One Wednesday night in September 2022, I was unable to sit in my chair. I recently found out I was seven weeks pregnant, so for two days I was wondering what was causing me so much discomfort.
That night, the discomfort got so bad that I texted my husband, a faculty doctor who was teaching a class in the emergency department, and called an ambulance. As I waited to vomit on my porch, a cat squatted next to me until paramedics arrived.
When my husband met me in the emergency department, I was writhing in pain and unable to be transferred to a wheelchair while waiting for a room to become available. Repeated requests for analgesics were made to allow her to tolerate the procedures required for diagnosis. While I was waiting, her husband was crouching on the bed and holding her face in his hands.
I prayed that I would not die and that I would get through whatever this was. I felt the serenity of God’s assurance that I would not die and the intercession of all my dead loved ones. was completed.
My husband later said it was the only time he said goodbye to relatives before an operation when he took me to the operating room. We’ve known each other for seven years and this is the only time I’ve seen him cry.
The surgeon later told him that when they opened my abdomen all they could see was blood. was There, the embryo tried to pass, but it didn’t work. Over the course of two weeks, I found out I was pregnant, experienced this loss, faced life-threatening complications, and underwent high-risk surgery.
When I met the caring surgeon at my six-week follow-up, she asked how I was doing.
“I never want to do that again,” I told her. She went on to say that while she can’t guarantee that I won’t have another ectopic pregnancy, she felt she could say she would never have to go through an ectopic pregnancy again. An ectopic pregnancy naturally progressed towards a life-threatening situation. Immediate care and monitoring from the moment I received a positive ectopic pregnancy test.
The drug I have to agree to use is methotrexate, usually a cancer drug that targets rapidly dividing cells such as the trophoblast and the beginning of the placenta, a vital organ that supports the embryo. Catholic medical guidelines do not discuss whether or not to treat ectopic pregnancies.
The Magisterium has not formally decided on the use of methotrexate in ectopic pregnancies. It is argued as legal (necessary intervention in maternal life-threatening situations – appropriate use of the dual effect principle) and illegal (targets trophoblastic cells at the implantation site and thereby acts as an abortifacient agent). Catholics are expected to make conscientious and informed decisions in the absence of official statements.
The issue of life-threatening pregnancy complications and death is nothing new to me. I am a public health researcher focused on reducing maternal mortality in the United States. Her 80% of U.S. maternal deaths are preventable, especially since black women are three to four times more likely to die than white women. I have been a lifelong pro-life Catholic and have been a birth doula for over 10 years.
Prior to my experience, I found the reasons for the legal use of methotrexate to be very clear. Not only is an experience like mine anxiety-inducing, it’s also unethical in my mind.
Not acting early in a life-threatening situation is minimizing invasiveness and leaving most of the body intact, and when it comes to maternal mortality in America, the church is at risk. will be exposed toWomen’s care in light of Supreme Court’s June ruling Dobbs case,.
And this is not new territory. The Catholic medical system had been around this time before, and lawsuits were filed for failing to intervene immediately when a woman was diagnosed as having a miscarriage in a Catholic hospital.
rear Dobbsthe world is watching to see if the Catholic Church can deliver on its promise to double care for women. Setting the goal of zero maternal deaths in Catholic hospitals lends credibility to this promise.
God doesn’t want me to face another ectopic pregnancy, but the part of me that relies on faith and the part of me that relies on reason won’t be at odds in that moment.Catholic Health Care in America But I hope you find the same harmony that my experience has given me.