In the United States, one in fifty pregnancies turn out to be ectopic pregnancies, which means that the baby cannot be. In Mexico, it is one in one hundred twenty-two conceived babies. This is a pregnancy that is not truly talked about, or at least, I had never heard of it until last year. I had just finished my summer semester and was extremely excited at the fact that my partner was coming to live with me until I finished my master’s program. Time had gone by so fast and I was nervous and excited to live with him. We did not plan on having a baby but we were not abstaining from it either. We told each other we would see what happened and go from there. A month later I started cramping really badly; I figured my menstrual cycle was starting. I was not on time, never have been a regular. It was a Saturday, everyone in the house had gone to a festival. I stayed home with Carlos since I was not feeling well. I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding a lot. It seemed as if I had had a spontaneous abortion. I was scared out of my mind and I cried but did not say anything. I told Carlos later that night and he asked me to tell my mom. I figured I should just call my doctor Monday and set up an appointment at that time. I told my mom Sunday night and admitted I was scared. That was the start of the longest three months of my life.
I ended up going to the doctor. They ran bloodwork and stated that my hCG levels came out positive, which meant there had been a pregnancy, and I had to go to the emergency room to get ultrasounds done in order to verify there was nothing in my uterus. It was a long evening at the hospital. Doctors confirmed it had been a miscarriage and that I had to follow up with the women’s health center. I went to the center a couple of days later. Once again, they ran bloodwork, tests and ultrasounds. My hCG levels were still positive. I was told I had to go every two days until the levels went down. A week later, my levels had increased immensely but there was nothing to see in the ultrasounds. It was not until the third week it was verified that there was a pregnancy, but it was not in my uterus; the fetus was developing in my left fallopian tube. I was scared, confused, sad and at that moment I thought about all the times I had said I would never have a baby. How I would not risk a baby in this crazy world. There I was, with a career, still in school, with an amazing man next to me, and it could not happen for us. Carlos was confused as well and wondered, “What comes next? We will do whatever we need to!” Deep down I knew there was no way this pregnancy could happen. After all, how can a baby grow outside the uterus? But at the moment all I wished and hoped for was for the doctor to say that there were possibilities. My hormone levels were definitely affecting me, but I knew that the fact of seeing the embryo on the screen made me feel a love and sadness I had never felt before.
The doctor told me the embryo had to be dissolved due to it growing outside of the uterus. She said they had caught it on time and that if they let it grow longer it could eventually break my tube leading to internal bleeding and risking my life. I did not know how to react. I could not even celebrate the fact I was pregnant because it was not a pregnancy that could proceed. My doctor said I could either try getting a dose of Methotrexate, a type of chemotherapy shot, or I could get surgery, which meant the removal of my tube. I had never had surgery for anything and I did not want a part so important and essential to me gone. So, I opted for the dose of Methotrexate. I had to give it a week to see if there were any changes in the embryo.
The week went by and the embryo had only grown more and my hCG levels were still increasing. We went ahead and did a second dose. It seemed to have worked. My hCG levels were decreasing and the embryo was getting smaller. A week and a half later, on a Sunday night, I called an ambulance to take me to the hospital due to a sharp pain that would not let me walk. They ran tests and stated it was normal, and that the pain was most likely due to the medication. That Wednesday, I went to my doctor. She told me it appeared that the embryo was still there and that there seemed to be some blood dripping from my tube and they needed to get surgery done as soon as possible. I was still confused and felt lost. All I could think about was wanting my baby. I was taken to the emergency room and admitted to have surgery for the removal of my embryo and my left tube. What came afterwards was indescribable. I was immensely depressed, wanted to be gone and missed my baby so much. Even though there was never a heartbeat, it changed my body in so many ways. I ached to feel pregnant, I wanted my baby. It was not until that moment I understood for a minute what it was like to be a mom and lose your child in a blink of an eye. But only God knows why and it was not my time. Corazón…te extraño tanto!
In July 2019, Women AdvaNCe launched the #mybodyNC campaign. During July we published stories from women across the state about their personal abortion stories. We will continue to share stories like these in an effort to promote a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her own reproductive health.
Esmeralda Mendez is Mexican-American. She is the proud daughter of immigrant parents and has Latinx roots. Esmeralda is a dancer, poet, and passionate young woman who will be graduating with her Masters in Social Work in May 2020.