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I was 7 weeks pregnant with my first baby when I found out via a scan at my EPAU that the pregnancy was ectopic and I was suffering a large amount of internal bleeding. I was rushed to hospital and had keyhole surgery to remove baby and my right fallopian tube. I was also told my left tube was an unusual shape and that they removed a cyst from this side too.
I was told I would need 2 weeks off work to physically recover so I have advised my manager that I will not return to work until the new year. It is only a week since my surgery and I am doing well physically and managing to get through the day emotionally.
I am planning on telling my manager everything but to ask that it is kept quiet from the rest of my colleagues. I am nervous about questions from people and wondered how other people have dealt with this situation? I'm considering just saying I had a cyst removed and to play it down.
Two weeks off work is quite a short time to physically and emotionally recover from this. I wondered how long other people had taken off sick and whether anyone had completed a phased return to work? I was thinking of asking to do half days and admin only duties for a couple of weeks before going back full time.
I'd like to give my manager some idea of when I might be back at work and I have no idea what to say at the moment or how I'll be. Perhaps a visit to my GP in the new year may help.
Any advice about physical and emotional recovery and what got you through would be so helpful.
Sorry for your losses
I experienced an ectopic pregnancy last October and I was 2 weeks off work. I told my manager about the ectopic from the first day I was off sick and she was extremely supportive when I went back to work. The first day back at work I had to pull myself together and I cried when I went home but it got better after few days. In fact, it helped me to stop thinking about the ectopic at least the hours I was at work.
My manager did not tell my coworkers the reason why I was off sick, as per the data protection regulations she was not allowed to disclose it without my consent. Like you, I was worried about being asked by my coworkers but when I came back nobody asked me why I was off sick, which I appreciated it. I suppose they probably imagined I had a miscarriage because of my age and because I just got married and they were afraid to ask.
I would advise you not to worry about your colleagues, just tell them what happened if you feel like telling them and if you don’t want to tell them you don’t have to, just say you have been unwell.
I hope this helps you.
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and loss,
Regarding general recovery from ectopic pregnancy, we advise that you should take it very easily for about six weeks after surgery. Your body will be using its energies to heal internally. It is normal to feel physically and emotionally exhausted during this time and please do be kind to yourself. Recovery can take time and some days will be better than others, one day you maybe ok and the next you maybe in discomfort or more emotional. This is perfectly usual and the healing process will go back and forth in this way for however long you need. It is important to listen to your body's signals and pain and feeling tired are your body's signs to tell you to rest. We suggest keeping a healthy balanced diet, drinking lots of water and resting. Once your wounds have healed, very gentle exercise such as a short walk can help, but please do take this slowly.
Regarding returning to work, after about six weeks you should be able to return to most jobs from a physical point of view. However, if your role involves manual handling, we suggest that it would be sensible to have a phased approach, gently building up to the usual extent of activity. I would suggest avoiding a rapid return to strenuous activities as it is important to build up strength after recovery.
A few options may be available depending on the role: might there be an opportunity to work reduced hours, increasing them slowly over a few weeks? Perhaps there are certain tasks that you could take on which may entail a change from your usual role or a series of reduced tasks initially? I am not sure whether this is appropriate in your circumstances, but is there anything that you could action from home (which may be different from your usual role but still be of use)?
Many women experience pain after surgery and this can be the case weeks or months after the trauma. Pain is the body's sign to rest and it is important to be guided by this and taking it easier if you experience discomfort.
In addition, it is worth bearing in mind that experiencing ectopic pregnancy is a very frightening experience and many women need to take time to help them deal with the psychological/emotional impact of the loss of their baby, being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and undergoing major surgery. Please speak to your GP about having further time off work if required.
It is completely your choice what you tell your work colleagues. Personally I told anyone that asked and they were supportive. Most colleagues didn't generally asked why I was off but instead asked if I was feeling better etc.
Please be gentle with yourself and allow time to grieve, to heal both physically and emotionally.
Sending much love,
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Thank you for your kind words.