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I'm finding it really hard to talk to my family and friends about this but I know it's not good to bottle it up.
I had surgery for an ectopic pregnancy 3 weeks ago and the emotional side of recovery is really starting to hit me.
I feel like I cant open up about my feelings towards my pregnancy loss ...
I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks before my surgery. I'd had a very heavy bleed at the start of December and longer than my normal period, I wasnt too worried but I kept it in mind. I then had other symptoms that worried me and didnt feel right. I know you shouldn't look online but I googled my symptoms and started reading about ectopic pregnancy. I took a test and found out I was pregnant. It was a whirlwind of emotion, I called my boyfriend and was pretty panicked if I'm honest. We're not financially stable to support a baby and hadn't been trying so it was all a bit of a shock. At this point I was worried about it being ectopic but sort of pushed it to the back of my mind and thought maybe I was over reacting and it's so rare ect. I went to the doctors that day, I told her I literally only took the test because I was worried I was having an ectopic pregnancy (as I'd bled at the start of the month, I wouldn't have presumed I was pregnant). She asked about my symptoms but didnt seem alarmed about possible ectopic. She asked me how I felt about being pregnant and I told her I was worried and having very mixed feelings about it but over all it probably wasnt the right time. She left me with the number for an abortion clinic and told me I could book in there but nothing would be set in stone even after a scan I could see how I felt about it.
I called them and booked in. The dates of my last 'period' and being pregnant didnt add up as I'd have only been 2 weeks pregnant which wouldn't be visible so early, so there was some confusion booking me as they normally take patients 5 weeks and over. At this point the concern of an ectopic still didnt come up. After seeing and speaking to 2 healthcare professionals I felt at ease that my symptoms were normal pregnancy and waited the 2 weeks!! Yep, 2 weeks for my appointment at the clinic.
Well, in this time I went through so many emotions and over all I really wanted to keep my baby. However, I was torn because of mine and my partners finacial status and where we are in our lives (I'm nearly 24 and my boyfriend (24) is starting uni in September as a mature student just to add context). I had these visions of going to the clinic, finding out my baby was 8-9 weeks and not being able to let go and I thought this was a conversation to come with my partner.
The day arrived to go to the clinic. I'd been crying on and off for days and my boyfriend had come to realise that this was a horrible and difficult decision for me. It was hard to talk about and I was very confused and upset.
At the scan I found out I may of been having an ectopic pregnancy. The nurse could not see anything in the first scan and had to do an internal scan. They gave me a referral letter for the hosptial and advised me to go the A&E that night. At this point I didnt quite understand how dangerous an ectopic pregnancy could be and the nurses at the clinic certainly didnt let on.
That night at the hospital they took my blood and urine but didnt have an available nurse to do another internal scan. They said they'd be in touch to book me in in the morning but to come back if I got any severe pain.
They called early the next morning and told me to come back immediately. At this point the panick is sinking in.
We got to the hospital and I was informed that they aren't 100% that its ectopic but if it is they will have to operate as my HSG was very high and it's a waiting game from then on. First we got the scan, the doctor agreed with the nurse at the clinic that it looked ectopic. I was taken to a ward still not sure what was going on, it hadn't been confirmed that I would have to have surgery. I then had a cannula put in and I realised that is was definitely happening. I had my surgery, stayed in one night and left the next day.
The doctor spoke to me when I woke up but I was on a lot of meds and didnt take much in apart from that when they started surgery that saw that it had started to rupture and I had some internal bleeding. He also explains these pictures he put in front of me of my surgery, I can't remember the details.
Okay, I know that was long to read but I'm now feeling very overwhelmed with sadness and anxiety. And I dont feel like I can talk about it because no one really knows how much I wanted to keep my baby.
I think even the doctors in the hospital treated me differently because they knew I'd been referred from the abortion clinic and so perhaps thought that i was okay with losing the pregnancy, along with my tube.
I didnt get much information about why it happend and I'm not 100% how far along I was and although it may sound strange and horrible, I'd really like to know.
I also want to know what happens after they have removed it
And I got my boyfriend to ask for a picture before we left (thinking I could get one of my scans) but the nurse just bought in a picture of my surgery, it was about 8 still shots of my surgery which I awkwardly took a picture of on my phone because I couldn't actually have the sheet she showed us. I've found myself looking at it multiple times a day both grieving and trying to work out what is where and what exactly I'm looking at.
I cant sleep because I'm terrified of ending up in hospital again. It was all so scary and the fact I told the doctor I was worried about this initially and nothing was done has given me zero confidence in my GP and made me incredibly anxious
I know this is all over the place but any advice or a chat would be really lovely
It means a lot for a stranger to say they're thinking of you.
Do you think my family will understand if I try to explain how I am feeling? X
Family and Friends are there to love and support you but I don’t feel that they fully understand unless they have been through the same procedure and loss. Not only do you grieve for the baby, but you also grieve for the lost tube and feel scared for the future.
I like you had doubts and mixed emotions initially about my pregnancy as it was a surprise and I wasn’t officially with my Baby’s father but deep down I knew I would do anything to have and keep the baby as I’ve always wanted to be a mum. I feel guilty now for ever having doubts etc.
I wish you all the best with your recovery. Take Care xx
Sending lots of hugs xx
Has anyone got advice for a follow up with my doctor... will they have my notes and be able to tell me more about why this may have happened and would they have an indication of how far along I was? (Although with the dates It must have been at least 9 weeks but I'm not 100% sure)
I'm not sure what the hospital shares with the doctors and the last thing I need is a blank look at me
I hope you're all well in yourselfs and send my love to you all too.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to me
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and loss,
Experiencing an ectopic pregnancy is a huge ordeal and you are in the early stages of recovery. Your body needs time to heal from your surgery which is in itself a gruelling task. You have also had to process the loss of your baby and been through an immense rollercoaster of emotions - all of this will take time to come to terms with.
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.
Unfortunately ectopic pregnancy can be notoriously difficult to diagnose because it often presents with symptoms that can be suggestive of other, more usual, conditions such as gastroenteritis, miscarriage or even appendicitis, which is why there may have been a little time before diagnosis was made.
Based on what we hear from others, women are not automatically told as to what happens to the baby once it has been removed after the surgery. There are several guidelines for medical professionals to follow regardinghe sensitive treatment of your baby. As a result, many hospitals have adopted arrangements with local crematoria for the sensitive disposal but they are guidelines, and procedures vary from hospital to hospital.
We recommend that for local information about your hospital, you contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) department and ask what the hospital policy is on the sensitive disposal of foetal remains.
You can speak to someone in the PALS team about what happened and they may be able to help with answers or a way to find answers. You could also request to see your medical records to get answers about how far along you were.
It is normal to feel anxious about the future. We generally feel a mix of emotions from wanting to try again to being petrified of what may lie ahead. We never forget, but we learn to accept what happened. Importantly early scans avail. As soon as you know you are pregnant, contact your local EPU to inform them and book in for an early scan at around six weeks. Remind them of your previous ectopic pregnancy. This self refer route is the best route in our view. Hopefully you will have some comfort to know you are under the radar of medical professionals right away. It maybe comfoting to know that the chances of a further ectopic after a first in UK is 10%. So that's 90% chance of the embryo being in right place next time.
Many women experience feelings of isolation after an ectopic pregnancy - I did, too. It is a frightening experience. Like you, I reached out to the Trust for support and we will be here for you to lean on for as long as you need.
Sending much love,
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
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