I am 38 and was diagnosed with IBS in 2007. I got married in 2011 and we have been try to conceive ever since. You know how it is, married 2 years, everyone expects you to have a baby right away. I always had a feeling that things were not quite right and it wouldn't be that simple.
Early last year I went to the GP to raise the fact that I had not conceived, after more than 1 year. My very good and understanding GP got me onto the process, and after blood and sperm tests galore we were referred to the fertility clinic.
First step was the HSG. For those that don't know, this is where you have a catheter inserted into the cervix and then dye is pushed into the uterus whilst watched on an X-ray. The aim is to check that the fluid fills the uterus and tubes, and spills out showing no blockages. A highly unpleasant experience, and I actually struggled to get my head around how intrusive it all was!
My HSG immediately showed a problem with my tubes. Blockages at both ends and suspected hydrosalpinx which is ballooning of the tube caused by fluid build up. No one prepared me for how I would feel seeing my fertility (or lack thereof) played out on a monitor in front of me and it was a horrible confirmation that I was right and there was a major issue.
I was then put onto the waiting list for a laparoscopy to take a closer look, and had this lap in November, and was surprised that they found a) endo, and b) no hydrosalpinx, but blocked (clubbed) tubes. Perhaps a lot of my pseudo-IBS symptoms were endo after all!
I then saw the specialist who told me that I would need open surgery to try and repair the damage. The endo has also left adhesions all over my ovaries so eggs cannot get out even when I do ovulate. My tubes are completely closed and whilst I do not have a hydrosalpinx it will happen eventually.
Due to the risk of imminent hydrosalpinx, I cannot have IVF. Hydrosalpinx cause a build up of toxic fluid in the tubes, which leaks down into the uterus and causes miscarriage. My biggest frustration is the 6 month wait between diagnosis and my next op, for which I am still waiting. During this 6 months, it could be the case that a hydro has developed, and the only answer to this is removal of the tube(s) and then IVF.
Best case now is that the surgeon can remove the endo adhesions from my ovaries and uterus, and rebuild my tubes (not good chances) which stay open (even lower chances). Opened tubes often close again in 6-12 months which would put me back to square one, with no chance to have IVF due to the hydro risk.
This all means that after my op we have a window perhaps of 6 months to try and conceive. If successful, we have a high risk of ectopic pregnancy. If it is not ectopic, we have a high risk of miscarriage anyway.
My biggest difficulty now is finding a balance between staying hopeful and being realistic. I cannot risk getting my hopes up as I cannot deal with them being dashed. I need to stay positive though as if I assume it will not work, surely this negativity will have an impact? Ris is the hardest part.
I feel like I want to tell the world what I am going through, shout it from the rooftops, just to get recognition for my pain. People I do tell always react the same way, I get bombarded with the usual anecdotes about someone they know who knows someone who had IVF and now has a baby, or stopped trying then got pregnant, or had some other 'miracle baby'. No one tells you about the people who tried for years, tore themselves apart and didn't succeed. There are just as many if not more of these people than there are that 'got lucky'.
Each time a family member or friend says 'oh but I just know it will happen for you', I want to punch them. Can they see inside my pelvis? Are they psychic? Do they know better than a consultant with over 20 years experience?
I actually find myself wanting people to say "that's shit that you are unlikely to ever have a baby", rather than the constant and illfounded attempts to reassure.
I am sick of knowing that work are passing me by with opportunities for new roles or to relocate abroad, as everyone assumes that I will get pregnant soon. I feel like screaming at them! Even the locals in my village talk to me all the time about the local primary school, as if it will be important to me one day soon.
I am starting to accept that some people, perhaps including me, are unable to have babies, and this doesn't mean the end of the world or that we cannot be a part of society.
It's just a shame that the rest of the world cannot do the same.