Whatever stage in the pregnancy you are at, a loss is a loss

Perri, 34, and her husband Mike, live in East London with their firstborn son Matthew, 2. She had never heard of ectopic pregnancy before suffering her own loss last year.

My husband and I have been together for 8 years and married for 4. We’d never really discussed children but then, in September 2019 after my husband had been away for a few months, we had a talk. He said, ‘Let’s make babies’, and it felt right, so we did.

I was in Nigeria when I did 2 tests, one positive and one negative, but back in England in February 2020, a blood test confirmed I was pregnant and we were so excited.

The pregnancy was quite straightforward, although they did say I had an infection and would need to monitor me more closely. But other than that no problems.

When we left hospital after Matthew arrived, I remember the midwife saying, ‘See you soon for the next one’ but I was in no rush, I remembered labour all too clearly.

Thinking about baby number 2

The questions started coming from family a year-or-so later, ‘When are you having another?’ We started trying when Matthew was 2 but it felt a bit forced really.

Life was pretty stressful at the time and my husband and I weren’t in the best place. He had his way of doing things, I had mine and I guess I wanted to take charge which did cause tension.

Again, it didn’t take long but I did have some spotting in the very early stages. A friend said I should go to hospital and, there, they tested urine which showed high levels of pregnancy hormones but they couldn’t see anything on the scan.

I went back the following day and hormone levels were rising but a scan showed baby was in my fallopian tube, an ectopic pregnancy, I had no idea what that meant.

Learning about ectopic pregnancy

I was given pamphlets and it was made clear they needed to act quickly because an ectopic pregnancy can be really dangerous. But I didn’t panic as I knew I was in the right place.

I was given 1 injection, but it didn’t work, so I went back the next day and had a second which worked.

That’s when it hit me, knowing there was a baby there but it was going to be taken away. I remember calling my mum in tears.

I only really spoke to her, and my husband. It was different for Mike though, it had been too early to see anything so I don’t think he felt that connection yet, but I did.

The staff were great and made me feel really comfortable. Then when the hormone levels started to come down, I was sent home.

I had a moment on leaving hospital when I broke down because there had been a little human in my tummy that was no longer there.

When it is happening, when you see the blood, it really isn’t like a heavy period. Physically, I couldn’t wait to recover, to be able to work out fully again, to feel like me. Working out is a big part of how I cope with things, my little escape.

Mentally, talking about it helped and I found out ectopic pregnancy is more common that I thought but, until it happens to you, you don’t really believe it will.

Talking about it helped and I found out ectopic pregnancy is more common that I thought but, until it happens to you, you don’t really believe it will.

Thinking about the next steps in our journey

I felt sad that we wouldn’t be able to try again for 6 months but they were clear that another pregnancy so soon would be a risk. They’ve been clear that if I do get pregnant again I’m at a higher risk of ectopic and they would have to monitor me more closely.

I still want more children and I feel it would be lovely for Matthew to have a bit of company, but it’s a process and that process does feel nerve-wracking but I always try to think positive.

I did question why this happened to me. Should I have come off the pill earlier? Did we try too soon? You question yourself.

Unless someone has gone through loss they can’t really empathise and, whatever stage in the pregnancy you are at, a loss is a loss. You grieve for what could have been.

I hope people read this and think, ‘Perri went through this, I’m not alone.’ I hope they see that there are people out there that understand what they are going through. Also, I’m an athlete, I’m fit and healthy, this can happen to anyone. I didn’t believe it would happen to me, but it did.

I came across Tommy’s when I was working with an organisation called Five X More which raises awareness that black women are 5 times more at risk of dying in childbirth. 

I asked myself what I could do to support Tommy’s and that’s why I’m running the marathon. There have been times when I couldn’t work out so I don’t take it for granted and running brings me joy, although I’m not sure running a marathon will!

It’s my first one but I’m always up for a challenge. Although I did some long-distance at school, I’m a 400m hurdler so distance isn’t really my thing but it’s not about the time for me, it’s about finishing. It’s about taking something positive from my experience of loss.

Perri is running the London Marathon for Tommy’s to raise awareness of baby loss and sharing her story as part of our #WeSeeAMum campaign in the hope it makes others feel less alone.