Diagnosed with endometriosis at 14, Leanne’s chances of a baby seemed slim

Endometriosis can cause debilitating pain and infertility, Leanne tells her story of overcoming the odds.

Leanne, aged 31, had told partner Dan when they first met that she might have problems conceiving.

“I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 14 and had had numerous procedures over the years to remove the tissue and calm things down a bit but it kept growing back,” she says. “Then when I was 18 I was hospitalised with an ectopic pregnancy and had to have one of my fallopian tubes removed.”

Endometriosis can take years to diagnose but Leanne says that her mum pushed for answers early on because of Leanne’s severe symptoms.

Dan, Leanne and Albie

Pain so bad I missed school

“I wasn’t able to go to school sometimes because the pain was so bad and I was having numerous scans and keeping food diaries and constantly having blood tests. It was then decided to operate on me and that is when the endometriosis was diagnosed.

“Over the years I have got used to managing the symptoms, and as I have got older the pain has tended to be more around when I have got my period. Work colleagues always knew when it was the wrong time of the month because I would have my hot water bottle with me and a packet of painkillers!”

Leanne and Dan went to the GP after they had been trying for a baby for three years.

“Because of my history the doctor was really sympathetic and first of all sent Dan off for some sperm tests which all came back fine, and then after that we were referred to Bourn Hall Kings Lynn for more tests.

Needed to lose weight for NHS treatment – then lockdown!

“I had to have blood tests and scans at Bourn Hall Kings Lynn and then I was told that I would need to lose a bit of weight before we would be entitled to NHS-funded IVF. I only needed to lose 8 pounds so I joined a slimming group and got that sorted!

“After we were told we could have IVF we had one appointment at the Wymondham clinic when I was given my tablets to start my treatment and then two weeks later covid hit and our treatment had to be stopped because all the fertility clinics were told to close. It was disheartening but I was really grateful that we hadn’t been further along in our treatment.

“Luckily I was able to carry on working throughout the lockdown and it took my mind off our infertility struggles, but then in the July I fell pregnant naturally and had another ectopic pregnancy. Thankfully I wasn’t as ill as I had been with my previous ectopic pregnancy. It was crazy, we had spent three years trying to get pregnant and then this had happened. It seemed however that although I was able to get pregnant my body just couldn’t get the embryos to where they needed to be.”

Egg retrieval under anaesthetic

Leanne had been told before lockdown that she was going to need a general anaesthetic for her egg retrieval which would need to take place at the Cambridge clinic. Once Bourn Hall was able to re-open patients were not allowed to switch between clinics for treatment due to covid restrictions and so the couple had all of their treatment handled by the Cambridge clinic.

“I started taking my medication at the end of October followed by my injections and then we had to self-isolate for two weeks before I had my egg retrieval in December 2020. We ended up with three embryos which made it to five-day blastocysts and one was transferred to me and the other two were frozen.

“Embryo transfer was quite scary. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much because I can be quite a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person but on the other hand it was exciting. The next two weeks seemed such a long time leading up to Christmas.

“We found out I was pregnant on December 22 and it was absolutely amazing. We told my mum and dad because we spent Christmas Day with them and then a few days later I told my sister but then after that we didn’t tell anyone until the 12-week stage. I was just so nervous about something going wrong.

Couldn’t let myself believe I was pregnant

“We found out I was pregnant on December 22 and it was absolutely amazing. We told my mum and dad because we spent Christmas Day with them and then a few days later I told my sister but then after that we didn’t tell anyone until the 12-week stage. I was just so nervous about something going wrong.

“We hadn’t really told many people about our infertility struggles along the way. Some of my close friends had known about my first ectopic pregnancy and I had found it upsetting when other people I knew had then got pregnant but I had hidden my feelings and I think people had just thought that we weren’t trying.”

Leanne and Dan’s son Albie was born in August 2021.

“It didn’t feel real at first when Albie arrived,” says Leanne. “I don’t think it felt real throughout the whole pregnancy either. It was only after he was born that I thought ‘I’ve done it, I’ve got a baby! It felt like quite an achievement for me because I never thought it was actually going to happen!”

AlbieDiagnosed with endometriosis at 14,

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