Femke's Success Story

In the summer of 2007 I got pregnant and from the start I felt that things weren’t right. The 8-week ultrasound confirmed my suspicion; there was an embryo but no heartbeat. After a month of waiting for the miscarriage to happen, my gynecologist decided that a D&C would be the best option.

I was very nervous before the D&C, because I had had one before in 2004 after another miscarriage. After that first D&C I was losing so much blood so quickly, that the doctors redid the D&C without anesthetics (arghhhhh).

This doctor however said not to worry, that D&C was a routine operation and she would do her best… When I awoke from the D&C, she said that unfortunately the doctor-in-training had accidentally punctured my womb. I was quite upset because she had not told me beforehand that a doctor-in-training was going to perform the operation rather than the doctor herself (which I would have refused!).

Six weeks after the D&C my womb was still hurting, so I went back to the same doctor. She told me that the pain was probably psychological (!!!). I insisted on an ultrasound and it showed a big ‘thing’ in my womb, 3 by 5 cm. It turned out to be tissue from outside the womb, which during the D&C had been sucked into the womb. I would need another operation to cut it out.

I was very upset and requested that another doctor do the operation, because I had completely lost faith in this one. The professor and head of gynecology would perform a laparoscopy + hysteroscopy to cut away this tissue-blob. The operation took 2,5 hours and I was very tired from the total anesthetics for a month after.

During the follow-up hysteroscopy, the professor found that the operation hadn’t gone according to plan, because my whole womb was stuck together, he couldn’t even enter the womb. He tried cutting through the adhesions at the cervix (without anesthetics!), but the whole womb was closed. After this I was crying like I never cried before, I was so angry and frustrated with this hospital and its doctors. The only thing I am thankful for after the professor had messed up my womb, was that he realised that he should send me to a specialised doctor rather than try and solve it himself. I was sent to the most specialized surgeon in Holland, based in Amsterdam, who said that I suffered from severe adhesions (the highest level) and that I might need several operations to solve it.

I then started reading up on Asherman’s and found this website. It was very helpful and a great comfort to know that I was not the only one, but also very depressing to read the statistics. I remember reading that my chances of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth, aged 36, with the severest grade of Asherman’s was only 12% or something like that.

On December 24th I had my operation and X-mas was spent in bed with painkillers... The follow-up hysteroscopy showed that this doctor had operated successfully, hardly any scarring!

For months afterwards, my womb was still painful however. I had been taking painkilers non-stop for around 9 months now, so we decided to have another laparoscopy + hysteroscopy to investigate and it turned out to be adhesions outside the womb, caused by the D&C and operation performed in the first hospital…

While I was recovering from this last operation (my seventh by now), a woman was lying in the bed next to me, who also had suffered Asherman’s syndrome because the exact same female doctor in the other Amsterdam hospital had messed up her D&C too!!! We decided to lodge a formal complaint against this doctor. However I never got around to it, because our family moved from Amsterdam to the UK two weeks later so we had a lot of other things on our plate. Sometimes I still feel I should have, but at least I do know that the whole gyneacolgy team discussed my case and that the protocol for how to deal with D&C womb ruptures has been changed because of it.

We already had two daughters, and felt very lucky that this all happened after already having children. So we had more or less accepted the idea of not ever having a third child and weren’t trying to get pregnant at all, but then a miracle happened; only 5 weeks after this last operation I somehow got pregnant. I hadn’t even had a proper menstruation yet… It was clear that this was a little soul who was very eager to get into this world.

It was not a worry-free pregnancy, the first words my gynecologist in the UK told me were: ‘it is a miracle you are pregnant, but because of your high chance of placenta accreta, we should prepare for the fact that you might need a hysterectomy immediately after giving birth, as part of a life saving procedure’. Not the words you want to hear early on in pregnancy….

But luckily this story has a happy ending: on February 5, 2009, a healthy big baby Benjamin was born through planned Caesarian section. I was terrified beforehand (my faith in doctors was completely gone), but there was no placenta accreta, so all was fine. I did suffer from a heamatoma afterwards, so the surgeon had to cut me open again two days later and re-stitch the top two layers, but that had nothing to do with my Asherman’s, more with my bad karma with doctors…! (I must have been an awful quack in a previous life.)

Moral of the story:

* Make sure you get a good doctor to treat your Asherman’s! In Holland there only 2 doctors who specialise in Asherman’s, one in Amsterdam one in Haarlem .

* You CAN beat the odds, so don’t get too depressed about statistics. Good luck!!

International Ashermans Association

This book is dedicated to telling stories of women who were given no hope by their doctors but ended up with babies. 

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