Story by Charlotte Lovick,
I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant with our first child.
Although it wasn’t planned, we were thrilled, although a little shocked as well! My morning sickness was awful and lasted all day, but it still couldn’t dull that excitement over our little baby.
Then one afternoon, at about 10 weeks along, I was working from home and realised I had started to bleed. I was terrified and felt sick to my stomach that something was wrong. I called my boyfriend to let him know and then the doctor who asked me to come in for a check immediately. After examining me she asked me to go straight to the early pregnancy unit at the hospital.
I met my boyfriend there and we had a scan. I kept hoping they would tell me it was all OK but the lady scanning is confirmed there was nothing there. She carried on checking and then found a mass in my Fallopian tube. They confirmed that they thought it was an ectopic pregnancy.
The rest of that day was a blur, I text my parents and told them we had lost the baby, as I couldn’t bear calling them and saying it out loud. I don’t remember anything else of that night at all. I guess the shock has blocked it out of my memory.
Over the next week I had to go and get blood tests every 2 days to check my levels of the pregnancy hormone were decreasing. There was a risk the the tube could rupture which would be very dangerous for me, so I was monitored closely.
I still hadn’t told work about it, as they didn’t even know I was pregnant to begin with, so I was popping to the hospital in my lunch breaks and then going back to work and trying to act normal and put on a smile.
We were also due to go on holiday in a week and a half so we were just hoping to get the all clear and have some rest and recover on holiday.
However, my body had other ideas. My pregnancy hormone levels were still very high after a week of tests and showed little sign of decreasing. The doctors weren’t happy and felt the risk of my tube rupturing was now a very possible outcome.
That Friday they called me up late in the evening and asked me to come in immediately as they wanted to operate as soon as possible to remove my tube. Shocked, I grabbed as much as I could, shoved it in a bag and we drove to the hospital. I remember crying in the car and feeling so sick with nerves.
I was checked in and taken to a single room, which was a god send. They and put me on nil by mouth until the morning when they would operate. However my hormone levels had dropped slightly by the morning so they held off again and monitored me throughout the day and night. The next morning they said I could go home again and continue the outpatient monitoring at the hospital.
The following week continued as before with the blood tests every two days. On the Friday I went in on my lunch break and had the test. They asked me to wait as they wanted to discuss my case with the other doctors.
Shortly they came back and told me that they wanted to operate immediately. My hormone levels had stopped decreasing again and they felt the risk of the tube rupturing was now too strong to leave any longer. I was completely unprepared. I had just eaten a sandwich while I waited for the test results meaning they couldn’t operate for at least 4 hours. I had also left my bag and laptop at work as I was expecting to return after lunch as I had every other day. In a panic I called my boyfriend, who arranged to collect my stuff from work and meet me at the hospital.
I also now had to tell work what had been happening as I had hoped to deal with it quietly and privately. I text my boss, which was probably not the most professional way of doing it, but I couldn’t face calling her and I wasn’t feeling strong enough to go over it all.
I had gotten to know a few of the staff in the early pregnancy unit throughout this, and one in particular was so kind. She kept me in the unit until she knew a private room was coming free on the ward. She didn't want me to have to go into a ward bed with everyone else. I wish I had gotten her name because her kindness really helped me at such an awful time.
My parents were in London that night for a rare trip away, so I asked Steve not to tell them until after the operation. No point in them worrying and ruining their trip.
Steve’s parents were on their way to Malaysia for the family wedding we were also due to attend in a few days time. So we held off telling them as well.
We killed time while waiting to be taken to theatre calling up and cancelling all our hotels and flights. Luckily we didn’t lose too much money, the travel companies were pretty good about the situation.
At 7pm I was wheeled into theatre. I still remember my terror as I was whisked through the deserted hospital corridors on the bed. The operating room was bright and white. They put an oxygen mask over my mouth and injected me with the anaesthetic. As I drifted off to sleep I remember panicking that the oxygen mask wasn’t working and I was suffocating. Next thing I remember is waking up in recovery. I was wheeled back Into my room where Steve was waiting. It was gone 11 and the operation had taken longer than expected as there had been some complications but in the end they had successfully removed the baby and tube.
I sent Steve home to get some sleep. I was awake a lot in the night so I ended up catching up on work emails. Although given the amount of pain medication I was on I don’t know how much sense they made!
We told family the next day and as predicted my parents came back from London immediately. I was hooked up to drips and probably looking a right state so I think they were shocked to see me. Although we all knew why I was there, nobody ever mentioned the baby. Myself included. I could talk about the procedure in depth but not once did I publicly acknowledge the loss of our baby.
Once home I gradually recovered. Physically if not mentally. After about a month I was back at work. Only one or two people knew why I was absent, I couldn’t bear to talk about it so I preferred it this way. I believe a rumour had gone round that I was in a car crash! I didn’t bother to correct it.
I don’t think I ever fully dealt with my loss. I blocked out as much as I could and manically focused on getting pregnant again. I knew our chances were significantly reduced due to the tube removal so I was in a mission. Month after month went by with no positive tests, until one day I saw a faint line on the test.
My joy was muted this time, I was happy but full of apprehension in case this happened again. And I was right to be cautious. A few days later, on our anniversary trip away to a lovely hotel, I started to bleed. By the next morning I knew we had lost this baby too.
The next few weeks are a bit of a blur but within 4 weeks we were pregnant again. This time we had a scan at 6 weeks which confirmed it was a viable pregnancy and 9 months later gave birth to our amazing little girl. She’s now two years old and we also have a little boy aged 8 months.
I found that each pregnancy was overshadowed by a cloud of doubt. I was just waiting for the bleeding to start. I checked constantly. It wasn’t until they were born that I felt I could relax. I wasn’t taking anything for granted until they were in my arms.
Despite everything we were lucky in the end and I am so grateful for my two miracles!
After 9 miscarriages and a termination for medical reasons, Ellie decided to take part in a medical research trial. Soon after, her first rainbow baby, Aidan, was born. Two years later, Ellie and her husband Mike decided that it was time to try again. They sadly lost two more babies to miscarriage. Ellie tried again and fell pregnant for the 14th time. She gave birth to her second rainbow baby, Sam, in 2019.
“When people ask if I have any children, I say yes. Because I do. Just because they’re not with me, doesn’t mean I’m not a mother.”
"While I have very limited control over something that matters so much to me, I am determined to control my outlook on life. I want to see what life throws at me and to live it to the fullest. If that means carrying on my amazing life without my own children, then I’ll take it."
When I called the Tommy’s helpline, the midwife was so caring and supportive. In that time of complete numbness and confusion, I needed both kindness and direction. I am so thankful I had access to that.
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