I wanted a baby more than anything. If I hadn't had an abortion with my ectopic pregnancy, I could have died.

I wanted a baby more than anything. If I hadn't had an abortion with my ectopic pregnancy, I could have died.
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  • I had to terminate a pregnancy after three years of trying to conceive.
  • The embryo had implanted in my fallopian tube, which meant the pregnancy was not viable.

I had to terminate a pregnancy after trying to conceive for three years and losing my first baby to a miscarriage. If I hadn't chosen to end the pregnancy, I would have lost my fallopian tube — or worse, my life.

"Did you know you were pregnant?" my boss asked over the phone. I'd just returned from the emergency room, and yes, I'd known for almost a month now, since peeing on a test days before my period was due. During that time of my life I went through enough early-detection pregnancy tests that my husband joked we should buy stock in the company. When that faint second line finally appeared, I was elated.

Then that morning, I woke up with a bright splotch of blood in my underwear. I focused on breathing as I called the doctor, drove to the office, got into the stirrups, and felt the cold ultrasound wand guided in.

"There's a heartbeat," the doctor said, and I exhaled deeply.

"Wait." She frowned and peered at the monitor. She brought in a second doctor, and they studied the image together. They exchanged looks, then quietly explained it was an extrauterine, or ectopic, pregnancy. The embryo had implanted in my fallopian tube.


"Can we save it?" I asked. "Relocate it?" The answer was no. This was a nonviable pregnancy. My only options were surgery to remove it or a pharmaceutical abortion with methotrexate, a type of chemotherapy drug, and either way it had to happen today. Not ending the pregnancy could lead to rupture one of my fallopian tubes, which meant I could hemorrhage and die.

I was heartbroken to have lost another pregnancy

Through tears, I drove myself to the emergency room for the methotrexate, then back home, where eventually my husband found me sobbing into our bed. By then the medicine had begun to take effect, and I could feel sharp electric jolts coursing through my body. The taste of batteries filled my mouth, and I spent most of the next 24 hours hunched over the toilet bowl, alternately retching and crying.

It felt right that I should feel such physical pain. It matched my devastation. But as my body recovered, the heartbreak of losing another pregnancy lingered.

The first pregnancy I'd lost at the 12-week mark, days before we were about to announce the happy news. I kept it to myself at first; only my husband knew. After weeks of feeling isolated and alone in my grief, I told a friend, and my pain eased. I told my family. I learned that my mother had lost her first baby — my grandmother, too. My aunt had lost twins at birth. My loss felt less heavy then, less lonely, as I shared it with others and they shared their losses with me.

This time I didn't hesitate to reach out. I told my boss, and she offered that I take as much time as I needed. I told my family, who listened as I cried over the phone. I told friends, and they brought dinner and ice cream. An older neighbor gifted me a delicate silver necklace, which I still wear.


Through that support, and over time, my grief abated.

I've had 2 children since my ectopic pregnancy threatened my life

A year later I was pregnant again, and this time everything went perfectly.

I made it to seven weeks, and all was well. Then I made it to 12 weeks. In fact, I made it to 42 weeks, two weeks past full term. When the baby finally made his entrance, screaming, fists shaking at the world, it was a moment of absolute joy. I had never known how much I could love another person.

Three years later we welcomed another healthy baby, and both children continue to thrive. I'd never considered myself especially maternal, but being their mother is without a doubt the most profound gift of my life.

I'm grateful for the medical care that ended my ectopic pregnancy quickly and safely, preserving my life and my reproductive system. I'm even grateful for the miscarriage that likely ended a nonviable pregnancy so I didn't have a difficult choice to make. I'm eternally thankful that these two exact people could join our family and that I get to be their mom.