My scar ectopic pregnancy – hopefully the worst experience of my life
Today is my birthday. Two years ago today, I was in hospital with a scar ectopic pregnancy. I’ve been held at knife point, I’ve miscarried, I’ve immigrated across the world. None of that compares to the scar ectopic. It was the worst experience of my life.
Dont feel sorry for me. I’m writing this for two reasons. Firstly, I am ready to write this and need to do so, it is healing. Secondly, there are so few people that have experienced this that I want anyone going through this to know that I was there too and I am better now.
There are points in the process when you’re not even sure you’ll live. There are times when not even the doctors know what will happen in the next 15 minutes and there is always an emotional suffering. But if you are experiencing this – you will get through it and you will come out on the other side.
My scar ectopic pregnancy
What is a scar ectopic pregnancy.
Essentially an ecoptic pregnancy is a pregnancy that happens somewhere in the body where it shouldn’t. A scar ectopic is when that pregnancy is happening in your caesarean section scar.
It is widely considered to be the rarest form of ectopic pregnancy. Not a lot of doctors have seen one let alone treated one.
It starts out okay but then as the foetus grows your body gets really confused. One part thinks that it should be sending blood to the growing baby. The other part says that there is no baby (because its in the wrong place) so you then lose that blood.
You start bleeding to death and in the process you are in incredible pain.
What happened to me
We hadn’t planned another baby, we had just immigrated and had a nine month old. I’d also just recovered from a severe super-bug. I’d been on hectic mediation for months and was just beginning to be able to eat normal food. Who on earth would want to add a third child, a baby into that mix.
Nevertheless, I fell pregnant.
A couple of weeks after finding out we decided to go see a doctor and get a blood test to confirm the pregnancy.
The day after the blood test, when the doctor called with the results I told him not to worry about looking after me because I was experiencing symptoms of a miscarriage. He suggested I go get checked out at the hospital just to be on the safe side. I didn’t listen. I couldn’t drag my two little kids to the hospital. My daughter was petrified of strangers. I had miscarried before, I knew what to expect. Once it was over I would then go see a doctor to check everything was ok.
That was the Tuesday. On the Friday I was due to fly out of Sydney to go see my sister in America for her 30th birthday.
On the Wednesday, I met a friend at IKEA and we went in search of the kiddies table I had seen advertised. I made it through IKEA and home. I was struggling though. The bleeding wasn’t easing up.
In between trying to put the kiddies table together I was running to the bathroom to try prevent my kids from seeing all the blood I was losing. Eventually at about 4pm I called my husband and told him I needed to go to the hospital because I couldn’t stand up. I was too weak and I was losing too much blood.
He got home and off we went to the Royal North Shore Hospital.
Thank goodness we went to that hospital. I have since heard that had I not gone to that hospital and met the doctor I did, I would have died.
Anyway, we headed off to the hospital and move through the Emergency Department. They were really really confused. My husband and kids were still at the hospital at midnight while we waited for someone to tell us something, anything about why they were so worried. It’s such an unlikely diagnosis that it took almost 36 hours to get diagnosed and for a treatment plan to be worked on.
I have this memory of being told that I would be taken to surgery and needed to sign for a hysterectomy as a life saving measure. In the background, while my husband and I are trying to take this in, my 3 year old is pushing his 9 month old sister in her pram into the doctor’s chair. It was all chaos and surreal.
I consented to the hysterectomy and blood transfusions etc there was no other option.
The doctor went out and I could hear him on the telephone in the hall. He was discussing the plan with someone else, they were debating how to do this without risk of me dying. Then he was back in the room with a different plan.
The new plan was to terminate the pregnancy by an injection through my stomach followed by chemotherapy.
I think at the time I was a little relieved because it meant I could still have a third child. I always wanted three children and was expecting to be pregnant a third time. Nothing in my wildest dreams or nightmares would have caused me to think this would happen instead.
It was painful but more than that it was scary. No one knew what to expect or what reaction any action would cause. There was so much uncertainty. I was being checked on every 15 minutes.
How my scar ectopic pregnancy was “treated”
I’m not sure it can be called “treated”. The pregnancy had to be terminated because it was killing me.
I knew that I would have an injection put through my stomach but I did not realise how painful it is to have a needle go through your stomach. But that wasn’t the worst. The most painful was the Pottasium Chloride that is injected.
The pain is excuitating. I remember screaming from the pain and asking them to stop.
The first injection failed because I went into Vasovagal Shock. I lost consciousness because of the pain.
The second injection was better because I asked for strong painkillers beforehand. If you’re going through this you have to get painkillers beforehand.
This time the injection went through my stomach and I only started shouting when the injection hit the foetal sack.
The second attempt was a success, I couldn’t see the heartbeat on the monitor any more.
My heart broke in amidst all the pain.
After the potassium chloride I underwent chemotherapy by injection for a while. I was in hospital for 3 weeks and was discharged when my HcG levels hit a certain level.
Because of the high dosage of the chemo drug I wasn’t allowed to kiss or hug my children while I was being treated.
My birthday celebration with my kids was me sitting in a hospital cafeteria.
Being an out patient with a scar ectopic pregnancy
Thankfully, I was discharged shortly after my birthday on the strict conditions:
- I could not be alone or go anywhere by myself.
- I had to have daily blood tests to check the HcG levels.
- If anything changed, I had to come back into hospital immediately.
It was hard being at home because you’ve been away from your family. You’re back home but so tired and easily worn out and you have to be careful of overexerting yourself all the time.
The week before Christmas
I was in the Macquarie Center, a big shopping center on Sydney’s North Shore looking for a Christmas ham. Just outside H & M I looked down and there was blood all over my clothes. I headed for the bathroom in the hopes that my mom who was in H & M at the time could find me.
Its a bit of a blur but I remember standing in a bathroom stall, blood all over the floor and trying to prop myself up against the wall waiting to get enough strength to go find my mom.
I called my doctor and he told me to get an ambulance and meet me at the hospital. He said a million things about the new treatment plan but I couldn’t follow him or understand what he was going on about. Of course I told him I could drive and I’d see him later.
I made it out the stall and to the basins and couldn’t go any further.
I’m not sure what people in the bathroom thought. I was trying so hard to keep it together until I realised I couldn’t drive and started crying because I didn’t know the number to call for an ambulance.
Eventually my mom found me, as did the paramedics and I was escorted out the shopping center and into an ambulance. One of the images in my mind of this time is the elevator door closing and my mom looking at me from beyond the closing door with my daughter in the pram. She must have felt so worried and so scared.
What happens on occasion is that the “mass” is disintegrating and can pull a major artery or is it a vein along with it. This is extremely dangerous
Thankfully, what was happening was completely normal. Extreme, but normal and I wasn’t in hospital that long.
I think this was more traumatic for everyone else involved. My mom who had watch me go off and my dear husband who was trying to keep our lives in some sort of order. My poor husband thought I was dead for 45 minutes as he didn’t hear anything until he saw me in Emergency.
This happened another time on Christmas Eve and again there was a lot of worry and panic. But I made it to Christmas Day and was able to sit with my family opening presents.
The end of the Scar Ectopic Pregnancy
Finally in March the following year the scar ectopic pregnancy was complete. A hysterosonogram showed that there was nothing left. It was all gone.
I had been in a first trimester pregnancy for five months.
While it was fantastic to be through it the hysterosonogram should have shown the reason for the scar ectopic and did not. No one knows why it happened or whether it will happen again.
We have been told by our doctors that more children or further pregnancies are “counter-indicated”. This breaks my heart but I am alive and I have two beautiful children I am grateful for.
Life after the scar ectopic pregnancy
I would be lying if I said I never get upset thinking about the scar ectopic. I think about it quite a lot but the way I think about it has changed over time.
At first I was angry and depressed. It was hard having to adjust to the thought of not having any more kids. I felt robbed, like something had been stolen from me. Physically, I was weak and easily worn out for a long time.
I’m much better now and reckon completely healed. Physically and emotionally.
There are times when I’m sad. I’ll notice the marks in my arms from all the blood tests and it’ll remind me. But this is our lot. What I have is great, two healthy children and an incredible husband. We’re a team and that was just one of the challenges we faced in our lives.
I’ve definitely learnt to accept it. It’s part of who I am and one of the experiences that has shaped who I am. I think it makes me more grateful.
Thank you so much for reading this and hearing me out. If you know someone who has been through an awful experience, please reach out to them today and just tell them that they’re great. Everyone has a story. Lots of people have really had some tough experiences. We all just need to support one another as we look forward together.