Emily's heterotopic pregnancy journey

08 Oct 2023 | By Kerri

Last April I had a miscarriage. I was 10 weeks with my first pregnancy and it was the worst time of my life. I spent weeks (all while off work) going back and forth for scans and blood tests. They were checking my hCG (Human chorionic gonadotrophin is a hormone produced during pregnancy) levels which were too high and not reducing as they should. Only when they did could finally confirm I had miscarried. I ended up having medical management.  

A week after I miscarried, I was back at work. I needed some normality after such a horrid time. Monday morning, I arrived to teach my class of 7–8-year-olds. By 9.30am I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand up. I felt faint, sick, I was clammy and cold, the sweat was pouring out of me. The teacher in the classroom next door took one look at me and ran to get the headteacher. I was sent home immediately as I clearly wasn’t okay.  

My class told me after, that I’d gone grey and looked like a zombie. I worry now how scared they must’ve been seeing that, because I was terrified.  

I was admitted into hospital after a long wait, unable to move for hours because the pain was so bad, and my stomach was so bloated. Based on my recent miscarriage the doctors thought it was an infection related to it. By Wednesday they’d moved me to a surgical ward and booked me in for laparoscopic surgery that Friday to remove the infected tissue. My surgery was pushed back a few times and I was terrified as I waited. It went well but the results were surprising. My left Fallopian tube had ruptured due to an ectopic pregnancy; a second pregnancy that hadn’t been seen on scans as the ovary had been covering it. The pain all made sense now. The fluid they saw on the ultrasound taken during the hospital stay hadn’t been infections, but blood.  

To have pregnancies in the womb and a tube at the same time was very unusual (known as a heterotopic pregnancy). I was told I was extremely lucky. Lucky to be alive.  

During the surgery they had discovered severe endometriosis. This was all over my left tube. Something that had probably caused the pregnancy to become ectopic but also saved my life. It prevented the ruptured tube from causing me to bleed out. The endometriosis was removed along with the Fallopian tube. I don’t know much about it, but the pain and periods I had my whole life made sense now.  

It’s been a year and it’s still surreal to think of that five-week period in my life. For me everything changed, and I didn’t feel like myself for a long time. I felt like my body had failed me. I know now there’s nothing that could have been done to save either pregnancy. It’s been a long journey, mentally and physically.  

I’ve learned to trust my instincts more. I knew from the start that something was wrong and questioned an ectopic pregnancy the whole time. Learn the symptoms and listen to your body. You know you best. I wish I had known about The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust at the time. I’ve learned so much since my surgery on 13/5/22, but it was all self-researched. The hospital didn’t provide much information really.  

I took part in this year’s 80 in 1 challenge so that others have better information than I did and that no one else’s journey is as long, as dragged out, and as confusing as mine was. To lose a baby is heart-breaking, to lose a baby and then be isolated in hospital; alone, uncertain and scared was the worst week of my life. I am so grateful for my husband and all the support that he gave me during this horrid time.

Thank you to Emily 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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