"To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Anyone who follows my twitter account may have noticed over the weekend that I was in hospital. It's the second time I've been in hospital in the last eight months. It's the second time I've had emergency abdominal surgery in the last eight months. It's the second time I've had an ectopic pregnancy in the last eight months.
I'm not going to give too much of a talk on ectopic pregnancies. There are lots of good websites out there. http://www.ectopic.org.uk/ is a very good one. Their forums are particularly good if you're looking for support, or a place to go to release the mental when you feel you've been mental enough around your friends and family. I just want to give some context to what happened to me.
Only 1% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Of that 1%, 97% of those occur in the fallopian tube. That's what happened to me in December. The fertilised egg got lost on its journey to the womb, lodged at the neck of my right tube, started to grow, became a foetus and at six weeks reached a size that my body could no longer tolerate, causing a rupture and two litres of blood to flood into my abdomen, almost killing me.
Recovering from the operation, I was told repeatedly, first by the surgeon, then the nurses, then my GP, then various website forums, my friends, my family, everyone - this will not happen again.
The chances of it happening again are, in fact, increased if you've already had one ectopic. They shoot up from 1% to a 10% chance. That means (and if you're good at maths you'll have noticed this already) there's a 90% chance the next pregnancy will be in the right place.
90%. I'll take those odds.
I took those odds.
You'll remember I mentioned above, of all ectopic pregnancies, 97% occur in the fallopian tube. So, when at four and a half weeks pregnant I started bleeding again on Wednesday night, I also started to panic. I asked my GP for a referral to the early pregnancy unit. The EPU refused to see me. There is a ridiculous idea held in the medical community that ectopic pregnancies cannot be seen and will not cause harm before you are six weeks pregnant.
This. Is. Not. True.
It took me one panic attack, one bout of sobbing down the phone at a receptionist and one emergency appointment with the GP to convince them to refer me to the gynaecology registrar at Brighton Hospital. Then, after five hours of blood tests, three unspeakable (and one unlubricated) internal tests and two intravaginal scans, they finally acknowledged that this fucking pregnancy was also fucking ectopic.
And brilliantly, it turned out, not even in the fucking tube.
No, my second embryo was sneakier than the first. It suctioned right on to the ovaries. Do you know the chances, statistically, of that happening is EQUAL TO WINNING THE LOTTERY?
They operated within 24 hours of finding it, this time a less invasive method than slicing my abdomen clean in half. There was, thankfully, no internal damage, and they only thing they removed this time was the pregnancy. The ovary appears to be unharmed (although time will tell if that is true) and I only lost 200ml of blood this time, rather than the full 2 litres. I'm currently at home, walking slowly, taking pain killers and trying to get my head around the fact that first a foetus and then an embryo tried to kill me in the last eight months.
I feel like Lois Griffin. I'm terrified about getting pregnant again. What if it's successful, gets to the womb, grows into an actual human person? What would it do then?