Ectopic Pregnancy

"A pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside the womb, typically in a fallopian tube.
- one in every 100 women run the risk of an ectopic pregnancy."


Today I have decided, after a year has now passed, I wanted to share my experience of an ectopic pregnancy with you all as this was one of the reasons I took a break from blogging. It is a subject that has been quite public recently after Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore spoke about her ectopic pregnancy.

I wanted to share my experience after reading other people's stories and to also talk openly about it because, before having an ectopic, I didn't know too much about it and what it really meant.

In April 2015 I had just moved house and I hosted a moving in party with all of my friends and family, everything was happy and normal however deep down I knew I felt different. I felt fat, swollen and my boobs were driving me insane, hard, massive and just generally getting in the way of wearing anything remotely fitted, but because of not falling pregnant previously and thinking I may have had fertility issues I just pushed any thoughts of being pregnant to the back of my mind. I had missed a period, but that was not unusual for my lazy body to be late and play tricks on me. A day or so after the party I told my friend my period was quite late so she bought me a pregnancy test and made me do it, it was positive, but, I didn't believe it so I said it was negative. The next day I bought a mountain of tests myself.....all positive so I came clean - I was pregnant. It was a HUGE shock to me and it took time to sink in. I was scared and emotional (damn hormones) but eventually I was happy and felt quite excited, I now had a reason behind feeling like a hormonal hippo!

A week later I had some very slight bleeding, very slight, nothing like a period, so it didn't alarm me and after speaking to friends who had children already, it seemed quite common, so I carried on in my little fat bubble.

I told my boss a few days later, just in case anything happened to me at work. I mentioned the bleed and she forced me to go to the doctors, this was at 9am. I made my way to the doctors blissfully unaware as to how that day would actually unfold.....

The doctor told me everything should be fine however I would need to be checked out at the EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit) at the hospital so off I went, still very much thinking everything was fine and actually quite excited to be having a scan earlier than you normally would.

I was on my own as I didn't want to worry anyone, I honestly thought everything was fine. Three nurses came in to the room and sat around me, the worry only started when the nurse's face looked confused, she kept wiggling the scanner over my tummy and before she said a word I knew something was wrong.

She couldn't see anything in my womb.

I instantly started to cry.....A LOT, she told me this could be normal, if it was very very early stages of pregnancy then it may not be detected in my womb so she sent me for a blood test to see what my HCG levels were, if they were below a certain level then that would have been the case, however mine came back in the thousands, I was definitely pregnant. I hadn't had a miscarriage as she did a pregnancy test there and then so the only explanation was I was having an ectopic pregnancy and it needed to be removed quickly. If left untreated it can be life threatening, the foetus would keep growing inside the fallopian tube and if it ruptures it causes internal bleeding.

I was internally examined by a doctor still in shock and confused. He sat me down to sign a document to say I was happy to have a laparoscopy, I didn't have a clue what this meant, but I signed the document and carried on crying. I thought they would give me a pill and that would be that.

"There are three main treatments for an ectopic pregnancy:
Expectant management – you're carefully monitored and one of the treatments below is used if the fertilised egg doesn't dissolve by itself. 
Medication – an injection of a powerful medicine called methotrexate is used to stop the pregnancy growing.

Surgery – keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) performed under general anaesthetic is used to remove the fertilised egg, usually along with the affected fallopian."

As my levels of HGC were so high I needed keyhole surgery straight away, so I was taken to a ward, hooked up to a drip and left to digest what had happened so suddenly. I was frightened, upset and lonely. The NHS staff were lovely and looked after me very well but I wasn't taking in what people were telling me, I was in a daze and just wanted to be out of the hospital.

I was taken for surgery a few hours later and then I was no longer pregnant. It's hard to process how things can change so suddenly and you have no control over it, none.

I had had my left fallopian tube removed, this was a very strange feeling to get my head around, we can't feel our tubes or ovaries, we don't feel they are there, but when someone takes one away it makes you feel violated and you want it back! It worried me about the chances of having children in the future, but at 1am (the time I came out of surgery) I had no one to talk to or ask, so I tried my very best to get some sleep.

The next morning I was in a lot of pain, I had stitches in three places down my belly button and on each side of me where they went in to remove/check my tubes. It was extremely sore and tender making sitting up and bending almost impossible. The surgeon came to see me and explained he had removed my left fallopian tube and checked that my other tube was healthy (which luckily it is) he also explained the chances/risks of conceiving in the future.

"Most women who have had an ectopic pregnancy will be able to get pregnant again, even if they've had a fallopian tube removed. Overall, 65% of women achieve a successful pregnancy within 18 months of an ectopic pregnancy. Occasionally, it may be necessary to use fertility treatment such as IVF.
The chances of having another ectopic pregnancy are higher if you've had one before, but the risk is still small (around 10%)."

I was able to go home that day and to be honest I tried to act as normal. I took a few days off work and let my stitches heal, I sort of ignored what had happened, but as time went on the emotional side of what had happened effected me and in turn was the end of my long term relationship.

Over several months I battled to ignore that I was upset, thinking it was stupid to be upset about something like that, I told myself I was being silly, friends helped comfort me and still do, I then found a very helpful website http://www.ectopic.org.uk/ which had so much useful, clear and detailed information, I sat and read the whole website, it helped me fully understand what had happened. I read forums about other peoples experiences and then understood I was entitled to be upset and needed to give myself time to get my head around what had happened and that I wasn't any less of a woman for going through it, and, most importantly, it wasn't my fault.




It's taken over a year for me to talk openly about it, and how I felt and still feel, but anyone that has suffered an ectopic, miscarriage or any form of pregnancy loss in any way should be able to talk openly about it and know there is help and support out there for them. If you are pregnant and are worried about anything at all, go and see your GP as soon as possible, if my boss hadn't send me to the doctors I know I wouldn't have gone and things could have been a lot worse.

I know this post has been a lengthy one, but now I am in a much much happier place and I am excited and positive for what the future holds.

If anyone needs help and support, please visit http://www.ectopic.org.uk/.

*This is NOT a sponsored post - I just think the website should be recognised*

CONVERSATION

2 Comments:

  1. I don't think people 'get' fertility issues and just how much they can affect our mental health and overall wellbeing. I have not had an ectopic pregnancy and in fact I would not have been able to get pregnant at all were it not for the support of an assisted conception unit at my local hospital where I had IVF. However I've known so many friends who have had ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages at various stages and the utter lack of compassion from people is astounding. Comments I've heard like "Oh don't worry she'll get pregnant again" and "At least it wasn't too far along" or "It would have had to be removed anyway" may well all be factually true but are so cutting to the person who for a while knew that they had a little person they were growing - someone who was part of them - and that was gone. So thank you for being brave enough to share your story and for bringing awareness to this difficult topic.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear what you went through. My aunt had an ectopic pregnancy when I was younger and she almost died, unfortunately it left her unable to have kids. It was such a scary ordeal for her, I can imagine it was for you too.

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