How My Baby Grew Outside My Womb

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we present eight inspiring stories that will touch your heart and kindle your soul. This is story number three.

Divya Thomas is a London-based architect and interior designer who has been using OurHealthMate since 2016. Married to her college sweetheart since 2005, her fairytale life was steered off-course in 2009 just as she and her husband were about to start a family. Her life-changing story is one of grief, grit and endurance.

My story starts in 2001, in the hallowed hallways of the London School of Economics. I’d gone there the previous year to begin what I considered the most important chapter of my life. Independent yet ingenuous, I was armed with a burning desire to outshine, not only because I wanted to prove myself, but also because I had a colossal student loan riding on my back. That first year, I lost myself amid the dormroom shindigs, weekend jaunts and layers of coursework. I juggled a busy social life with feverish study sessions that lasted long into the night. Somewhere along the way, my body slipped into silent rebellion. And before long, I was diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

I didn’t give my PID much thought while at university. With regular medication, the symptoms eventually subsided and life settled into a comfortable rhythm. I graduated in 2004 and got married the very next year. It wasn’t until 2008 that I discovered the havoc that it had wreaked on my body.

I remember the day I discovered I was pregnant like it was yesterday. It was a surprise, welcome discovery, and both my husband Sam and I were thrilled at the prospect of starting a family. In my sixth week, however, I had two episodes of spotting, and while there was no accompanying cramping, my doctor was concerned. I was advised complete bed rest and fortunately, the firm I was working for at the time was very understanding. I began operating from home, but ostensibly, no amount of bed rest could contain the series of events that was about to unfold. Around my seventh week, I was pierced by a pain in my lower abdomen that spread like a frenetic tidal wave from right to left. With a hot water bag for company, I held my breath and willed the pain to go. It did, albeit 6 hours later. To my relief, my doctor brushed off the incident as a case of pregnancy cramps.

When I woke up at the hospital, the first thing I remember seeing is Sam’s weary face. He was sitting in a chair nearby, eyes hooded and hands folded. He glanced up, almost expecting to see me awake. Later that day, he told me what had happened. I’d had an ectopic pregnancy, a condition where the embryo doesn’t descend into the uterus. Instead, it implants in the fallopian tube. Detected early, it can be treated medically or surgically. Left too late, it can kill.

Since I hadn’t even been aware that mine was an ectopic case, my fallopian tube had eventually ruptured, leading to severe internal bleeding. I had fallen unconscious, and fortunately, because it was a Saturday, Sam had been at home. The doctors told him that they would have lost me had I been brought in even an hour later. Both my tubes were removed as a result of chronic bleeding and inflammation, and I was told that I’d never be able to conceive naturally. Knowing that I could have died that day, in time, I learned to accept my newfound fate.

Sam and I went on to have two healthy children via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in India, a little girl in 2011 and a little boy in 2015. After my ectopic, I was referred to a renowned gynaecologist who had years of experience treating such cases. She was stunned that I hadn’t been warned about the possibility of an ectopic after my tryst with PID. If I’d been prepared, maybe I could have saved myself from that experience.

Thousands of women die every year from internal bleeding from ectopic pregnancies. I could have been one of them. I’m lucky Sam was home that day and got me to the hospital in time. I’m lucky that my body withstood the pain. If it wasn’t for the things that stacked up that day, I’d have a very different story to tell. Or maybe, I wouldn’t have a story at all.

Why wait until it’s too late? Be proactive and manage preventive health assessments for yourself and family members overseas. With preemptive measures, you can prepare for unforeseen circumstances and safeguard your health. Change your fate with OurhealthMate.

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