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Ectopic pregnancy left Norwich woman ‘30 minutes from losing life’

PUBLISHED: 09:15 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 26 April 2020

Rebecca Kaznowski almost died in hospital after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy last year. Picture: David Blake Photography/Rebecca Kaznowski

Rebecca Kaznowski almost died in hospital after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy last year. Picture: David Blake Photography/Rebecca Kaznowski

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Rebecca Kaznowski had no idea how life-threatening an ectopic pregnancy could be, until she almost died from one.

Rebecca Kaznowski, from Norwich, experienced an ectopic pregnancy last year which almost killed her. Picture: David Blake PhotographyRebecca Kaznowski, from Norwich, experienced an ectopic pregnancy last year which almost killed her. Picture: David Blake Photography

Last April she was rushed to hospital by her husband after feeling faint and experiencing severe pain in her stomach and lower abdomen.

Mrs Kaznowski, a singing teacher from Norwich, was in the early stages of her pregnancy and has long suffered with irritable bowel syndrome, and at first just assumed it was a side effect of hormones after eating dinner.

But as the pain worsened it became clear it was something more serious, so she was rushed to A&E before suffering a seizure while in triage.

“It was there that the suggestion of an ectopic pregnancy was first mentioned,” she said. “They suggested I might be internally bleeding but it was hard for them to tell on the ultrasound scans.”

After crashing three times on a ward, Mrs Kaznowski went into emergency surgery at 4am where it was discovered that her Fallopian tube had ruptured.

She said: “The ectopic pregnancy was the largest they had ever seen and my Fallopian tube had ruptured because of it. The bleeding was so severe they couldn’t even notice it on the scans. I lost over two-and-a-half litres of blood and had to have a blood transfusion.

“I later found out that I was about half an hour away from losing my life.”

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself in a Fallopian tube, which won’t develop into a foetus and can carry a high risk to health if it is not removed.

The scar left on Rebecca Kaznowski's stomach following emergency surgery to save her life after she experienced an ectopic pregnancy. Picture: Rebecca KaznowskiThe scar left on Rebecca Kaznowski's stomach following emergency surgery to save her life after she experienced an ectopic pregnancy. Picture: Rebecca Kaznowski

It affects around one in every 90 expectant mothers, around 11,000 pregnancies in the UK every year.

Although she was in the early weeks of her pregnancy, Mrs Kaznowski felt the loss despite not having “become attached to the idea of having a baby just yet”.

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She was helped through this extremely difficult time by The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.

“I felt the loss of a future happy pregnancy because anyone who has suffered a loss at any stage in their pregnancy will forever be haunted by the possibility of it happening again. Never mind the health implications it could bring.

“It is also the loss of trust and control over your own body. The feeling that it will let you down again.

“The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust was the only charity at the time focusing on ectopics only and their website provided me with so much needed information and support at the time.”

Amid current restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, charities across Norfolk and the rest of the UK have been hit by a reduction in donation income due to the inability to hold fundraising events.

Rebecca Kaznowski, from Norwich, experienced an ectopic pregnancy last year which almost killed her. Picture: David Blake PhotographyRebecca Kaznowski, from Norwich, experienced an ectopic pregnancy last year which almost killed her. Picture: David Blake Photography

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust is no different – it said: “The impact of Covid-19 is being felt everywhere, including small, specialist charities like us. The EPT is the only charity that focuses on ectopic pregnancy and provides information and support across the country, free of charge to users.

“However, many fundraising activities have been cancelled which we rely on to keep our crucial services going.”

As her way of thanking the trust for its help, and to help relieve boredom for herself and others during lockdown, Mrs Kaznowski launched #LockdownKaraoke, a series of uplifting online videos aimed at spreading cheer while also raising money for the charity.

Alongside friend and opera singer Ella de Jongh, she has been uploading videos to Facebook and YouTube.

She said: “I started sharing covers sung by myself and also my students. I then came up with a silly song called No Loo Roll set to Frozen’s Let It Go and it did really well on social media.

“That’s when I thought it might be a good idea to utilise the popularity of my videos and see if I could raise some money for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, which I had seen via Facebook had been struggling financially due to the coronavirus crisis.

“I am worried that being quite a niche charity, they may be overlooked when it comes to government funding and other pregnancy loss charities will be prioritised over them but they are vital for women who have been through this traumatic way of losing a pregnancy.”

Mrs Kaznowski is fundraising for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust through her JustGiving page.


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