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Defending life from the moment of conception

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This mum lost her unborn baby - but then discovered a secret twin was still alive in the womb!

27 June 2016

Sadie, Summer and Gary Brittle (left to right) were overjoyed to discover the 'hidden' pregnancy

After losing her eight-week-old unborn baby due to a tragic ectopic pregnancy, Sadie Brittle was amazed to discover she was still pregnant - with the baby's twin.

Equally astounded, doctors confirmed Sadie had what's known as a heterotopic pregnancy - a multiple pregnancy with one embryo viably implanted in the uterus and the other implanted elsewhere as an ectopic pregnancy.

Heterotopic pregnancies affect one in 30,000 women who have conceived naturally. However, they are more commonly associated as one of the risks of IVF.

'Devastating' diagnosis

Now Sadie, her husband Gary, and their four-year-old daughter Summer are looking forward to the arrival of a baby boy in November – and they've already named him Teddy.

Sadie and Gary were both devastated when doctors discovered the ectopic pregnancy in April.

Sadie, a hairdresser, originally discovered she had suffered an ectopic pregnancy - when the embryo does not implant in the womb but instead develops elsewhere, such as in the fallopian tube.

"I felt like I was actually passing out"

"I was coming back in the car from having some tests done and I felt really hot and my vision went all blurry," she told the Daily Mirror.

"I went back to work and said I can't cut anybody's hair because I didn't feel well.

"I scared myself when I looked in the mirror because I'd gone white and my face was sweating - I felt like I was actually passing out."

Hospital and surgery

Sadie's blood pressure plummeted, and an ambulance was called as it was feared this could be a sign of internal bleeding. Instead, doctors suspected the cause was an ectopic pregnancy and scans revealed their fears were correct.

Sadie had surgery that evening to remove one of her fallopian tubes and underwent two blood transfusions.

Ectopic pregnancy

"They said that babies in this situation are normally in the middle of the tube, but mine was right up near the top where all the blood vessels are.

"I was in hospital for five days and was on antibiotics and pain relief - they said I would still be able to have children because of the other fallopian tube."

At the time, doctors had no idea that there could be a second unborn baby safely implanted inside Sadie's womb.

Doctors had no idea that baby Teddy was safely implanted inside Sadie's womb

'How am I still pregnant?'

After recovering from her surgery, and dealing with the loss of a child, the family went to Spain on holiday last month.

But Sadie's first suspicion that the doctors might have missed something came when she thought she was looking 'bigger' than she should be while she was lying on a sun lounger.

"I took a pregnancy test and it showed that I was pregnant, I thought there's no way that I am," she said. "We called the midwife from Spain and she said it could either be a multiple birth or a few cells were left in my body after surgery which would make it look like I was still pregnant.

19 weeks pregnant

"I went to see my doctor when I got back and explained my situation and he couldn't quite get his head around it. I had an ultrasound and you could hear a heartbeat.

"I went for a scan which showed that I was 19 weeks pregnant."

Most expectant mothers who have heterotopic pregnancies discover the condition when undergoing an ectopic scan. However doctors failed to pick it up in Sadie's case because she was still in the early stages of her pregnancy.

Healthy baby Teddy

"Because I was really poorly, they must have just focused on that problem,' she said. 'The midwife told us that in the 23 years she's been working, she's never come across it and that she'd only heard of it before."

Recently, a 20-week scan revealed Teddy is progressing normally, much to his parents' relief.

"The scans show that he's healthy and I've been through it before so I'm just excited," Sadie added.


Husband Gary described the news of the second pregnancy as 'a miracle'.

"It was such mixed emotions, we'd gone through dealing with the loss of the baby and then all of a sudden to be told that we've got another baby in there. It makes me want to buy a lottery ticket every day.

The wisdom of a child

The doctors may not have realised Sadie was still pregnant - but did her daughter Summer know all along? Gary explained:

"Our daughter Summer must have known something we didn't because when we were on holiday we went in a shop and Summer pointed to some milk and said 'We need to get some milk for the baby'".

"We tried to explain again that mummy was having a baby and now she's not but Summer just started clenching her fists and gritting her teeth and said 'You don't understand, there is a baby'."

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