Ella's experience of an interstitial ectopic pregnancy

17 Jul 2022 | By Kerri

I had known I was pregnant for nearly five weeks when I was at the cinema with my partner one Friday night in September 2021. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what position I was in and when I stood up at the end of the film, I felt a rush of liquid down my legs. I ran down the stairs and as soon as I was in the light, I could see blood. I ran into the toilet and started to frantically clean myself up and attempt to stop the bleeding before grabbing my partner and telling him we needed to leave. 
 
When I got home, I rang 111 and they arranged a scan for me on the Monday; I had no shoulder tip pain so they said it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy and therefore wasn’t an emergency, so I just had to take it easy but carry on as normal over the course of the weekend. I was nervous and sad and had mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I had lost my baby. What I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for was the whirlwind of needles, scans and anxious waiting that would be the next couple of weeks.  
 
As soon as the ultrasound began, I knew something was really wrong. I couldn’t see the screen but I could hear the phrases “internal bleeding” and “that shouldn’t be there” muttered before I was whisked upstairs and sat opposite a lovely nurse who very regrettably informed me that I had something called an interstitial ectopic pregnancy and I would need to be moved hospitals as an emergency. An ambulance was arranged before I managed to get hold of my partner and we made our way to the next hospital’s Emergency Gynaecology Assessment Unit. That day was the longest one of my life, hours of waiting and wondering and pure fear before it was explained to me that they hadn’t seen a condition like mine and I was a bit of an enigma to them. We discussed options and I consented to being given five injections of methotrexate in the hope that it would stop the pregnancy; this was a long shot as my hCG levels were much too high already. The next week was a nausea filled anxious wait, full of blood tests and hospital appointments, to see if the methotrexate had worked and if hCG levels were coming down. It didn’t and they hadn’t.  
 
I had a phone call at around 8pm on Sunday 3rd October to inform us that my hCG levels were still increasing rapidly and I would need to go into hospital early the next morning to discuss further options. The surgeon attended a scan with us and yet another moment that should’ve been joyous was clouded with sadness and fear. It was there that the surgeon explained that they really weren’t sure what it was that they were dealing with but that there were significant amounts of internal bleeding and that surgery was now the only viable option; any other management could’ve resulted in the rupture of my uterus. I will never forget the fear that I felt when he explained the different courses the surgery could take. Nor will I forget signing on the dotted line and realising that I could possibly wake up without my womb or part of it at the age of 26. 

I had surgery on the morning of Tuesday 5th October and the fear that I felt going to sleep and then waking up will be with me forever; accepting that I’d lost my baby was hard but the worry that I had lost my fertility was harder. Luckily, the surgery went as well as it could’ve, my reproductive organs all remained healthy and intact and I was incredibly lucky, although the Doctors still considered me a bit of an enigma and the precise nature of my pregnancy remained undetermined. I suffered an infection in my womb in the week following, resulting in more hospital trips and more tests, but antibiotics soon sorted me out, and I was fighting fit again in no time.  
 
Mentally however, I still haven’t quite yet recovered, and sometimes I wonder if I ever will. 
 
I couldn’t have gotten through it without the support of my incredible friends, family and colleagues, and of course my partner. From my grandad coming round to sit with me at 5am in the morning, to my best friend dropping everything to be by my side, my Nan keeping me company and buying me treats, my wonderful mum being my rock any time of the day, to the bunches and bunches of flowers. I couldn’t have done it without them all.  
 
I’ll never forget the nurses who helped me; no mere thank you could ever be enough after what they did for us. They kept us calm, entertained and comfortable. The lovely Sue, who joked with us and laughed with us, made us copious cups of teas and held my hand all the way… she will forever be my hero. I know it’s their job, but we got through the most serious and scariest of moments with a smile on our faces, and that was all down to them.  
 
Several months have passed and I’m still learning to live with the grief but time is a healer. It’s the fear that doesn’t really fade though.  
 
Reading all of the stories on this page has helped me so much throughout my journey and if my story can help just one person realise that they’re not alone, then in my mind, that makes it worth sharing.

If you would like to share your experience of ectopic pregnancy please email kerri@ectopic.org.uk

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