Mikaela's experience of a ruptured tubal ectopic pregnancy

08 Oct 2023 | By Kerri

I found out I was pregnant 19 May; we had been trying for our first child after getting my IUD (intrauterine device – a form of contraception) removed at the end of April.  

The 21 May I experienced some bleeding, so went to the ER (emergency department) the following day and had urine and blood work done to confirm that I was around 3-4 weeks pregnant. Every two days I had my blood drawn to see if my hCG ((Human chorionic gonadotrophin is a hormone produced during pregnancy) levels were rising. I had two ultrasounds and during both, they could not find a baby or a heartbeat anywhere.  

By 17 June my doctor told me I needed to go back to the ER (emergency department) and get the methotrexate shot to treat an ectopic pregnancy (medical management). I had two of the methotrexate shots and was monitored for an hour before being released.  

By the time I got home it was around 12 am. I was having trouble sleeping so I got up to go into the guest bedroom so as not to disturb my boyfriend, as I was tossing and turning with pain in my right hip/groin area. I laid in the bed in the guest bedroom, unable to get comfortable. I was told that I would experience cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea with the methotrexate. At some point my boyfriend made his way to the guest bedroom and lay on the floor to sleep.  

Later that night I needed to use the rest room, where I experienced some Diarrhoea before making my way back to bed. I was still in intense pain and had to get up to go to the bathroom a second time. By the third bathroom trip I realised I was feeling dizzy, and like I was blacking out. I got in the shower to try and freshen and wake myself up then I lay on the bathroom floor, wanting to fall asleep. It felt like I was drunk in a way; I wasn’t nauseous but had that feeling of fading in and out like I was intoxicated.  

I forced myself off the floor because I realised something was seriously wrong. My fears were confirmed when I walked back to the bedroom and my vision was going black with my eyes open. I stepped on my boyfriend and dog accidentally because I couldn’t see. I got into bed and told my boyfriend something was wrong, and that I needed to go to the hospital. We still just thought I was having a bad reaction to the methotrexate.  

He got up and dressed and began putting the dogs away so that we could leave. I remember laying there thinking “I don’t want to go to the hospital, it’s going to take hours to get checked out and I just want to sleep.”. I didn’t even realise I was drifting in and out of consciousness until my boyfriend sat me up, alarmed, and told me we need to go. He pretty much dragged me through the house, my vision was going completely dark and when we got to the door I demanded to be sat down because I knew I was in bad shape and needed medical attention as soon as possible. I also knew that sitting upright in our truck would be extremely painful, so I asked him to call an ambulance and my mom and dad. By this point it was 7 am on 18 June, Father’s Day.  

The paramedics arrived and decided I was hypotensive (low blood pressure). They had me walk myself to the stretcher. In the ambulance they tried to put in an IV (intravenous line) but could not find a vein. I was drifting in and out the entire drive and forced myself to wake up and look out the windows of the ambulance at the trees passing by.  

Forty minutes later we finally arrive at the hospital. We made our way into the emergency department and into a room with probably around twenty healthcare professionals, all ready to go. A handful started trying to find a vein, another two were removing my clothing. My boyfriend made his way into the room, and I heard someone say, “you’re lucky you brought her here in time”.  

A doctor told me “I think you’re having an ectopic rupture; I’m going to have to perform surgery. Is that okay?”. I just nodded yes. Someone put an ultrasound wand to my side, and I asked if they could see anything wrong. They turned the ultrasound for me and pointed out to me where my liver was and all the blood building around it. Moments after this I started experiencing severe pain in my upper chest. I thought I was having a heart attack. Now I think maybe it was the blood pooling in my chest and causing severe pain. I begged to be taken to the operating room. My boyfriend gave me one last kiss and I was wheeled upstairs, still having intense chest pains the whole way.  

Once we got to theatre, I was in so much pain anytime I was moved. The doctor comforted me by stroking my hair and telling me everything was going to be okay. Everything started to go black when she did this. And then I woke up.  

I had lost 750 ml of blood. My blood pressure was extremely low, and my heart rate was 165 when I went into the hospital. I lost my right Fallopian tube, my baby, and was recovering from a laparotomy (open surgery), and anaemia. During my hospital stay I was experiencing tachycardia. To this day I still am experiencing it.  

It has been extremely hard and lonely trying to find comfort with others who have not experienced such a traumatic and major loss. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.  

It’s weird to try to go back to normal when I don’t feel normal anymore. It feels like a betrayal to my baby to move on. I keep watching everyone around me with their pregnancy announcements and people who are going to deliver around the time I was, their babies growing in their bellies and it’s just so hard to watch. But I’m taking things day by day and trying to look towards brighter days.  

Thank you to Mikaela for sharing her experience. If you would like to share your experience of ectopic pregnancy, please visit our guide for more information. 

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