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From the moment I took the pregnancy test, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I was experiencing bleeding and continuous one sided lower abdo pain and occasional shoulder tip pain (which I ignored). I contacted my GP and was seen the same day, my urine pregnancy test was negative during my check up although I had 8 positive tests in the house, including 2 more when I returned home. They sent off a sample to the lab to be tested which came back as inconclusive. I was obviously not happy with this so decided to mention what was going on to one of the consultants while I was at work (I’m a midwife). She made sure I was scanned that night during my shift - there was nothing visible on the scan so a βHCG was sent. The results were back by the end of my shift and the result was 80 so pointed to a very early new pregnancy. It was advised for this to be repeated in 48 hours, which it was. During those 48 hours I experienced pain and heavy bleeding including passing clots so figured that it was a miscarriage (I worked the whole time with a heat pack attached to my stomach). At the end of my 3rd night shift the repeat tests were taken and the levels came back higher than they had been previously - they were now 162. I was encouraged to wait 2 weeks before taking any further tests but to keep a close eye on symptoms. The whole time I was experiencing left sided lower abdo pain and continuous bleeding. I kept repeating home pregnancy tests which were still positive and the number of weeks on the clear blue test were increasing.
It got to Friday 4th September and I was getting fed up of everything that was going on so I contacted EPAC who agreed to scan me that day. By dates I should have been around 6weeks. Again the scan was negative, the urine pregnancy test was positive and another βHCG was taken and came back at 205 - so it had increased but not rapidly. I received a call from the gynae consultant who told me that the scans and blood tests pointed to 3 potential outcomes 1) miscarriage, 2) ectopic pregnancy or 3) pregnancy of unknown location, it was just a waiting game but he wanted the blood test repeated in a week. The pain and bleeding continued throughout. Thursday 10th September was my final check up, the pregnancy hormones continued to rise (βHCG was 287). I was scanned by a colleague and this time it showed something in my Right Fallopian tube and some free fluid in my pelvis (which had not been there 5 days prior). It was an ectopic pregnancy. As a midwife, I know this happens to so many women but even with knowledge you still never expect it to happen to you. I was surprised that it was on the right and not the left as the pain was always on the opposite side. The pain following the scan was on a whole other level so I was kept overnight for observation to make sure it didn’t rupture while I was home alone.
I was offered 2 treatment options, the first was medical - a drug called methotrexate which targets rapidly growing cells and is used as a chemotherapy drug in some cancer treatments. However due to the free fluid in my abdomen I was encouraged to go for the second option - surgical. I was told that the Fallopian tube on my right side would be removed completely, so in the morning of the 11th September I had a Laparoscopic Salpingectomy. The pregnancy had grown to a decent size it was 5cm x 2cm and blood was already leaking into my pelvis. Luckily it hadn’t ruptured, but that could have been a very real outcome.
I spent a total of 4 days on the gynae ward for pain management before going home.
I am still coming to terms with what happened and taking each day as it comes. Due to covid I had to deal with this while my partner was in another country which made everything so much worse. There was no point in him coming as he would not have been able to visit due to having to self isolate for 14 days after arriving in the uk.
Now is just a question of the future. As you can imagine I have heard all of the stories of people struggling to get pregnant following their ectopic, however all of the women I have came across have all managed to eventually get pregnant. I’m hoping that once my body has had the chance to recover that we will have the courage to try again.
I posted my story on Instagram with some images in the hope that this would encourage other people to open up about their experiences - which it did! And to reduce the stigma around talking about pregnancy loss and ectopic pregnancy. Feel free to have a look and to share your story too https://www.instagram.com/p/CFCXrEljrDk ... 042la8rhk4
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and loss, you had a long road to get to your diagnosis and I am sorry that you have had to go through this but thank you for sharing you experiences.
As you are a midwife, you are probably aware that the chances of a further ectopic after a first in UK is 10%. So that's 90% chance of the embryo being in right place next time.
While generally it is possible to conceive after an ectopic pregnancy, the amount of time it takes varies from couple to couple. Factors include age, general health, reproductive health and how often you have sex, among other things. It may be comforting to know that 65% of women are successfully pregnant within 18 months of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy and some studies suggest this rises to around 85% after two years.
It is also normal to feel anxious about the future. We experience a mix of emotions from wanting to try again to being petrified of what may lie ahead. We never forget our babies, but we can learn to accept what happened. It is a slow process that might be weeks or months ahead. In time, we can get to a place where we feel comfortable trying again. When this is, is individual for each person. There is no timeframe for recovery, take each day as it comes.
Importantly early scans avail. As soon as you know you are pregnant, contact your local EPU to inform them and book in for an early scan at around six weeks. Remind them of your previous ectopic pregnancy. This self refer route is the best route in our view. Hopefully you will have some comfort to know you are under the radar of medical professionals right away.
Making the decision to begin trying to conceive is an emotional rollercoaster compounded by our sad loss. Again, you are not alone. We are here emotional for support whenever you need us. There is a specific Preparing for your Next Pregnancy board you can look at too whenever feel ready.
Sending much love,
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
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