Why my fertility is rock bottom at 22

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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…

How womb massage helped me to conceive…

We all know someone who has been affected by fertility problems, and the NHS estimates that around 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving. Nevertheless, the official advice is to continue having unprotected sex regularly (every 2-3 days) in order for most couples to be able to conceive within a year.

Charlotte was one such woman on the receiving end of this advice! Her difficulties conceiving lasted for 2 years before she found lifestyle fertility massage (or womb massage) – a technique which has been used to relieve constipation and other abdominal pain since the nineteenth century! Even when used to increase bowel movements, it has been found to reduce feelings of discomfort, instead inducing feelings of relaxation which play an important part in conception. Relaxation helps to release the all-important LOVE hormone, Oxytocin, which helps mothers all the way from conception to delivery.

According to The Sun, Charlotte is not the first mother to have come close (or even have unsuccessfully tried) to use IVF before falling pregnant with the help of lifestyle fertility massage

So, Charlotte, how did womb massage help you?

 
Tell us a bit about you and your family.
I’ve been together with my husband for 10 years now (married for nearly 5). We have two boys called Charlie and Cal, aged 2 and 8.5 months. We chose to have a small age gap based on many factors, the first being fertility. I was worried following the birth of my eldest that I would never conceive again so decided to try straight away while my hormone levels were still high! We hope to extend our family in the future but for now have ours hands full with the boys!
Do you suffer with any diagnosed illness in relation to your periods?
I had no diagnosed issues with my periods, I had seen doctors previously because I struggled with heavy painful periods but was only ever offered the contraceptive pill!
 
How long did you try to conceive with your children?
We tried for a few years without medical guidance or seeking any help to conceive before we started to get overly concerned – there seemed to be a surge in people getting pregnant straight away or by accident which got us worried about our own fertility. Our doctors seemed to snub us by saying things like; “it just takes some people longer,” and they kept throwing the statistic that “80% of people conceive naturally in 12 months” which was no comfort whatsoever! We were never given any advice or tips on boosting fertility or our chances of naturally conceiving either!
When did you first hear about womb massage to help with fertility?
One of my close friends suggested womb massage after seeing an ad on Facebook. Admittedly, I was very reluctant at first. I had done so much research on fertility and conception and couldn’t see how a massage could ever help. I had become obsessed with knowing the dates of my cycle etc., so a massage seemed very pointless and easy and very UN-medical! Regardless, I booked an appointment just to tell my friend I had tried it more than anything else!
I personally found that there’s a lot of pressure to conceive, once people know you’re struggling, particularly close friends who want you to have a baby. I think there’s always an anticipation for your to become pregnant and people are always waiting for you to achieve that baby dream, so I felt the need to try everything people told me to, so I could, in a way, relieve some pressure and “people please” even if didn’t get pregnant!
Were other family members and friends sceptical about womb massage?

We never told family the real reason we went for a womb massage… It sounds awful, but we never told family members that we were struggling with fertility. There was never a right time to say we were really struggling – we had always kept our desire to have children quite hidden, so I think our years spent trying would have been a shock. Our close friends knew however, and were so supportive, sending us messages of good luck on the day of the massage! Personally, I find some conversations and subjects are just easier with friends than family, for example, you don’t want your family knowing you Googled “best positions to get pregnant”!
What did your husband think about using womb massage as a way of trying to help you conceive?
My husband was surprised I had booked a massage, I didn’t tell him until I had booked because I was in two minds about actually going! In the end, I took him along with me and we both came out feeling so much better and educated about our situation. I think it was also good for him to see me actually feeling positive about it all! I had been going through a phase of just being so negative and convinced that we would never have our own baby.
 
After you had the recommendation from your friend, did you look into how womb massage works?
I must admit I went into womb massage a bit blind! I had a look on the Facebook page and skim read and booked on a whim! All I really knew about it was that it was an external massage (part of me was worried it would be an invasive treatment) when I arrived Kerryexplained its benefits, how it worked and talked us through what she was doing and why.
 
Where did you find someone who offered the lifestyle fertility massage treatment?
My friend found her page on Facebook and sent me the link. I had a Google search and couldn’t find anyone else offering the same treatment in Kent and Sussex, so it was our only option without travelling miles away. I read through the reviews which gave me the boost to book because there were just no negative stories there! Normally with most companies or products there is always a negative review somewhere!
How did you access the lifestyle fertility massage treatment?
I went to visit Kerry at her treatment room based in Hastings, I didn’t really know what to expect, I thought it would be quite a hippy treatment but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s external and a massage on your abdomen.
Is womb massage something you can try at home? Did you?
It’s not something I think you can do at home – not the massage itself, anyway – but Kerry gave me so much advice that the doctors never had given me! For example, I love dairy products but never even considered the additional hormones I was taking in (for example, the hormones they give cows so they continually produce milk). She also put my mind at ease that I wasn’t “faulty” and for the first time I felt listened to and not like I was a burden on the doctors’ time!
Did you use womb massage postpartum following the birth of your boys?
I never went back to Kerry following the birth of my first son, as I saw so much improvement from just the two sessions I had! I fell pregnant following the 2nd massage! My cycle was 32 days pre-massage (and I struggled with PMS and bad period pains), but within one massage my cycle was 28 days, so much easier to trace and track my ovulation days, my hormones were so much better and I had no period pain! I also felt less sluggish than I usually do. I intended to go back for massages when trying to conceive my second, but I was fortunate and fell pregnant straight away. I spent the month before we tried for another baby putting into practice the nutrition guidance Kerry had previously given me.
Was this the first kind of treatment you tried to help you conceive?
We had an appointment booked with the gynaecology team at hospital the week that I found I was pregnant with my son. We had battled through the GP for over 2 years to actually get referred, the only “help” the doctor had given us was that my weight was the issue (I was a size 10-12) and that we had “unexplained infertility.” This basically meant that there was no physical reason for it, and they weren’t going to investigate it further. I left all the doctors appointments feeling deflated and useless. I don’t consider myself to be big in weight so to be told my size was the issue was a big blow and my confidence dropped off a cliff!
How long did it take to see results?
I saw results almost instantly following my first treatment, my moods were better, my PMS was so much better and my period was lighter and it was the first time since having them that I didn’t need to take painkillers just to get through the day!
Did you experience any complications in either pregnancy?
I didn’t have any complications in my pregnancies other than a little anaemia in both! My first was born 2 weeks early – nice and healthy – and my second was only a day early.
 
Overall, what are your feelings about womb massage and would you recommend it to other parents trying to conceive?

I would fully recommend womb massage! I’m convinced it helped my conceive my boys! I was really low before we went, I felt the full weight of infertility, I saw babies literally everywhere and everyone seemed to get pregnant easily around me, we didn’t confide in many people that we were struggling, unless someone’s been through it themselves it’s a tough subject and there’s not much comfort friends or family can provide. Kerry, who did the womb massage made me feel so at ease and gave me so much information my doctor didn’t ! Even if your not trying to conceive she can help with women’s health issues and cycle problems !

Thank you so much Charlotte for sharing your story!

Have you tried womb/lifestyle fertility massage? Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!

Stop Asking When I’m Having “Baby Number 2”

 

I am in my mid-twenties with a preschool-aged child and have been married to my husband for just over a year now – so it’s time I had another baby, right? *insert eye roll here*
At our wedding people were asking if I was already pregnant again (drinking champagne from the bottle soon stopped those questions). We were asked if we were going to have a super romantic honeymoon baby. A couple of months after the wedding people were checking in and asking if I was pregnant with said honeymoon baby. A year on, people are tapping their watches, commenting on the age gap and generally getting involved in our private business. 
 
Compare that to when my son was still very little and people were telling me that I absolutely shouldn’t have another baby. Some people even commented that THEY weren’t ready for me to have another baby (?!) but my answer has always been the same:
 
That is between me, my husband and my uterus. 
 
Thankfully, the word “uterus” seems to stop most people from making further comment for some reason.
 
I am not going to divulge whether or not we are trying for a baby because… well… That is between me, my husband and my uterus, but here are just some of the reasons why brash comments about a couple’s reproduction can be really inappropriate:
 
1. This is a big one with a trigger warning for infant loss – they have already conceived but have suffered one or more miscarriages. I would encourage everyone to be as open as they feel they can be about these losses but equally, if they don’t want to talk about it then it’s not okay to force their hand or make them lie or brush it off like nothing. If someone has suffered a loss like that the last thing they want to do is smile along and say “oh no babies for us just yet”. 
 
2. They are struggling with fertility and may well be considering other options like IVF, surrogacy or adoption. Unless this person has told you about their struggles and you are just checking in to see how things are going then this is a real stinger.
 
3. They don’t actually want to have (more) children. Yep – that’s right, humans can actually make the conscious decision not to reproduce and their reasons, if they choose to share them, are perfectly valid and you should respect them. From previous pregnancy/birth trauma to just not wanting to raise a family the phrase “you’ll change your mind” needs binning along with “when are you having a baby then?”
 
4. They already know they can’t have children for medical reasons. This can be broad, perhaps due to an injury or illness, complications with a previous child or medication that could make pregnancy risky to the mother and/or the child.
 
5. They’re already trying and if you just hold on a few months they will let you know when they are good and ready. They don’t want to talk to anyone about their sex life. “We’re trying for a baby” = “We’re having regular sex” and that level of sharing is just a little too much for some people. 

 
6. They want to wait until they are in a more stable financial situation or living in a nicer area and they don’t want to talk to you about sex and money and how they don’t like the town you raised your own kids in because that is an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen. 
Now, I am actually going to hold my hands up here and say I have asked people about when they’re having babies in the past, and more than once I have been shocked and saddened to hear of their losses and struggles but now the shoe is not the other foot I can only apologise and change my attitude. 
 
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments, I’m sure there are more than six reasons not to ask a person when they are having a baby!