MK (Netherlands): And then there was silence …
This is my story.
It all begins in 2008/2009. I had a lot of stomach aches and troubles going to the toilet. At work, they didn’t take my complaints seriously and after a few times calling in sick, I had to talk to the manager. She thought it was stress related but I was convinced that there was more to it, so after a few times almost passing out sitting on the toilet, full cramps waiting for something to happen, my partner and I decided to go the doctor for a referral.
We wanted to check everything: blood, but also some intestine research. I got a colonoscopy procedure and a small bowel examination. The diagnosis was a narrowing colon and they gave me antibiotics because they thought it was an infection.
A few years passed by and my partner and I decided that we wanted to have a baby. I had already stopped taking the pill for a year because of heavy pain and cramps. After a further year of trying, our doctor sent us to the gynaecologist for fertility tests. Everything was okay when we got the results back and she really thought that I was pregnant because of the good results. However, the consultant saw a small particularity in my blood: my thyroid worked too slowly, which required medication.
After six months we came back to our gynaecologist. She took an ultrasound of my abdomen. That’s when she saw an ovarian cyst the size of a mandarin. She couldn’t see if it was a cyst from endometriosis or a different one but she wanted us to come back a week later to see if it was growing. So that’s what we did; one week later we came back. She saw another one on my other ovary the size of a mandarin. The other one was now the size of an orange so it had grown pretty fast. She decided that I had to go into surgery within two weeks.
After this first surgery it was like we were on a rollercoaster of every emotion you can possibly have. They only could remove the cysts and they saw a lot of adhesions in my abdomen, my ovaries and tubes. That’s when I got the diagnosis: endometriosis.
The surgeon advised us to start with IUI treatment. After recovery, we began the journey of fertility treatments. I had to inject myself with hormones once a day. I took my medication for the thyroid, I took some vitamin pills, I watched what I ate and did some cross-fit.
With our IUI treatments I had a nice total of eggs and that gave us hope. Following the procedure, we had to wait for a few weeks before doing a pregnancy test. But unfortunately, this treatment didn’t work for us.
And when my partner, who was at that time in the army, got deployed to Mali, our doctor advised us to stop because there was another cyst and it was growing because of all the extra hormones I had injected. I explained to him that my partner had to go away for four months and if it was possible, we still would try if it was not that dangerous.
He agreed to our proposal and he took really good care of us during this round. But no luck this time again and my partner got deployed.
After a few months he came back. We both had lost 12 kg and were healthy. We decided to take a road-trip through Italy two weeks after he returned home. Before the rollercoaster would begin all over again, and it did.
Unfortunately, they saw another cyst after our holiday and it was growing. So another surgery had to be planned, but I couldn’t wait until that date and I was rushed in for emergency surgery.
One night, the pain became so heavy that I told my partner that we needed to go to the hospital because I thought there was something wrong. Luckily, we live five minutes away from the hospital. They did some research at the ER and i couldn’t lift my legs up because it was so painful. The next day I went into surgery and again none of the endo was removed. Only the cyst because of our wish. They flushed the tubes but unfortunately, they couldn’t get through one of them. The surgeon advised us to start with IVF.
Six months later after recovery, we had an appointment in a different hospital for our IVF treatment. Because my thyroid was working too slowly again, it delayed treatment by another six months.
We tried IVF but our ultrasound results were not satisfactory and I needed to inject higher doses of hormones to mature the eggs. I started to lose faith. We had been trying for so many years and it seemed impossible for us to have a baby, for me to feel a baby growing in my womb. I became depressed, exacerbated by all the medication. The worst thing was that I didn’t recognise my behaviour and my way of thinking. My partner told me that he was looking at a different person sitting next to him.
Defeated and with ups-and-downs, our second round but first full IVF failed again. I only had two eggs and I lost a lot of blood, but the embryos didn’t make it to blastocyst. So, after this round, we decided to take a break from all of this.
One year later, I went to the gynaecologist in our town, just a check up to see if everything was okay. She advised me that, if we were planning to do another IVF, I should go to Gent in Belgium. She told us that they are excellent and had good results.
We followed her advice. We had our first appointment and with good results. We had a transfer but unfortunately the embryo didn’t stay for long and I got my period. The second time it was the same. Besides that, we had a problem with our insurance – we had to pay for the costs ourselves and hope that our insurer would refund us. Luckily, they did but unfortunately no result with our last emby.
Now, two years later, I suffer from a lot of pain from the endometriosis. It grew into my intestine. and I go into surgery for the third time in May. I have eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to process everything that happened to us the last eight years. It has been a lot. It was an emotional ride but with my partner and soulmate by my side, we can overcome anything.
Thank you for letting me tell our story.
With love, MK