Moving on from ectopic pregnancy

One in 80 pregnancies are ectopic and can affect future fertility. Rapid action can be livesaving.

Kelly had known from an early age she would struggle to conceive. As a teenager she suffered acute pain and random bleeding and was referred to Peterborough City Hospital for investigations. A fluid blockage called a hydrosalpinx was found in her left fallopian tube and it was removed, and her right tube was also found to be damaged.

Kelly remembers. “I was told I had a low chance of having a baby. I felt so alone.”

Kelly met Dan, her husband-to-be, on Tinder and he moved down to Peterborough to be with her. The couple married soon after and soon started trying for a baby.

Sadly, the couple went on to have two ectopic pregnancies. This is when the embryo starts growing in the fallopian tube and can be life threatening.

The pregnancy is dissolved using Methotrexate, a form of chemotherapy that removes folate from the body. For a much-wanted pregnancy this can be traumatic.

Kelly now has a son, Harlan
Kelly now has a son, Harlan

Obsessively pregnancy testing

Kelly started to test obsessively, using 30-40 pregnancy tests a month as she didn’t know whether she was having a period or was actually pregnant and bleeding.

“I was really struggling and ended up having therapy, the second one triggered a bit of PTSD so it was a really tough time, my anxiety was at an all-time high.

“In my head I was just really trying to focus on moving forwards. I thought if I don’t start trying to lose weight and stuff we are not even going to get to IVF as you need a BMI of 30 or less”

Kelly self-referred for the NHS psychological wellbeing service but the first counsellor she was paired with did not understand ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy loss at all, but the second one was helpful.

“The reason I was struggling was because of the infertility and the losses but the first one just didn’t understand it at all. She said things on the lines of ‘if you don’t test you won’t get anxious’ which didn’t really solve my problem.

“The next lady didn’t really go in to the losses, which I thought was quite helpful, she just advised ways to manage when I felt a bit anxious or depressed rather than going into detail.

If you have experienced an early pregnancy loss you might find our special Fertility Support Group meeting – Fertility After Loss – helpful.  Bourn Hall has a dedicated Miscarriage Clinic staffed by a team who understand what you are going through.

NHS funded IVF at Bourn Hall

The couple were among the first to have NHS funded IVF, when it was reinstated in Cambridgeshire, and for Kelly it was a lifeline.

Kelly says: “Infertility is a medical condition, and it affects your mental health and your relationships.  I wanted a child before all my friends and they were all on number two or three before I had even got pregnant. I blocked myself off from them and have lost a lot of friends.

“But now I have Harlan I wouldn’t change any of it.

“I am enjoying being a stay-at-home mum and in the future I would like to become a midwife or a fertility nurse. I have learnt so much on my fertility journey I would love to be able to help others.”

Kelly and Harlan
Kelly and Harlan
Ecotopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies

Dr Sharleen Hapuarachi, explains that an ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilised egg is delayed while progressing down the fallopian tube to the womb. If the pregnancy continues inside the tube, the tube can burst and cause internal bleeding.

“The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include unusual bleeding, discomfort in the abdomen, shoulder tip pain and fainting. If you experience these in early pregnancy, then you should seek immediate medical help.

“Fertility problems can occur later if the fallopian tubes are damaged or if there is a build-up of fluid in the tubes, known as a hydrosalpinx.”

More information

Book a free place at the special meeting of the Fertility Support Group: “Fertility After Loss”.

You can self refer to Bourn Hall’s Miscarriage Clinic – We also offer counselling and a Fertility Support Group more information about coping with loss

UK charities involved in Baby Loss Awareness Week include Sands, the Miscarriage Association and the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. Since 2014 Sands has taken a lead role in promoting the week and you can find out more about this year’s activities for the week at the dedicated website

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