Presenting — the anatomy of my ectopic pregnancy, i.e. a pretty visualization of my last couple of months of hell. I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a while. I’m weird, I know. It’s hopefully relatively self-explanatory — red bars are bleeding (with pretty-fied, realistic colors), blue are the meds, progesterone in purple, and of course, the all important HCG in black.
- Damn, this whole ordeal took forever. Start to end was 78 days. That’s 2.5 months!
- The bleeding was like twice as heavy as a normal period. Cramped like crazy though. Good to know for a hopefully never-again-occurring next time.
- What goes up must come down — HCG rises pretty fast. Once the methotrexate kicked in, it lowered pretty fast too though towards the end, there was some sort of half life effect going on.
- The progesterone dropping — that should have been a sign that something wasn’t right. Later on, I found out that increasing HCG not accompanied by a corresponding increase in progesterone is one of the warning signs for an ectopic.
- It’s strange to me just how long I would have tested as pregnant after I wasn’t. It took an entire month after the first shot to be fully un-pregnant. Is that a thing?
- Apparently the starting HCG of ~10 is on the low side and often does not correlate to success (according to my RE). Something to keep in mind for the future.
- It all looks so innocuous in all these pastel-y spring-y colors.
I’ve been getting more and more into these personal data visualizations (I hesitate to call them analyses on a sample size of .. me). But also, during the last few months, I realized that I didn’t have enough of a sense of what was going on for my own comfort. I didn’t have a sense of a baseline or what to expect. Anything I read/was told went all over the place. For example, bleeding could last anywhere from a week to 6 weeks. That’s an awfully wide range.
At any rate, this (and the lack of any tracking app/software for this type of thing) was the impetus for me to start building my own tracking — I turned to my trusty raw text files and R for the plotting (clearly, I’m very high tech). Obviously it’s not perfect (yes, I know that multiple axes are a bad idea) but I liked how it gave me a high level visualization of what was going on with my body. And it made a ridiculously shitty experience into, not a positive experience, but at least an interesting one.