I had a rare condition of ectopic pregnancy. It is called Cornual Ectopic Pregnancy. Only 2-3% of chances that it will occur in ectopic pregnancies and I am the unlucky one. I did some Google search, check this out. Instead of having right fallopian tube removed, I have a little top part of my uterus (right side) removed, picture illustrated below (the draw circle). The embryo was at the tip top part of my right side uterus. Cornual ectopic pregnancy is an uncommon variant of ectopic pregnancy which often poses a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge with a significant risk of rupturing and bleeding. That explains why I lost so much of blood. 4 out of 11 who encountered cornual ectopic pregnancies die due to abdominal bleeding. I’m lucky to be alive and I’m thankful to Dr. Wong Chin Yuan from Sunway Medical Centre who is indeed an experienced doctor that saved my life.
The drawn circle below shows part of the uterus that was removed.
Here is my story.
On 12th October, we were in Japan for a family trip, I thought I was having bad menstrual day, it was painful, not an ordinary pain that I encountered. At that point of time, I still thought it was nothing unusual. The next morning, I felt something slimy in my pants, I went to the toilet to change a sanitary pad, I saw a big blood clot the size of a ping-pong ball, I got a shock. It looks slightly red and greyish. I never had this before, and immediately I knew something is wrong. I told my husband and sisters about this. They were just saying that the weather is too cold, and my body is not adapting well to the weather. Well, I did some research on Google about having a big blood clot during menstrual, click here. There are few possibilities, one of them that worries me was that I was pregnant and having a miscarriage. So I thought, if I’m having miscarriage, and that slimy thing would be a baby, it means that I’m not pregnant anymore right? How can the doctor check any results? Since I was not having pain at all after the blood clot, we decided it is no big deal to visit a gynaecologist when we are back in Malaysia after the trip.
Bad Gynaecologist Day
We were busying unpacking, doing house chores, meeting friends for the first few days. It was 1st November, I kept remembering about the blood clot and being pregnant (A lot of crazy things came across my mind), I requested my husband to bring me to a gynaecologist in Taman Desa since we were having our brunch nearby. We waited about one and a half hour for our queue (note that there is only 3 patients ahead of us). We got in, and the same old doctor’s routine asked us what’s wrong. I told him about my whole story of my period ‘expedition’. He did asked me if I’m pregnant, we said no. He never question any further about this. he just gave me one answer, it is normal. I asked around my friends before visiting him, none of them have this ping-pong sized blood clot, and he said it is normal?! He said if this is the first time that it is occurring, and I said yes. His reply was, again it is normal. Sometimes, people have hormone imbalances. Perhaps I was thinking too much. He suggested to do an ultrasound to make sure that everything is fine. Again, everything is normal except my right ovary is about 1cm swollen, which he mentioned again, it is common among females, the condition is named as PCOS. Later on, he did a pap smear and he concluded everything is normal. He advised us to have an HPV vaccine, and I accepted it.
Some of the part sounds suspicious but we did not get a second opinion. The ultrasound did convince me, because he said my uterus is clean, my ovaries are perfectly fine. And I thought, may be I was thinking too much or maybe not. I just let it be. Right after my visitation, I had period again. It is odd, might be the reaction of HPV vaccine, I did Google again, click here to view what I have read.
The Excruciating Pain Day
4th Nov, few days after visiting the gynaecologist in Taman Desa, I was doing my daily routine in the morning, had breakfast, laundry and making bed. Nothing was unusual, until I went to toilet to pass motion, the pain started on the right side of my uterus. It was unbearable. I quickly rushed down the stairs in my house to look for my husband for help. The pain was excruciating. I thought I ate the wrong breakfast meal that may cause my uterus to cramp. My husband came to my attention after seeing me lying on the floor with the pain. I can barely walk by then, a little small move hurts me so badly, one of the strange thing is my shoulder is in pain and I asked husband to massage my shoulder. I really thought this is period pain, I had two paracetamol tablets and it did not help. Everything happens so quickly. Immediately, we decided to go to the nearest hospital (Sunway Medical Centre).
The nurses and doctor acted quickly to my pain, got me an IV drop, and pain killer. To be honest, the pain killer doesn’t seem to work. There were few diagnosis, the most common one is I may have appendicitis. The doctor (not a gynaecologist) in the emergency section requested to have urinal test, blood test as usual. The result came in within seconds that the pregnancy test is positive. Husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. How can I be pregnant when I’m having my period? Now I know I was having vaginal bleeding! Doctor confirmed again with ultrasound to find the embryo, it is confirmed Ectopic Pregnancy. We were sent to intensive care right away. At that time, I still do not know what is ectopic pregnancy. While waiting for the gynaecologist to diagnose me further, we did a little research. We came to realise that the baby has almost zero chances of living. My heart drops, knowing that I’m pregnant should be a happy thing, but ectopic pregnancy is nothing to celebrate.
Gynaecologist (Dr. Wong Chin Yuan) was on-call and came to diagnose me half an hour later. He explained that this is between life and death situation and he needs to act fast, I will have to remove my right fallopian tube together with the embryo. I signed the paperworks. Half an hour later (about 1pm), I was brought to operation theatre. Everything happened so fast, the moment I woke up, it was about 5pm. Still feeling dizzy and sleepy, Dr. Wong came in to check on me. The surgery was 2 hours long, husband and parents in law waited anxiously outside the operation theatre. It was a successful operation. Dr. Wong told me that I have loss about 1.2 litres of blood. My hemoglobin level dropped from 12.2 to 7.4. He gave me suggestions to either have blood transfusion or to consume iron tablets (this will take 1 month for hemoglobin levels to be back to normal). We decided to have tablets instead. He surmised that I might be pregnant for 8 weeks but I’m guessing it is more than that. He kept telling me that I am very lucky person.
That’s when I know my ectopic pregnancy is not a common one. It is called Cornual Ectopic Pregnancy. Only 2-3 % of chances that it will occur in ectopic pregnancies and I am the unlucky one to have it. I did some Google search, check this out. Instead of having right fallopian tube removed, I have a little top part of my uterus (right side) removed. The embryo was at the tip top part of my right side uterus. Cornual ectopic pregnancy is an uncommon variant of ectopic pregnancy which often poses a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge with a significant risk of rupturing and bleeding. That explains why I lost so much of blood.
The next day after surgery, I was still feeling the unbearable pain. Doctor wants me to learn to walk, it was really difficult for me. Two nurse was helping me by becoming my personal walking stick. We walked to the toilet then back to my bed again (about 1 meter only). I still had a tube connected to my body to extract the excess internal blood out to a bag. They removed it after 3 days. The nurse will drain out the blood from the bag 3 times a day. On the fourth day of surgery, the blood drain has reduced to almost none. Doctor approved to have the tube removed. What a relieve!
It is funny that I farted a lot on my second and third day after surgery. It shows a good sign that I releases the gas in my stomach. My mom suggested that I would follow a strict diet just like during a confinement. She cooked for me daily to ensure that I get all the nutrients to speed up recovery.
The iron tablets which I was consuming has side effects, diarrhoea and pitch black wet stool. To make sure that I am not having any internal bleeding, the gynaecologist referred me to a gastroenterologist, Dr. Ooi Ee Thiam. He suggested me to have blood transfusion before doing endoscope just in case there is an internal bleeding. That night, I was given 2 pints of blood. Blood transfusion was not a very pleasant experience! It is so painful, when the foreign blood was transfused through my hand, the feeling is like someone punching my hand. The whole process took 8 hours to complete. My hemoglobin has only increase to 8.8. 🙁
It was morning by then, endoscope was done right after the completion of the blood transfusion. They discovered ulcers in the stomach and reduced the bleeding of ulcer by ‘burning’ the wound. I do not really understand this medical term, but it did the job. The ulcer can be due to several possible reasons, my body was too stressed over the ectopic pregnancy surgery or the pain killer was too acidic (I was only allowed to have soft fluids). Upon completion, I finally discharged after a total of 5 days in hospital.
Today (15 days later), I have yet to recover after the surgery. My wound is still swollen, but I can walk like a normal person now. Doctor advised that full recovery will need at least one year before my next pregnancy. So many people has been giving me different advices and myths too. This sounds stupid, but if you stand on my shoes, you will think a lot too!
I have tons of questions answered but there are still questions I have been asking and have not consulted the doctor yet. Any professional out there who can help me on this?
- Was I having twins as I have a big blood clot when I was in Japan and there is still embryo in my tummy when I got diagnose in Sunway?
- Is my uterus still intact with the right fallopian tube since it was the tip top of right uterus removed?
- I still have two ovaries, if one is not connected to the uterus and only left with one that is connecting through fallopian tube. Will it be harder to get pregnant after this surgery?
- Will I be only getting one gender baby since I only left with one ovary? (Pardon me, this is a myth from my mom’s old friend who also had ectopic pregnancy).