How do I even start this one? It’s quite a long story to tell, but definitely one worth telling, to express my sorrow for all of the women who’ve experienced the same thing and to educate others who like me, didn’t know of its existence until the day I ended up in hospital having an operation.
– What is an Ectopic Pregnancy? –
Also identified as a Tubal Pregnancy, in basic terms, is when an embryo attaches itself outside of the uterus. As the pregnancy advances, the developing foetus will stretch the tube it’s in and depending on what stage it is discovered, if not soon enough, may inevitably cause the tube to rupture and cause life threatening internal bleeding. Most symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding and cervical pain much like a period, appear from 8 weeks and can only be confirmed around this time on an ultrasound scan. As the pregnancy is not sustainable it is then terminated through surgery or abortive medications as a way to plant the egg in to the uterus does not exist.
– What causes an Ectopic Pregnancy –
- A previous ectopic pregnancy
- Infection in the uterus, tubes or ovaries
- Surgery on the Fallopian tube/s
- Abdominal surgery, such as having your appendix out or a Caesarean section
- Fertility problems. Even an IVF pregnancy can be ectopic.
- Some forms of contraception, such as the progesterone only pill.
- Clogged ovaries
– My Experience –
In all of the chaotic preparation for my wedding in October 2015, I’ll admit, I was inconsistent at taking my contraceptive pill and would regularly forget for a day or two. At the time I had no routine; I was managing working full time, planning a wedding and allowing myself to get distracted with other life commitments, remembering to swallow that micro pill every single day was forgotten. Ultimately however, we were not trying for a baby at the time. Being so reckless with taking the pill and crash dieting for the wedding, I potentially caused the ectopic pregnancy myself… that’s the hardest pill to swallow. Nobody could punish me more than myself.
As I did not know what an Ectopic was, let alone its symptoms, I made the assumption that any evidence I did have, was connected to my body reacting to the pill. By not taking it, my body would normally push for a period and would result in bleeding, headaches and tenderness around my abdomen, which since the age of 13, were the exact same symptoms of my period. Naturally, I had never considered it a problem. Swallowing the pill would make it all go away again, until the next time I forgot.
We got married Friday 2nd October 2015, what a beautiful Autumnal day it was. Completely oblivious, I forgot to take the pill that day too. Two days later, I woke up with very intense pain in my lower abdomen, enough to keep me from being able to stand straight. However, having still been in just-married mode, I ignored the ache and continued with my day ignoring the struggle. We went for a day trip to Nottingham city centre, spent some gifted wedding money and later that evening had a take-away at home – a delicious pizza and potato wedges. Maybe it was the bloating from the food that had triggered the pain to increase, or maybe it was completely inevitable, but I went to bed early in an attempt to sleep through it, in hope I would wake up and it would be gone. However it only got worst. Laying in the fetal position on the bed, I asked my newly devoted husband to take me to A&E as something in my body was terribly wrong. This pain wasn’t natural, maybe it was an infection? Maybe it was food poison?
Laying on the hospital bed, still wearing my pyjamas and dressing gown, the doctor came through with the results from a blood test and confirmed, it technically was a pregnancy. The impact of his words had suddenly dawned on me, and every forgotten pill soon flashed an image in my head. Suddenly feeling like this was a bigger problem than an IV drip and some professional doctors advice, the severity of everything overwhelmed me. Having identified what the pains stemmed from, he still couldn’t confirm whether this was a miscarriage, an ectopic or a successful pregnancy and had me swallow several strong pain killers, then admitted to another hospital. I felt completely fine after this for a while, and said goodbye to my husband in the ambulance that drove me to the next hospital alone.
Several more pain killers later, and presumably morphine being dripped through a cannula in my arm, all through the night, I had an ultra sound scan that confirmed everything the following morning. This was an ectopic pregnancy. The egg was stuck in my right fallopian tube. They needed to operate. I cried a lot. That same night, I was taken in to theatre and had my right tube removed completely, leaving me with a cut through my belly button, a small entry scar to the left of my stomach and a caesarean scar above my pubic bone. I’d been observed for another 24 hours, and sent home with more pain killers to heal.
What had happened? Two days ago I was walking down the isle? Now I was laying on a hospital bed being told I was pregnant but there will be no baby, and half my uterus would be cut out. I was so unprepared for the emotional and physical affects of it all. I healed emotionally eventually, quicker than I had physically, as a baby wasn’t something I was trying for. For a time I thought I deserved such a harsh punishment as the damage was self inflicted, how could I be so stupid? When I look at my wedding pictures now, all I see is what was happening inside me. My sadness stemmed from the trauma and how it all came to be. To have this happen to a couple actively trying for a baby is a level of emotion I can’t fathom and will taint all future pregnancies.
Have you ever suffered from a miscarriage? Or experienced an Ectopic Pregnancy yourself? Share your story below and lets raise more awareness EP’s.