Ectopic pregnancy

  • Hi all a little about me I’m a 31 year old mum of 2 and in the past month I have gone through something I would not wish on my worst enemy. My partner and I had been trying for number 3, mother nature appeared on schedule 12/03/15 or so I thought. Well the bleeding continued for 2 days then vanished then came back and continued for weeks. On the 30/03/15 I took a pregnancy test and was surprised to see a positive given that I was still bleeding, this was the start of the roller coaster. I arranged an appointment to see the doctor knowing that what ever was happening was not right, I was blessed with 2 very easy pregnancies, after a bit of a struggle I was able to see her and she arranged an early pregnancy scan for the next day. Off we went to the local hospital, now early pregnancy scans are not the most dignified of things sometimes they can see all they need to with the “jelly on the belly” device ,you need a full bladder for this so pray they are running on time, other times depending on how early you are or if they are having a very thorough look they use “the magic wand” , this one requires an empty bladder and they may well ask for a sample as well, they place a wedge shaped cushion on the bed and you are asked to strip from the waist down and place your bottom on the cushion so your bottom is in the air. The “magic wand” is not too uncomfortable much the same as a smear test and probably has the same level of embarrassment. Well after a good look around  the ultrasound nurse said she could not see a pregnancy but it could be too early to see anything. They confirmed with a dip test that I was pregnant and took bloods to check my hcg level (the hormone that is present in pregnancy). I got a call the next day to say I needed to have repeat bloods on 03/04/15 as my levels were over 2500 which means they would expect to see something. In a normal pregnancy the beta hcg levels are expected to double every 48 hours so if all was well with me we were expecting to get to just over 5000 instead I made it to around 2650, got asked to go back the next day and was seen by a consultant who informed me that I was not having a normal pregnancy and there was a good chance it was ectopic. I had no symptoms of ectopic pregnancy which can include any of the following
  • vaginal bleeding which looks dark and watery,
  • pain on one side of your abdomen which can be persistent and severe,
  • sudden severe pain spreading across your abdomen,
  • shoulder tip pain,
  • fainting, increased pulse rate, sickness and paleness,
  • dizziness,
  • diarrhoea and pain when going to the toilet

I was shocked to say the least when the doctor told me this she explained there were 3 options, we take more bloods and if the hcg level had dropped and continued to do so we just keep monitoring as my body had figured out what was happening and was dealing with it, if the levels went up I would need to be treated with a drug called Methotrexate which disrupts cell growth this course of treatment means staying away from folate rich foods and not trying to conceive again for 2 full cycles or 3 months which ever comes first this it to give plenty of time for your body to get it out of it’s system. With Methotrexate there are quite a few side effects ranging from nausea, fatigue , diarrhoea, pain and in some cases dizzyness and fainting and since some of these side effects can be the same as a ruptured ectopic you must be very vigilant and if in doubt seek advice a doctor would rather you call them 10 times and all be well than you dont want to bother them and you are rushed into emergency surgery. The third method of treating an ectopic pregnancy is with surgery this does not always involve removing a Fallopian tube but that can quite often  be the case.

I again had repeat bloods taken on the 04/04/15 and the hcg level had risen I was told I needed to go back to the hospital on the 07/04/15 for more bloods and to be re-scanned to check my suitability for Methotrexate, it is only given if your condition fits within certain limits which can change depending on the area you live (crazy I know). During the re-scan I was told she could not find a pregnancy but it looked like I had a collapsing cyst in my right tube tho since she could not be 100% certain I was to be treated as ectopic but I was described as “pregnancy of unknown location”. I was sat down by an unsympathetic doctor and told “you have the injection your body gets rid of it or you have surgery and we do”.

Now for anyone reading this because you are going through the same thing I am very sorry for your loss because that is what it is, it is not just a medical procedure your not just having your tonsils out you are gong through the loss of a child just the same as anyone unfortunate enough to suffer a miscarriage it is O.K to feel sad and confused and angry do not let anyone try to tell you not to be upset. If you are supporting someone going through this please do keep in mind we have all the hormones, emotions  and mood swings of a pregnant lady and we have just been told we have to have medical treatment to remove the baby from our body whether it be an injection or surgery they are both emotionally traumatic we need support love and understanding it is scary and upsetting.

I had the Methotrexate injection it stung a bit as it has to be given into a muscle mass and the one they tend to go for is your bottom. I was fine until a few hours later when the pain started at first like period pains then increasing to more like being in labour. It hurt to go for a wee I could not sit up for more than 10 minutes I felt dizzy and sick hot and cold sweats shaky and it hurt so much to move I was nearly in tears every time I had to. I am not telling you this to scare you as it is not as bad for everyone but I wish i had had more information about what to expect. This lasted for around 4 days then little bit buy little bit the pains lessened. After methotrexate you have repeat bloods on day 4 and day 7 they expect a rise in hcg on day for but there needs to be a 15% drop between day 4 and 7 I was lucky and had a 30% drop on day 4 and then another 19% on day 7. If the levels go up as long as you are still well and still fit within the limits a second dose of methotrexate can be given with blood work repeated on day 4 and 7 if your levels continue to rise surgery might be the only way to go but your doctor will discuss that with you. If your hcg levels go down then you will have weekly bloods taken until your hcg levels fall to 25 (again this number may change depending on where you live). I had more bloods taken 21/04/15 and was again lucky and dropped from just over 1300 to just over 400 so about a 70% drop. I am drinking lots of green tea to try to help the numbers drop and to help cleanse my system from the methotrexate, I still have tiredness most days and cant quite get as much done as I normally would be doing but you have to listen to your body and not push it too hard too soon.

I hope that this helps someone even if it is only to gain more understanding whether your going through it, supporting someone or just want to gain information.


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