Several years ago now, I met an amazing man, who I am lucky enough to call my husband. I fell head over heels quicker than I like to admit, and was surprised he felt the same, what with everything I came carrying. Within six months, we were engaged, and had decided that we were going to grow the family.
Notice how I didn’t say “try to grow the family”?
I couldn’t possibly consider that it wouldn’t work. Even knowing I had gyne issues, it didn’t seem plausible that there would be any problems. My son was a surprise pregnancy and – I hate the term, forgive me – a “contraception failure” when I was 17. Based on that, how on earth could a planned pregnancy not happen? I was obviously incredibly fertile. If I’m entirely honest, I cried the first period that arrived after I stopped the pill. I honestly just expected it happen. I even reassured my now husband that we would be fine. We picked out names. We even looked at baby clothes and talked about how amazing it was going to be.
Then time went on. And on. And on. And on.
I couldn’t work out what was going wrong. I was taking prenatal vitamins, I was doing the exercise I could manage, I even bought conception assisting lubricant. I bought bulk lots of ovulation tests and pregnancy tests. I can’t count the amount of sticks I watched for three minutes, hoping with everything I had for those two lines yo appear.
All the while, my endometriosis symptoms were getting worse. I went onto stronger pain killers, which made me gain weight. My cycles became more irregular. It became more painful to have sex.
Then in 2015, the year we got married, we had two miscarriages, both in the first trimester. We were, naturally, devastated, and both became depressed. After the second loss, my grief was totally all consuming. I was a mess, completely illogical, and a total wreck. It took a long time to come out the other side of that, and it still grabs at me at times. We both struggled between being desperate to conceive again, and the other alternative of being terrified to lose another baby. (Please note, this is not a “pro life” comment. I am entirely pro choice, but, whether logical or purely emotional, those early loses were very much our babies.)
We started going through medical investigations. Blood test after blood test, scan after scan. My husband’s results came back entitely normal. His sperm count was the low end of normal, but normal all the same. So the problem was me. The blood tests confirmed I wasn’t ovulating, and my ovaries had become more polycystic than they already had been recorded as.
Not only were we up against it with those facts, but we were also just left with those facts with nothing more to do with it. We had reached a point where all investigations had been done, and my health had gone further down hill. By this point I had had two accidents that had impacted me, and continue to now, years down the line. Pain was now ruling not only my life, but our lives as a family. We were all struggling with how ill I was, and with how things had been left fertility wise.
We stopped discussing names. We stopped talking about baby clothes. We stopped joking about leaking boobs and missed periods and night feeds. We stopped watching programs that involved babies.
I say “stopped” as in past tense. We’re still there now. All that easiness of trying to conceive, all that laughter, all that excitment, has disappeared.
Now we’re at a point where the extent of my pain is really damaging our lives. So, when my – lovely – new gynaecologist agreed to do another laparoscopy recently, I requested that it be put on my notes that I give permission for removal of anything up to and including a hysterectomy. Adhesions, cysts, tubes, ovaries, womb. All and any. Whatever. Just take it. Just stop it hurting.
Seems a drastic request, I suppose, especially as someone hoping to conceive, even if that thought is just a quiet little hope now. It was so easy and so difficult at the same time. The weekend before that appointment, I had my first post zoladex period. It was just as bad, if not worse, as the last one before we made the decision to start Zoladex. I genuinely woke uo screaming. My husband thought I was having a flashback nightmare and tried to reassure me. But it was pain. So much pain. Pain upon pain. I doubled my dose of oramoph just to try and function enough to get to the toilet (there is endometriosis on both my bowel and bladder, so it causes UTI like pain when using the loo, and absolute agony if my bladder becomes too full). My husband had to work the following day, and I couldn’t get up. I had to call my mum to come over and fill up my hot water bottle. That was the Saturday. It was also Pride weekend here, and had it not been, I would have gone to A&E. I still wonder whether maybe I should have. I struggled through the weekend, and on the Monday saw my surgeon. That was when I said “hysterectomy” out loud to him.
So here we are. This post vaguely covers the journey, physical, practical and emotional, that the last few years have thrown at us. Endometriosis has ruled it largely, as it has so much of my life. The decision I made and the place we are at now is somewhere I couldn’t imagine reaching back at the beginning of this journey. And yet, I remember being twelve or thirteen, curled up in a ball with a hot water bottle during a horrific period, having come home from school because of flooding, thinking to myself how I could stop my periods. I remember laying there so clearly, thinking “I’ll get pregnant – that’s nine months free – and then I’ll breastfeed until my period starts again and then I’ll get pregnant again, and I’ll keep doing that then have a hysterectomy”. I wasn’t even at the age of having sex, and yet that was my thought process, just desperate for it to stop already.
Now, I am twenty seven, and I’m checking the post desperately every day waiting for a date, and almsot as desperately wishing I wake up without a womb. In my ideal world, I have this operation, they remove the things that are causing issues, and in a few months time I’m pregnant with twins, and everything is sunshine and rainbows. But – hope for the best, plan for the worst. Though really, will waking up never having ti face a horrific period again really be the worst thing?
I’m at peace with my decision. And whatever happens we will just roll with it. The last few years havr been completely beyond my control. This, at least, has come from me.