- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Trying to conceive with endometriosis and fibroids against the odds at 40
there is always hope
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” ― Charlie Chaplin
Gosh, where do I even start? I am a 40 years old (almost 41y) happily married girl, who is trying her very best to conceive her first baby for the past 5.5 years.
See we got married in March 2012 and then started trying for a baby straight away; we were even joking that I will be pregnant by the time we come home from our honeymoon. Hah, how little did we know back then. Fast forward 5.5 years and while I am 110% certain then we are closer than ever to get our baby, it sadly has not happened yet.
At first like everyone else we were trying naturally, then we've thrown in Clomid, injectables, IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), donor eggs, donor embryo for good measures; you name it we tried it. But nothing seemed to worked so far. Well, truth is we got pregnant once after our first donor egg IVF last August but that ended in a miscarriage at 6 weeks. Devastating you might think, but we were actually quite happy that it worked in the first place and were certain we just need another go and that will be it. It wasn’t to be; we had 3 more rounds of donor egg IVF since the miscarriage, and not a sniff at pregnancy.
Roller coaster ride of TTC (Trying To Conceive)
So how did I end up with endometriosis? The truth most likely is that I always had it, but was never aware of it. I would have expected that after actively trying for so many years at least one of the many fertility doctors I have seen would have at least mentioned that I have this horrible disease. No chance; I was always told that everything is perfect with me and with my husband, we just need to keep trying and if all fails IVF will sort it out. Literally that was the advice we were given and we were shelling out large amounts of money on all kinds of expensive fertility treatments that will never work.
In 2015 I was fed up with the 3 years of trying and failing to conceive and we decided to go with NaPro TECHNOLOGY. I am not going to go into too much detail of this certain type of fertility treatment, but all I can say while again it did not work for us at least I’ve found that the doctors were thorough and they wanted to get to the bottom of the problem before deciding how to treat it. It was during my time with NaPro that I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis (and lots of fibroids) during a laparoscopic procedure. At the time the surgeon however was hellbent of finding out if I had ovarian cancer or not as he has seen a pelvic mass on one of the scans. Needless to say, I did not have cancer, said mass was/is a 4 cm fibroid that is not causing any hassle and cannot be removed.
This surgeon made it clear that he was a cancer surgeon not a fertility specialist and he did not share my fertility concerns. He removed the fibroids and mild endometriosis and advised he sees no reason why I couldn’t get pregnant. I was over the moon, even though the manners and the attitude of this doctor really irritated me.
Still riding high.....
Fast forward 8 months after the surgery and I got pregnant for the first time ever with donor egg IVF at a clinic in Prague!!! I will never ever forget how happy we were, though deep down I could never relax and had a horrible feeling that something was wrong. Those fears became justified when I miscarried at around 6 weeks; they said while I had very high HCG levels indicating a strong pregnancy, the sac just could not properly attach to the endometrium and simply fell away with my baby inside.
Tough as it was we were not about to give up and since our almost successful attempt we had another 3 tries with donor egg IVF, but no luck.
Last year a very good friend of mine recommended this doctor who apparently not only is an excellent fertility doctor but also is an outstanding human being, caring, sympathetic and 100% understanding. I have visited Dr U last year and I could tell instantly, that he genuinely did care. He had all the time in the world to listen to my concerns and questions and he patiently responded and provided his opinion on the matter. My biggest regret to date will be that I only half listened to him. I was at a point when I thought I knew enough of the subject, I knew my body, I knew what worked and I just needed a little bit of tweaking and we will be right there. And yet again I was wrong. When we were going for the next IVF earlier this year Dr U expressed some concerns that he didn’t think I was ready, and he asked me to go and see him to talk it through. I of course went ahead with the IVF(s) only to fail every time. Eventually I contacted Dr U and admitted defeat. In fairness, he never once said “I told you so”. Him being as patient as ever we sat down and started from scratch.
During the first scan he became concerned of the fibroids I had in my uterus and explained that there is simply not enough room there for a baby. He recommended that I go in for a surgery with him, this time he recommended a full abdominal surgery. That initially scarred me and seemed way too drastic, also I was looking at this as another event that will hold us up in our quest to become parents. However I also made a promise to myself and to my husband that we will follow Dr U’s advice to the letter this time and we genuinely trust him 100%.
That was barely a month ago and the rest is like a whirlwind. Couple of weeks ago I had MRI followed by a week abroad with work, during which the ever so efficient Dr U arranged everything for my surgery as soon I was back home. I landed back home on a Saturday evening and by Monday morning I was lying on the operating table. It was really surreal but I was actually looking forward to it, I just knew this is it now.
The surgery went well, he removed 6 out of the 7 fibroids, one will remain forever and that is OK, it is not affecting anything at all. He also removed bilateral endometriomas from my ovaries and endometriosis. When I woke up in moderate pain, it was nice to see the familiar face explaining to me what happened and re-assuring me that everything will be OK. I spent 4 days in hospital, well looked after and I am now home for almost 5 days. I am a bit sore of course, it is major abdominal surgery after all, but I just know it all will be worth it.
Conclusion and take away
The surgery was not a cure all and I will have a follow up treatment with injections and pills in the coming days; I will write about this in detail in my next articles. This time we are going hell for leather!
The most important take away from this is: find a good doctor and listen to him. Try to stay away from Google if possible, it will only mess with your head and you will question everything that doctors say. While it’s good to be knowledgeable and ask for second opinions there is truly no substitution for modern medicine whether we like it or not, Check for fibroids and endometriosis and don’t believe when some says it doesn’t matter if you have them because they have seen people getting pregnant with these conditions. Every person is different and every person deserves the best care they can get.
Best of luck with your journey and be sure to check out my follow up articles with more details on our efforts to become parents. IMPORTANT: Please note that I am not a medical professional and I am merely sharing my own experience. As always please consult with your medical provider before deciding on any treatment.
© 2017 Gabby McMahon