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I've been told to stay away from online forums and Dr.Google when it comes to recovering from an ectopic, and getting hopes up for future pregnancy. So far I will admit it's been rather disheartening, but I'm finding reading through this forum has helped greatly. The only thing I have a hard time finding information about (and that most people leave out in their experiences of ectopics) is what the cause of the ectopic was in the first place. I know most people are told there is no real cause and it's hard to pinpoint exactly why they happen, but for me it was most definitely because I had undiagnosed chlamydia as a late teen, and being young and naive, it took me years after becoming sexually active to get any STI screening done. My chlamydia went away after the tiny pill they gave me, but I could potentially have been carrying it around for up to 4 years before finding out I had it, which would have been swiftly and silently wreaking havoc on my reproductive organs. I had surgery to remove my right tube after going to the ER at 7 1/2 weeks pregnant with increased bleeding and lower abdominal pain (thought I was having a miscarriage, but it didn't quite feel the same as my previous miscarriage). The surgeon told me she found lots of scar tissue around both my tubes, as well as inflammation around my uterus, and she scraped some scar tissue off my remaining tube in the hopes that it would help my chances of conceiving in the future...
I'm wondering if anyone has any success stories in getting pregnant after an ectopic that they know was caused by scar tissue/damage to their fallopian tubes? I read about people having successful pregnancies after an ectopic all the time, but I can't help but wonder if they are conceiving with damaged tubes or not? I feel like my chances are even less considering the damage thats been done on my innards... and I feel completely at fault for not going to get tested earlier in my teens. It would be nice to hear something positive/hopeful from someone who can relate.
Thanks everyone for braving your experiences and feelings, we need more of that to drown out our hushed conversations on pregnancy loss. My heart goes out to all of you.
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and loss, and also sorry you were told to stay away from information on the internet and I am pleased to hear you have found our site helpful.
Whilst pelvic inflammatory disease such as Chlamydia are know to increase risk of ectopic pregnancy, you cannot blame yourself for not being tested earlier than you were. Many women never find a reason for ectopic pregnancy and although you have had Chlamydia, you cannot be 100% sure this was directly responsible for your ectopic pregnancy.
I know that when I had my ectopic pregnancy I also looked for a reason and almost automatically we tend to blame ourselves. From the bottom of my heart, there is nothing you could have done to prevent the ectopic pregnancy from happening. I cannot emphasise enough - you are not to blame.
Trying to conceive again can be a challenging time for couples especially after experiencing loss. While generally it is possible to conceive after an ectopic pregnancy, the amount of time it takes varies from couple to couple. Factors include age, general health, reproductive health and how often you have sex, among other things.
I wish I could give more precise information, but as I do not have access to your and your partner's medical records, it is difficult for me to provide specific details. Generally, we and many healthcare professionals advise keeping a healthy balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and abstaining from alcohol and smoking.
Importantly, help is available if conceiving naturally has not yet been successful after some time trying - and the EPT advises that women under 35 should seek medical advice following 12 months trying to conceive and those over 35 should seek advice after 6 months if in the UK.
There is no time frame for how long it takes us to heal emotionally and it is completely normal to feel anxious about the future. We will never forget our pregnancy or babies but we can learn to accept what has happened and crucially understand that it wasn't our fault.
Sending much love,
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
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Pretty much a year ago, I was in almost the exact same situation as you are (or were when you wrote your post in February 2020).
In April 2019, I had an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube which was removed in a keyhole surgery, preserving the affected tube. The surgeon who performed the surgery on me told me that my left tube looked decent enough and that I should not very too much but rather try to conceive within a few months time. I had been diagnosed with Chlamydia a few years back in 2016 and was already a bit worried that this might have had something to do with the ectopic. Unfortunately, another doctor, who had not performed any treatment on me other than a quick check up before discharging me, "informed" me that healthcare professionals do expect scarring of the fallopian tubes after infections with Chlamydia, as if this was a certainty.
I immediately started blaming myself and also attributing the ectopic pregnancy to the infection. From this moment on, for me, there was a causal link between my negligent behavior (although I had caught it from an ex-boyfriend), the infection, the ectopic and future infertility. After "researching" the internet obsessively however, I discovered that a link between chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy may exist, but is anything but certain. Relatively little is known about the causes of ectopic pregnancy. On one hand, many affected women seem to have no risk factor at all and on the other hand, thousands of others (!) who had Chlamydia conceive without any problem. Please keep in mind that Chlamydia is one, if not the most common STD among young people many of whom have no symptoms at all, like my ex-boyfriend. Without symptoms, you could not possibly have known about it.
With all this being said, rationally, I convinced myself that not all hope was lost, however, the fear of another ectopic almost wrecked me. So I went to see a therapist three times and managed to get better. I also performed a procedure called HyCoSy where a doctor injected a sort of contrast liquid into my tubes and my uterus to check on an ultrasound scan if all was functional. She was very optimistic that this procedure could also improve my chances at conceiving quickly. After the HyCoSy, which caused no problems at all and only a little bit of pain, and therapy, I was ready to try again.
In the second cycle, I did conceive and am now 28 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl. I literally forced my gynecologist to give me an ultraearly scan at six weeks because I could not stand the thought of not knowing what was going on. Even though she was very relaxed and saw no urgency, she agreed to it. I can assure you I have hardly ever felt greater relief than when I first saw the very very tiny dot on the ultrasound scan. My gynecologist told me that the fertilized egg had "travelled" down the left tube, i. e. the one that was apparently in good shape. After that, I went on to be a normal first time pregnant woman, with all the worries and thoughts that come with pregnancy. However, I also feel incredibly grateful, happy and relieved about the pregnancy and I am so proud of my body.
Ectopic pregnancy is heartbreaking and the aftermath of the surgery, especially the emotional recovery, must have been the worst time of my life. I could not have survived without the help of my boyfriend and therapy. My way of recovery also included getting reliable information and consulting this website and forum. I also met two other women online who had been diagnosed with Chlamydia and who had subsequently suffered an ectopic pregnancy. They went through the exact same cycle of guilt and self-blaming. One of them conceived naturally after some time and the other in her first cycle of IVF. I do not know what the future holds for you, but rest assured that you are absolutely not alone in this. Even though the loss of the child (or embryo) was horrible and recovery was no easy task, I am now happier than ever and in the end, everything was a easier than I anticipated. Before we started trying again, I had made my peace with the possibility of needing IVF - It is nothing short of amazing that modern medicine (at least in our countries) provides us with this treatment and it was very reassuring for me that this was available as a "backup plan".
I sincerely wish you all the very best - do not give up hope!