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As I imagine most of us in the UK have been this year, I was totally alone during the process - my husband (we'd been married 6 weeks) was unable to come into the hospital with me and I had to tell him that our baby couldn't survive and that I needed life-saving surgery.
When I came out of hospital, I was a mess. In physical and emotional pain, hormonal and devastated. I've noticed a difference over the last 2 weeks, slowly but surely I'm functioning better and having days where I can at least pretend to be almost "normal". BUT I'm still having days where I can't speak, stare into space, and am back to sitting, alone, in the EPAU waiting room for 6 hours without a clue about what's going on other than that I'm in pain. Or I think about how, had I not opted for the surgery I would probably be dead. By the time I got to theatre the next morning, my tube had ruptured and I was bleeding internally. I wouldn't have had time to have the methotrexate. There's also the physical pain/ discomfort which is easing although still there.
I'm due to go back to work on Monday and I don't think I'm ready, but I need to keep busy and the next 2 weeks are full of things that I can't miss without significantly impacting on other people's lives - and colleagues can't cover it. I have a really emotionally demanding job, but a really good manager who I can speak to at any point. I'm meant to start training a new member of staff and also start a uni course.
My family are worried about my mental health deteriorating (I have a very long history of significant difficulties) and I know where they are coming from. I'm worried too.
I'd hoped to talk it through with my GP beforehand but the earliest appointment is at the end of next week, and that was when I booked it 10 days ago!
I think I need more time. I just don't know how to cope with it all.
'This place will survive without you. If you need time then take the time you need to get better. This place will still be here when you come back'
And you know what..it was! I know how you feel about letting people down or you do not want to put things on other colleagues or whatever but if you need more time then look after you. It's OK to need more time. Or talk about going back at reduced time (what they call a phased return) so your not immediately back in the thick of it.
I'm due back Monday too. Not looking forward to it but I know that I will have a lot of support when I do. I'm just feeling really weepy today..
You're right, they would survive, it would just make things very complicated. I have a really supportive team but have only been there for 2 months, and had 3 of those weeks off!
I'm going to talk to my manager tomorrow morning.
I think i'm in one of those places where I can think rationally about other people, but not myself
e.g. I feel like I have no right to be in the state that I'm in - but I know that if I was talking to you or anyone else, I'd be saying take the time you need to grieve - you've been through (and are still going through) a lot and need to look after yourself.
I'm sorry you had a bad day too, and good luck tomorrow.
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and losses,
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.
I felt the same as you with regards to work, I felt I had to return and did return after 2 weeks post methotrexate. Although my pain had settled, I was an emotional wreck really and with hindsight, should have taken longer off. If you rush back, you may be physically and emotionally not ready and this may adversely affect your work as well as your recovery. We often worry how work will cope without us, but they will cope and now is time to look after you.
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.
Sending much love,
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Exactly..treat yourself how you would treat someone else. Would you be kind and supportive. Tell them to take what time they need? Of course you would. So if you need longer or a phased return then ask for it. They can't help you if you don't let them. And 99.9% of people are decent and good and will understand and want to help.
It's ok to need more time. X
I've got my dad and husband saying to forget the flashbacks (of the ectopic and previous hospital related trauma) and to move on, it's done now, people have it far worse. I've got my mum and dad saying to go back to work and keep my mind busy, to "get fit" and then we can try again. I know they're only trying to help but I end up feeling like I don't have any right to feel upset, anxious or grief-stricken. They know I have a history of severe mental illness, so is it any wonder that I'm taking this particularly hard? Probably doesn't help that my husband has gone to work today too (in the office) so I'm home alone all day for the first time since I went in to hospital, again, bringing back that feeling of being totally alone.
I have a meeting in 10 minutes which will be interesting given the red blotchy face/eyes and lack of any interest in anything.
I am 100% sure I'm not ready to be back now, it's just being able to take that step to say it out loud and act on it.
How has your day back been?
I don't agree with the sentiment that 'It's over and done with...move on' NO-ONE has the right to tell you how you should feel right now and when you should be 'over it' or whatever (not even your partner). 'Keeping busy' isn't always the right answer..sometimes slowing down to process things is. Whatever YOU feel and YOU need right now is right. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what that is but you will get there. WE will get there.
Sending love x
(also..ps.. if you want to DM me so we can exchange contact details and chat via WhatsApp or Facebook or something then please do so. X)
Not to worry, i'm glad people are being supportive. I've told a few people at work who noticed I wasn't right, and they have been lovely.
I spoke to the GP today and got signed off until the end of the week, it was definitely too soon for me. I had a team meeting this morning and they were all talking about the local hospital, how awful it is there and how patient care must be suffering due to Covid. They're right! but that set me off again.
GP was really nice though and gave me details of local services, explained why I had a random urine test result (I didn't know one had even been taken) and how to make a complaint to PALS.