Ectopic pregnancy survivor wants to help other mums

Gillian Macdonald with her baby Ailith.
Gillian Macdonald with her baby Ailith.

A woman who lost her baby due to an ectopic pregnancy and nearly died is raising

awareness of the condition because she wants to help other women who suffer this.

Gillian Macdonald (33), who grew up in Bearsden, is sharing her story in a bid to save lives as she says many people don’t realise that an ectopic pregnancy is life threatening.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embyro grows outside the womb, often in the fallopian tube.

Gillian discovered that she had an ectopic pregnancy at seven weeks, two years ago when she was 31.

She was initially given a drug which should have dissolved her pregnancy to prevent the risk of an internal rupture, but unfortunately this did not work and her pregnancy continued.

When she started to get shoulder tip pains – a symptom of ectopic pregnancy – she went to see a GP who, she says, didn’t recognise her symptoms and sent her home. The following day she had severe stomach pain when she was out for lunch with her mum. Her mum rushed her to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Gillian said: “My hormone levels were low so the doctors did not think I was still pregnant.

“My husband travelled through from Edinburgh and he was so worried that he insisted that they operate.

“The surgeon told us the next day that I had started bleeding internally and I wouldn’t be here if my husband hadn’t pushed for them to operate.

“I have quite a high pain threshold so I was just dealing with it but looking back now the pain was horrendous.

“I was just hoping for a miracle – that they had it all wrong and that I’d have a baby.”

Gillian is very grateful to her husband Paul (39) who saved her life and they have another reason to celebrate now as they have a 12 week old daughter called Ailith. She was conceived even though Gillian only had one fallopian tube left after her operation.

Gillian, who had also suffered a miscarriage six weeks into her pregnancy the previous year, said: “I was terrified that things would go wrong again so I was scanned every two weeks to put my mind at rest.

“My anxiety levels were so high at the end of my pregnancy that they induced me two weeks early.

“I was worried I’d have a stillbirth baby.”

Gillian now plans to walk, run and swim 1000km in 12 months for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust as she feels there isn’t enough support for women who go through an ectopic pregnancy.

To donate please visit: Keep up to date with her progress visit