My ectopic pregnancy; anguish, guilt and a near death experience

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Legs spread, cold jelly on my belly, I hold my breath as the nurse circles my stomach with a transducer whilst peering onto the scan screen that I cannot see a bit of.

It feels like eternity as the nurse and her colleague peer at the screen ahead, unflinching, with a face mask covering their mouths so I can’t even begin to read the sort of expression they might have on their faces. I squeeze my boyfriend’s hand, hard.

“To me, it looks to be ectopic,” I’m finally told. I exhale. My stomach drops to the ground. I seem unable to express any words. I go numb for a few minutes.

“So, the baby won’t survive?” I ask, trying not to sound pleading. Suddenly I feel nothing but absolute despair. My eyes begin to sting as they well up behind my mascara coated lashes. I can’t even bear to look at my boyfriend’s face. Somehow, I feel like it’s all my fault.

“I’m afraid not,” the nurse says bleakly. “With an ectopic pregnancy there is no chance of survival.”

One thousand dreams shatter into a million pieces. Then suddenly, without warning, I’m bawling.

All of my fears have unravelled and I feel one of the nurses pat my knee as my world collapses around me. There’s an intense surge of emotions which come over me at once; anger, grief, guilt and utter despair.

“Okay, so what happens now?” I ask abruptly. For some reason, I can’t even pretend to make small talk . I need the cold, hard facts of what’s ahead. My chest feels heavier than it ever has.

“Well,” the nurse utters tentatively. “There are three treatment options. However, as we’re not fully certain of whether this is ectopic or not yet, although my gut instinct is that it is, we will need to monitor you with bloods at the moment.”

Then, just a few seconds later: “We’ll leave you to get changed for now.”

As the nurses shuffle out of the room, I feel myself go into survival mode. Without even taking a glance at my boyfriend, I pull the towel that’s covering my lower half around me tightly, pick up the rest of my clothing and head to the bathroom, weeping. The tears that roll slowly down my cheeks are a painful reminder of the tears of happiness that escaped my eyes during the joyous moment that I’d discovered I was pregnant.

The journey home is a blur as I try to discuss mundane things that bear no importance at all. I feel myself slip into that sinister stage of denial and believe that the situation is perhaps an anomaly; that there is something else in my ovaries and that the baby is just too early on to be seen. I spend the entire night praying. The baby will be okay, I bargain with myself every minute. Deep down, I know this isn’t the case.


Three days later


The pain is unbearable. It feels as though my right side is eating the rest of my organs. I’m in the midst of a virtual work meeting and the pain is enough to take my breath away. I attempt to smile as I watch the colour drain from my face. My gut tells me there is something seriously wrong.

Hours later, I legitimately think I’m going to die. I’m told to head to A&E right away but as there’s an ambulance shortage, I’m told I should make my own way there. Throwing things into a bag, I order myself an Uber.  The cab driver chats to me sympathetically, trying to take my mind off things as he watches me writhe in pain in the back of the car. As someone who feels embarrassed about crying out in pain, it takes me all my might to chat nonchalantly back to him. Small talk has never been so excruciating.

By the time I’m there, I’m almost crawling on my hands and knees at the A&E reception. Another patient, concerned for my wellbeing, comes to check on me. He demands that I’m seen to immediately. The nurse who is supposed to just take my blood pressure takes one look at my tear-stained face and gets me wheeled into a cubicle right away.

The next thing I know, I’m getting needles jabbed into all places – arms, hands, feet – they’re dosing me with all kinds of morphine and it’s not doing a single. fucking. thing. I start to accuse the male nurse of injecting me with diluted medication. I’m clearly tripping but the morphine just isn’t touching the pain. I’m punching the bed soon, begging them to inject me with something that will make me sleep. I genuinely feel death is near.

Despite me thrashing through the pain, I’m still haunted by a million questions. Did I cause this? How could I have prevented this? Am I going to die? How will I ever survive this?

I feel as though my body has failed me and wonder if the physical ramifications will ever be as painful as the mental torture I’m experiencing. Not only am I feeling lonely and afraid, I also feel somewhat responsible, regardless of how many times the doctors and nurses deny that there is anything I could have done to prevent this from occurring. The shame that washes over me is immense. I curse my body for not doing its job properly.

The life-altering news that had left me both elated and conscious of every aspect of my life had suddenly become earth-shattering. How will I tell people? Will people think I’m to blame, or stupid for telling them so early on in the first place? I’d always been an honest person who wore my heart on my sleeve but in that moment, I fluctuate between keeping it a secret and telling the truth. In the end, I find comfort in the latter.


10 days later


The blood tests are never-ending. Check-ups every 48 hours to make sure the methotrexate injection is doing its job by making you miscarry (brutal, I know) otherwise there’s the possibility of rupture or surgical removal.

I’m not going to lie, I feel bitter. I watch as the pregnancy adverts swarm my social media pages, and as people post photographs of their happy, healthy babies. There’s no feeling of jealousy, just heart-wrenching anguish knowing that what should have been, will never occur. My instinct is to shut myself off from the world, to push it all to the back of my mind and to pretend that I’m okay. I’m not. I’ve never felt so morose, alone and afraid.

My body feels as though it’s been through the wars. And yet, I have nothing to show for it. I’d willingly go through a near death experience, or the pain again, by tenfold, if I had the opportunity to meet my baby. This will never happen. It all feels fruitless.




My hormone levels have dropped to 42, I’m told. When I was seven weeks pregnant, they were around the 600 mark. This droppage (is that even a word?) shows that I’m no longer pregnant. The treatment has worked. Once I get down to below 5, I no longer have to worry about my fallopian tube rupturing and killing me. Huge relief. That is sarcastic, of course.

I should be feeling positive, knowing that I should soon be out of danger and that I might be able to live life normally again in three months’ time. So why, if so great, do my no-longer pregnant breasts and declining hormone levels provide nothing but a painful reminder of the life that never was? My rainbow baby is gone. And I’m supposed to move on. Nobody understands the pain I’m in. People tell me to try again. If only it were that simple.

Even if I wanted to, I’m forced to sign a consent form for methotrexate to confirm that I will not, under any circumstances, get pregnant in the next three months, nor will I drink alcohol during treatment, or lift heavy weights. The clinical signing of such a form makes me feel bitter inside. I feel like I could regurgitate the bile that constantly rises in my throat anytime that I’m told of what I shouldn’t allow my body to do next.

If I’m honest, I feel lonelier than I have in my life. I’m supposed to give myself time to recover, to heal physically and emotionally, but all I feel right now is anger.

I’m angry at my body, angry at the nurses that were cold and angry at the people that I allowed to cause me stress throughout my life before and during my pregnancy. I’m supposed to be healing, but it feels like I haven’t even had the time to process the ectopic pregnancy emotionally. If anything, this experience has taught me to be very aware of the people who were never there, the people who care, and the ones who I should never allow into my life.

Unless you’ve experienced an ectopic pregnancy, you’ll never understand the tumultuous range of emotions that it brings. From the minute you’re diagnosed with an ectopic, you’re met with immediate choices that must be made to save your life. There is no ifs or buts, no in between. It’s life or death and you have not a moment to consider what could have been. The physical pain erodes you until there is nothingness and then you’re left with nothing but blankness.

However, for those of you who have experienced this pain, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is estimated that 90 per cent of women who have had an ectopic pregnancy can go on to have a healthy pregnancy. This is what gives me that tiny glimmer of hope during the darkest hours.

1 in 80 women suffer from an ectopic pregnancy. And despite this being rarely spoken about, this number is pretty high. Although not uncommon, they’re spoken about far less than miscarriage and they’re far more dangerous. If I hadn’t gone to A&E when told to by my GP, (thank you) then I might not be here to tell the tale.

At present, I’m still going through my ectopic pregnancy, getting blood tests every two days to ensure things are going the way the nurses hope. However, no words can express the devastation of the entire experience and the anxiety that surrounds this entire situation. Every twinge that I feel on my side, I think I might die. This is sometimes welcomed, considering how depressed I feel.

This, compiled with the depression and anxiety I fear, plus the shame, guilt and other inexplicable emotions, is not an easy ride. Rest assured, if you are going through an ectopic pregnancy, please do not blame yourself. I’ve got to the stage where I question everything but I’d rather this than minimise what I’ve gone through.

An ectopic pregnancy is traumatising, haunting, humiliating, painful and agonising. But there is help available. If you have experienced a miscarriage and need support, visit the Miscarriage Association or Tommy’s.











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