Fertility Following Stoma Surgery
This is something I have been reluctant to write about as my daughters birth led to my stoma formation and after her C-section, I was point-blank told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children. This is something that has stayed with me for years.
I went for another opinion in 2016 and was told again not possible due to uterine rupture. This was never explained in great detail and in the consultant’s defence, I was meant to have a partial hysterectomy both in 2016 and 2018. Due to scar tissue, this never happened. My surgeon has always been rather vocal as to them talking twaddle and that I would be able to at least attempt having another child. The last 4 years have been a whirlwind of torment, mental and emotional anguish. Don’t get me wrong I love my daughter, she will always be enough for me, however, I always wanted more than one child and being in a relationship where my partner does not have a child has meant I have researched adoption, surrogacy and fostering as alternative means but these all take time, money and a barrage of tests, alongside building a foundation of trust to all those involved.
I have always been aware that I am a unique individual with regards to having mesh holding my insides in but who knew that sepsis and multiple surgeries could take away my ability to be a mother to more than one baby.
I finally bit the bullet and went back for a second opinion with obstetrics to confirm as to if I could or couldn’t as myself and my partner were looking at contraception methods that don’t involve me having to have another coil or an implant as the contraceptive pill won’t work for me due to malabsorption issues.
Why may fertility be risked by having surgery
Having any surgery carries risk but for those of us who are female then stoma surgery can carry its own risks.
For those of us having multiple open surgeries then this can cause potential scar tissue and this is typically in the pelvic region.
Those who have laparoscopic may be less at risk as it is less invasive.
For those of us who have had Barbie Butt surgery then there are added risks associated with the after-effects. For those of us who have had our large bowel removed then the uterus may tilt back. We also have the added risk of adhesions and scar tissue which can potentially stretch and cause pains in the last trimester of pregnancy.
My fertility following surgery
Biting the bullet and going back for a second opinion was not easy, having been told no several times, I was getting ready for the third final that is it.
There is a point in life where we have all hit that there is something that we want so bad, you are quite literally willing to sell your soul to the devil to get that.
Being told no over something that is such a natural course of life is hard, I can only explain it as telling my 3-year-old niece she can’t have that chocolate bar followed by a huge meltdown. That is how I have felt at each appointment when I have been told that someone else is having another baby. I internalise the jealousy and have to tell myself to stop being a horrid person, It is something that can’t be helped.
My appointment on the 15th of July was full of nerves, OMG, here we go again. That call was one that when we got off of the phone, we both cried. I have been told that when I am ready I can now proceed with the pregnancy, however, it comes as a string attached kind of deal.
I have to be monitored closely, I can’t go into natural labour at any costs, I have to have a multidisciplinary operation to get the baby out and I have to have this between 34-37 weeks to avoid me going into spontaneous labour. You may be asking as to why this is?
My original c section in 2009 was an emergency, they had no clue what was just about to happen, the subsequent tinkering, sepsis, faecal peritonitis and the countless surgeries in the last 10 years have caused a fair amount of damage to my anterior uterine wall. Falling into spontaneous labour could cause my uterus to rupture and for me to bleed out so this needs to be avoided at all costs.
My insides are more sticky than spiderman’s web. This is due to all the open surgery and Crohn’s disease damage. So Colorectal has to open me up, get down to the uterus and then have obstetrics take over to get the baby out.
This is all whilst avoiding knicking my urethra.
It’s not a guarantee that I can fall pregnant, my fallopian tube on the right-hand side is damaged beyond repair so I only have the one functioning tube. But I am sure we will have fun trying.
I am still waiting for the green light from my colorectal surgeon before proceeding as he is the only person that I trust enough to make the first cut and proceed with surgery.
Once this happens then hold onto your hats. Conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy with a stoma is all new to me. I have been told of some associated risks such as hernias, parastomal cracking and bags not sticking but I shall document some of that in another blog post alongside an update once my surgeon confirms.
That’s about it from me. I am hoping I survive telling my mum this news as she’s been rather vocal and dead set against me producing further grandchildren due to the circumstances after having Maisie.
For me however it is like a little miracle, I was never expecting them to say yes, so I am now wrapping my head around this and the fact at some point I am going to be an older mother to a baby and teenager. Alongside managing my illness and my stoma during all of this.
Many thanks for reading
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.