Ectopic Pregnancy was definitely one of those things I thought happened to other people.
I remember reading up on Ectopic pregnancies when I was pregnant with Oliver due to some really odd pains and, because as a first time Mum, the Internet seemed to have an answer to every question.
In August of this year, I was so glad I had.
To be honest, nothing I had read about Ectopic pregnancies related to what I went through, but I was at least aware that things can go wrong in a pregnancy and that Ectopic pregnancy can be a cause of serious pain.
I was five and a half weeks pregnant when I started to get a sharp twinge on my left side. I have the exact pain all the time due to ovarian cysts, so I just ignored it.
Night time came, the pain had gone, and I fell asleep on the sofa. At 11pm I woke up to the weirdest pain; It felt like electric shocks in both my front and back parts (sorry TMI)
I felt like I really needed to go to the loo, but the pain didn´t subside.
I went to bed hoping it would go away, and for a while it did. I woke up at 3am to the same weird pains. I knew something wasn´t right. I went towards the bathroom and was doubled up with pain. I had no pain in my ovaries, or stomach area, contrary to what all Ectopic websites had said you would experience. I also had no bleeding.
I finally persuaded Nacho to wake up my son and get me to the Hospital.
There, they did a blood test to confirm pregnancy and gave me something to calm the pain. I almost went home, the pain seemed to be subsiding so much.
As Nacho stepped out to the car with Oliver to get some sleep, the nurse called and said I would need to see a Doctor just incase.
Twenty minutes later I suddenly passed out and was taken in to have a scan. The Doctor´s told me that it was probably a tubal ectopic pregnancy and that we would ´wait things out.´
I didn´t know this, but Ectopics sometimes resolve on their own, and sometimes, you can be given a drug called Methotrexate, that causes you to abort the ectopic pregnancy.
As I waited, a pain like a sharp bubble pushing up through my body meant that rest was impossible, and my shoulder was killing me. I kept telling the midwives, but they had a cesarean to do and told me to hold on.
At 9am I had another blood test and the staff changed shifts.
When the new Midwife came in I grabbed his arm and said that I really needed help and that something was wrong.
He alerted the Gynecologist, and as the Doctor walked in I literally felt like something exploded inside me. The pain radiated all the way up my torso and I have never felt that much pain. (My son´s birth was 48 hours for a 4kg baby without any drugs and the pain didn´t even come close to this pain.)
I started to pass out again, and suddenly everyone panicked around me. The Doctor couldn´t understand why my blood work had all come back okay, as she watched me slip in and out of consciousness. Doctors and nurses appeared out of nowhere and I was rushed to have a scan. They confirmed that my tube had burst and I was bleeding internally.
Papers were pushed in front of me to sign and Doctors shouted that all operations had to be postponed and I would be going straight into Theatre.
The feeling was just overwhelming. I could hear people saying that I might not make it. All I could think about was never seeing my son again and wondered who would contact my husband. I´d left my phone in the car and he didn´t even know they were going to operate.
I actually made my peace with God and accepted I probably wouldn´t make it. I´d read the statistics of maternal deaths with ectopic pregnancies with internal bleeding and I knew from the looks on the Doctors faces that it was bad.
When I came around from the operation, I actually didn´t believe for a while that I hadn´t died. It was all so surreal.
When I was finally given the all clear from the ICU, and saw my hubby, I burst into tears. I cried for about two seconds; the pain was so bad I could barely move. I looked down and saw a cesarean scar from one side to the other, stapled across. I thought about the baby I´d lost, how lucky I was to be alive and although it may sound petty, whether the scar would ever go away.
Recuperation was slow and painful. The extreme shoulder pain, originally caused by internal bleeding, was now due to the gas the Gynecologist had inserted when operating (this gives the Doctor a better view of what they´re operating by making the space larger.) The problem is, they leave it inside you when they stitch you back up, and I was later told that this is a case of wanting to close you up quickly rather than any need for you to go through all that suffering after the operation.
It took me over six weeks to get back walking properly and at least 2 months to get back to normal life.
I still have shoulder pain, four months later aswell as pain around the scar.
I really felt that no website had prepared me to recognise the symptoms of an ectopic, nor to deal with the aftermath of such a huge operation. (I lost a liter of blood, to add to it all.)
The best website by far is the Ectopic org as it has a great community where women who have gone through the same thing tell their stories. Babycentre also has a great ectopic pregnancy group where you can get some answers about ectopic symptoms as well as trying again and getting over the operation.
For anyone who has gone through this, I know it´s hard, but it will pass. For those who haven´t experienced an ectopic, and I hope you never do, be aware that you may not feel any pain in your abdomen and you may not bleed at all.
My advice is, go with your instinct. If you think something is wrong, get yourself checked out.
It might just save your life