I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time but since infertility is such a personal topic I’ve kept quiet. However since we made it public a few months ago that we’re expecting I’ve been wanting to write and share my own story/fertility journey as well. So, no, I’m definitely not infertile but after years of trying I did begin to wonder… When on 2016 Christmas Day morning I presented my husband with a positive pregnancy test I was dumbfounded. Not ecstatic as I would have expected but in complete denial, I just couldn’t believe it had actually happened to us!
Chapter 1 – Something is wrong
Since coming off the pill and actively trying to conceive without a result made me think I was infertile. After a year of trying it was time to find out if there was anything wrong with me, besides I started having very painful symptoms, one time even ending up at A&E due to severe abdominal cramps. Definitely not normal. My investigations began…
My first experience talking about fertility to a GP at our local surgery was very negative to say the least. I left the practice upset and more stressed with her comment ringing in my head: “You shouldn’t leave it too late, you’re already 33.” Already 33?! Since when was that considered late to have a child? We’re not living in the days anymore when women got married at 18 and had their first child in early 20s. But then they tell you that your chances lower significantly after the age of 35. Well, fine, but no doctor should tell their patients to hurry up with this either. I started putting so much pressure on myself and my husband, which made the whole situation even worse.
So, since 2015 I’ve spent hours and hours in doctors’ waiting rooms, been poked in places, had my belly scanned on so many occasions that I’m on first name basis with my ovaries (kidding obvs!), and given pints of blood. Hell, why didn’t I become a blood donor back then? I’ve since discovered that I have a rather unique blood group!
I will never forget the moment I received my first ultrasound results, which revealed I had cysts on my ovaries. With my stupid head I decided to go to work that day but I ended up crying at my desk and escaping through fire exit to get back home. Of course, after some research, I found out that cysts are quite normal but why the pain???
I spent hours on forums reading about symptoms I had or thought I should have had.
I spent a little fortune on supplements that none of the doctors actually prescribed or recommended but because of my extensive online research I was convinced that I should be eating all of this extra stuff (agnus castus, maca powder, bee pollen and so on) I’m sure they might have had some effect on me in the end but actually, to be perfectly honest, I probably would have been fine without them too.
Chapter 2 – I’ve been diagnosed!
With endometriosis… It only took about nine months to get a diagnosis and a referral to have laparoscopy done… It was a frustrating time, especially when I was sent to an endometriosis specialist who after listing all my symptoms told me I probably didn’t have it 😡. I still consider myself lucky as I’ve read the average correct diagnosis time in the UK is seven years. Of course it might have been even quicker had I gone privately but I was patient with NHS even if on a number of occasions I came too close to comfort to strangling someone or smashing my phone to pieces or simply just crying my eyes out. A small price to pay for one’s sanity?
Those who don’t know what endometriosis is, it’s when tissue that normally grows inside the uterus (endometrium) grows outside it. Most often this is on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissue around the uterus and ovaries; however, in rare cases it may also occur in other parts of the body. A charming disease, isn’t she? For me, she reared her ugly head with extremely painful periods. Also charming… NOT. Some days I had to take sick leave from work because of it!
Because of the location of the endometriomas (chocolate cysts) in my case, they were potentially hampering my fertility so laparoscopy was the first thing I was recommended. It’s a keyhole surgery and isn’t very invasive.
Chapter 3 – Anaesthetic virgin no more
My hospital experience should deserve a separate blog post but some things are best kept to ourselves… 🙂
On a misty October morning at 8am I admitted myself to the hospital as a nervous wreck. I had been lucky so far and never had a surgery in my life. Even the surgeon was surprised when I said I had never had anaesthetic. That was soon going to change.
Fast forward to some time in the afternoon the same day – everything was a blur, I’ve no exact memory of when I was wheeled out. There was a big clock on the wall but nothing registered. I remember looking at other women who were brought out before me, asking for tea or coffee and biscuits, and wished I were at their stage already. I did get to their stage but looking and feeling 100 times worse. I was so sleepy and drowsy that the nurses got worried about my low blood pressure and vomiting. They told me to move around and get my husband to collect me.
Sleepiness continued the whole evening, so much so, that I fell asleep with soup in my mouth. My husband was trying to feed me but I dozed off between swallowing. Hilarious. The only thing that I could stomach that night were M&Ms. My all time favourite sweets.
I think I recovered quite fast because towards the end of the week I already attended Jarre’s concert at the O2. The base was so strong I thought my stitches were going to open up.
Chapter 4 – Acceptance
Last autumn was spent healing my body and mind. I felt really positive after the operation and accepted the waiting game. I started looking up ways to naturally increase our chances, for example, eating according to your cycle. I came across a really interesting book, WomanCode, and followed the meal plans. My favourite part was eating pineapple to aid implantation. 🙂
The first time I felt I had been healed of pregnancy envy was early December when after another friend’s announcement I didn’t feel jealous anymore.
And then it did happen!
Chapter 5 – all still to be written! 😉
As we’re embarking on this completely new journey I’ve created a new category on my blog, pregnancy, and there will be a baby category in due course. 👶🏽
Every woman is different and I’m sure there are thousands out there who have come off the pill and got pregnant in a few months’ time. And I’m sure there are thousands of women out there for whom it’s the exact opposite too. In my case though, I wish I had stopped taking them sooner because my hormones went completely out of whack. Doctors suspected it took my body about nine months to start ovulating, they also thought my hormones had been out of balance for so long and oestrogen dominance is one of the causes of endometriosis. Pregnancy isn’t a cure for it and I’m a little anxious to find out how I’ll be able to manage it once the baby is born. What symptoms will return, how soon will I need another laparoscopy…?
Who out there would like to comment and share their stories about getting pregnant with endometriosis?