Sunday, October 13, 2013

Essure's Lost Souls


Many of you have read the story about baby Julius and the story about baby Machin. They are just two of the countless victims who might be forgotten if it wasn’t for the story I’m about to write. These are the babies that were never born or the babies that didn’t grow to develop a heartbeat, or even a heart, the babies lost because these simply weren’t meant to be. This entry is dedicated to the e-babies lost due to a miscarriage and to their mom who suffered emotionally when they lost the baby.

On its website, Essure claims to be permanent birth control “to help you live without the worry of an unplanned pregnancy.” Women find out they are pregnant and the initial feeling are shock. After all, they have been told pregnancy is impossible by their doctors. Women are nurturers by nature, and after the shock wears off, the same feelings they felt with their other pregnancies start to surface. Pregnancy brought joy and happiness to these families. Even though their “family is complete,” they were going to make room for one more. Sadly, for so many, their unplanned pregnancy ended with a heart breaking miscarriage.
Florence has only one tube left because of damage caused by Essure. She was e-free at the time of her miscarriage, a baby conceived only 5 short weeks ago. This little life didn’t stand a chance. The fertilized egg was not able to travel into her uterus because of the significant scar tissue present in the one remaining tube. She suffered from the physical pain of an ectopic pregnancy and the emotional pain of a miscarriage. Had the decision been hers, she would have given birth to this little miracle baby, however, the decision wasn’t hers to make. She is so grateful that she didn’t have to undergo surgery to removal the tubal pregnancy as her body made the decision for her, the excitement of pregnancy taken away.

Maria is 35 years old. She is the mother of three boys and she didn’t want more children. She ended up with Essure when her doctor didn’t want to perform a tubal ligation because it ‘seemed to be too much trouble” over the weekend. He also said Essure was 100% effective and has no side effects. She feels like she was lied to, and based on everything I know, I have to agree with her. She wasn’t able to get an HSG because she lost her insurance. Sadly, she wasn’t even aware she was pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage. She was woken from a deep slumber on the morning of July 21, a Sunday she’ll never forget. She was in severe pain and passing very large baseball sized blood clots. She bled like this for 12 days thinking is was another one of those “abnormal” periods which had become the norm since Essure. The pain continued and she was also experiencing fevers and chills. She finally went to the emergency room where she was told she was pregnant and this pregnancy was ectopic. She also learned the Essure device had migrated and was logged in her fallopian tube. On August 27, she suffered a miscarriage and the baby left her body. She calls August 27th the worst day of her life. Sadly, she continues to suffer with the other symptoms which seem to be caused by Essure including mood swings, sharp abdominal pain, migraines and muscle pain. Essure is an endless nightmare that caused her heartbreak.

Heartbreaking is how Melissa describes the experience of knowing she lost her baby. She woke in the middle of the night covered in blood, and managed to get to the bathroom to clean up. She then started passing clots. Because she had been sterilized with Essure, being pregnant was the furthest thought from her mind. Thirteen months prior, her marriage had crumbled and she was now very happily involved with a new man who she was going to marry. Sadly, the children they wanted together weren’t possible, at least, weren’t’ supposed to be possible. After all, Essure is ‘highly effective’ and ‘permanent.’ Three days before the miscarriage, a home pregnancy test showed she was pregnant. She and her fiancĂ© were over the moon with joy. A visit to the doctor’s office confirmed her worst fear; she suffered a miscarriage that night. When she lost the baby, she didn't know how to feel. She cried all night for the baby she lost and everything Essure has made me lose since I had it done. She is not the person she was before Essure. Time with her kids was gone, her marriage was gone, and the dream of a second chance family to add to her family with her first husband was also lost. Instead of joy, she is now looking at a hysterectomy at 31.

Tammy kept telling herself she wasn’t pregnant, but she was feeling pregnant. She was second guessing how she was feeling because she had Essure and Essure is permanent and effective. About a month later, her husband told her she pregnant. She remembers yelling at him in denial. She remembers saying ‘I can’t get pregnant.’ She even went as far as to show him the Essure website just to prove to him and to herself that she wasn’t carrying a baby. She took three home pregnancy tests and they all showed negative. She then looked on the web expecting to find more proof to show him. Instead, she found that Essure wasn’t as effective as she was told by her doctor and it’s possible she was pregnant. Tammy and her husband have always dreamed of a big family. Sadly, the big family wasn’t an option and she suffered four miscarriages before Essure. She chose to get Essure because of the emotional toll of the miscarriages. Little did she know, Essure would only lead to more pain. An ultrasound confirmed she was pregnant. The same ultrasound showed she had an Essure coil expelling out of her fallopian tube into her uterus. She was sent to the emergency room where she suffered her fifth miscarriage, and first caused by Essure. She experienced joy and sadness all in one day. This is more emotions than one person should have to process in one day.

Marcia found herself 16 days late and feeling nauseous and tired. She was also experiencing breast pain, which is a common sign of pregnancy. She had had Essure for 7 months and like the other ladies in these stories, pregnancy was the further from her mind. Essure is, after all, very effective. She took a pregnancy test anyway, and was shocked to see a positive result. Three days later, she drove to Illinois and unpacked her van. A few hours later, she was suffering from severe back pain, and cramping. She went to the bathroom thinking her period finally started. She simply didn’t believe the positive home test because she had Essure. Remember it’s highly effective. Her ‘period’ wasn’t normal at all. She was passing clots of all sizes and grey looking tissue. She sent pictures to a friend who is a nurse. Her friend asked her about the results of the home pregnancy test. When Marcia told her it was positive, her friend told her that she already knew what it was. Marcia estimates she was about 7 weeks when she lost this baby. She had two babies under three at home, including one that was suffered with severe reflux. They say that you are never given more than you can handle, and what happens next is in God’s hands. Even though she was in denial, she was actually getting used to the idea of being pregnant. She held in lots of emotions until she got home. She cried in her husband’s arms and somehow manages to get along with daily life. She didn’t mourn until very recently when the realization hit her. She would have had a 1 year old running around with her 3 1/2 year old and 2 year old.

Gina had Essure done in 2011. In October, 2012, she suffered the sadness that comes with a miscarriage when she lost the baby she had been carrying for 13 weeks. She was shocked, and super excited when she found out she was pregnant. Her husband, active duty military, had just deployed and she couldn’t wait to give him the news via Skype. Sadly, she wouldn’t be able to share the news of a positive test. Instead, through tears and across thousands of miles, she would have to share with her husband that she suffered horrible bleeding which resulted in her going to the emergency room. While at the emergency room, she would watch on an ultrasound screen the image of her baby as it slowly lost its heartbeat one the screen in front of her. She watched her baby die. Gina had to deliver this baby, which was a baby girl that she named Aurora. Her doctor believes that an Essure coil caused a perforation that resulted in the miscarriage. Aurora will always be in Gina’s heart. She is the reason that Gina fights against Essure. No one should stare a screen and watch their baby die.

These are just a few of the stories representing the unborn babies lost because of Essure. These little ones never had a chance and their mom’s will never forget them.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life Interrupted, the Story of Baby Machin


As one of the administrators of the Essure Problems support page, I have read countless stories of pain and suffering caused by this nightmare device. A few months ago, a young woman reached out to share her story with me privately. Outside of her immediate circle, I was the only person who knew of the pain caused to her and her family by Essure. I write this one knowing that no matter how hard I try, I can never come up with the words to express that pain that Angela has felt. Those words just don't exist.

In June of 2011, Angela gave birth to her third child. She and her husband decided that Angela would have the Essure procedure done as it was highly recommended by her doctor. She had the procedure done in September of 2011, and at the time, she didn't regret her decision to be sterilized. She knew her family was complete. Three months later, in December, the HSG was performed and this test showed that her tubes were occluded and she was sterile.

Angela noted that she started having side effects shortly after the devices were implanted. Like so many women, she is allergic to nickel and she was not aware that Essure coils are made of a nickel alloy. Some of her symptoms included heavier periods, night sweats, fainting, cramping and severe lower back pains which resemble the back pain that women experience when they are in labor. Staying awake for longer than a few hours became a challenge and she felt like she was living in a drug induced state. Angela had three children, the youngest of which was not even a year old, and the issues with her health were impacting her ability to be a mom.

In April of 2012, Angela took a home pregnancy test. She didn't expect it to be positive as her doctor assured her that she could NOT get pregnant on Essure, especially after her HSG confirmed her fallopian tubes were blocked. The results of that home pregnancy test were positive. If that test was correct, she was now pregnant with her fourth child. Her doctor’s office refused to believe that Essure had failed and she was pregnant. A rep for Essure had even told her doctor that pregnancies with Essure are only the result of errors committed by the physician. Her doctor performed a blood test and this also showed she was pregnant.

Angela was told it was likely the pregnancy would be ectopic or end in a miscarriage due to the Essure devices. She thought this was a case as she was having significant cramping and spotting. Her doctor’s office performed an ultrasound and they shared with Angela that the gestational sac was about 4 times larger than normal, indicative of a pre miscarry situation. For the next several days, Angela lived with the symptoms of what she thought was a miscarriage. She and her husband struggled to come to terms with this sad loss. This, after the shock of finding out they were pregnant in the 1st place. Two weeks later, Angela was told by her doctor that she had not miscarried and that the pregnancy was progressing. This was just one of many moments on the emotional roller coaster for George and Angela. They had experienced the complete shock & then acceptance of an unplanned pregnancy, had decided to embrace the situation as they decided (along with the doctor) that it was a miracle baby. Then, they had mourned the impending loss of the miracle, only to have renewed joy when they learned the baby wasn't lost.

Angela's doctor was still very concerned about the baby. The enlarged gestational sac simply wasn't normal and he referred her to a gestational specialist. Over two separate visits, tests revealed the most heartbreaking scenario. The specialist determined that the baby was not developing properly. A diagnosis of extreme radial dysplasia or radial clubbing was shared with Angela and George. The doctor described the case as one of, if not the most, extreme he had seen. At first, they were told it was only on one side of the upper body, then it became both sides, and then it became club foot as well. The miracle baby was severely deformed. Sadly, they also learned that children with radial conditions generally experience other potentially life threatening disorders including cardiac and renal conditions. There were also strong concerns that neurological disorders may be present.

Angela started to research what may have caused this condition as she was assured that it was not genetic, and her 3 other children were all healthy. The only difference in this pregnancy was the presence of Essure. Angela discovered that Radial Clubbing is most often caused by exposure to a carcinogen during the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Essure is made out of nickel, which is a carcinogen. Angela lives in Texas and had no other environmental factors which would have contributed to this condition.

The news that was shared with George and Angela about the health issues impacting the baby were not shared in one visit. It happened over the course of several closely spaced visits. Each time they saw their doctor, it just got worse and worse. For this baby to have any chance at a somewhat normal life, multiple surgeries would have been necessary as soon as the baby was born, and that is only if the baby was able to be carried to term, and survived outside the womb. Normalcy for this baby would include a life bound to a wheelchair, as well as the necessity of other medical support devices. Again, that is if this baby survived outside the womb. Sadly, the odds were against this happening. With the doctor’s prognosis, George & Angela had to consider what would happen to the quality of life for their three existing children as well as the quality of life for the unborn baby.

Angela is riding this nightmarish roller coaster of emotions and with George; they were living out the most painful experience of their lives. During this heart wrenching ordeal, Angela's aunt called to tell her that she had dreamt of Angela's deceased younger sister. In the dream, her sister was in heaven, holding and caring for George and Angela's baby. Her aunt also told her "not all angels are born in heaven." George and Angela made the very painful and personal decision to send this Angel back to God’s loving embrace by terminating the pregnancy. In July of 2012, she had a partial hysterectomy. Since that surgery, her other side effects have subsided. It was confirmed that she was fully occluded at the time of the hysterectomy and her coils never migrated.

Angela hopes that sharing this story will somehow make a difference. Maybe her story will stop someone from getting Essure or it may enlighten women who are pregnant to the risks this device poses to an unborn child. There are women who have given birth to babies, e-babies, conceived while they had Essure. These babies may already have or may develop health issues that have not yet been connected to Essure.

I'm going to end this blog by quoting something Angela recently typed on our Essure Problems Facebook Group, "if we E survivors can’t get justice for the circumstances forced upon us, then hopefully we can at least help someone else make a more informed decision. Maybe we can even save a life."