Ectopic symptoms you may not be aware of but should know
2021 marks the two years since our ectopic pregnancy loss it was one of the most challenging situations we’ve both had to face as both physically and emotionally. Things like this can either make or break a relationship, for us it made us so much stronger as we bonded through our pain.
Two years on I finally decided to discuss ectopic pregnancy, loss and how it actually feels from a very real point of view as there’s so much that a medical journal or textbook just doesn’t explain or cover.
In 2016, the NHS believed I was ‘’too young’’ for kidney stones. However, fast forward three weeks later the UTI that they mistakingly diagnosed was in fact a blocked ureter. It was now severely infected, sepsis had started and the only way forward was emergency shunt and then surgery to remove the stone. A total of three surgeries and what I can only describe as the worst pain ever. That’s coming from someone who has had pretty big babies. They say kidney stones are one of the most painful conditions. I can guarantee you that it absolutely is, more so than childbirth in my opinion.
Well, ectopic is akin to that pain.
I suppose if you take anything of a large size and house it in a tube that’s teeny tiny and expected to function in the human body, you will get the same result.
When being asked about how the pain is or being asked to describe your symptoms, it’s so very common for midwives, doctors and nurses to hear ‘it feels like a kidney stone in my vagina’ because the reality is, it absolutely does.
For me, I knew something was wrong early on. I was getting an extremely sharp pain that sat to the right of my public line, much too high for early pregnancy and it was slightly off centred. The pain at times would cause gripping sensations that would leave me literally breathless, it was always at night and there were a few instances I nearly asked my husband to take me to the hospital, but I held off. I am not someone who goes to the hospital all too easily.
At the same time, I was noticing brown spotting, nothing major, it hadn’t turned fresh or red so I wasn’t all that worried as I knew it would or wouldn’t result in miscarriage and there was nothing that I could really do to stop it if that was how it was supposed to be.
When we arrived for our early scan. I mentioned I’d had some pain on the right side, but was dismissed. The ultrasound technician noted had read our file and knew of our previous miscarriages. She scanned the uterus and found no viable pregnancy but never checked any of the surrounding areas. I mentioned this to the nurse, highlighting that I’d had pain on my right-hand side but again I was dismissed.
I was furious. I knew this was different. No one wanted to listen to me though. They thought they knew better and that this was simply a case of history repeating itself.
The hospital called later to advise my HCG had increased. They were slightly miffed as normally in a miscarriage HCG will drop dramatically signalling that a loss is on its way. The next day we returned for another HCG test and the same happened again. I held onto hope at this point that maybe our baby would survive…?
The nurse finally called me back to say I was to come into hospital at the weekend for Methotrexate. Still, at this point, they were adamant that it was standard procedure and it was not an ectopic. Again I was dismissed as being paranoid.
That night my ectopic symptoms increased. I could no longer stand upright as doing so resulted in the worst pain imaginable. Much like the previous wave-type pain, I felt with my kidney stone. I knew this was becoming dangerous. I was still spotting brown blood and I had intense pain and pressure in my backside, just like I did when I was in labour with my sons. The pain was all in my back and my bottom.
Then the explosion happened.
My backside exploded — not in the way you would think (eww) this was pure fresh blood in HUGE quantities. Apparently, this is a common symptom of internal bleeding and typically found in extreme ectopic pregnancy situations. To be in pain and to turn around to find the toilet covered in blood is super scary. I had no idea what to do. But I held on because I was due to go to the hospital the next day for Methotrexate.
Hospital day arrived. They always scan you once again before they administer Methotrexate to check if there are any further pregnancies (sometimes in twins or multiples you can have some in the uterus and in the tube) or to check if there is any internal bleeding. We went into the ultrasound and long story short this technician checked everywhere, and, then we saw him. He was, wriggling around and alive but in my right tube. In the exact spot where I had my pain from gosh, around five weeks of pregnancy.
I burst into tears — seeing him alive broke me.
Then the technician's face became pale. She pointed out a large white section and made it clear I was bleeding heavily into my cavities. This had moved on from methotrexate to an urgent need for emergency surgery. Dating our baby and the pregnancy they told me he was eleven weeks — that’s incredibly late for an ectopic.
The next day I faced surgery to save my life and ultimately end our babies. I’ve never been onto cry on the way to the theatre but I lost it, I couldn’t stop crying. I hated the fact it was my life or his life. Along with losing our baby I also lost my tube. The emotional impact of that amount of loss is hard to overcome.
This is a round-up of the symptoms I felt. Symptoms can vary from person to person and not everyone will feel the same or have all of the typical symptoms. Listen to your body and never let anyone tell you that they know best.
♥ HCG rising but not doubling every 48 hours.
♥ Niggling pain 4 weeks to 6 weeks on one side above the public bone region.
♥ Intense pains from 6 weeks+ on the same side.
♥ Pain that takes your breath away on one side.
♥ Brown spotting — 6 weeks + (no pain or cramping)
♥ Shoulder tip pain, like when you have trapped wind.
♥ Intense pain in my lower back and in my tailbone and bottom region
♥ A huge amount of fresh red blood loss from the anus.
♥ Ultrasound showing no viable pregnancy in the uterus.
♥ Intense pains when upright. I had to remain flat and lying down near the end.
♥ Feeling light-headed, dizzy, nauseous (blood loss into cavities)
♥ Migraines — more so than normal.
♥ Feeling like I could ‘die’ I never get that feeling but you feel it during this
♥ Feeling like you have a kidney stone in your vagina.
♥ Pain when going to the bathroom (for either reason)
If you feel that your pregnancy could be ectopic or something doesn’t feel right, please, please, please go and get it checked out. Sending you so much love.