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Surgery for suspected Ectopic pregnancy then miscarriage

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Vicki A
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:11 pm

Surgery for suspected Ectopic pregnancy then miscarriage

Post by Vicki A »

This is a bit of a strange one.
Before Christmas I found out I was pregnant. I had the copper coil fitted as we have 3 children and weren't trying for any more, but I was 6days late for my period, which never happens, and so took a test at work just to put my mind at rest.

That evening after doing a bit of research I had a panic that it was an ectopic pregnancy. I called NHS direct who told me to go to A&E, who after examining me and doing tests admitted me to hospital as they weren't sure, and as it was the weekend the proper sonographers weren't working and they wanted proper scans done on the Monday.

On the Monday morning I had external and internal scans. They couldn't see anything in my uterus but could see a mass in my fallopian tube and said that i would need to go into surgery that day to have it removed.

When I came round from surgery they told me that they couldn't find the foetus. They kept me in that night and the following night due to the pain I was in and also to monitor my HCG levels which were still rising. They released me on the 23rd December and asked me to go back in on the 24th for more bloods again to see the results, which again showed the levels were rising. So I left the hospital still pregnant. When I queried how they couldn't see anything they said that it could be that it was so early on (by that time I would have been coming up to the 6 week mark).
I had already discussed the option of a termination with my husband, it wasn't the right time for us to have another child and wasn't what we wanted so I was booked in to have a scan the following week to see how things had progressed and whether I would need to take the drug that they give.

I then started bleeding the following week (29th) which got heavier although never actually that much and when I went for my scan on the 31st the doctor couldn't see anything. He said that it was likely that I was miscarrying at that time but that he couldn't see anything in my uterus. He told me that it was likely that it was a 'pregnancy of unknown location' and that it was very unlikely that it was a viable pregnancy. He was lovely and very reassuring but I'm confused.

How could the consultant carrying out the surgery not have seen anything? Is it possible that they were only looking at the fallopian tubes and nothing else? I know that ectopic means outside of the uterus, not just in the fallopian tubes, but I find it strange that even after surgery my HCG levels were rising. I had surgery Monday, with blood being taken Saturday night, Tuesday and Thursday which showed the appropriate rise. I know that I've had a miscarriage now and that the pregnancy was never in my uterus but I'm left wondering where it was and how that even happens. How can I explain it to my husband when I don't even understand it myself.

I also feel guilty. I know this is silly but I feel guilty that I didn't want another baby but got pregnant when so many people are trying and then I thought about termination. Now I wonder what might have been.
I keep telling myself that the fact that they couldn't see anything in my uterus means that it wasn't viable anyway but still you always wonder.

Sorry for such a long post. I've tried speaking to friends but it's so hard to explain it right now especially when we can't see people because of Covid. I've been off work and my boss has messaged me asking if I'm coming back tomorrow as my sick note runs out today but right now I don't know if I can deal with other people's problems as well as my own.

EPT Host 20
Posts: 2078
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

Re: Surgery for suspected Ectopic pregnancy then miscarriage

Post by EPT Host 20 »

Dear Vicki,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss,
Unfortunately I am not medically trained so cannot give you specific advice on your queries.
Not knowing what is happening to our bodies can be extremely overwhelming and you have friends here who understand.
It is important to understand that Pregnancy of unknown location - (PUL) is not a diagnosis; it is a label given until the final location of the pregnancy can be identified with certainty.
There are a number of locations of ectopic pregnancy and I am sorry the location of you pregnancy was not discovered, I have added some information below.
https://ectopic.org.uk/patients/what-is ... pregnancy/

When we experience ectopic pregnancy we are suddenly faced with a life threatening emergency and it's treatment, reduction in fertility, concerns about the future and the loss of our babies, even if we weren't trying to conceive. Experiencing any one of these is an ordeal, putting them together is immense and your feelings are completely normal.

Surgery is an immense ordeal for the body to go through. In general, 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.

Above all be kind to yourself and allow time to recover both physically and emotionally. We are here for you for as long as you need.
Sending much love,
Karen x

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1071811
Ectopic pregnancy patient information suite: Highly Commended in the 2019 BMA Patient Information Awards
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During the coronavirus outbreak, The EPT team is still working hard to provide crucial information and support to women and families experiencing ectopic pregnancy as quickly and efficiently as we can.
If we have been able to help you, are you able to help us with a small donation or by volunteering or fundraising?
Further information is available at ectopic.org.uk
Email us: ept@ectopic.org.uk
We provide a call-back helpline service: 020 7733 2653
Take a look at our newsletters and subscribe to our mailing list here: https://mailchi.mp/986bdd6091ee/ectopic-matters
Detailed medical information can be found on our website. Please remember online medical information is NO SUBSTITUTE for expert medical advice from your own health care team
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Vicki A
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:11 pm

Re: Surgery for suspected Ectopic pregnancy then miscarriage

Post by Vicki A »

Thank you for the reply.
Physically I am fine. I feel like I have recovered very quickly as I am physically fit and healthy and the only pain I have still been having is in my groin, although I'm not sure if this is from surgery or not. I have been back out running and I feel that this has helped my mental health massively as it has given me a chance to be alone to process my thoughts (homeschooling 3 young children isn't easy!).

My reasons for being off work were more to do with the emotional stress. I am a police officer, a detective, dealing with, amongst other things, child abuse and sexual assault. This obviously has a massive emotional impact and my loss means that I don't have the capacity to cope with and to be strong enough for others right now. I also lost my mother in law on the day that I went into surgery so suffering a bereavement there too with no cause of death established there yet although she had dementia and we knew she was terminally ill.

I briefly spoke to the GP yesterday but by the time she called back (you have to request a call back at my surgery and it was 8 hours later) I had all 3 children on the car with me so couldn't speak openly so I'm going to try again as I need to call next week for a different matter.

Thank you for the information about the fact that the PUL isn't a diagnosis, I will ask for more information about this and see if they can try and point me in the right direction.
Vicki

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