About 2.5 years ago, I learnt that babyloss wasn’t just limited to miscarriages and still birth but ectopic pregnancies played a big part too. My symptoms were quite mild in comparison to the ectopic pregnancy symptoms listed online. I hope by sharing my story, others know that they are not alone – Layla Hassanali.
At the beginning of June 2017, I had noticed that my period was a couple of days late so I took a pregnancy test which turned out to be negative. A few days later, my period arrived and lasted about 2-3 days with the usual cramping and aches. A week later, my full blown period appeared, lasting for 4 days – a little weird but given how haywire my periods generally were, I thought it was normal.
The following week, my period showed up again but this time, my stomach was extremely bloated, my bleeding was very heavy, my stools were loose, and I was feeling slight pain when going to the washroom. I had called mum to complain about getting my period for the third time this month but she told me to book an appointment with the GP that same day and to take it easy.
The GP berated me for not doing a pregnancy test sooner, although I had done one at the beginning of the month, and sent me home to do one. If the results were positive and the bleeding had not stopped, then to go to A&E the next morning. If the test was negative, to still go to A&E.
It’s embarrassing looking back now but when I saw the positive pregnancy test, I burst with excitement. I was going to be a mum, my sister and I would be due at the same time, and the bleeding? Well, bleeding in pregnancy is normal, right?
The next morning, I knew I had lost the baby. It was definitely not a normal pregnancy symptom to bleed heavily through the night along with becoming extremely pale.
At 10am, I headed to A&E and informed them that I was having a miscarriage. After some waiting, I was told they had booked me in for an ultrasound at 2pm, not to eat or drink anything, and to go home and put my feet up.
Unfortunately, the department were behind in their appointments and at 3pm, they were ready to see me. One quick scan later and the technician quite bluntly informed me that I was 7 weeks pregnant but having an ectopic pregnancy and there was a lot of blood collecting in my abdomen. She hurried me out of the room, told me not to eat or drink anything, and that they will be taking bloods before administrating Methotrexate (a drug to help clear out the ectopic).
They plonked me in a chair at 4pm in A&E whilst I waited for a bed in a ward to become available. Mum and dad joined me to give me company whilst Abbas went home to collect a few things for me. At 6pm, Abbas bumped into his friend who works at the hospital and I was fast tracked onto a bed with a paracetamol drip in a ward. Now we had to wait for the Methotrexate.
At 7pm, a surgeon came to see me and informed me that my tube had burst, there was too much blood, and I needed surgery immediately. I was so shocked at the turn in events that I just signed away any forms (what I wanted to do with the baby post surgery (?!), anaesthetic forms, etc.). I would be going in for surgery at 8pm.
8pm came and the surgeon returned to tell me that although I was top of the list, a critical trauma case had come in and they had to delay me as the other 6 operating rooms were not in use. At 10pm, he returned to let me know that, again, my surgery had been delayed due to another trauma incident.
At 12am, I was told I would be ready to go in at 8am. My parents and Abbas were told to leave the waiting room and go home. I was put on a saline drip and told not to drink or eat anything.
8am the next morning became 9, then 10, and then 12pm, with no sign of having surgery done.
At about 3pm, I was told that the surgery would be moved to tomorrow. I cracked. I couldn’t see anyone, I couldn’t eat or drink, and I was feeling exhausted and bleeding immensely. And so I called Abbas and asked him to move me privately.
It took a lot of back and forth between the private and NHS wings of the hospital but Abbas finally managed to find a private doctor, who was working on a Saturday and would take my case.
At 6pm, the doctor came in, assessed my case, and told my family I was in a dangerous state due to heavy internal bleeding and should not have been left so long. Within an hour, I was in the operating room where I underwent a laparoscopic salpingectomy to remove my ruptured tube, the pregnancy, and as much blood and clotting as they could.
The recovery period was estimated to be about six weeks long so I packed my bags and went to stay with mum for a couple of weeks. I just really wanted to be with her. And across the two weeks, so many cousins, aunts, and friends came forward with their own stories of pregnancy loss that they had kept close to their hearts. Not only did I feel less isolated listening to them but it was almost healing to hear their experience.
Seeing that scar everyday is a reminder of what happened and what could have been. It’s sad to say but when I fell pregnant again towards the end of 2017, I was not excited. In fact, I was just waiting for something to go wrong and that feeling lasted until I had Aadam in my arms on 9th July 2018. What’s going to happen when I fall pregnant again?
I acknowledge that I am lucky to have been able to go privately and I also understand that whilst my time with the NHS was terrible, it does not reflect everyone’s NHS experience but in fact, shows how underpaid and understaffed the NHS really are in this country. Please do support them in any way possible.