Sophie’s reason for taking part in The Fertility Show and so passionate about raising awareness of AS. www.ashermans.org
I had my daughter Maya in May 2007 which was immediately followed by 2 D&C’s (dilation and curettage) for a retained placenta. I knew something was wrong within in a few months. My periods never returned but I was having monthly cyclic pain.
Blood tests showed I was ovulating and that my hormone levels were fine but the pain got worse as the months went by.
When Maya was one we started trying for a second baby but had no success plus the pain was also getting worse. Eventually, after doing some research, I asked the doctors if they would take a proper look into what was going on. I feared then that it was scar tissue although I was informed this was highly unlikely.
Nearly 2 years after having Maya and a few operations later, I was diagnosed with severe AS (intrauterine Adhesions/scar tissue in the uterus) caused by the D&C’s.
My womb was obliterated and the scarring covered my cervix. I was also told I was now infertile and that if we wanted more children we would need a surrogate. Heartbroken with this diagnosis I did some research and found the website Ashermans.org set up by Poly Spyro, herself a sufferer. It had a wealth of information and became invaluable. Through this I joined the online forums based in the U.K and Internationally.
I discovered that there are only a handful of experts in the U.K who can treat AS (it must be treated by an expert or the scarring can be made worse). I managed to see a fantastic one in London. We were very relieved to hear that most cases are treatable after one operation or in some cases a few, called a hysteroscopy.
To keep things brief, I went through 6 hysteroscopy’s to try and remove the scarring but it always grew back. We also tried a round of IVF but that too failed. The consultant said that my AS was one of the worst cases he’d treated and the scarring was too aggressive for us to continue.
Then miraculously a year later in 2010, I discovered I was pregnant. We were thrilled but very apprehensive at the same time. I was treated as a high risk pregnancy as AS can cause miscarriages and complications at any stage (especially if untreated). We had weekly scans which we’d go into with great trepidation but everything seemed to be progressing well. However, at 16 weeks I started haemorrhaging.
Scott rushed me to hospital where I was immediately given a blood transfusion. A scan showed our baby alive and well but I was diagnosed with placenta previa. This meant that the placenta had grown too low in my uterus due to the damage caused by the scarring and it had ripped away from the wall. I was given a massive blood transfusion but they were unable to stop me haemorrhaging.
This is when they gave us the devastating news that they would be unable to save our baby. Even now words can’t describe how totally heartbroken and grief stricken we were.
After that the scarring returned straight away and I was told that another pregnancy could be life threatening again. It was decided a hysterectomy was the best way option.
So this is why I campaign to raise awareness of AS. Like most people I had never heard of it.
I wasn’t warned after my D&C that this could happen or what symptoms to look for. If I can help prevent this from happening to just one other person then it’s worth it. It should never have taken so long get diagnosed, especially after seeing so many medical experts, none of whom considered it an option, even if I brought up the possibility. It’s a story I hear all the time via the Ashermans support groups.
A D&C is not the only reason it can develop, many invasive uterine surgeries can cause scar tissue and prevent a healthy pregnancy. It can also be the cause of reoccurring miscarriages.
If I had been diagnosed earlier then who knows, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position?
As I mentioned previously, fortunately most women diagnosed with AS, especially early on, do go on to be successfully treated and have a family.
Scott and I do know that we are truly blessed and so fortunate to have Maya in our lives and we adore her! We never take it for granted how lucky we are to have even one child. Taking part in The Fertility Show each year always brings that home to us. We just wish we had at least been given the chance to have another.
I hope that through the show we can raise more awareness and get people more informed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this X