Laura's Story "My bowel, bladder and ovary on my left side were all stuck together"
I was woken in the middle of the night by a very intense pain in my abdomen; by morning I was in so much pain I called my doctor to make an appointment to see what he thought it could be. I have never suffered from period pains before so it was a bit of a shock to my system. I was then referred to our local hospital for more tests.
After x-rays and tests, it was figured the most likely cause was an ovarian cyst. I was referred up to Waikato to see a specialist who would be able to carry out more tests to confirm the cyst. I ended up having an ultrasound. The verdict was not really conclusive - they could tell me that there was a 'mass' on/near my left ovary and I would have to book in for laparoscopic surgery to remove the mass and/or remove the ovary and/or fallopian tube if they were damaged. I wouldn't know what they would have found, or what had to be removed until I woke up from the surgery, so it was all pretty daunting.
About 12 weeks later my surgery date came, and off I went as mentally prepared as one can get for the unknown. I got a bed, and those flattering gapping gowns and spunky surgery leg socks, then before I knew it I was off to theatre. What seemed like moments later I woke in Recovery and checked to see what the damage was... two small scars, one just below my belly button and the other just above the pubic hairline. I was relieved, as this probably meant that it was a simple procedure and I still had my ovary/fallopian tube.
The next step was to talk to the Doctors who would be able to tell me what they found. They started with the fact that the surgery went well and that the 'cyst' was not found. Which was great! They then went onto say that they had found Stage 3 Endometriosis, meaning that my bowel, bladder, and ovary on my left side were all stuck together, as well as it spread pretty much all over everything else.
They told me that endometriosis can cause infertility and we may have problems if trying for a family. This was the worst thing I could have heard; at 27 I had it all worked out, I wanted to have at least one baby by the time I was 30 and it now sounded as if my best-laid plans were crumbling. It is one thing to decide you are not ready for children, it is another to have someone tell you that you may not be able to have them. The nurses on the ward came in and gave me a flyer from Insight Endometriosis once the doctors had left.
I was determined to find out more about endometriosis so I gave Insight Endometriosis a call and found out where and when they met, I got information packs sent out by Endometriosis NZ in Christchurch, I borrowed books from the library and researched information off the internet. It was all very informative but I somehow felt as though I was a fraud as all the books and articles I read were talking about ladies who were suffering, struggling with endometriosis. I had no symptoms whatsoever that were listed in the books and apart from the one intense pain I had, have had nothing since.
My fiancé and I decided that if getting pregnant was going to be something really hard to achieve then we might as well start trying, even though the doctors had said it was very unlikely I would get pregnant before having surgery to remove the endometriosis.
About six weeks after my initial laparoscopy an appointment was booked to meet a gynecologist at Waikato Hospital, and see what was going to happen from here with surgery. About four weeks after the laparoscopy my period was late, we figured it was probably stress-related and all the probing around they did the month earlier. But just to be on the safe side, we did a home pregnancy test. A minute later there we were staring at two thin blue lines!!! A trip to the doctor confirmed it, ‘you are going to be parents’! I kept my appointment with the gynecologist as I now had a whole lot of new questions to ask him. What was going to happen to my insides as the baby grew, would they tear me apart from the inside? To our relief, he advised us that apart from maybe a bit more noticeable pain as the baby and uterus grew, that we could expect to have a normal pregnancy. Yahoo!!
So here we are now, 17 weeks pregnant and really not having any major pain or discomfort. From my midwife’s point of view, everything is normal. In April we will be welcoming the new addition to our family.