to be recovering from an ordeal like this in a ward full of mothers who have just had their babies? Hearing loud screams of crying babies in the night and people coming over to congratulate the mothers during the day. One of the midwives even accidentally came over to congratulate me because she assumed I had just delivered. The day I was being discharged, the nurse on duty asked just as Kobby and I were leaving
“Please where’s the baby?”
She immediately recoiled once she realized her mistake. To think that I could’ve delivered and left my baby behind! I wasn’t really upset with any of these statements because I understood most of the women they encounter are mothers who have just delivered so I didn’t want to fault them. However, this blog and the emails and messages I receive daily have helped opened my eyes and helped me put myself in the shoes of those who are still trying and going through similar challenges.
I may have lost a tube and a baby but I will never lose my grit. I’m now more aware than ever that I was meant to go through all this for my purpose and to further cement the fact that THIS is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Now hold on while I get ready to tell you about my recovery and the gloomy days that followed…..