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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How gynaecologist father saved his daughter’s life after the mother-of-two, 46, was ‘fobbed off’ by doctors THREE times and ‘dismissed her life-threatening symptoms as IBS’


A retired gynaecologist was forced to step in to save his daughter’s life after she was allegedly ‘fobbed off’ by doctors three times who ‘dismissed’ her life-threatening symptoms as IBS.

Roger Marwood, 76, was on holiday at the time his daughter Becca Maberly, 46, was experiencing a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that had been left untreated.

The mother-of-two claims she was dismissed twice by her doctor, who told her the pain was caused by IBS and the bleeding was because she’d had a coil fitted some six months prior.

Following her third attempt to get help, Becca collapsed at home and was ‘lying on the floor screaming’ in agony. She called her GP once more who told her they would get her a scan in the coming weeks.

Becca was beginning to lose all hope, when thankfully her father rushed over the next morning and performed a well-known procedure on her — by gently pressing on her stomach to check for any abnormalities.

Roger told Becca that he thought she was having an ectopic pregnancy and took her straight to hospital where a scan confirmed their worst fears. 

Roger Marwood (left) saved his daughter Becca Maberly's life (right) after she experienced an ectopic pregnancy

Roger Marwood (left) saved his daughter Becca Maberly’s life (right) after she experienced an ectopic pregnancy

Becca Maberly, (pictured) visited her GP in 2017 after complaining of excruciating stomach pain and irregular bleeding which she claims was dismissed as IBS

Becca Maberly, (pictured) visited her GP in 2017 after complaining of excruciating stomach pain and irregular bleeding which she claims was dismissed as IBS 

At the time, Becca said, there was so much blood inside her stomach, the doctor couldn’t initially confirm that it was an ectopic pregnancy.

‘It was really scary and unpleasant’ Becca recalled. ‘I passed out at that stage and when I woke up they were pulling all my clothes off and putting me on a trolley. I had about a litre of blood inside me.’

Now, the postnatal teacher and founder of the website A Mother Place is using her social media presence to ensure other women seek help before it is too late.  She is advocating for greater awareness of the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and for women’s plights to be heard by medical professionals. 

Over 50 women who have seen Becca’s video have since reached out to the content creator to thank her for saving their lives.

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. As the pregnancy grows it can cause the tube to rupture causing major internal bleeding which can be life-threatening. 

An ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, almost always result in pregnancy loss because the embryo cannot develop properly in these locations

An ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, almost always result in pregnancy loss because the embryo cannot develop properly in these locations

By sharing her terrifying experience of having an ectopic pregnancy, Becca has supported hundreds of women going through the same

By sharing her terrifying experience of having an ectopic pregnancy, Becca has supported hundreds of women going through the same 

The online content creator and founder of A Mother Place now supports mothers to prepare for pregnancy and offers post-natal support

The online content creator and founder of A Mother Place now supports mothers to prepare for pregnancy and offers post-natal support 

Becca Maberly pictured in hospital with her two sons following her ectopic pregnancy rupture

Becca Maberly pictured in hospital with her two sons following her ectopic pregnancy rupture

Other women have today shared their ectopic pregnancy stories with MailOnline and have thanked Becca for potentially saving their lives. 

Joanne, from Edinburgh, discovered that she was pregnant just before Mother’s Day this year.

At six weeks, she started to experience spotting, waves of nausea and lower back pain which was progressively getting worse.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition which is the leading cause of maternal death in the first trimester of pregnancy.

It effects every one in 80 pregnancies in the UK every year.

Ectopic pregnancies occur when an embryo grows in the fallopian tube, rather than the womb. 

An ectopic pregnancy can never be viable. 

At least 12,000 women have diagnosed ectopic pregnancies each year in the UK.

But anecdotal evidence suggests the figure may actually be more than 30,000.

The 2022 MBRRACE Report shows that ectopic pregnancy remains the most frequent cause of maternal death in early pregnancy.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy usually develop within the first four to 12 weeks.  

The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include:   

Pain low down and on one side of your abdomen

Bleeding from your vagina

Pain in the tip of your shoulder

Discomfort when going to the toilet

A brown watery discharge from your vagina

Pale skin/ sweating 

Source: The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

 

 

Waking up one morning she found ‘the pain in my abdomen started engulfing my whole lower body…the cramps were more like lightning strikes in one side of my lower abdomen and my muscles began to get really tight around my shoulder blade and neck.’

‘This is when I remembered seeing a post on Becca’s A Mother Place Instagram page a couple of years back — I realised I was quite possibly having a ectopic pregnancy rupture.’

The 39-year-old prison officer rang NHS 24 for advice and was told to go to A&E immediately where a scan later revealed she was indeed suffering an ectopic pregnancy. She was taken straight to an operating theatre. 

Joanne said she was ‘devestated’ to have had another unsuccessful pregnancy, ‘terrified’ she might die if it wasn’t dealt with quickly and went into a state of shock following her surgery. 

There it was discovered Joanne had endometriosis — a condition in which tissue grows outside the lining of the uterus, causing severe pain in the pelvis.

While Joanne praised the care she received from nurses and her surgeon, she said one consultant laughed at her when she was ‘crying in pain’.

He even implied she ‘hadn’t actually been pregnant’ and even asked what she was doing there.

‘His tone was utterly condescending and made me feel so small and stupid, like I’d made the whole thing up,’ Joanne added.

Now seven weeks post-surgery and Joanne admitted she still hasn’t processed the loss of the pregnancy, but is grateful to be alive as a wife and mother to her four-year-old son.

She thanked Becca for sharing her experience of her ectopic pregnancy which Joanne said ‘saved her life’.

Hannah Darling, 31, from Southampton, experienced an ectopic pregnancy in May last year.

Two weeks after her period, Hannah noticed she was bleeding irregularly and had mild stomach pain on one side. 

She wasn’t trying to conceive at the time, but said her intuition was telling her something wasn’t right.

When Hannah came across one of Becca’s videos online about her ectopic pregnancy — and the symptoms she experienced — Hannah decided to take a pregnancy test.

Hannah Darling, 31, from Southampton, experienced an ectopic pregnancy in May last year

Hannah Darling, 31, from Southampton, experienced an ectopic pregnancy in May last year

Hannah wasn't trying to conceive at the time, but said her intuition was telling her something wasn't right

Hannah wasn’t trying to conceive at the time, but said her intuition was telling her something wasn’t right

‘When it came back positive, I went and spoke to my GP who quickly organised a blood test, but I booked an early scan to put my mind at ease,’ Hannah said.

‘They couldn’t see anything because the embryo was so small at that stage, but they could tell that it wasn’t where it should be. They referred me to the hospital straight away.’

‘And this had happened before I’d got the blood tests back. I think the more in tune you are with your body, and the more aware you are of the symptoms…I was quite lucky that I didn’t have to have surgery. I was able to have the methotrexate injection’. 

When asked about the impact of having an ectopic pregnancy, Hannah said as a mother-of-two already, ‘I was scared that I wasn’t going to be around for them if something happened’.

She said: ‘I think it made me really anti wanting another child for a while because it was the anxiety it was going to happen again’.

Becca (pictured) speaks openly about her experience of being pregnant and becoming a mother

Becca (pictured) speaks openly about her experience of being pregnant and becoming a mother 

‘And after that anxiety settled, I just felt sad about the loss of a child. The physical side effects, they settle down, but it does always play on your mind.

Hannah added: ‘I do think if I had stayed with the doctors and listened to what the doctors had said, it might have ruptured or I might have had to have surgery.

‘I think the doctors could’ve acted quicker about it.’

Katie Flintham-Ward unexpectedly found out that she was pregnant while on holiday in Portugal last year with her husband and four-year-old son.

The 37-year-old marketing manager didn’t think too much of her symptoms at first, putting them down to either the pregnancy or possibly food poisoning. 

But when the ache in her shoulder and stomach pain didn’t subside, Katie was reminded of a video she’d come across on social media.

‘I remember coming across Becca’s post on her ectopic pregnancy and the thought kept playing in the back of my mind,’ she said.

Katie decided to go back to Becca’s post and soon realised the symptoms she was experiencing were very similar to that of Becca’s.

Katie Flintham-Ward, 37, went through an ectopic pregnancy while on holiday in Portugal last year with her husband and four-year-old son

Katie Flintham-Ward, 37, went through an ectopic pregnancy while on holiday in Portugal last year with her husband and four-year-old son

An anonymous woman's message to Becca thanking her for saving her life

An anonymous woman’s message to Becca thanking her for saving her life 

A GP who messaged Becca to thank her for reminding them of the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy which are not always clear

A GP who messaged Becca to thank her for reminding them of the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy which are not always clear 

A couple of days after the stomach pain began, Katie found herself sitting in her bathroom, sweating profusely and in writhing pain.

‘I literally crawled back to the bed and as soon as I lay down I felt really cold’ she explained.

Katie was taken to hospital where doctors carried out blood samples, initially putting her symptoms down to appendicitis. But by this point, Katie was adamant she was having an ectopic pregnancy.

A laparotomy — an incision into the abdominal cavity — confirmed that her fallopian tube had ruptured and her stomach was filled with blood.

‘The operation that I had was quite a violent operation and the physical healing of that takes some time. But every fourth week now, when I experience period pain, my immediate reaction is that it’s another ectopic pregnancy,’ Katie said. 

‘It’s a really traumatic experience to go through and it’s scary for a little one to see their mum going through that. It’s had a lasting effect on our little family.

‘Had I not seen the post of Becca’s, it would never have entered my mind that the pregnancy was ectopic. They are quite rare but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen.

‘When I came out of surgery I sent her a message because her post about her ectopic pregnancy probably saved my life.’

Mother-of-three Ailsa McCaig experienced an ectopic pregnancy in September last year.

Mother-of-three Ailsa McCaig (pictured) experienced an ectopic pregnancy in September last year

Mother-of-three Ailsa McCaig (pictured) experienced an ectopic pregnancy in September last year

The then 36-year-old said she was ‘concerned something was wrong from the beginning’, as the line on her pregnancy test was ‘very faint’. She also had a pain on her right side which felt like a pinch. 

Ailsa remembered reading about ectopic pregnancies on Becca’s website and said ‘a seed was planted’ in her mind that this might be what she was experiencing.  

That following morning the pain became more noticeable. Ailsa called the early pregnancy unit (EPU) and explained her concerns.

A scan later confirmed her fears and she was fast-tracked for emergency surgery. 

While the treatment Ailsa received was ‘brilliant’, she said: ‘I was lucky and got really brilliant help but I can see how you could be ignored/overlooked which could be very dangerous.’

She added: ‘I do think a lot of people don’t even know what an ectopic pregnancy is.

‘There are so many changes to your body in early pregnancy it can be hard to know what’s normal and what’s not.

‘I think it needs to be talked about more and professionals should trust a woman’s instinct.’

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