The next time I thought I’d hear ‘7 months pregnant’ was when baby #2 would come, God willing.
That’s me 7 months pregnant with our strawberry shortcake just over a year and some months ago. Basically what seems like many ages. Since then, strawberry shortcake has been born, we moved to a bigger home, and lots of other changes have come…including the status of my fibroids!
As you can see, I look like I’m ready to pop any day. Often strangers would mindlessly comment, ‘Are you sure you’re not having multiples?!’ (Oh just wait to you read my post on mindless-think-before-you-speak comments I received during my pregnancy! A good read if you have a lot of pregnant friends around you, some things on that list may surprise you!) Anyway, this large pump is all thanks to my
friends enemies, fibroids!
1 1 M O N T H S L A T E R . . .
“Your uterus is the size of a 7 month pregnancy uterus.”
My doctor said as he examined my fibroids.
Seven months!! Do you know how large that is? I had a wedding to go to that weekend and considered maybe watching what I eat that week. Although, now that I think about it, don’t think I really cared that much. Anyway, when one hears your uterus is the size of a 7 month pregnancy, that all kind of goes out the window. All efforts seem pointless to be removing any fat in a matter of a few days anyway!
As I lay there on the examining table, you could see the large bump protruding in the middle, slightly to the right. You could move it around and I amusingly do as I see the other areas of my otherwise ‘flatter’ stomach stay in place. My toddler occasionally looks over as she walks around wondering why her mother is being prodded as she simultaneously explores the equally interesting examination room.
Over a year ago, when this same doctor safely delivered my baby girl into the world via c-section, he managed to check out my fibroid situation. (In the UK, you don’t necessarily have the same surgeon be with you postpartum for so long). That same day, he came to check on me and he shared the good news that he thought the largest fibroid would be removable via key hole laser surgery. At the time, I was pretty sure I was going to breastfeed if I could and wean her off around 1. So, I thought, this would be give me enough time to see how we get on with any postpartum hormones as I heard sometimes it can help reduce fibroids. On our followup appointment, around 9-10 months postpartum, I said I would try changing my diet and lifestyle as well as try some homeopathy. Over the next couple of months, I horribly kept to these rules.
My intention was to:
- reduce my
- red meat intake
- Exercise (notice I don’t even say ‘increase’, just exercise, period)
- and wean my baby off breastfeeding by the age of 1 so that I can try black sugar molasses and the castor oil wrapping to excrete toxins from my system.
(This is from our strawberry shortcake’s Korean 100th day Baekil celebration. Yea…you can see how I’m failing big time…)
Turns out some of the natural remedies couldn’t be carried out while nursing. I think the only thing I did well was reducing my sugar, dairy, meat and coffee intake for some time. Actually, I should give myself some credit as there were some months when I did without it (except sugar).
T I P
I found out breastfeeding helps to reduce the size of fibroids and it had actually reduced my largest one from 8-9cm to 5cm. This was amazing, especially when it never reduced in size the past couple of years! (Breastfeeding while we were away in Edinburgh. Like and comment below if you want to see any baby-friendly spots and tips for traveling Edinburgh with a baby!)
I’ve learned during the same time that I lack discipline in
certain areas a lot of areas of my life. As I get older, I gain discipline in some while I lose discipline in others. One of the areas that I have lost discipline in in the past year or so is spending time in God’s Word. When this happens, I am first to admit, I lose perspective and the strength to do a lot of the things that I have managed to do in my life. I must say there was one moment where I was anxious about the risks of surgery and what would happen if I got pregnant again. The possibility of losing a baby is just something I don’t know how one can cope with. I have the utmost respect and love for them. I know that seems random, but I was told several years ago that fibroids can sometimes lead to a miscarriage. So this fibroid self-healing journey, if I could even shamefully call it that, has shone light on some other areas of my life that needs highlighting. I am thankful for that, albeit a little embarrassingly. One highlight/reminder is that fear can sometimes overpower faith in what God can do. My husband lovingly reminded me how God delivered our strawberry shortcake. Despite medically being told that I would most likely have another major threatening bleed before reaching full term, God honoured our prayers for protection and safely carried our little girl through to 37 weeks to the day.
A part of me is embarrassed to write this post because namely, I feel like a failure. Now, to clarify, I never really was one to think of myself between two categories of a success or failure. I never struggled with that. I’m sharing this, not to boast, but because I don’t want to pretend I’m trying to identify with you if that was a struggle for you. That would be disrespectful to your journey. But I know that world of existing between those two exists in small and big proportions for a pretty vast line of topics so I want to address it.
Let me get real honest here. This 7 month uterus is a reminder that I wasn’t disciplined enough to work out and have a better lifestyle on the whole. It’s also a reminder of how much my lifestyle has changed in the past decade.
However, fibroids also have an unknown nature that the medical world is still trying to unpack with me. (Even as I write that, I sense justification). I remind myself that even with those natural remedies, there isn’t a 100% cure statistic, otherwise, it would be well known. It has worked for some and unfortunately hasn’t for others. I can’t speak of it myself. While I saw a reduction in size, I am not entirely sure, which part was due to my lifestyle changes and which was due to factors unbeknown to me. I am telling myself this not to comfort myself, although it is a byproduct of it. I tell myself because it’s a tricky situation and also because I can sometimes forget all the good that I’ve done. My husband always tells me I forget to give myself credit for a lot of things. Perhaps I can give myself a pat on the back for carrying strawberry shortcake while enduring a lot of discomfort and pain for all those months.
I’m also sharing these things to tell others. I had women all over the world contact me after opening an instagram account to share my pregnancy journey whilst having fibroids. It has been a blessing to walk the journey with them and to comfort each other. We answered questions for each other and I still keep in touch with some of them til this day as we celebrate our little babies. I am so thankful.
Sometimes, I am quick to note the negatives and what I should have done. If you are like me, often times, we need to quickly speak truth into lies. Is the fact that I didn’t have some discipline a lie? No. However, there is a lie in some of that in its purpose. I am not meant to feel condemned by it nor shamed. I often think of this in such scenarios,
‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.’ ~2 Corinthians 7:10
So the end of this thought cycle comes with the joy of repentance of where I didn’t make good decisions in my lifestyle and let it lead to change. I want to honour this body that God has given me, overall with good health otherwise. I want to keep it well while I can. Recently, hubby and I have made a decision to live a healthier lifestyle. We both used to love exercising and having an active lifestyle, but things quickly changed once we got married! Know what I mean? I’ll write another post on that soon!
Like I shared, my largest fibroid was around 8-9cm, but honestly the hard ball I feel in my stomach spans a much larger circumference than that. At around 9 months postpartum, a scan revealed it had shrunk to around 5cm. My doctor attributed it to breastfeeding and said the hormones were reducing it. I was ecstatic and hopeful that it could eventually disappear entirely or medically termed, degenerate.
I struggled whether to continue my journey with natural remedies and lifestyle changes, but that’s for another time. This post is long enough! Long story short, I am now having the keyhole laser surgery in November. I thought I’d share some things that I asked the doctor. Please feel free to share any tips if you had this surgery or if I missed an important question I should have asked. I think it is important to note that these are answers from my own doctor with my own medical history and everyone should seek a medical professional opinion for their own case.
F A Q
Can I get pregnant after the surgery? Are there any risks in getting pregnant?
Yes. He said once a patient is recovered, they could start trying again right away.
I spoke to another patient while at the hospital when I was admitted at 28 weeks of my pregnancy. She had fibroids removed and became pregnant the month after she had them removed.
With any surgery, there will be risks.
My concern was my fertility and whether an emergency hysterectomy would ever take place as I have read for some. My doctor said the chances were slim as he already had a look at my fibroid situation during the c-section, and he never had this situation happen in his cases.
How long is recovery time?
I will be in hospital for a few days and will need about a week in bed at home. I was told that I should get extra help in watching our little one and for me as I will need rest.
Since seeing my doctor, I found out a friend had the same surgery, but for bigger fibroids. She was given the same timeframe, but she ended up in the hospital for a week, with blood transfusion (which she was informed previously because of anemia. This is reminding me to check my iron levels!), and needed to be in bed for a whole month! So obviously check with your doctor and give yourself some extra time, so you’re not in a rush with your recovery. I’ll also write a post after surgery to share my journey as I’m expecting to spend a lot of time in bed!
Will this effect my c-section scar given it will be only about 1.5 years since then?
How invasive is the surgery?
Three incisions are made in your stomach region and a camera is inserted via the belly button. So essentially 4 incisions.
What exactly is key hole surgery for fibroids like?
(I’ll explain in basic, non-medical terms). It’s essentially like a mini food processor that is inserted and grinds the fibroid. Everything is viewed through a microscopic camera and the fibroid parts are then removed. I hear it almost comes out in liquid form. It’s an option for those who wish to get pregnant in the future and less invasive than open surgery.
**I hope this was helpful. I am not a medical professional so please seek professional medical opinion for your own situation. For all the ladies working with natural remedies, I hope it works for you all! If you made it to the end of this post, you’re amazing! Hope my baby brain kept this post clear enough…
Have you had any success with natural remedies for your fibroid? Please share in the comments below! Did you have the surgery done? Would love to hear your experience overall especially if you had a baby/toddler! And don’t forget to click on the follow button to your right to read about my upcoming surgery!
See you soon!