Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our pregnancy Journey Part 1

I want to record our pregnancy journey.  I gained so much strength and knowledge learning from others who shared their heart wrenching stories that I want to share mine, and also keep it for myself to refer to.  Be advised it is very personal and also contains a few pictures from my surgery.  (don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)

When I was a little girl I would put balls and balloons under my shirt and pretend I was pregnant.  I would play house and pretend I was a mommy all day.  I have always dreamed of getting married and having lots and lots of babies.  When I was 5, if you asked me how many babies I was going to have I would’ve told you 100.  When I was 10 I said 50, and as I grew up it slowly went down to 12, and now I know that I want as many babies as Heavenly Father is willing to give me.   I knew that the best days of my entire life would be my wedding day and when we had a new child brought into our family. 

As soon as Justin and I were serious we talked about having a family together.  I knew I had to be honest and tell him a few things about my situation.  I didn’t know much and we would learn much more together in the months to come but I wanted him to know that I didn’t know if it would be possible for me to become pregnant. 

Growing up I had extremely painful periods and was put on birth control to help control them.  At one of my very uncomfortable teenage appointment s with my OB/GYN she noticed that I had 2 cervixes and she said she’d have to do 2 pap smears instead of 1.  JOY L  Anyway they ran some tests and did some scans and ultrasounds over the next few months and they told me I had a bicornuate uterus.  A uterus with a thick septum or wall down the middle.  They also told me they didn’t know if I’d be able to have children.  Well for someone whose dreamed of being a mother her entire life this was DEVASTATING NEWS. 

Since I hadn’t found my eternal companion I tried to just put it on the back burner.  Besides we weren’t sure of anything yet and my dr. was a little small town dr. so I wasn’t giving up hope.  As I got older and after I met Justin things changed and I wanted more answers. 

I saw my amazing Doctor, Dr. Wilson and I brought up some of my concerns.  He looked at the tests I had when I was younger and said that it could pose many different complications for pregnancy but it may not too.  Some women have a bicornuate uterus and never know it until they are actually pregnant.  He said we should worry about it when the time came.  I am not very patient with this lack of information but I sure tried.

Doctor Wilson had not actually run any test himself at this point.  He had read reports from past test I had done.  What he explained to me was that I had a large septum that ran from the top of my uterus down through my cervix (making 2 cervixes) and down through my vagina as well.  (This was a very interesting fact to me because I had tried to wear tampons many times growing up and they didn’t work, well NOW it all makes sense, that is because I had TWO sides.  Crazy right?!)  The unknowns were if the uterine septum was throughout the entire uterus and if the 2 sides of my uterus had any “communication”.  See, if sperm was put on the left side and the egg was on the right side, (or vice versa) would there be any way for the sperm to reach the egg or did the wall completely block them from each other.  Dr. Wilson said that couples have about a 10% shot of getting pregnant each month, this may make our chances 5%.  Not exactly what I wanted to hear.  But we didn’t know if the sides communicated and I just held onto my hope that we could get pregnant. 

My other question was what if we DO get pregnant.  What will THAT mean for us?  Dr. Wilson said that there could possibly be some complications.  There would be  a very high chance of miscarriage.  If the placenta attached to the septum then it wouldn’t have enough blood flow for the baby which could cause a miscarriage.  OR the baby could run out of room since it only had 1/ 2 a uterus.  OR my cervix could be to weak to hold a pregnancy causing preterm labor, OR…the list could go on.  All very scary. 

Dr. Wilson also discussed having surgery to remove the septum.  It could pose its own complications making conceiving a baby difficult.  It could cause scar tissue or we would weaken the uterus or damage it or my cervixes etc.  So we decided it would be better to at least try getting pregnant first before trying surgery.  (at this point we didn’t even know if my issues would create a problem getting pregnant.)

Justin and I were married and after 8 months we were ready to start trying.  I went off the pill in January of 2011 and didn’t know what would happen.  We went and saw Dr. Wilson just to talk about our options and complications etc.  He encouraged us to just enjoy trying and to be patient.  We may not even need to help to conceive so why try anything that could potentially have side effects or make it more difficult to conceive.  If we didn’t conceive then we could worry about looking into why and possible solutions etc. 

I wanted answers and didn’t want to try for a year if something was wrong.  But I thought we could at least give it shot.  So we prayed and fasted a lot and had fun trying. ;)

After 6 months my patience had run out and I wanted some answers.  We went back to Dr. Wilson and after much thought and talking to Dr. Wilson we decided it would be best to have the surgery to increase our chances of having a baby.  Dr. Wilson’s plan was to go in and look around and see if the two sides communicate and remove the uterine and vaginal septum, and possibly the cervical septum as well if possible. 

We had the surgery at the end of June.  It was very scary for me, but I was so grateful for my sweet and supportive husband and for the priesthood.  We went in for surgery and I got very weak and thought I was going to pass out after they got me all ready.  I was so embarrassed.  But sweet Dr. Wilson held my hand and so did my hubby. 

The surgery took 2-3 hours LONGER than expected (about 5 hrs total) and poor Justin was terrified.  He was expecting it to be an hour or two and he waited and waited with NO WORD of how I was or why it was taking so long.  FINALLY Dr. Wilson came out to Justin and explained everything and showed him pictures and also told him while they were in there the found extensive endometriosis that they scraped away as much as they could and they got a large amount about the size of a golf ball. (this is what took all the extra time)  He explained to J and later to both of us that there was NO communication between the  2 sides of my uterus.  The cervical septum was not removed, and there are actually 2 openings therefore 2 distinct cervixes.  He didn’t want to give me an incompetent or weakened cervix so he just left that septum alone.  He didn’t remove the entire uterine septum either because it is dangerous to get too close to the top of the uterus, so there was still some remaining at the top.  (sort of making my uterus heard shaped, if that makes any sense)

The recovery was long it seemed, but I was surrounded by a loving husband, family and friends.  And I felt like it brought us one step closer to reaching our goal.  A BABY!  I am so grateful everything went so smoothly. 

Funny Dr. Wilson sent the pictures of my insides (upon my request) and said it could make a great “FHE activity” haha always the funny man! 
Here are some of the pictures I found most interesting from the surgery.  I WARNED YOU REMEMBER ;)
(Dr. Wilson says my case is rare and interesting so he documented well with pictures)
Here is my left and right side of my uterus (you can even see the  fallopian tube in some of the pictures) the septum is labeled and white (not a lot of blood flow to it) and the last pic on the bottom right is the tool they used to remove it and you can see how thick it was.  The top left picture shows a probe that was inserted into my abdominal cavity outside of my uterus and they were pushing down on the uterus)

This picture is so cool to me.  Dr. W inserted a light into one side and it only lit up 1/2 of the uterus because of the septum.  The bottom is a pic of the endometriosis.

A pic of my pretty uterus and ovaries (the white things) and below is the other 1/2 of my uterus lit up.  Crazy right?

I saved the best for last...the top 2 are my 2 cervixes.  and the septum down the middle.  The bottom left I wish I could remove so we didn't have to see it but I can' is the large vaginal septum I had.  The bottom right is who knows what ;) 

Well it is late so I will finish this saga soon.  TO be continued….

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