Fayes Success Story

I found out I had AS as most women do, by degrees and in stages. I suspected something was wrongfor a very long time, but every doctor I saw kept telling me I was fine or that they didn't knowwhat the problem was so I started investigating for myself. The very first time I came across theword Ashermans and starting reading about it I had to flip the computer screen shut because I wasovercome with fear and panic! Thank god I found the strength to look again (though it was weekslater) I am so glad that I found the ladies on the yahoo group who encouraged me to get pro-active.I learned about the condition myself and pushed the doctors to get the right tests, if I hadn't I thinkmy story would be very different.

Here is how it all started. In 2008 I gave birth to a lovely 9 pound baby boy, it was the perfect naturalbirth and I couldn't have been happier. However I soon became very ill, the bleeding was out ofcontrol, I couldn't breastfeed, couldn't get out of bed and month after the birth I stood up one dayand dropped about a pint of blood all over the floor! I went straight to hospital where I was givenand emergency ERPC and two blood transfusions. Afterwards I was told that they had found piecesof placenta in my womb and had removed them. We put my little one on formula and I startedrecovering and enjoying being a mum at last. 6 months later I hadn't got my period so I went to myGP and was told that this was normal and that sometimes it takes a year or more to return aftergiving birth. This seemed strange to me as I wasn't breastfeeding, so I went for a second opinionwith a private gynaecologist and was given progesterone tablets which brought on a bleed. Bloodtests were done, but came back normal so I stopped worrying about it and went on the pill for a yearuntil deciding to try for a second child. I couldn't believe my luck when I fell pregnant the firstmonth of trying, I thought my body must be in tip top working order! I waited 12 weeks beforeannouncing it to the wider world, but my first scan date fell on week 14. When we found out therewas no heartbeat my first thought was about how stupid I would feel having to un-announce mypregnancy to all those I had told. The real devastation came later, when instead of recovering in afew weeks, as the doctors said I would, the bleeding continued for months. I chose to have medicalmanagement to remove the remains, but after 7 attempts there still appeared to be placentaltissues inside. From March until July I went to weekly doctor's appointments enduring long painfuland very undignified procedures each time expecting to hear I was OK now and could try again forour much longed for second child, only to be crushed by the news that it was not over yet. On the 7July 2010 I had an ERPC under general anaesthetic and was being warned that it looked like I hadhad a partial molar pregnancy, that the placental tissues had formed a rare form of cancer and that alump on my lung indicated that it had already spread. After the ERPC I spent two weeks gettingchemotherapy in place, only to get the wonderful news that it wasn't needed. The lab tests on thecells taken in the ERPC showed they were not molar. Again more blood tests were done, and cameback normal and I was told everything would be fine. Except it wasn't because my periods nevercame back. I waited the standard 4-8 weeks and it didn't come, I got a second opinion and was askedto wait some more, I started charting (taking my waking temperature everyday in order to trackovulation and periods) and could see that I was having perfectly normal hormonal cycles, but whenit came time to bleed nothing came out. I started noticing that I even felt period pains on those dayswhen I should have been bleeding. I got a third opinion and some more progesterone and still itdidn't come. I went back to doctors 1, 2 and 3 and asked them if I could have Ashermans. I was toldthat I couldn't possibly have it because it was so rare, but no one could explain why I didn't get myperiod. I was also told by two of the doctors that if I did have AS it meant total infertility. When thefourth opinion asked me to go on the pill for a month I found myself going back to the scarywebpage I had found about Ashermans and getting determined to find out what was going on.

I soon discovered the amazingly supportive and knowledgeable group of ladies with AS on yahoo.As I read their posts I saw my own story repeated over and over again, and I suddenly realised that Iknew what was wrong with me even if the doctors I was talking to didn't. I requested an sHG test tosee if my cervix might be scarred shut. The doctor was unable to put the instruments into my cervixand kept saying that it was strange that my cervix seemed so "closed" and asked me repeatedlyif I had really had a vaginal birth (yes). I asked if it could be Ashermans Syndrome and was toldabsolutely not. That pretty much inspired me to find a specialist doctor.

With the help of the ladies on the yahoo group I found a doctor with years of experience in treatingwomen with AS. He reviewed my clinical history via email and spoke to me on the phone andconfirmed that it was "extremely likely" that I had AS. I immediately made arrangements to getproperly diagnosed and treated by him. After 8 months of complications following my miscarriageI had finally found someone who could help me. It meant flying half way around the world with mysmall son, spending a very large sum of money, being apart from my husband and home for 3 weeksand having surgery under general anaesthetic, but it also meant a total restoration of hope. I wokeup from the anaesthetic to hear the doctor telling me that "all the scar tissue had been successfullyremoved" He later explained that I had had a 1cm patch of dense tissue in the fundus of my uterusand my cervix was also completely scarred shut. He said my case was easy to treat and was veryconfident that I would have a good outcome. I then had 6 weeks of very high dose hormone therapy,probably the hardest part of the treatment as I felt like an emotional train wreck. During that timeI lost all of my new found hope and lived in fear that the scar tissue would grow back within thattime and I would need further surgery and treatment which I now couldn't afford. I did survive thosesix weeks and at the end managed to find the courage to put myself through one more invasive anduncomfortable test (HSG) to check if any scar tissue had regrown. I cried tears of joy when I receivedthe all clear. I had the test done locally and the results sent to an AS expert and got the good newsback in January 2011 exactly one year after discovering I was pregnant.

It was a long and rough year and I learned a lot about AS, doctors, their great talents and theirlimitations, and myself. "Be your own advocate" is a phrase that is often used on the yahoo board,I learned to do just that, and it really paid off for me. I am very happy to be able to report thatI became pregnant on the second month of trying after finishing treatment and gave birth to abeautiful baby boy on the 11th of November 2011. I am also extremely grateful to the ladies onyahoo who helped me through such very dark times, and especially to Poly the founder of thegroup. I am convinced that without their help I wouldn't have got my fertility restored and got toexperience the joy of motherhood again.

Faye Witcher UK/Costa Rica

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