I used to think I only wanted one child
It’s weird – I never grew up thinking I was going to be a mum. In fact, around kids I was always petrified and never warmed to baby cousins when presented with them. That changed, though, when I got married and having found someone that was my soul mate I instinctively wanted a family. However, both the OH and I made a decision to wait five years before starting a family.
I never knew where the five years came from but this gave us time to get used to being with each other, learning each other’s bad habits and generally enjoy being a young carefree couple. When we finally got round to trying for a baby things happened fast….really fast! Within one month I was pregnant and my pregnancy was an absolute breeze. I had no health concerns and although I carried a lot of weight, I enjoyed every minute of it.
After Roo was born I quickly fell into the routine of motherhood and loved it. There’s a fantastic feeling of closeness you get as a parent and every day brings new wonders. When Roo was about 18 months I accidentally fell pregnant again. At the time I was scared and mortified. I was in the middle of running a business, finances were tight, OH’s job was up and down. I remember doing a pregnancy test and literally grabbing the side of the basin to steady myself from the shock.
I remember telling the other half over the phone and I could hear his reaction was similar to mine…. ‘great news dear but how will we manage?’ Our plans had only ever been to have one child; we’d discussed it. Roo was such a good baby we didn’t want to jinx things with baby number two – plus the idea of more sleepless nights was not something either of us relished.
When I found out I was pregnant again I was approximately eight weeks along. For the next few days I began to wrestle in my head with emotions. Angry at myself for being stupid and getting caught like this, but excited at the thought of a brother or sister for Roo. Just when I’d got used to the idea my world was turned upside down. I awoke one morning with cramps and spotting and feeling a bit groggy. Hubby went off to work and Roo to nursery and I continued working at home. By mid morning the cramping was worse and the spotting pretty steady.
I phoned my GP and explained I was bleeding. After being put on hold I was told I could come down for a check up and to confirm the pregnancy. When I got there my GP was not interested. She simply informed me that at eight/nine weeks bleeding was ‘normal’, most likely implantation bleeding and advised I go home, read in bed and wait for the early bleed clinic that was four days away. It’s funny but when you’re in shock, you just nod your head and do as you’re told and that’s what I did.
I walked home, got into bed and lasted another hour sitting in pain. I began to get stabbing pains in my shoulder and the bleeding worsened. I knew this was not normal. How could I wait for four days to go to the clinic? I phoned my local hospital who told me that unless I had been booked in at my GP’s surgery by a midwife as officially pregnant then they would simply advise I go to the same clinic as my GP had mentioned. I began to get upset. I was alone and no one appeared to care.
I got on the internet and Googled private scan clinics in the Midlands. An option over 40 miles away came up. I pleaded for the lady to see me and she could hear I was upset. She kindly said if I could come in the next hour they could see me. I had no choice – I couldn’t ring my family they were 20 minutes away and it would take 40 to get to the clinic. Hubby was at work and I didn’t want to disturb him. I pulled myself out of bed and drove down the M42 myself, I remember at one point bleeding so heavily that I was bent double over my steering wheel and when I stopped at traffic lights someone actually wound down their window and asked if I was ok.
The clinicians were amazing. They could see when I walked in I was in trouble and rushed me through to a private room. An internal scan confirmed my hopes and fears. I was pregnant, about 10 weeks but I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy on my left fallopian tube and ovary and more seriously this had now begun to rupture. My situation was very serious. Paramedics were called. I remember passing out from pain and waking up in Birmingham Women’s Hospital on morphine with what seemed like an awful lot of important people in white coats around me.
As a result of the ectopic pregnancy rupturing, I underwent nearly six hours of surgery to remove the pregnancy, my left fallopian tube and ovary and ultimately save my life. My recovery was painful and the scars mental and physical are still a reminder of what happened to me.
I had begun to put this behind me until Mother’s Day this year when I went for an ovarian scan to see why I was having such horrendous periods and why medication was not managing them. The results were given to me at the hospital and it was confirmed that I have severe polycystic ovary syndrome on my one remaining ovary. My remaining fallopian tube is scarred and full of lesions.
I was flatly told that my chances of ever conceiving naturally again were non-existent due to this extensive damage and that if I did become pregnant there was a high likelihood again of further ectopic pregnancies.
I felt and still feel numb about this news. I knew that there were problems as it had been mentioned after my surgery that they wanted to perform a total hysterectomy but were unable to because of the length of surgery already. However, I was not prepared for being told that I will only ever have one child naturally. I am not sure I am ready for that – I would have loved to try again this year or next year with Roo going to school. She often talks about a brother or sister and now I cannot give her that. To say I feel useless and a spare part would be a small understatement and I am angry and frustrated at my body for letting me down.
What’s more is that I know there is nothing I can do to change the diagnosis. Whilst I can lose weight and make the symptoms manageable, I will never wake up with a healthy viable womb. Part of me wants the whole lot taken away because it is now pointless to me and if I can’t have more children, why should I have to go through the horrendous monthly periods I get?
Deciding that you only ever want one child because that’s your prerogative is different to being told your body has failed you and you will only every have one child. I should be lucky, and am lucky, that I have one child – thousands of couples don’t even get this joy. I just wish in my heart I could have the joy again.