Me and my husband Dan are on a new fitness challenge to raise awareness for a charity very close to our hearts - we will be running a half marathon on the 15th October 2022 for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. For those of you who know me well you’ll know I am super fit and healthy, but one thing I am not is a RUNNER! My stamina is great, fitness levels aren’t a problem…. but my joints however are another story. My knees and hips hate running and without fail give me huge problems whenever I attempt an outdoor run, not matter the distance – so this is really a huge challenge for me on many levels.
The reason we want to do this challenge is to raise awareness of ectopic pregnancies. On 29th January 2022 I found out I was pregnant, to say I was shocked was an understatement because other than my ginormous boobs that has suddenly grown out of nowhere, I didn’t feel pregnant whatsoever.
Once the initial shock wore off, we started to get our heads around being a parents in the near future, our wedding was in March so we started letting family and friends know our happy news. Although the timing wasn't perfect we began to embrace the journey and were grateful that we were able to conceive (as we know so many struggle). Over the next couple of weeks, I still was feeling strange, I had what felt like period pains in my tummy and really bad bloating. Close family and friends said maybe it was due to my uterus expanding and making room for baby, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right. We got an appointment at the doctors, and they referred us to the Gynae Emergency Assessment Unit in Northampton to have an early scan to put our minds at rest. On the 11th of February 2022 we found out that sadly we had an ectopic pregnancy, and the pregnancy would need to come to an end otherwise my life would be in danger.
For those who do not know what an EP is, it is where the egg gets fertilized and doesn’t make it to the uterus where it would grow into a healthy developing baby. Instead, it gets snug in the fallopian tube (most common) and starts to grow. Of course, a baby can’t grow in a fallopian tube because there isn’t enough room or resources in there for baby development, and if grown too big it can rupture the tube and the woman can bleed internally, making their life at risk. For me I had caught it early (6 weeks), so they gave me 2 options methotrexate injection (chemo) or surgery (tube removal). My HCG levels (hormones) were high, but low enough to have the choice; by having chemo I had the possibility to save my tube – so I opted for this option initially. You go back to get your bloods done on day 4 and 7 after the injection to see if your HCG has gone down, typically it can rise on day 4 but mine had tripled to 13,000. At this stage I wasn’t in any pain, just emotional torture – and on day 7 (3 weeks before my wedding day) I requested for surgery to have it removed as the chemo was having no affect whatsoever. The surgeon the day after my EP surgery said I was lucky to have it removed when I did because it was only a couple of days away from rupture and I had 30ml of blood in my pelvis already.
I woke up on 17th February with my right tube removed, along with the EP. It was a relief to know it had gone – I know it sounds bad when I say I’m glad it was gone, but when you go through something like this all you want is for it to be over. The moment we found out we had an ectopic to the moments before surgery were the worst of our lives – I had blood tests daily, nurses were drawing blood from veins that were still bruised. My body at one point actually refused to give them blood, it completely shut down and was fed up with being poked and prodded, which actually was how I felt mentally too. If it wasn’t blood tests it was internals…oh the internals; I can honestly say, there is nothing worse than a nurse putting a stick up your vagina for 10 minutes to check that in fact I still had a baby in my fallopian tube. I just felt like the life was being sucked out of me, I felt numb – I had no choice but to let these strangers poke, inject and insert me with a stick whenever they needed to, because if they didn’t, I could die. So, when I had the operation, I just found comfort from the fact that I wouldn’t have to go through anymore of that, losing a tube was nowhere near as bad as actually going through that mental and physical suffering every single day. I remember crying to Dan saying, ‘I don’t want to die, what if I die?’, it was a really dark moment in our lives.
Before I was discharged from hospital, they had to discuss with us about our future fertility – due to the fact I have now had an EP I am now 10% more likely to have it again, which isn’t a huge percentage but when you managed to hit the 1 in 80 statistics in the first place suddenly anything seems possible. For those of you wondering, yes, I am able to have children in the future due to the fact I have a healthy left tube, but of course I will need to be monitored closely if I ever get pregnant again (even though the prospects of children at the moment terrifies me). We will no longer have the joy of seeing a positive pregnancy test again, instead we will be in fear of this happening to me again. But that’s the scary thing about all this 1 in 80 women will have an EP in their life, 1 in 4 women will miscarry – why did we not know this before? You literally go through life and think ‘okay so I will get a house, get married and have babies’, like it is just given to you! But fertility is far from simple and now I know just how complex it can be.
We now, together, want to raise awareness for this cause, but we also want to do something together to celebrate overcoming this challenge we faced together. We are not sure what our future looks like as a family, but what we do know is we have each other no matter what happens. Any donations to support us in this journey is so appreciated, 100% will go to the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust who support women and their partners deal with their loss and trauma in EP. They provided information and support to those going through this horrendous situation and rely on fundraising to carry out this service. We have placed a link to our go fund me page where you can make your donations.
We feel very nervous putting this out there for everyone to read because it’s so personal and traumatic – but personally I had no idea about ectopic pregnancies until I had one myself and I think the more awareness then the more equip women & men will be in dealing with this and spotting early signs and symptoms of EP.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story and for any donations you make,
Lots of love,
Meg & Dan