Kate, 35, tells the story in her own words.
￼Trying on my sleek wedding dress, I ran my hands over my belly. A baby bump won’t fit under there! I reasoned. But my biological clock had other ideas.
‘It’s like a switch has flicked!’ I explained to my fiancé, David, then 40. This cluckiness had come out of nowhere! So, we decided to try straight after our big day.
Sending out invitations and working on seating plans, I started to feel a stitch-like pain near my right hip bone. My period had also been more irregular than usual. A busy bride-to-be, I barely gave it a thought.
Marrying David in the Barossa Valley in front of our nearest and dearest, I couldn’t wait to start our next chapter together. But, just weeks later, a stab-like sensation exploded in my pelvic region. Now that we were married, David and I had stopped taking precautions. Maybe this is an implantation cramp! I thought, hopefully.
I’d read that some women felt the moment an embryo attached itself to the womb. Sadly though, I wasn’t pregnant.
While the throbbing subsided, it returned with my period, doubling me over in agony. Sex had also become quite painful. What’s happening to me? I worried. Soon, the discomfort became intolerable. It felt like razor-sharp knives were attacking me from the inside.
Rushed to hospital, I had countless scans, including a pelvic ultrasound. ‘Have you had kids yet?’ the sonographer asked me. ‘Not yet,’ I replied. ‘Well, that’s a shame,’ she said, refusing to tell me what was wrong. What if I’m never a mum? I panicked.
Cysts were growing in my ovaries and after a laparoscopy I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I’d never heard of the condition before. But as I clicked through seemingly endless Google results afterwards, alarm bells began to ring.
A tissue similar to the lining of my womb was growing outside of it. Causing severe pain, it could also lead to infertility. I’m never going to get pregnant, I fretted. But the gynaecologist had a plan, putting me on medication that would bring on menopause for six months. ‘Afterwards you can try to fall pregnant immediately – that’ll be your best chance,’ he explained. I was prepared to do anything to have a child, but my body was thrown into complete disarray. Racked with hot flushes, I was always on edge. There has to be another way, I decided.
Finding a gyno who specialised in endometriosis, I rang every day until I could get an appointment. I’d been menopausal for three months and I couldn’t take it for a second longer. Worse, the pelvic pain hadn’t abated. Now, it was painful to even lie down each night. And I couldn’t wear jeans, as the waistband felt like a vice gripping my hips.
After telling my new doctor about my treatment, she shook her head. ‘That’s old-fashioned, let’s get you off those meds,’ she said, before a thorough exam. It turned out, along with endometriosis, I also had overactive pelvic floor muscles. Unable to relax, they’d seized up, explaining the constant pain.
‘We can inject botox into your pelvic floor muscles which will help,’ the doctor explained. Wasn’t botox just for wrinklesI thought. But a few weeks after having the procedure under general anaesthetic, the tense muscles began to unfurl.
Working with a pelvic physio, I did exercises to retrain them. Mastering my breath, I learned how to use it as a tool, too. By the time the botox wore off a couple months later, I felt better than I had in a long time.
Finally, David and I could try again for our much-wanted bub. I’d already bought a mobile of tiny, colourful monkeys, hoping that one day it’d hang in our little one’s nursery. Maybe soon it would...
Amazingly, nine months later, I fell pregnant and our precious Eloise arrived on my 31st birthday.
Now four, our sweet, cheeky little girl adores cuddles and has so much love to give. ‘Can I have a little sister?’ she’s been asking recently. ‘We think you’re special enough,’ I reply, squeezing her tightly.
I’m so lucky to have her, but my endometriosis journey is far from over. While there is no cure, I’ve learned that excision – cutting away the damaged tissue, rather than burning it off – is most effective for me. I’m still working with the physiotherapist and live a healthy lifestyle to reduce any flare-ups. That’s why I’m telling my story – to share what I’ve learned and to remind you that you’re not alone.
Be your own advocate, do the research and ask for a second opinion.That’s what I did and I was rewarded with the greatest gift of all.
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