My ectopic pregnancy story

Content Warning: pregnancy loss

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At the end of July, I had an ectopic pregnancy and had to undergo emergency surgery.

Self portrait of having an ectopic pregnancy. Digitally drawn in Procreate.

*Ectopic Pregnancy is when the embryo doesn’t implant in the uterus like it should. The baby cannot develop properly but its growth in other places can damage organs and cause internal bleeding. It is the leading cause of death during the first trimester of pregnancy.

*There are two main treatments: surgery to remove the pregnancy or an injection of methotrexate (a special drug that dissolves the pregnancy). Surgery becomes necessary when there is internal bleeding.

In my case, the embryo had gotten stuck inside my right Fallopian tube. They don’t know why it lodged there. The surgeon explained that sometimes there are potholes inside the tubes that snag the embryo. There isn’t enough research as to why those potholes form or anything really. At five weeks and five days pregnant, my tube ruptured.

I was in a lot of pain and could barely walk. My husband, Nick, helped me to the ER and they referred us on to a bigger hospital where they could run an internal ultrasound to see what was going on. Of course they found the ruptured tube and had me in for surgery by five that morning. They removed my entire right Fallopian tube along with the baby.

They said it was a good thing Nick brought me in as quickly as he did.

It was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. It was also the saddest and very confusing. No one at the hospital explained that we would lose the baby. Just that I had to have the surgery. I was eager to stop the pain and was immensely grateful they could help me, but the fact that I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore only hit once I got home.

I want to share my story now as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week. I think it’s important to talk about these sad things. Anyone else who has gone through this, or anything similar, I want you to know you’re not alone.

I would also like to thank all the medical staff who helped save my life. Without you, I wouldn’t be here. Thank you also to those who reached out to me, sharing in the grief when it was so fresh and raw. You are my true family.

And a huge thank you to Nick for – well, EVERYTHING. Having you by my side through this has been my salvation.

Feelings of guilt and remorse

Self portrait sketch of the feeling of losing a pregnancy. Digitally drawn in Procreate.

I know rationally that it wasn’t my fault and the doctors all said there was no way I could have caused this or even known it would happen. Yet there lingers a terrible sense of remorse, like my body killed my baby.

I wish I could undo it. I wish my parts functioned properly. I wish you were still with us, my little Sesame.

I drew this sketch the week following my emergency surgery.

Reconciling my “before self” and “after self”…

I started this self portrait when I found out I was pregnant. I was planning on giving it a cute, magical background, with tiny frogs and things floating around my head. I didn’t get very far with it when I had to go to the ER.

Self portrait based on a photo. Drawn digitally in Procreate.

Trying to heal from surgery while processing the grief was overwhelming. I kept having nightmares full of blood. Eventually those stopped and my incisions healed. But emotionally I am far from okay.

Doing art about it helps me come to terms with what happened.

I went back to this drawing during my convalescence post-op. This is how it came out… I don’t think it’s really finished but I don’t want to work on it anymore so I thought I’d share it here.

Tonight, October 15th at 7 o’clock tonight, we will be lighting a candle as part of the Wave of Light to honor all the precious ones lost.

A Taste of Art for the Holidays

I had my first “in person” art show at the Half Moon Bay Library on December 7th and 8th with the Colony of Coastside Artists. It was a blast! I had never met and spoken to so many people about my artwork – and they were all so supportive and kind! My husband, Nick, acted as my spokesperson when my shyness threatened to send me inside my shell and I was honored to make connections with so many fascinating people. I even got to hear an octopus story!

The library is gorgeous. The natural light from all the windows showed off our art beautifully. And the librarians were hospitable heroes! They made the entire event seamless and fun.

The first day was rainy.

I made cranberry and pecan pinwheel cookies! And chocolate chip cookies too, though they’re not as photogenic.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the visitors who came, all the artists who participated, and all the library staff who helped pull off a wonderful show!

100 days of sketching

I participated in @kesh’s artchallenge on instagram for 100 days of sketching.

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I had such tremendous fun churning these out!

Every day was a challenge but to my surprise it actually *did* get easier…

…even if it was never exactly a breeze. I started to accept that not every drawing that I made was going to be a masterpiece.

Each day was a fresh start. A chance to try something new. To experiment.

And I started to explore what was really going on inside me.

It really became a kind of therapy.

Here are a few highlight sketches. You can view all of them on my Sketches page.

 

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I can’t thank Kesh enough for setting up this art challenge! He is such an inspiration. He makes all kinds of art videos on his awesome YouTube here. And of course go find him on instagram @kesh.

 

Would anyone be interested in a printed booklet of a few of these? I am thinking of compiling a ‘best of’ maybe along with another artist or two.

Sketch: Anemones and Oppossum

I don’t post sketches often because I find it’s important for me to have a few little projects that are purely for me. No pressure. No expectation. Whatever I feel moved to make, nothing purposeful beyond simply relaxing with the page in front of me. This is important for my mental health and my sense of inspiration. Today, however, I’d like to share one with you.

I drew this in my little 5″ x 8″ sketchbook. Just drawing things that make me smile. I hope it makes you smile today too.

Spooky Desert Bookmark

It’s that creepy time of year again! I love curling up with a good book and a warm cup of tea on these autumn days. I recommend anything by Nnedi Okorafor, if you’re on the lookout for a great read. Her words flow in and around you like brisk wind through naked trees. And if you’re getting ready to settle in for a good reading session, you might need a bookmark to fit the mood. I made this week’s crayon drawing into a bookmark with a quote from Nnedi Okorafor.

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Spooky Desert, Crayola crayons

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“If you spend enough time in the desert, you will hear it speak.” – Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death.

You can download my Spooky Desert Bookmark on etsy.

Check out these other bookmarks in my etsy shop Familiar Oddlings.