WHEN mum Becca Maberly was hit with agonising stomach cramps, she knew something wasn't right.
The 44-year-old had visited her GP numerous times, but claims she was told she just had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Soon after her third attempt at seeking help failed, Becca, who lives in Balham, London, collapsed on her living room floor.
Unbeknown to her, she had been pregnant and was suffering with a ruptured fallopian tube.
Becca said she had been shaking, sweating and was unable to get off the floor.
"I rang the GP again and told him the pain was worse than labour and something was very wrong.
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"I asked for a scan because something awful was going on and he said he’d try and get me an appointment in the next few weeks," the mum said.
Not knowing what to do, Becca called her dad, Roger Marwood, 75, an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
At the time, Roger had been on holiday and his daughter had called him to talk about how bad her pain had been – and that the GP had fobbed her off as having IBS.
Even though Becca had the coil fitted, her dad urged her to take a pregnancy test – which was positive.
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"Everything happened very quickly after that. Dad rushed over to my house and after feeling my stomach – and having a quick chat with my brother, an A&E consultant – took me to hospital straight away," she said.
Becca’s husband, Tom, 43, stayed at home with their children Wilfred, age six, and Gus, age four.
Whilst at the hospital it was confirmed that Becca was suffering an ectopic pregnancy and her abdomen was full of blood.
An ectopic pregnancy is when the foetus develops outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube.
She said: "I was told that I needed to go straight to surgery.
I was very lucky my dad knew what to do
"I collapsed on the floor of the unit and the doctor pulled the emergency cord.
"Suddenly the room was full of people undressing me and putting me on a trolley.
"About 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital I was under general anaesthetic having my fallopian tube removed and a litre of blood drained.
"I was very lucky my dad knew what to do."
Whilst the incident happened in 2017, Becca now still suffers with the emotions associated with her traumatic experience.
She said that this has haunted her for quite a long time.
"I had nightmares about dying and leaving my boys behind.
"I kept thinking 'what if' – if I hadn’t called my dad would I have just bled to death at home?
"And what about other women who don’t have an experienced medical professional in the family?
"I also felt sad about the loss of a pregnancy but because I hadn’t known I was pregnant I didn’t know if I was allowed to be sad.
"I hadn’t wanted to be pregnant either as I knew my family was complete. It was a very strange emotion."
What are the signs of an ectopic pregnancy
AN ectopic pregnancy can be a devastating event for expecting parents.
It affects one in every 80 – 90 pregnancies, or 11,000 pregnancies each year, the NHS says.
Tragically an ecoptic pregnancy means a baby cannot survive.
This can cause emotional distress for the mum and dad.
On top of that, it can threaten the mum's life.
Often there are no symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, and it is usually detected when a mother goes for a routine pregnancy scan.
If you do have symptoms, typically these will start to show between the fourth and 12th month of the pregnancy.
These can include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Brown watery discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen down one side
- Missed period
- Discomfort when going to the bathroom
- Pain in the tip of your shoulder
At the time, a formal complaint was submitted, the GP apologised and Becca says she knew he 'felt terrible'.
In order to help herself come to terms with the ordeal, Becca has been working with her local surgery to put new measures in place to stop other women going through the same fate.
She has now partnered with the charity Ectopic Pregnancy Awareness, to spread the message about the symptoms women should look out for.
Becca, who runs the 'a mother place' website added: "The symptoms to look out for are irregular bleeding – which may be dark or watery, severe pain in your tummy, pain in your shoulder tip, feeling dizzy or faint and pain in your bottom or diarrhoea.
"By talking about this kind of thing, like miscarriage, baby loss and other previously taboo subjects, we can help bring awareness around the topic.
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"You might be able to help a friend, relative or colleague after reading my experience.
"I want women to know – please understand there is no right or wrong way to feel and most importantly you are not alone."
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