“My baby was growing outside my womb”

Holly Jean Aroozoo-Clarke lost her baby and nearly her life, too ― she opens up about her ectopic pregnancy.


"I’ve always known motherhood was a journey I was destined for. However, after our wedding in 2013, my husband, David, suggested we take a year for ourselves before starting a family. So, I waited patiently, albeit grudgingly, all the while buying baby-products on the sly and stashing it where the hubs wouldn’t find them.

Once the “baby ban” was lifted, we started the horizontal mambo, stat. I charted my basal body temperature and timed my ovulation furiously. Every month, I would take a pregnancy test and look out for signs and symptoms. Every month, the test would come back negative ― it was frustrating.

Much to my elation, we finally conceived after a year. However, my HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels ― which calculates my pregnancy hormones ― were on the low side. The higher the HCG level, the stronger the pregnancy. Plus, I was bleeding like I was having a normal period.

Since I was only five to six weeks along, the scan wasn’t clear enough. My gynae said it could be a late implantation, so I had a progesterone jab every three days to support my pregnancy, in case it was still viable.

What happened the next couple of weeks was harrowing. My HCG levels started doubling initially, but then dropped at week seven. Since no gestational sac showed up on my scan, my doctor was convinced I was miscarrying.

To speed up the process of the miscarriage, I was given Cytotec, a medication that’s meant to contract your uterus and expel the lining, very similar to an induced abortion. I was supposed to take four doses within the next two days and was warned of heavy bleeding and bad cramps.

“Ectopic pregnancies have no chance of surviving. If the baby grows bigger, it will rupture my tube and I will need emergency surgery, or worse bleed to death.”

I didn’t feel anything after taking the first two doses that day. Nothing happened the next day either, after doses three and four ― not even a cramp. I went back to the docs for the HCG test and the levels turned out to be higher than before I took the Cytotec!

Bewildered, we did another scan and were finally able to see the gestational sac. However, it was nestled on my right fallopian tube instead of my uterus ― it was an ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies have no chance of surviving. If the baby grows bigger, it will rupture my tube and I will need emergency surgery, or worse, bleed to death. I had to make a decision fast on how I wanted to terminate the pregnancy ― either have keyhole surgery to remove the sac or get a methotrexate (MTX) injection. The latter is a chemotherapy agent used to treat cancer. MTX, which can only be done in the early stages of an ectopic pregnancy, has side effects but is less invasive than keyhole surgery, so I wouldn’t risk damaging my tubes."

Read on to find out which treatment Holly Jean ended up choosing…