A young mum who nearly died during an ectopic pregnancy found out her boyfriend was was cheating on her as she recovered from a traumatic operation.
Kirsty Rathbone, 27, from Liverpool, was excited when she met Gary Edwards on a dating website in March 2015 and believed he was 'someone special' - despite getting stood up on their first date.
But just nine months on from when they met, she had lost their baby in a traumatic ectopic pregnancy and discovered Gary had another girlfriend who was also pregnant with his child.
Recalling how they first met, Kirsty said: "His profile picture was gorgeous and we had a lot in common.
"We’d been messaging for weeks and after he stood me up on our first date, I was unsure about arranging to meet him again.
"But I liked Gary so much, I agreed to give him a second chance."
Kirsty admits she quickly fell for Gary and they got serious very quickly. "I was smitten and Gary and I quickly became an item.
"He was brilliant with my two girls from a previous relationship and when they clearly adored him as much as I did, I knew I was falling for him.
"One evening I admitted my feelings. ‘I love you,’ I confessed. I was relieved when he admitted felt the same," she said.
The couple bonded because they both had daughters, Kirsty said. After a whirlwind romance, Kirsty fell pregnant with Gary's baby and said he was "over the moon" about it.
But one morning she woke up covered in blood and rushed to hospital.
Doctors told her that her pregnancy was ectopic and they had to remove her unborn baby. She said: "The solemn look on the doctors’ faces instantly told me something was seriously wrong.
"They told me they couldn't find the baby, explaining that I’d have to stay in hospital for more tests and explorative surgery.
"I was terrified - and what was worse, Gary wasn’t there to hold my hand.
"The doctors explained my pregnancy was ectopic and they had to remove the foetus immediately.
"I was devastated. I didn’t want to lose our longed for baby but it was clear I had no choice."
Doctors told Kirsty if they didn't operate straight away she would die.
Kirsty and Gary quickly conceived a baby but tragically lost the child (Image: Medavia)
Terrified, she rang Gary who promised he would be there for her before the surgery, but he wasn't there, Kirsty added.
"As I was being prepped for surgery, Gary was nowhere to be seen.
"I desperately hung onto the hope that he’d arrive but as time ticked on, I had to accept he wasn’t coming.
"The nurse said they couldn't wait any longer and she wheeled me out of the ward. "I was furious with Gary - and sick with fear. But thankfully, the surgery went well."
After the surgery, Kirsty was given the devastating news that doctors had to remove one of her fallopian tubes, meaning it would be more difficult for her to conceive in the future.
Kirsty said: "My heart broke as I was taken into recovery - but just then, I found Gary waiting for me with a big bouquet of flowers.
"All my anger faded away then. He’d lost a baby too and I needed him now more than ever. He was here now.
"I was desperately grateful for the support but just half an hour later, Gary needed to leave again.
"He said he had to get back to work. I let it slide and when I returned home, Gary was my rock.
"I felt broken but as I mourned our lost baby, I leaned on Gary for support."
The couple moved in together in December 2015, soon after the loss of their baby, but all Gary brought with him was a small bag.
Kirsty says she thought it was strange, but let it slide.
Then a week later her phone buzzed with a call from an unknown number.
It was a woman who said she was Gary's girlfriend.
"I was gobsmacked and demanded more details. I felt sick as Gary’s double life unravelled.
"He was even with her when I was in hospital. I was stunned. As I was losing our baby - and very nearly my life - he’d been cheating."
It was almost too much to bear but when Gary’s mistress revealed she’d been pregnant with his baby earlier in the year too, it was an especially bitter blow for Kirsty.
Humiliated and furious, she called Gary to confront him.
"The very least he owed me was an explanation but his phone was switched off and he didn’t return my calls. Rat", Kirsty said.
"I was devastated, I’d just lost my baby and my boyfriend but eventually, I gave up on trying to contact Gary and forced myself to stay strong for the girls’ sake.
"They were heartbroken when Gary didn’t come home. They’d grown so close to him and his betrayal hurt them too."