What I Wish I Had Known About Fibroids Before My Pregnancy Loss

The first time I heard about fibroids was in 2015. I was 35 years old and in love with my boyfriend.

While at my annual OB-GYN appointment, I said I had zero symptoms after my doctor confirmed I had fibroids. I didn’t even know I had it then.

Three years passed, I got married and motherhood became a priority. I was given a saline sonogram – an in-office procedure that detects fibroids or cysts in the uterus to confirm where they are.

Mine were determined to be outside my womb and therefore not dangerous. I was given the go-ahead to conceive and was told I would eventually consider surgery. A few months later I was pregnant.

Fibroids became a problem during my pregnancy

Life was blissful for a while. My pessimistic brain was shocked at the ease of it all—until a few months later, when the fibroids that quietly lived inside me were no longer passive. They debuted one night, with a pain I had never known. A trip to the emergency room taught me it was degeneracy: when a fibroid grows so large that it cuts off its own blood supply.

During pregnancy, fibroids shrink, remain unchanged, or increase in number. Mine had grown in size and quantity. I was sent to the risk doctor and assured me it would be fine. It was not.

My pregnancy became more stressful. The fibroids became more and more problematic. Then they sabotaged the necessary genetic tests. The fibroids were so large that they were indistinguishable from the baby, making all data inconclusive.

At my 17 week anatomy scan it got worse. An amniocentesis was recommended so I had one. Forty-eight hours later, I miscarried and my baby was due.

Four painful months later, searching for answers and after six different consultations, I had a robotic myomectomy, a minimally invasive surgery, and more than a dozen fibroids were removed. Since then I have been rid of them.

I wish more people knew about their fibroids

Although my story ended tragically, most pregnancies with fibroids do not result in loss. I do wonder if I would have decided to go ahead with the pregnancy if I had more information on hand about how they might affect my baby’s development. Maybe not, but the knowledge and ability to make these choices are essential pieces of the puzzle missing from fibroids care, a reflection of a system that passively approaches them.

It is estimated that 26 million women in the US between the ages of 15 and 50 have fibroids. Black women are two to three times more likely to have more than one compared to the rest of the population. More than half of everyone with fibroids will experience symptoms such as pain, severe periods, fatigue, and infertility.

According to the Mayo Clinic, women delay seeking treatment for an average of 3.6 years. I’m sharing my story so anyone who is tacitly suffering, or diagnosed but told to wait, can feel better about getting up early.

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