I thought everything was going well with my pregnancy. I was feeling a little queasy, but that was quite reassuring. I was prepared for miscarriage, as I knew how common they are. But when I was about seven weeks pregnant, I started to notice some brownish discharge, and I had some mild cramps. I didn’t worry too much at first, but after a few days the cramps started becoming sometimes painful. A lot of the time I felt fine, so I still thought things might be ok. I think I was in denial, to be honest. I also wonder whether I played down my symptoms and anxieties when I initially spoke to a doctor on the phone.
After the pain got worse and I noticed a pain in my shoulder, I rang 111 and spoke to a doctor. He told me to go to A&E (accident and emergency department), as he said I might have an ectopic pregnancy. I was seen at an early pregnancy unit and, after a worrying wait, I had a scan and very quickly was given a blood transfusion. I was then taken for keyhole surgery. It was surreal and quite scary, but the staff were so kind and, when I look back, did an amazing job of making sure I didn’t panic too much, despite the urgency of the situation.
I wasn’t seen by a doctor after the operation, which is a real shame. The unit had lots of emergencies that day, so I think they hadn’t had time to talk to me about what happened, and what to do next (it was in the middle of the pandemic). I should have asked to have been seen, but I somehow didn’t think of it at the time.
I was very quick to recover from the operation, and I didn’t feel any grief. The surgery itself was amazing and the scars tiny! But I worried a lot about getting pregnant again, whether I would be able to, and whether I would have another ectopic.
I started trying for a baby again three months after my operation, and got pregnant straight away. I was happy but also very anxious – I had to go for a lot of scans to make sure the embryo was in the womb. It was a really hard time.
After a difficult birth (and another emergency operation!) I now have a little daughter who is nearly a year old. She’s amazing!
I didn’t know anything about ectopic pregnancies until I read about them a few days before my operation. I think it’s something people don’t talk about. If I had been aware, I think I could have been helped at an earlier stage, and perhaps might not have had emergency surgery. I want more people to talk about ectopic pregnancies, and the warning signs.
My advice to anyone who thinks that something isn’t right is to get help immediately. Don’t play down any worries or pain. If you are planning to get pregnant, read up about miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies aren’t that rare. If you have one, make sure you get the help you need afterwards, especially if you are planning another pregnancy.