It is something that I have been mulling over a lot these past couple of weeks, and the bottom line is: We just don’t know. A few cysts were picked up on my very first ultrasound – the one that visually (and aurally) confirmed the tiny life growing inside of me. But the fact of the matter is that ovarian cysts are found in nearly all pre-menopausal women, i.e. during their childbearing years, and in up to almost 15 percent of post-menopausal women.
Any ovarian follicle that is larger than about two centimetres in diameter is termed an ovarian cyst, and 95 percent of them are harmless. It is only when they exceed around five centimetres in diameter and/or start causing bleeding and/or pain that removal is required, usually via laparoscopy. Those particular cysts that we saw on that initial scan were deemed small and insignificant at the time, i.e. not worthy of surgical intervention, and a risk I’m not sure I would’ve been prepared to subject the fetus to at that stage anyway.
But in retrospect, perhaps things should’ve been monitored a little more closely, both pre and post-partum. During the entire seven months that I carried Goran, I gained only 6.5kg (1.78 of which was him at birth). This was due in no small part to the afore-mentioned HG. And honestly, if it wasn't for the discovery of Asic tabs, which I then lived on, literally, to help keep the worst of the nausea at bay and some of my food down, I probably would’ve gained even less. All that considered, I look enormous in these preggie pics, taken at 24 and 29 weeks respectively. And I cannot help but wonder if there wasn’t something besides a baby growing inside that massively distended belly…
Above: At six months
Below: At seven months
Otherwise, I’m glad to report that all is going well with my recovery. The most difficult and frustrating part of it all is not the pain at the surgery site, or getting accustomed to the ccHRT, but not being allowed to pick up or carry Goran (now 11kg). It is frikkin killing me. Especially because he is at such a critical stage in terms of mobility, i.e. on the brink of learning how to walk. I’ve worked so damn hard to get him to this point, and not being able to continue this shared activity of ours for four whole weeks puts a real spanner in the works. I am literally counting down the days till we can be a wholly functioning unit again.
Anyway, what’s done is done, and it’s a waste of energy dwelling on the past. I’d say if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past year, it’s that our female bodies are both fearsome and fragile things, capable of creating, and equally susceptible to breaking. Virtually overnight. From now on I will listen to my body. And I urge all women reading this to do the same. Do not take anything for granted, or anything out of the ordinary lightly. Abnormal bleeds, unexplained pain…have it seen to by a professional as soon as possible.
As frightening as my personal experiences have been, even more frightening is the knowledge that, had I not been rushed to hospital and gotten the urgent medical attention I needed at those particular moments in time, the outcomes could’ve been a lot worse.