Why my fertility is rock bottom at 22

Tweet to @mummykindoff

I have posted before about my gynecological issues (endometriosis & PCOS) but I’ve never posted about how it affected my fertility, and why at 22, I face the harsh reality that I probably won’t be able to have any more children.

I never imagined myself as a mum, and still to this day I don’t see myself as a “good” mum, and once I was diagnosed with endometriosis and PCOS at 16/17 the reality sunk in that I probably wouldn’t be a mum. At 19 I was placed on a drug called Zoladex, an injection to induce a chemical menopause to help my endo. I still to this day can’t work out the logistics of how I fell pregnant whilst my body was in a menopausal state, but that was my blessing, as Oliver came along. It was a pregnancy and labor from hell, but he was so worth it. However, my complications didn’t end there… I suffered from postpartum psychosis which plagued the first few months of motherhood for me, and I guess still to this day I feel like I missed some amazing moments with Oliver because of it.

As months went by, my endometriosis and PCOS progressed, getting more and more aggressive. Hospital admissions went on, laparoscopic operations took place (8 operations to count as it stands), and still I was SO adamant I didn’t want another baby, ever. I can’t blame myself; I was still trying to get over my pregnancy, labour and post-labour events.

Then in November 2018 the decision to remove my right ovary came to fruition. It wasn’t a choice I took lightly, but after having an 8cm cyst on my “problem ovary”, enough was enough. My gynecologist and I decided it was time for the ovary and fallopian tube to be removed. After a recent admission, it’s likely that I will at some point lose my left ovary and potentially my uterus as my endometriosis and PCOS are aggressive and resilient, and continue to grow against treatment.

Months on, I can’t help but wonder if I made the right decision. After all, I am only 22. Maybe I do want more children one day. Maybe if I get another chance, my pregnancy won’t be awful and I can live the parts I missed. Just maybe. I’ve endured baby loss, I’ve endured a traumatic pregnancy and labour but it’s unlikely I’ll get the chance to do it again, and honestly it breaks my heart.

The real kick in the teeth is unfortunately if I was to try for another baby I would not be entitled to support from the NHS, even if the partner I was with had no children. Despite the fact I have two conditions that can cause infertility, only one ovary and Fallopian tube, in addition to my only successful pregnancy being traumatic, due to NHS guidelines they are under no obligation to support me should that time come.

I still can’t bring myself to terms with the fact that I might never get a chance to have another baby, to give Oliver a sibling. I guess in some ways it makes me feel like I’ve failed as a woman. I’m unable to do the one thing that’s expected of us. However, it makes me treasure Oliver so much, because in my eyes he truly is a miracle. He pulled through against the odds and made me a mum… Something that I might never have been if he didn’t pull through.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Have you checked your lemons, melons or mangos? 

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns

CHECK. YOUR BOOBS png

As it is breast cancer awareness week, I thought i’d share my scare experience with our readers in the hope that it might encourage some of you to get checked out, if you’re having any breast related worries!

A few months ago, I finally made the big step in getting myself checked out after having a boobie scare. Why am I telling you lucky lot about it?! Because changes to our breasts honestly need to be spoken about more!

How many of us ladies can honestly say that we check ourselves out frequently? When did you last check? I know that we’re not quite as bad as the boys at checking ourselves… But I am very aware that I personally only ever used get round to doing it when I get reminded by online campaigns etc.

I saw the image above, on Facebook and decided that it was time to confront one of the changes I had noticed since having Florence nearly a year and a half ago. I knew that changes in your breasts and breast tissue was very common after large hormonal changes, like having a baby, but worried because I had a mark that looked like a cross between what these two lemons depicted…

Lovely I know,  but I have no time to blush when I’m here to inform! 

 

I called up my local doctors practice and asked for an appointment to discuss a concern I had with one of my breasts. I was told that as no female doctors were in and that there wasn’t a chaperone available, that I’d have to wait for the duty doctor to call me the following day and book me in, to see a lady. I said that as I was so concerned, I didn’t mind who I discussed my worries with but that I’d prefer to be checked over by a female when I came to practice.

Sure enough, the duty doctor called me the very next morning. I explained my worries over the phone and put me down for an appointment to see a lady doctor for less than an hour later. So off I went!

She asked me what my concerns where and tried to make me feel comfortable before instructing me to remove my upper layers and lye down on the examination table to be checked over. She checked my nipples, breast, armpits and even commented on how my glands felt perfectly normal.

The changes that I had been so worried about, was slight scar tissue, all caused by to me trying to breast feed and pump for almost two months with no supply. She told me that this was nothing to worry about but well worth getting checked out.

I am so relived that my scare was down to nothing more sinister and felt pleased that I had finally been brave enough to seek some help and advice for my worries.

The doctor explained how I could check myself and said that either in the shower, bath, lying or sitting down in bed whilst relaxed would be the perfect time to check myself and to try and do it as frequently as possible (but to aim for once a week!).

How do you check yourself? 

Strictly speaking, there is no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It is so important to know what your breasts usually look and feel like. Then you’ll be more likely to spot any changes quickly and get help from to your GP.

The NHS state that a good way check yourself is to “Look at your breasts and feel each breast and armpit, all the way up to your collarbone. You may find it easiest to do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.
You can also look at your breasts in the mirror. Look with your arms by your side and also with them raised.”

So- when should we seek help or advice from a GP? If you experience any of the following symptoms make sure you book to see your GP as soon as possible…

  • a change in size or shape
  • a lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
  • a change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
  • redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
  • your nipple has become inverted (pulled in) or looks different in any way.
  • liquid or any discharge that comes from the nipple without squeezing.
  • pains or pangs in your breast or your armpit
  • a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.

Any of these changes could be down to normal bodily hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, labour, breast feeding or menopause- but please, if anything is new or is worrying you, GET CHECKED OUT…

Useful links-

NHS information about Breast Cancer.
Breast Cancer Care Org

Thank you for reading!
(Please remember that you can never be too safe!)