Awareness, Personal Blogs

IBD – Pregnancy/Termination

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Hey everyone! The past few months as people know have been pretty difficult for me as i have been battling with my Crohn’s Disease, Bechets Disease, Ileostomy Blockages, Arthritis, Sciatica and then obviously with pain and anxiety. About 3 weeks ago i found out after going to A+E with terrible pain (after finding out a few days before that i have a hernia), that i was pregnant. They thought it was an Ectopic Pregnancy and i was told to make my way to Aberdeen Maternity Hospital for an internal Ultra Sound Scan, blood tests and examination. I arrived around 11pm at night and then returned home around 5am after they confirmed it was not an Ectopic Pregnancy and i was in fact 6 weeks. They also confirmed that i was very ill with my Crohn’s Disease etc and we debated whether i was well enough to continue the pregnancy. I spoke to my GP and then i also spoke to a Gynaecologist who works at Aberdeen Health Village and we all decided that i was too poorly to continue as i was in so much pain, losing weight and being very sick and that continuing could be very risky for me as i have miscarried 3 times before hand and the risks to the baby and myself. Obviously it’s something i discussed with my partner first and then we both discussed it with my mum and she also felt that my health was to come first and that it was important to make the right decision.

Now obviously many know that my consultant and surgeon both told me i would never be able to get pregnant so this came as quite a shock for me mostly. My care has been terrible to say the least but that’s for another day as i would really like to help other women who may be in the situation i was in or who have been told they cannot get pregnant, before i go into that i would like to explain the procedure in case it is something that you may opt for one day for either the same reasons or simply because pregnancy isn’t for you. There are many choices that they give you in a booklet for Termination and it’s important to read them all before seeing a nurse or midwife etc, so that you can ask any questions when you see them and discuss the options with them to make sure it’s the best one for you. I chose the last option which is Surgical Termination;

Dilatation and evacuation (D&E)

Used from around 15 weeks of pregnancy. It involves inserting special instruments called forceps through the cervix and into the womb to remove the pregnancy.

The cervix is gently dilated for several hours or up to a day before the surgery to allow the forceps to be inserted.

D&E is carried out with conscious sedation or general anaesthetic. It normally takes about 10 to 20 minutes and you might be able to go home the same day.

I arrived for my appointment time to the ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary at 11:00am where i was admitted and asked the normal questions about allergies, alcohol intake, smoker or non smoker (happy to say i’ve been stopped smoking for almost 3 weeks now!) and about your next of kin. I was given a gown, some pain killers, an anti sickness melt and then the tablets that soften your womb for the operation which i had to put under my tongue. They had no horrible taste and looked like two little pentagon shaped white tablets so nothing big or scary or fowl tasting, if you suffer from sickness from bad tastes (which is reassuring for you.) The tablet takes about 20 minutes to work and whether you bleed straight away, hours later or not at all is all person dependant. For me, i didn’t bleed until between 2-5pm in the afternoon, i passed a little when i went to pass urine but only a little. The doctor then came to see me who was doing the procedure before the Anaesthetist just to confirm i was still giving my consent and that my own surgeon also wanted to come down and do some examinations and surgery if required and if i was also ok to give my consent to that too, in which i said yes and signed the form. She also explained to my mum and partner what happens in the procedure, how long it takes and the recovery and what to expect afterwards. We also decided for me to have the implant put into my arm to prevent this happening again. I have to say we really appreciated talking with her and i cannot thank her enough for being so kind and looking after me. The Anesthetist came to see me not long afterwards and she too was lovely, and continued to use the plan i had made with the pre op assessment nurse back in April for my original surgery with my surgeon, which was to kick start me to sleep with the gas before popping a cannula in to put through the General Anaesthetic.

At 5pm just before i was taken to theatre (after being wrapped up in a heated blanket as i was really cold all day and my veins weren’t coming up at all!), i went to the toilet as they asked me if i needed to go before hand and i started to pass large blood clots and bled on the floor and pretty much everywhere, but it wasn’t any more sore than a heavy period. In Theatre, the Anaesthetist popped me to sleep by the mask and got a cannula in my right wrist, which wasn’t sore at all when i woke up with it! She described my veins as “like a babies veins, so incredibly tiny!” which i expected as they have been getting worse over time with the Vasculitis (Bechet’s.) When i woke up in recovery, i was given 4 different types of antisickness through IV, pain killers and fluids which was great as i was really dehydrated from being sick the two days previous and being NBM all day. The nurses were great and explained everything to me as soon as was ‘with it’ and that the termination was successful however my surgeon had done two other surgeries in the time i was asleep and that the wound i have, had been flushed out, scraped, examined with forceps and refashioned and the same with my fistula which in his words was “absolutely huge” and he couldn’t manage to fit a seton stitch in there (A seton is a piece of surgical thread that is left in the fistula for several weeks to keep it open. This allows it to drain and helps it heal. Loose setons allow fistulas to drain, but don’t cure them.) I had a big dressing in my wound which was extremely painful i couldn’t move from the trolley to my bed, they used a slide sheet and i had to get help to the toilet. When i sat on the toilet i just passed lots of blood which was horrible and quite painful from my lady parts, but this time i did have some pelvic pain a bit worse than periods which faded after a while.

I was offered something to eat and drink but i wasn’t hungry at all so i had a cup of tea which the nurse made PERFECT, which if anyone knows me is a rare statement from me! lol. Another more senior nurse came to see me and said that my surgeon was supposed to come and speak to me about everything and the future plan but all she knew was that the fistula needed another operation at some point. He didn’t show which i expected to happen late on a friday evening, instead another surgical professional came to see me and had said that she would get day staff on Saturday morning to make sure a letter is sent to my GP for future plan and popped onto my discharge letter that if i required more pain relief that they were to give me an injection at my local (due to complications i can’t have oral strong pain relief!)

So the point of me writing about this journey i have went through?;

I want to help other women out there who have been told they cannot have children from a health professional, without having a Fertility Test first to confirm this. As if it is only told to you or someone you know verbally then it is a simple state of opinion and not fact! If you also suffer from irregular periods, that also doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant so please be aware of this too! This journey has been very traumatic for me and my anxiety has been terrible and physically it’s made me very, very ill. If you are reading this and you have been told you cannot get pregnant PLEASE ask for a fertility test to be 100% on this before having any physical contact with someone without contraception. I also strongly recommend that you talk to someone about a preventative if you don’t want to get pregnant or if you haven’t had a fertility test to stand by being told verbally that it isn’t possible. Talking to a GP or your nearest Sexual Health Clinic (which you can search your nearest one by clicking the link) will really help you know which one is best for you. The only option i had was the implant due to medical problems, which may be different for you! I would also like to state that any information used via links in this blog is directly from the NHS website only, which is here if you need help with searching anything medical.

I’d really like to put out there that anyone who needs advice please send me an email to alannahjaynesimpson@hotmail.co.uk if you would like to be kept anonymous and i will do my best to help you.

I really hope this can help someone from ever getting into the situation i was in and also to help people understand the importance between fact and fiction.

-Alannah.

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