I had never heard of an Ectopic pregnancy before it happened to me. When I was told that they suspected my baby was growing outside of my womb, I was terrified for myself and heartbroken for my poor, tiny little baby, only the size of a grain of rice, whom I loved so much and realised I would never get the chance to meet.
If your pregnancy is Ectopic, that means your baby was never going to survive. It gets trapped for one reason or another outside of the womb - usually in the fallopian tube - and develops there. This is very dangerous for the mother as it can cause a rupture and hemorage which may result in fatality. The best case scenario is that you naturally miscarry the pregnancy but if you don't, your local hospital will be able to help you treat it.
I felt the first signs of my pregnancy on the 15th of March 2020 and every day I became more sure that my suspicions were true. Officially I would have been less than 2 weeks pregnant at this point but as one of those overly observant people who analyze every small twinge they feel, I recognised those changes only 3 days after conception. My symptoms were perfectly normal - tiredness, tender breasts, loss of circulation in my fingers and a change in mood. I felt incredibly lucky that I had no sickness and felt an overwhelming feeling of calm and acceptance. Everything I did, I was now doing for someone else and I threw myself into my pregnancy 100% - luxuriating in it's limitations. I especially enjoyed my new 4pm retirement where I lit a beautiful candle and played relaxing piano music whilst I read under dimmed lights. I started watching YouTube videos of other women's pregnancies and felt relieved that it looked like my first trimester wouldn't resemble a sickness in anyway and began looking forward to each milestone whilst fully appreciating each magical moment.
I had never been someone who felt broody when around other people's babies so finding myself pregnant with my own and the great joy that came with it was warm and welcome. I narrowed down a list of names and trailed through clothing websites, favouriting outfits for every season that appealed to me. I spent one particular dog walk thinking long and hard about prams vs carriers and came to the conclusion we would be mostly a carrier family and began researching the best options. I ate organically, limiting my caffeine and I had already stopped drinking alcohol and was feeling like my very best self. I was surprised at how my pregnancy had taken over my life, every thought I had concerned my little baby from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep.
I was counting down the days until I could do a pregnancy test, knowing that if it came out negative I would have been heartbroken. I wanted to wait until I had missed a period but on Wednesday 6th of April, with only 1 day left to wait, I had began to spot very lightly and was worried, so I gave into temptation and took the test at 4:30pm. I almost immediately saw those 2 bright pink lines, I was so relieved! I put the spotting down to "normal" pregnancy spotting, rang the midwife and made an appointment to speak to her the next morning and rushed off to buy pregnancy vitamins.
I woke at 4am the next day and spent an hour or so in bed looking at the 3D image of a baby at the same stage of development as mine on a pregnancy app I had downloaded and marvelled at the magic that was happening inside me. I started to feel some discomfort and got up to go to the bathroom, sitting down on the toilet I felt myself begin to faint. I started lowering myself to the floor and lost consciousness before I made it to the ground. I woke up to my partner waking me asking me why there was blood in the toilet and my underwear. I knew then I was losing my baby.
2 calls to 999, a canula, an ambulance, 5 hours in A&E, 1 blood test and 1 pregnancy test later, the doctor casually dropped himself down into a chair next to me and told me I wasn't pregnant. I was stunned. The whole reason for taking me to hospital was to visit the Early Pregnancy Unit and now I was being told I wasn't allowed to, that I "just got up too quickly" and "get dressed and go home". I had nothing to get dressed into, I was in my pyjamas and slippers so supported by my partner I weakly hobbled out of my cubicle, not managing to make it to the exit without vomiting. I got to the car and the pain in my lower abdomen began to worsen.
The doctor had told me not to do another pregnancy test for 2 weeks but I took another the next morning. The result was considerably weaker then the previous test but still very clearly pregnant. The pain continued to worsen and regular painkillers were not helping so I got in touch with another doctor over the telephone who immediately booked me into a different hospital's Early Pregnancy Unit and prescribed me something to help with the pain. I realise now when I remember the questions this Doctor asked me that he already suspected my pregnancy was Ectopic, finally feeling heard when he recognised that I was worried that I was losing my baby.
Monday April 11th we set off to the hospital where I was welcomed into the Early Preganancy Unit in Scarbourough Hospital by the kind receptionist, given a blood test by the sister then whisked off for a scan. I had to have an internal scan as I was so early on and could tell almost straight away by the lady's eyes that something wasn't right. Myself and my partner were given a private room to wait in after they told me that they suspected my pregnancy was Ectopic and I was given leaflets to read to explain to me what that meant. There were 2 options as far as I understood, one being an injection to "dissolve" the pregnancy and the other was surgery which I later found out would mean that they removed my right fallopian tube.. I was admitted to a ward a few hours later , given surgery socks and gown and was monitored until after 3 long days and 2 nights on the ward, they determined that my pregnancy was failing and if it continued that way, no injection or surgery would be necessary and I could go home.
Good news. This was good news everyone kept telling me. I was everyone's priority, my health was paramount. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when I was discharged from hospital and every time I received the results from my weekly blood tests and my pregnancy hormone dropped a little was good news. But I was heartbroken. The good news that brought everyone else peace was horrifying to me as I laid on the couch for weeks and felt my body fight to save me from this precious little threat that I loved so much.
I have been mourning that little soul for the past few weeks. I will continue to mourn for the rest of my life. My first pregnancy was special and magical - I will never forget it. There is a plant in my garden bought to memoralise and remember the tiniest baby that brought me so much happiness and peace for those glorious few weeks that I couldn't bury or give a funeral for.
I hope this post finds those of you who need to hear that your grief is real, your baby was real - not matter how small your baby was. You can not replace this little life that was taken before it had the chance to live, but you can cherish that special time you had together which is what I am trying to do now. I lost my baby around 12 hours after my pregnancy was confirmed by a test, but thankfully we had 3 blissful weeks together where only I knew he / she was there. I thank my little baby for that wonderful time we had and feel lucky I was able to appreciate my very short pregnancy to it's fullest.
Thank you to Antony for supporting me through this traumatic time, for taking over all of my responsibilities and having difficult conversations on my behalf, visiting me in hospital everyday, coming to A&E with me aswell as all of my appointments. Thank you to my kind and generous neighbours for being Antony's support system when he needed it the most and for the kindness and care you have shown us all. Thank you to the Doctor that heard me and believed me - if my body hadn't taken over, he would have saved my life. Thank you to every person that has shown me even the smallest kindness in this time, whether you knew what was happening or not, I can not begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.