26-year-old Callie Martin was devastated after suffering three miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. She and her partner, Kailan Broughton, thought their dreams of having children were over; however, six months after having emergency surgery to remove the embryo doctors discovered that she was carrying twins.
According to Martin’s doctors, she conceived normally and ectopically simultaneously, which is incredibly rare. In fact, it is so rare that multiple pregnancies, also known as a heterotopic pregnancy, only occurs 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 30,000 in natural conceptions.
An ectopic pregnancy involves situations where the developing unborn child implants into some other tissue other than the uterine wall, where a baby normally develops during pregnancy. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are otherwise known as tubal pregnancies, but implantation can also occur in the cervix, ovaries, and abdomen. When an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the developing baby can sometimes implant in an area that adversely affects a woman’s blood vessels and causes bleeding that could become life threatening.
Miraculously, her daughter Emmie survived in the womb despite the trauma of a surgical operation to remove the embryo in Martin’s fallopian tube. Martin said, “When doctors told me I was still pregnant I thought they must be wrong. But when they showed me the scan and I saw her heart beating, I was just overcome with joy. We’d already had three miscarriages. It felt as if I’d never be a mother.
But four weeks later Martin felt pain in her stomach and was rushed to the hospital for an ultrasound.
It was then that astounded doctors discovered a tiny second embryo developing normally in her uterus and realized she had what’s known as a heterotopic pregnancy. ‘[It] is so rare that although doctors said they’d heard of it, no one had ever actually seen it before,’ Miss Martin added.
The condition is usually associated with IVF, making Miss Martin’s case even more unusual as she had conceived naturally.
Knowing his partner had been to hospital, Mr Broughton rushed back to their home in Greenwich, South East London, to be with her. ‘He saw me crying and was sick with worry. But I was crying with joy,’ she said.
After an otherwise healthy pregnancy, Emmie was delivered by caesarean section in August. She was born six weeks early and weighed 6lb.
‘My consultant said the surgery usually would have killed the other embryo and induced a miscarriage,’ Miss Martin added. ‘So it is truly miraculous that Emmie is alive.’