Sisters, Jill and Helen's, letters to each other

11 Oct 2021 | By Kerri

Jill's letter to Helen

Dear Helen,

There are key moments in our lives and I still very clearly remember being told that you were very poorly and had been rushed to hospital with a very serious and life threatening ruptured ectopic, the worry and panic in Tom’s voice meant I knew it was serious. I didn’t know what an ectopic pregnancy was at the time, which meant it was harder to understand what was happening. Even though it was nearly 25 years ago, I will never forget that feeling of dread, worry and fear for your life and it was you that I was worried for not the loss of your baby, I’m not sure whether that was right or wrong but my priority was always you.  Thankfully the paramedics and hospital acted quickly and saved you, which I am forever grateful for. I remember visiting you in hospital very soon after your operation and remember how poorly you looked, you had lost so much blood and were so weak.

I was glad I was able to do something practical for you and have you stay with me as physically you needed care (your house was a building site) and hopefully I gave that although I know that I was very strict about who was allowed to visit and visiting hours!  I’m not so sure over the years I gave the emotional support that you may have needed, we just kind of got on with it, as we often do.  I am forever grateful you have been able to have your three gorgeous children despite losing an ovary and Fallopian tube. I know each time waiting for those early scans was so scary for you.

Then I have you to thank for your care and being there for me when I sadly also experienced an ectopic pregnancy 17 years ago.  I was luckier as I had awareness of ectopics thanks to you and my GP sent me for a scan, but as always you were there for me straight away on the phone with love, advice and support and as soon as you could you arrived to be with me at the hospital.  We tend to cope well in a crisis always there for each other.

I’m so lucky to have you as a sister and don’t tell you enough so thank you for always being there for me.  Even though it was a long time ago for both of us I know that the trauma still haunts us and feelings can often resurface and surprise us out of the blue.

Lots of love, Jill xx

Helen's letter to Jill

Dear Jill,

I sometimes think about how we both experienced ectopic pregnancies, although they manifested in very different ways the impacts are still the same.

You were so supportive of me when I had my ectopic and I never imagined that it would or could happen to you.  I was on the beach in West Wittering when you called me to say you thought you were having an ectopic pregnancy.  I was relieved that you lived so close to a hospital that had an excellent Early Pregnancy Unit and urged you to go straight there so that they could diagnose you quickly.  I really hoped that they would be able to treat you with methotrexate so that you would not have to endure the surgery and have a speedier recovery.  I jumped straight in the car and drove up to see you and was glad that you had received an injection on methotrexate.

I remember it being such a stressful time waiting for your hCG levels to go down and the continual blood tests and then the waiting to see.  Thankfully it resolved, without the need for surgery. But I clearly remember that once the urgency of the treatment had passed and the sense of relief, you went to having a deep sense of loss which you carried and were like a zombie for some time.  I really wanted to take that pain away from you, but in the end, you realise that you just have to go through it.

It all seems a long time ago now and thankfully you were able to get pregnant again and go on to have a baby.  But it does not leave you and creates a further bond as sisters that we shared this experience with each other and were able to support each other through our ectopic pregnancies. Even today there are reminders and perhaps we are the only ones who know how each other feels.

Thank you for your care, love and kindness – and forever being there,

Lots of love, Helen xx

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