My First Pregnancy...Infertility, Ectopic and what it meant/means to me
Firstly, thank you for visiting my website and checking out my blog! Also, sending lots of love to everyone on mothers day. You may have seen briefly why I have created my ditto business, you can find this on my Facebook Page ‘@dittoclothingboutique’. In this blog I’m going to be going into depth about my experience with my ectopic pregnancy. Not only did I suffer with the ectopic pregnancy but I also had my fair share of infertility issues prior to this.
If my story can even comfort one other person then the reason for sharing my blog has been fulfilled.
I won't ever forget the date I found out I was pregnant, Tuesday 1st December 2020. I had been staying at a friend's house for the week and I had a gut feeling something wasn't quite right with me. I was late on my cycle, not that it necessarily mattered as I had an irregular cycle anyway. The last few days leading up, I felt so sick and I couldn't stomach the taste of a good cuppa 😅 This was a tell-tale sign for me as I am obsessed with tea and usually drink about 8 cups a day. So I took a pregnancy test in her bathroom and couldn't believe it when it came back positive. I remember hammering on my friend’s bedroom door and the look on her face when she opened it wondering what the hell was going on. After shoving the test in her face, she gave me a huge hug as she knew everything I’d previously gone through and why this pregnancy was so important to me.
Yes I was excited but along side that excitement there was a lot of nervousness too. The timing of the pregnancy was horrific to say the least. I hadn't been with my partner for too long and the relationship certainly had it’s challenges and complications at that time. Despite the horrific timing, it was a life changing moment for me, as I never thought I could ever conceive naturally. It really was like a miracle!
I was previously married and we tried to have a baby for a good two years. In 2018 I was referred over to a fertility specialist, luckily me and my husband met the criteria. If you've applied for IVF via the NHS, then you know you’re in for a lengthy process. I’ve never been prodded and poked so much in all my life and there isn’t much the nurses don’t see, not that you're too bothered at the time. I remember that most of the procedures had been pretty pain-free apart from a test I had to have to make sure my tubes weren’t damaged, a procedure called HSG (hysterosalpingogram). This is where you have an Xray on and around your uterus and fallopian tubes. A dye is inserted into your tubes to make sure they are not blocked and at the same time, flushes the tubes out. This was the most painful procedure out of all my fertility tests, luckily it only lasted for around a few minutes and then it's done.
All my results came back fine and my consultant thought that my inconsistent cycle was to blame, I was then given a 3 month prescription of clomid. Unfortunately, the clomid didn't work and after the 3-month trial I was referred for IVF treatment on the NHS. About 6 months later I met with the consultant and was finally agreed on the treatment for IFV which was to begin in March 2019. Sadly, the stress and issues with our relationship meant that me and my husband decided to separate a week prior to starting my treatment. At the time I was devastated and presumed my chances of being a mum had slowly been taken away.
So going back to my pregnancy; it was a bittersweet time for me in December as I knew this was a miracle but I also knew the timing was terrible due to certain circumstances at the time. Unfortunately, I didn't really get much time to discuss what we were going to do as on the following Sunday (Sunday 7th December) I started bleeding. I went to bed fine Sunday evening but woke up Monday morning to some terrible cramps and light spotting. As the day went on my cramps got worse so my friend took me to A&E. As it was during the Covid pandemic and another lock down, I wasn't allowed anyone to come in with me.
I remember just sitting in Doncaster Royal Infirmary in the waiting room feeling so scared and alone, not really knowing what was happening. I just remember silently crying into my face mask and I had to keep changing it discreetly as I was so upset and embarrassed. When I eventually got seen about 3 hours later, the consultant wasn't the most sympathetic. He mumbled that I was most likely having a miscarriage and that there was nothing they could do. I can't really blame him as the NHS was so short staffed and I guess they didn't really have time to treat me, which was out of their control. The consultant did mention about this possibly being an ectopic pregnancy. This was the first time I had ever heard of the term. He asked me if I had any pain or discomfort in my shoulder or in my lower abdomen. I didn't have any at the time, just pain in my abdomen which would come and go. He said that It's unlikely it was an ectopic pregnancy as I was bleeding, I didn't have the consistent pain but that he would refer me for blood tests anyway. The reason for this is that if you have an ectopic pregnancy, the pregnancy hormone levels don't increase at the level a normal pregnancy would and often fall, which is how an ectopic is often discovered.
I was so stressed at this point especially when I went into the nurse’s room to give blood, I’m not the best when it comes to giving blood. Since I had to give large amounts of blood over the next few days, they thought it would be best to fit a cannula, this didn't go down well at all and coupled with my stress levels I passed out and woke up to the nurses calling my name. After my bloods were taken, I was given the option of staying in hospital to wait for my results and stay overnight so I could give blood and have a scan or to turn up the next day. I opted to go home as by this point the pain had subsided and my bleeding had stopped.
I woke up the next day on Tuesday and didn't feel too bad. I hadn't had any more bleeding and although I had a slight cramp in my abdomen, I wasn't sure if this was normal pregnancy symptoms or if it was due to all the poking and prodding from the previous day. I went back to the hospital that afternoon to have my bloods taken and a scan. My hormone levels hadn't increased much that day and they couldn't see anything on the scan. The nurses did say that as I hadn't any more bleeding, that was a good sign and that it could have been too early to detect my pregnancy on the scan. They told me to go home again and to come back the next day for further bloods.
I woke up on Wednesday in absolute agony, I also had more spotting and bleeding again. I had a meeting and was due back at the hospital that afternoon again anyway, so I still went to work that day. Throughout the day the pain got worse, I'm a pale person anyway but I turned whiter than white and I could barely walk. I was due back to the hospital around 4pm for my bloods but my friend took me in at lunchtime as I looked and felt so bad.
When I got to hospital I could barely function, the pain was horrific and I felt so sick. I was seen within the hour. They took some further bloods and for an urgent scan. A senior sonographer carried out my scan this time and within a few minutes she found my ectopic. My egg had got stuck in my right fallopian tube and had burst my tube causing internal bleeding. The reason for the increase in the pain that day was due to the pressure of my internal bleeding. This was starting to become infected and dangerous due to the likelihood that my tube had originally burst on the Monday morning.
It was a double blow for me. It hit me that my pregnancy was no more, and I was also very poorly. I was taken back to a waiting room and the whole situation was upsetting. Due to the severity of the bleeding I had to go into theatre straight away. All on my own and I only had a chance to make one phone call before being rushed down. All I remember two nurses trying to undress me and putting scrubs on, another nurse asking me to sign a disclaimer about me being put under local anaesthetic and another nurse asking me to sign a form asking whether I wanted my pregnancy to be put in a bin or to be cremated. I didn't know where I was or what I was doing, it was all a blur.
After I was then wheeled down to the theatre, while a lovely student nurse was holding my hand and wiping my tears with a paper towel at the same time. I remember being in the theatre room and staring above at the lights as they wheeled the apparatus over my head, the consultant put the breathing equipment on me and I fell asleep.
I woke up and felt fine, I was drugged up on morphine which helped with the physical pain and numbed the emotional pain too. Even though it was during lockdown, given the ordeal I had they did allow my partner to visit me that evening, this did help. I stayed overnight and was discharged the next day on Thursday. No real follow up was provided. I was told to take some strong painkillers when the ones they gave me wore off.
I was fine for a few days, but then the following Saturday night, after having a few glasses of wine, I found myself sobbing for a good hour. The doctors told me my chances of getting pregnant now were even lower than before, as I only had one tube left and the chance of having another ectopic pregnancy is higher for women who have already suffered one. I sat and cried on my own, thinking about the loss of this pregnancy and most likely my chance of becoming pregnant in the future. I was just so full of grief and anger. Why me? why this little baby? I struggled so hard to get pregnant how cruel is life for it to have turned out this way? I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone, I felt like people would judge me for getting pregnant so early on in a new and complicated relationship and would also judge me for being so upset given that I was only pregnant for just over a week. But even though it was only a week; I had so many plans in my head; Will it be a boy or girl? When will I be due? I already got attached and excited at the idea, so the sense of loss was still so overwhelming. Not only that but on the Saturday night I had the miscarriage side too, which I really wasn't prepared for. I presumed my operation took care of that side too... but it didn’t, and no one really explained anything to me at the hospital. I was just discharged and went on my way.
I did the stupid thing of burying my feelings and even though the hospital signed me off work for two weeks, I went back to work the following Monday, mainly to take my mind off things and to try forget about it and get back to some normality.
It took me a long time to get my head round it and I'm still not really over it, I don’t think it’s something you ever really get over. However, I have processed it and it doesn't hurt as much. I have since come across the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and the information they have on their website is valuable and has helped me so much. I just wish I knew about them sooner or was at least given some information from the hospital to refer to them.
This is why I want to do my bit and donate to them on a regular basis. I want people to know that the organisation does exist, there is help and support available for such a horrible time.