Chloe experienced an ectopic pregnancy, something which I didn’t know very much about and kindly gave me more of an insight. Later we also got talking about obsteric cholestasis, something I had at the end of my pregnancy with Fox and I don’t think is very widely known. It can be an extremely dangerous condition and I’m grateful to Chloe for sharing with me and hopefully it can help others too.
If you don’t already know, an ectopic is a pregnancy in which the fetus develops outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube.
At what point in your pregnancy did you discover it was ectopic and were there any symptoms before it was confirmed?
So I only found out I was pregnant a few days before. I am a nurse and was working a night shift at the time. I had a small bleed but ignored it. Then I had the most intense stomach cramps. I asked my colleagues about the symptoms who then told me go to A&E. When I arrived the pain was unbearable. Within in a few hours after some tests. I was told I was having an ectopic pregnancy and I needed to go surgery straight away. Time was against me as my Fallopian tube had ruptured. All my emotions hit me at once. I was numb, after coming round I was surrounded my friends and partner. I was told it was an emergency situation and they had to remove my right Fallopian tube.
How did you feel when you heard the news?
I was shocked and heartbroken. When you find out you are pregnant you plan for the future and those plans were shattered in minutes. All the excitement and happy thoughts are replaced with sadness and uncertainty.
How quickly were you treated after the diagnosis and how did you cope during this time?
Very quickly I was grateful to the hospital for ultimately saving my life. However I was truly gutted but I don’t think the real grief had hit me at that point.
Did having a tube removed add any strain to what I can imagine as an already very upsetting situation?
Yes because at this point I didn’t really understand what an ectopic pregnancy was or the implications were. But what I did understand was that getting pregnant in the future would be harder and more higher risk.
You had this ectopic pregnancy before you son Oscar was born. Were you concerned that only having one fallopian tube would affect your fertility?
Yes this was a real worry of ours.
You fell pregnant a few months after surgery. Were you worried for this pregnancy after what you went through?
I was monitored closely by the hospital. In addition to this I had a brilliant miscarriage councillor, she helped me a lot. As people would usually say stuff like “oh it’s not that bad as it wasn’t a baby at that point.” It was so much more than that to me and although I was only roughly 7 weeks pregnant, everything at that point had changed. Not only are you grieving a pregnancy loss but I was also recovering from surgery.
Do you have any words for anyone who may be dealing with an ectopic at the moment?
Keep strong, keep people around you who care about you. It will get better. Speaking to others brings great comfort. Create a memory box. No matter what people say they are still your baby. Allow yourself to grieve however you feel right.
Oscar is nearly three now, what's been your Mothering highlight so far?
Watching him grow up, each day brings a new challenge and experience.
We had a chat on Instagram and discovered we’d both experienced obsteric cholestasis. This is something I’d never heard about until I was 36 weeks pregnant. I’d been insanely itchy, especially my hands, feet and belly, to the point of feeling like I could have cut my own flesh off to escape it. I googled the symptoms and spoke to a few Mum friends who urged me to go to the maternity unit. Within 6 days of developing the itching, I’d been diagnosed, booked in for an induction and had the baby.
Obsteric cholestasis is an uncommon pregnancy condition. It floods your liver with bile and can poison your womb, which can result in still born babies. I was lucky in the fact that I was just about to turn 37 weeks pregnant and could be induced so soon. Chloe unfortunately developed it at 6 months and had to have treatment for the rest of her pregnancy.
Chloe took tablets to lower her liver function so it wasn’t as dangerous, until 37 weeks when she was induced.
It can often mean that you don’t get the birth you’d like (I know, birth don’t often stick to the script anyway!), as you’re classed as high risk. Chloe’s Doctor who told her it can mean that any future pregnancies have a 90% chance of suffering from this condition again. But I guess forewarned is for forearmed.
If you are pregnant and have started itching, please contact your maternity unti or A&E. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.
For more info on obstetric cholestasis (or ICP), click here
Did you have any conditions during pregnancy that feel should be shared? Drop a line in the comments below.