A newcomer to Sands blog, Shanelle shares her experience of infertility, weight loss and a miscarriage...
In my trouble to conceive over four years it was put down to infertility due to hypothyroidism and obesity, it was a huge struggle for me, having conceived my son easily years earlier at 80kg but tipping the scales at 128kg, I had been trying to lose weight for years, exercising, trying every diet under the sun and even three cycles of Clomid with no success.
Low and behold we unexpectedly fell pregnant though ten weeks later we miscarried with doctors and nurses reassuring us that there was nothing I could have done and not to blame myself. Even the gynaecologist performing my D&C said not to blame myself, though my size could have contributed to the miscarriage but it was a fact I had try to accept and not beat myself up about it. After all, these things happened right? And I fully had faith in the wonderful nurses and doctors treating me throughout the whole deal.
Until, two weeks later when I had a follow up appointment with a new gynaecologist for review on an ovary cyst. Asking when it was safe to try conceiving again she replied that at 128kgs I be concentrating on losing weight and not even consider trying for another baby at my size, considering all the health implications like high blood pressure and diabetes. I was devastated; I couldn’t help but cry in front of her, to which she suggested counselling. Here was this lady whom I’d never before, without even asking my medical history (if she had, she would have known I had perfect blood pressure and sugar levels, along with a healthy lifestyle despite my size) judging me and making me feel like I didn’t have the right to have a baby based on my weight. The blame game hit with vengeance.
I went home and attended I had a follow up scan with my GP for my cysts, and after speaking with him, he prescribed me Duromine to aid in weight loss while I fully recovered from my miscarriage, in hopes it would rally my spirits from what the Gynaecologist had said (all of which he disagreed with.)
Meanwhile I had my scan. It had been 6 weeks. My world well apart all over again at seeing an empty uterus and a lifeless heart rate monitor, that I ended up taking the Gynaecologist advice and sought out a counsellor through the hospital, despite me being a trainee counsellor myself. We spoke on the phone for an hour before she decided that what I was experiencing was typical grief and didn’t need to enrolled into their program but to call back, if needed. It made me feel alone, so alone that I alienated everyone and focused on exercising and eating right.
Another month passed and I had lost 5kgs, feeling hopeful at my final gynaecologist visit, I met with her assistant who, when asked when I could try conceiving again told me that she saw no harm in trying considering I was maintaining a healthy lifestyle but she had to ask the gynaecologist to be sure. She returned with the message I should lose at least 20 more kilograms before trying again. Devastated, self-loathing, I left.
It has been two months since that last visit and I feel through the experience judged and completely let down by the public health system, though I know they were only doing their jobs. But if nothing else this experience has made me determined.
Determined not to let my self-worth and confidence to be scarred by opinions, no matter how professional. And with the support my partner and my doctor I had added more and more healthy choices and exercise regimes to my Iifestyle while learning to accept myself for who I am, and better myself not for medical statistics but for myself, my family and my future family.
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Shanelle is a trainee counsellor and photographer based in Brisbane.
She believes the best sound in the world is her son's laughter and how he sings to himself when he wakes from a nap. She is also a proud mummy to an angel baby and through writing and various arts she is sharing her experience and finding herself, all over again. In her own words...
"I am all and I am nothing, but most importantly I am exactly who I need to
be in this moment... and that is sometimes the hardest thing we have to accept,
openly and honestly.. Ourselves"