You’ve got to be kidding me!

As we got closer to my flight back home, which I was just so excited about, my 19 week scan was looming. I was gutted that Stephen wouldn’t be there with me, mostly as I know how much he’d have loved to have experienced it too. I was ok though as lovely Anne-Marie offered to come along with me so that I wasn’t on my own. Thank goodness she did, everything was going well with the scan the baby was moving loads (practically jumping around the screen) and all the vitals were great and progressing as it should be.

All was perfect with the baby, which was such a relief. It was just when they came to scanning my ovary (or what’s left of it). There was a dark mass on the screen, which I knew from previous experience could only mean one thing… another bloody Dermoid. No I shit you not, my body had created a miracle from a dot of an ovary and now my body decided to potentially threaten the tiny dot of an ovary I had left.

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The sonographer explained that it was relatively really small (2.5 cm) and that my obstetrician would talk to me more about how it might impact the pregnancy and y reproductive future. Great!

I phoned Stephen straight away and told him all was great with the baby but explained that I had another Dermoid cyst. I told him that I didn’t think it would be a problem, and that it wouldn’t interfere with the pregnancy at all, but that I needed to find out more from the specialist. My follow up appointment was booked with my OB a week later, which to be honest, felt like an eternity.

I kept myself busy with work over the next six days and was counting down to seeing my OB and to get answers to questions that I had (the list was growing). When the appointment came around I decided to go on my own as I feared we’d have a lot to get through. I’d also been experiencing a stabbing pain in my lower abdomen on the left hand side, just about where my ovary was, which I was keen to find out if it was normal.

I was stoked to find out that I my OB appointment was with Dr Horowitz, who’d been a senior consultant at Randwick Women’s Hospital for over 27 years, and was actually a private OB. He explained that he’d taken my case due to my significant history and even joked and asked why I hadn’t stayed in England as he’d never seen a case like mine, least of all a case that was 100% natural conception in spite of everything my body had been through.

When talking through the results of the scan, Dr Horowitz explained that he wasn’t concerned about the Dermoid at this stage as it was so small, but they’d keep a close eye on it. He determined that the stabbing pain would be from adhesions from previous surgeries and that it would probably only get worse before it got better as the pregnancy progressed – all I was able to take to dull the pain was paracetamol – great!

He also explained that he didn’t want me to have a natural labour due to the removal of the fibroid two years previous from my uterus wall. He explained that the trauma of birth on my uterus could be too much and that he simply didn’t want me to take the risk.

I must admit that when I first found out that natural labour wasn’t an option for me, I was really gutted. I wanted to experience ‘natural labour’ and knew from previous experience how are it was recovering fro abdominal surgery – I couldn’t imagine how much harder that would be with a newborn baby to care for, whilst also breastfeeding. It took a while for me to come to terms with the fact that it was the best for the baby and me, but now I totally feel at ease with the decision.

Stephen felt the same when I explained it all to him and also just wanted to do what ever is best for the baby and me. It was now eight weeks since we’d last seen each other and we were starting to feel the strain.

Not only was Stephen missing important doctors appointments, we were missing each other terribly and to say we were feeling the pressure of everything was putting it very, very mildly.

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Especially when 21 weeks pregnant!

Still we had only a week to wait until we were going to see each other and I had a very busy week at work, and he had lots to do on the house so it went very quickly for both of us.

I was starting to show, as I was now 21 weeks, my back was starting to feel the strain of the extra weight (despite me only putting on 2KG by this point). It was quite funny actually as I used to drink A LOT when I was a social butterfly and my diet and exercise plan was none existent. So I found that in the first 15 weeks, coupled with a significantly reduced appetite due to the nausea, I actually lost weight, typical!

My work event came and went without a hitch and after a long day managing a press junket, I went to the airport to board my flight back to the UK to be with my man.

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Work is a great distraction – especially when your rock star team kill it!
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Long Distance and Second Trimester

After a whirlwind five-week break and the most amazing time with Stephen the 16th January came by much quicker than we’d anticipated, the day his flight was booked to return home. Prior to Stephen leaving we’d had a chat about what our plan would be in terms of him coming to Australia, where we’d have the baby and what the next steps would be. I’d had quite a bit of time to think about what was best and I wanted to make sure that I was sharing the load. It didn’t go unnoticed that Stephen was prepared to give up his job, his life in Liverpool, living close to his family and of course his home!

 

I’d suggested that I go back to the UK for six week to help him to finish his house and anything else that might make the move easier on him. He agreed that this was a good idea. Due to the nature of my work, being a freelancer and running my own business, I am very fortunate that I’m flexible with my working hours and that a lot of my work can be done remotely.

I’d managed to secure a eight week contract working for a PR agency in Sydney for four days a week and that contract would finish at the beginning of Marc h. In terms of timing, this worked out perfectly. It meant that I could earn some money to pay for my trip home and to also put some savings to one side. I booked my flight back to Manchester for the 6th March, returning to Sydney on the 20th April (hopefully with Stephen in tow).

 

When he left Australia, it was really hard knowing that for the next eight weeks I would be facing the second trimester of my pregnancy without him. It was daunting, but I knew that it was all working towards a better future for our little family. I threw myself into work and we reverted back to speaking via phone calls, texts and e-mails.

 

The second trimester of my pregnancy was surprisingly easy with regards to any niggles, pains or weight gain (or anything else that comes with growing a baby).

 

I consider myself massively lucky as my best friend, who I’ve known since I was 16 and had moved to Australia the day after me in Jan 2009 had found out that she too was pregnant – and due a week before me! We just couldn’t believe it! Neither were planned pregnancies, but the parallels in both of our life stories are just uncanny and there isn’t anyone else in the world that I’d want to be going through this with. It helped me a great deal with Stephen not being there. Anne-Marie was and is a huge support and a great sounding board relating to not only pregnancy, but also matters of the heart.

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I think sometimes with me being pregnant, it was easy to forget that Stephen and I were in the throws of a relatively new relationship. We’d only been officially together since October and we were not only in January. We were learning so much about each other every day, whilst also trying to figure out our future and how we worked together as a couple.

 

I wasn’t under any disillusion that there would be family and friends that had their concerns about our relationship and how fast we were progressing. That’s’ not to say that they weren’t massively happy for us, they just wanted me to be happy and of course were very protective of me, in part due to my history. I was also astutely aware that the two times that Stephen and I had spent together hadn’t been ‘real life’ I hadn’t been working, we’d been on holiday and very much in the honeymoon period. I think we’d both be lying if we said that we didn’t have concerns about how we would function in the realm of ‘normal’ (what ever that is) day-to-day life.

 

That’s why I think it was so important for us to have the six weeks with me in the UK, living with him, him working etc. almost as a ‘warm up’ if you will for the ‘real deal’.

I don’t think I have to lament over the magnitude of the path we had ahead of us and how important it was that we did things for the right reasons and understood that we were both working towards the same end goal – to be a happy a healthy family who loved and respected each other.

 

I made the huge decision to give up my lovely Bondi studio after two amazing years there. It was far too small for a family of three (plus Louie the dog), plus I didn’t want to have to deal with the stress of finding tenants during the six weeks I was going to be in the UK. Luckily I have some fantastic friends who offered for me to stay with them over the next two months in return for puppy sitting duties and providing my great company, ha!

 

Work was going great and I even had a colleague that was due the day before me, there was definitely something in the water! It was getting harder each time I spoke to Stephen as I missed him so much, and so much of what you say over texts can be misunderstood. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we were both working towards the same end goal, which sometimes seemed so far away.

 

 

I’ve got something to tell you…

I returned to Sydney and threw myself back into work on Sydney Social 101 and the first couple of weeks went by in a blur, I missed Stephen massively, but we of course spoke on the phone every day. We both spoke about the amazing time we’d had back in the UK and continued to book our plans for Vietnam and Stephen’s first trip to Sydney.

I had been back three weeks when I started to feel a little under the weather; I felt nauseous and tired all the time and wasn’t sure what was up.

I decided to book an appointment at the doctors to make sure everything was ok, I had been burning the candle at both ends, whilst also travelling all the way around the globe and then back again so didn’t honestly think too much of it. I managed to squeeze a last minute appointment with my GP before work the next day.

The first thing the doctor asked me was when my last period was… which threw me a little – I explained that I only had a dot of an ovary and had eight eggs frozen in the UK due to my uncertain fertility. My GP still stressed for the date, so I told her. To my complete shock she asked me to take a pregnancy test. Which I did. To utter amazement, it came up positive almost immediately and to say I was surprised was an understatement, after everything I’d been through I didn’t think I could get pregnant, let alone so quickly after meeting someone, no matter how special they seemed to be.

My head was a spin of emotions, excitement, fear, and happiness – so many things to process I couldn’t figure out what to think. All I knew was that I wanted to make sure everything was ok with the pregnancy before I told Stephen the impending news… My GP managed to get me in for a dating scan the following day. I didn’t sleep a wink that night as I couldn’t believe what was happening and I was worried how Stephen might take the news….

The scan was a 10am the next day, so I’d already told Stephen that I had a doctor’s appointment and that I’d call him straight after – so he was expecting my call. I told him I’d left my charger at work the night before as I knew I wouldn’t be able to speak to him and not tell him what was going on.  I went in for the scan and couldn’t help but feel a little bit excited as I sat in the chair. The sonographer was the nicest person and put me at east straight away. He picked up the embryo on the screen immediately and was even able to pick up a heartbeat. The date of the pregnancy was just over five weeks, I simply couldn’t’ believe it.

As soon as I left the clinic I phoned Stephen, who had been waiting up for my call. My heart was racing, but I still felt a sense of ease in knowing that I had to tell him I was pregnant with our baby. As soon as he answered, the words just fell out of my mouth and he was pretty stunned, to say the least. He just kept on saying “Oh my days” over and over again and then quickly realized that I was on the other side of the phone (after about a minute, ha!) and immediately asked how I was feeling.

We proceeded to have a really good chat about how we were feeling, I explained that I was excited that it was with him, but if I could’ve done it differently, I would’ve liked it to maybe be in a year’s time… However I was so happy that I was able to get pregnant and that I wouldn’t have wanted this to happen with anybody else.

After a lengthy, open chat we both felt a buzz of excitement as Stephen realized that at 41, he felt ready to have a baby and was happy that it was with me. I felt so lucky that I’d been able to get pregnant, as I know how much of a gift it is and how much my friends have struggled.

We knew that we had our five-week trip ahead of us in three weeks and literally couldn’t wait to be back with other and talk about the new future that had been set out in front of us.

On the 15th December, the day after my 31st birthday, I boarded my flight to Vietnam, knowing that he was doing the same from Manchester. I was beyond excited to see him again and couldn’t wait to just get a hug from him.

When I touched down in Hanoi, I was tired, the flight wasn’t easy with the lovely nausea that the first trimester brings and having to walk around the plane every 30 minutes. Despite the tiredness I was consumed with excitement and couldn’t wait to get to the hotel. Stephen has arrived two hours before me, so was sleeping in the room.

As I got to the hotel concierge took my bags and escorted me to the room, as the lift headed up to the 9th floor my stomach was doing somersaults. We knocked on the door and my heart was racing. Stephen took a while to come to the door, he opened it and was stood there v sleepy in his dressing gown, I just threw myself around him! I was beyond thrilled to be back in his arms and he felt the same.

Things didn’t feel any different, although we both kept saying that we couldn’t believe that I was actually pregnant! The first night we went out for dinner and then headed back to the room and just crashed out and watched a movie, it was absolute heaven!

The trip went by in a blur and was the absolute trip of a lifetime. The first trimester of my pregnancy didn’t bother me too much, apart from me having to be more careful with my food choices than I normally would be (food makes me happy and I usually love trying international cuisines).

In Vietnam we travelled to Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nah Trang and Saigon for Christmas day. The sights were incredible and we just didn’t stop laughing the whole time!

 

Upon our return to Sydney at the end of December, we spent New Year at Watson’s Bay Hotel in Sydney and toasted (mine was orange juice) to 2016 and all that we had in store.

The three weeks in Sydney were spent showing Stephen the sights and introducing him to what was to be his new home. I also had my best friend Sophie visiting Australia with her husband, who Stephen got along famously with, so it all worked out perfectly.

I couldn’t believe that in a matter of six months and a chance meeting with a handsome stranger on a plane had lead to this exciting new beginning and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

On the 13th January 2016 we had our 12-week scan and were able to see the heartbeat together this time and our little baby move on the screen. Such a special moment in time that I was so thrilled that we were able to spent it together.

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Back around the Globe again…

We were all geared up to meet up in Vietnam in only two 1/2 months, five months since we first met on the plane. We were busy finalising our itinerary when I received some devastating news from home. My family had found out that my lovely Grandpa, who had been suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and terminal lung cancer, didn’t have much time left. I had no hesitation in booking a one-way flight to the UK to say goodbye to my Gramps and also be there for my dad and my family.

 

I flew back to the UK a day later and told Stephen about the situation, he couldn’t have been more supportive and from the moment I stepped off the plane,  he was an absolute rock, he hired a car for me so that I could get to the hospital and back and was constantly checking in to see how I was doing. I guess the silver lining during such a terrible time was the fact that I got to see and spend time with Stephen. We didn’t however want to jump straight into anything and arranged a proper first date (it was nearly three months since we’d last seen each other in the flesh/ met, ha!).

 

It was the Tuesday after I’d arrived on the Saturday and Stephen took me out to the village where he lives to a popular local restaurant to help take my mind of my poorly Grandpa. I was very nervous when I was driving to his place but the butterflies in my stomach, and my gut, told me I was doing the right thing. When I got to his and knocked on the door my heart was in my mouth, but when he opened the door I felt immediately at ease and we just threw our arms round each other and he kissed me on the cheek. The date was just perfect in the way that we didn’t stop laughing the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. It was like being on the plane was only days (and not months) prior.

 

I ended up staying in the UK for three weeks due to my grandpa being a fighter and the funeral taking nearly two weeks to arrange. Stephen met all of my family, was a huge support throughout, took me to York to take my mind off things and showered me with love and attention. He even came to my grandpa’s wake to pay his respects, which went down really well with my family, and me of course.

 

We spoke about so much over the three weeks, it was almost as if our relationship was on fast forward as we’d got to know each other so well on an emotional level over the past three months, we were definitely friends before we became lovers, which I wouldn’t change for a second. I’d told Stephen all about my medical history and he’d been nothing but supportive. He’d even asked me about children and if I wanted them, I explained that I didn’t think I could have the naturally and that I had eight eggs frozen in the UK, but it was possible, if not very, very slim chances.

 

Stephen even asked me what I would do if I did find out I was pregnant at this age, which might sound like a very deep conversation only three weeks into physically being together. We had been chatting and opening up to each other pretty much since the moment we met on the plane back in July, so it certainly didn’t feel like it was moving too fast, or it was too much too soon.

 

I explained that it would be a hard decision as I didn’t think I could get pregnant naturally, however if it wasn’t with a person I could see myself being with, that it would be a lot to think about.

 

At the end of the three week whirlwind I truly felt like I’d experienced the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows, but left confident I the knowledge that I’d met someone that would be a huge part of my life and my feelings for him were in no doubt.

 

 

A Chance Meeting To Change My Life Forever

It was July 2015 and my mum and I were flying from Sydney to Manchester via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airlines for my six week Europe trip for my 30th. We’d managed to get a relatively good deal as we had a four hour lay over in Abu Dhabi.

The first flight went by quite quickly, my mum and I watched a movie, had dinner and then I slept pretty much the whole way (sometimes my body shuts down when I eventually stop, which isn’t very often).

When we arrived in Abu Dhabi we decided to make our way to the Irish Bar, which we had both frequented previously (shock). I also had another friend who was coincidently on the flight, so he joined us also as he too was flying back to Manchester. The four hours went quickly enough (greatly helped by the number of drinks we had to help ‘pass the time’), before we knew it we were boarding the second leg of our flight and we were about to embark on the final part of our trip to Manchester.

Even though the flight was empty my mum was very frustrated that we hadn’t managed to get her a window seat, so imagine my surprise when she pointed to our two seats, one of which was a window seat, which were both next to a handsome stranger, result! I figured she must’ve got confused prior to boarding the flight as she seemed pretty confident that these were our seats.

We proceeded to pop our bags in the overhead compartments and take our seats. We had to ask the handsome stranger to let us in, to my delight I noticed a familiar accent, a Liverpool accent from down the road from where I’m from in Warrington in North West England. I asked where in Liverpool he was from and he explained that he was from Formby, near to a beach that I used to go to all the time when I was a child with my dad. From there we struck up a conversation and didn’t pause for breath, literally.

That was until we realized that my mum and I realised (or were alerted to the fact) that we were in fact sat in the wrong seat, when another passenger came along with his boarding pass and explained that we were sat in HIS window seat, bloody mother! Ha!

I explained that it was our honest mistake and that we would move. A quick scan of our tickets proved that we were actually supposed to be sat on the seats in the middle of the plane, the other side of the handsome stranger… Whose name is Stephen by the way.

Luckily I was still sat near to Stephen, with only my mum sat in the middle, however that didn’t stop us. We started to chat more about what brought us to Australia, what we did for work, what our plans were for the summer etc. When the drinks trolley came along, we were both very, thirsty shall we say, and ordered two gin and tonics, each, and knew then that we were going to get along just great. About 30 minutes into the flight, and as soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off, my mum proceeded to move to the row in front as we didn’t shut up, ha!

The ten-hour flight seemed to go by in a flash as we put the world to right and told each other our life stories and our hopes and dreams. We covered a lot of ground in the time we had. As the flight came close to landing and we were almost on home soil, we exchanged numbers (well I gave him my Sydney Social 101 business card, smooth I know, ha!). He also gave me his mobile number too.

Stephen was the ultimate gentleman when leaving the plane, offering to carry my bags, accompanying us to passport control and helping us with our cases off the carousel. I found out later that he’d said to my mum that I was a pretty special girl and that she should be really proud whilst I’d made a quick bathroom visit to freshen up.

I felt strangely sad when we said goodbye, but we’d said that we’d catch up up in Liverpool during the two weeks that I was back in the UK. However my first priority when I landed back in the UK was the trip to Amsterdam that weekend with my oldest friends to celebrate our 30th birthdays.

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Amsterdam with the girls – Cheers!

We did so much whilst we were there, so the fact that I didn’t hear from Stephen for a few days wasn’t a problem at all.

I had hoped that I’d hear from him the following week and can’t deny that I was disappointed when another five days had passed and I hadn’t heard. I was due to go out in Liverpool on the following Friday, but my friends had arranged a nice girly night in with pizza and wine instead as they’d just recently had babies. As I hadn’t heard from Stephen and wanted to spend quality time with my friends, I locked in the plans for pizza and wine instead.

Low and behold I heard from Stephen the day after we’d confirmed the plan, he messaged me on What’s App, emailed me and sent me a facebook message (Which I only got a few months later as we weren’t Facebook friends) – the fact that he seemed so eager made me feel a little better. He was asking if I wanted to go out on Friday in Liverpool for drinks, which I of course would’ve loved to, but had already made a commitment to my friends and wasn’t the type to bail for a boy, despite how much he’d turned my head!

Stephen totally understood and said that we’d catch up another time. However there were a number of other missed opportunities over the two weeks that meant that we weren’t able to go on that elusive first date. Despite this, I had a feeling that this wouldn’t be the last I’d hear, or see of Stephen.

I spent the two weeks spending quality time with family and friends in the UK and had the most amazing time! My friend Bev even asked me to be her bridesmaid at her wedding, which was taking place the following July 2016, I was thrilled beyond words and of course said yes!

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Fun times at BBQs at Sophie’s
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Bev asked me to be her bridesmaid in July 2016 – I said yes! Of course!

When I boarded the flight to Spain for a month knowing that I wouldn’t be back in the UK again until the following Summer made me feel strangely sad. I was quickly put at ease however as I heard from Stephen every single day for the next two ½ months, which was absolutely the foundations of our lasting connection.

I spent three weeks in Spain at my mum’s place, then a week in Ibiza, which was just an amazing time. My time in Spain was spent with my mum and granny at mum’s villa, which was so relaxing and Ibiza was with my Uni friends to celebrate our 3oth, which was jut unreal (little did we know it was to be somewhat of a party swan-song for me)!

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Great times with Grannie
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Ibiza 2015

I returned to Sydney at the beginning of September. Stephen and I spoke every day. I found myself looking forward to his texts and a big smile on my face when they arrived.

When something exciting happened to me in work, he was the first person I told, if I went to a fun event, I’d send him pictures, it was like we were getting to know each other the ‘old fashioned way’ despite the 18,000 miles between us. I felt like we were building a strong friendship on an emotional level and hoped that it might develop into something more. I guess it was inevitable over time that it would progress into a relationship of a romantic nature and was thrilled when it became apparent that Stephen felt the same way.

We chatted about how we felt on the phone and we decided that we should arrange to meet in the middle before the end of the year. Stephen was the first to make the suggestion, as he said that he was planning to go to Cambodia for Christmas and wondered what I felt about him coming to Sydney for New Year…

I couldn’t help but think that this sounded like a great idea and felt the butterflies in my stomach as I let myself think about our romantic catch up half way around the globe. After doing our research we decided that Vietnam would be more suitable for our travel needs, so decided on Vietnam for two weeks and for Stephen to come to Sydney for three weeks.

We arranged our travel plan from the UK and Sydney respectively and arranged to meet in Vietnam on December 15th – the day after my 31st birthday!

Travels to Mend the Soul

I returned back to Sydney in December 2013 and didn’t look back. However I feel that I must be honest in saying that 2014 was certainly a year where I learned a lot about myself and found myself unsure of knowing where my place was in Sydney. I missed the UK, but knew in my heart that Sydney was where I wanted to be.

It was difficult after spending a year away to go back to the routine and life I’d grown to love in Sydney before I left. Friendships had evolved and the ‘dream job’ that I returned to Sydney for turned out to be anything but.

Never one to throw in the towel, or to let a difficult time dampen my spirit, I kept moving forwards and realised that at 29 it was time to live on my own and to give my business (www.sydneysocial101.com) a real go – time to focus on me! I moved into a rented studio in Sydney, but it was my own space, a place to call home and it helped that it was only two short minutes walk from Bondi Beach – a lifelong dream of mine.

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View from the rooftop of my new place – heaven!

I’ve always been a believer that you control your own destiny and that you have to carve your own path and listen to your gut, this has never lead me more so in the right direction than this time in my life. I began spending more time with amazing friends that built me up, rather than drag me down. I found that a true test of friendship was when they are there for you when you’re at your lowest, not just when you’re riding high!

I threw myself into my business and launched a concept that I’d been chipping away at for over 12 months, whilst also carving out a solid publicity work portfolio of freelance work, including working for one of the biggest film producers in the entire world. Life was starting to move into the right direction after one year back down under.

I had the most amazing 30th celebrations on a boat with 40 of my closest friends on Sydney Harbour, a time I’ll never forget.

I also had a trip booked to Philippines over new year, which would involve scuba diving (a true passion of mine), relaxing times and discovery. I had a very good feeling as the sun rose on Boracay Beach in the Philippines on January 1st 2015.

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Boracay Beach NYD 2015

My friends who I travelled to the the Philippines with both felt exactly the same. We had a deep conversation about the excitement of contemplating the year that had just been, it has been less than ideal for all of us, and of course the year that had yet to come. We laughed about where we would be in 12 months on NYE 2015/16 and what the next 12 months would hold.

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Diving in El Nido – Philippines

Little did each of the three of us know that 2015 held so much more in store for us than we ever could’ve imagined possible…

A year that began with a trip of a lifetime to the Philippines only got better and better,  I got to travel to many far away shores including, Fiji and Taiwan, whilst planning a six week trip to Europe in July/ August including planned jaunts to Ibiza, Amsterdam and Spain.

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Cloud 9 in Fiji – May
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Me and the girls in Fiji – May
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Media Famil in Taiwan – June
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Taiwan Media Famil

I was loving the freedom of travelling to places I’d never seen with family and friends, but also felt in my heart that I wished that I had that special someone to share it with.

In July my mum came to visit me in Sydney for three weeks, I was thrilled that we got to spend some quality time together and I’d booked some special trips for us, including a cheeky little getaway to Hunter Valley.

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Me and my mum – Hunter Valley – July 2015

After our three week trip, which was just lovely,  I had a flight booked to the UK with my mum for my six week European vacation. We had a long 24-hour flight ahead of us, little did we know that it was set to be a journey that would change my life forever..

 

Residency, More Illness and a Trip Back Around the Globe

Fast forward from moving to Australia in Jan 2009, I’d been living in Australia for seven years working as a publicist and running two successful blogs: Dating 101 Sydney (www.dating101sydney.wordpress.com) – documenting the highs and lows of my dating experiences. Sydney Social 101 (www.sydneysocial101.com) was also my passion project I started in Feb 2012, which is still going today.

I’d been mostly single and completely loving my life in Sydney with my close friends, who were more like family and a lifestyle I’d dreamed of my whole life. However as I approached 30, I felt that if I met the right person, I’d consider settling down – only in Sydney that’s much easier said than done!

I literally could fill a book with my dating woes, giggles and short-lived triumphs (see http://www.dating101sydney.wordpress.com for background on that!), however no one had ‘turned my head’ so to speak. I’d made the decision long ago that I’d much rather be on my own than in a relationship that didn’t make me happy.

I’d had even more woes with my body, just when I thought I was through to the other side of the tunnel with only forward to look… I should’ve learned by now that I should never have any expectations when it comes to me and my gynaecological health.

I was so lucky to secure my Permanent Residency in Australia in July 2012, I was beyond ecstatic knowing that I could remain in Australia for the rest of my days, if I chose to. Little did I know that I might be heading back around the world again in a quest for my health.

I had my routine six month scan with my gynaecologist in Sydney and he picked up that I had what’s known as a fibroid in my uterus wall… Not a Dermoid this time ladies and gentlemen.

I was advised that the fibroid was very large (15cm) and that I would have to have major surgery to save my uterus, and to ensure that I’d at least be able to carry a baby. I had faced surgery before, so this wasn’t as daunting to me as maybe it should’ve been. The part that really scared me and was affecting my every day life was the severe bleeding that I was experiencing daily. We’re not talking heavy periods here, I mean haemorrhaging large quantities of blood and clots each day, so much so that I had to take at least two changes of clothes to work everyday to change into, less than ideal.

I briefly had a Mirena (IUD) fitted, on the advice of my gynaecologist, which was meant to make the bleeding easier. Unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones that it made bleed even more heavily, so I had it promptly removed, along with a polp in my uterus. It was in October 2012 that I returned back to my mums in the UK in search of a solution for what was becoming a life hindering condition.

I headed back to the UK with a view to return to Sydney in three months, however my body had other ideas.

I wanted to see my specialist from the UK that had operated on me three times previously for peace of mind.

Three months of consistent bleeding and feeling fatigued and being prescribed iron tables to combat what was becoming quite severe anaemia meant that I’d decided that I needed  to be looked after by my mum, take a rest from work and to speak to my specialist in the UK about my options there.

I had my first appointment with my specialist at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, which didn’t go as planned. In light of all my results and scans I was told that I would have to have a hysterectomy if I wanted the fibroid removed, I was in utter shock, I hadn’t envisaged this at al!

He explained that as the fibroid was now over 20cm, they wouldn’t be able to save my uterus. To say I was devastated would be a massive understatement. None the less, undeterred and with my health and fertility top of mind (I was only 27!) I decided to pay for a private consultation and second opinion with another gynaecology specialist in Manchester to secure a second opinion. Man am I glad that I did. It wasn’t cheap – it was about 450 pounds for an hour appointment, but the result was absolutely priceless.

I was told that he would be able to save my uterus and that he would remove the cyst (and had removed larger) and was confident that I would be able to conceive after the procedure. The only element that I was unsure of what that I had to be put into an early menopause, that would be temporary (three months) but that preventing the production of oestrogen would shrink the fibroid, thus making the saving of my uterus more likely.

I opted to go ahead and had the injection to put me into a premature menopause that very same day.

It was December and my 28th birthday was looming and my first Xmas and NY in the UK for five years… my friend Lorna and I decided to escape to Paris for a long weekend on my birthday weekend to leave my reproductively-challenged troubles in the UK and let our hair down.

Le paris

It was amazing and just what we needed, I’m a big believer that you need to have a positive attitude, as your state of mind can affect everything else so much more than you know.

As I mentioned, I had the injection for the early menopause before I left, which did come with all the symptoms – loads of fun for a 28 year old…

  • Hot sweats
  • Mood Swings
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Sleepless nights
  • Fear of the unknown

I’d love to say that the injection worked, however after returning from Paris, securing myself a great new job in Manchester and starting to look forwards… a scan revealed that rather than the fibroid shrinking, it had in fact grown. Bloody typical! I’d collapsed on the tube in London and has been rushed to hospital, where they found that I was very poorly.

It got to the point where I just wanted the fibroid out of me and was willing to face the recovery. I was becoming increasingly fatigued with the daily blood loss, the anaemia and my growing uterus (which now resembled a six month pregnancy).

I was booked to go into the hospital in April and my pre-op was booked on the Friday before. I had many pre-ops previously, so wasn’t too phased. However I was shocked to discover during this ‘routine’ check up prior to an operation that I was so severely anaemic (a reading of 7.1, when a healthy HGP blood count level is 14). The nurse said that she didn’t know how I was still conscious! They wouldn’t let me leave the hospital and advised that I needed a blood transfusion urgently, I had a pint of blood that day, which did make me feel better.

However that wasn’t enough, as I had to have another two pints of blood on the day of the operation before they’d operate.

I was nervous on the day of the operation, but to be honest I was more excited about taking a step towards getting better and not having to deal with loosing so much blood every day and feeling so bad. It really was affecting the quality of my life.

I awoke from the operation and, despite feeling groggy, I was relieved that it was over and felt happy when the nurse told me all had gone as planned. I could still carry a child, result!

Apart from a little hiccup during recovery when I got an infection and the nurses were really worried about my very high body temperature, I was out of hospital and home with my mum in three days.

I was told that I couldn’t work for six weeks and the company that I was working for were massively supportive, they paid my statutory sick pay and kept my job open for my return in June.

I decided to make the most of my recovery and headed to Spain for four of the five weeks to stay with my mum at her villa in Spain.

mums

I looked after myself, didn’t drink, ate healthily and relaxed. It was heaven! The perfect place to recover. I had no complications and even felt up to attending my friend’s wedding in the South of France on the weekend before I retuned to work.

wedding

I ended up feeling very settled in the UK following my operation and decided to stay until the end of the year before returning to Sydney. I had a great year and loved being well and knowing that I again was moving forwards into the right direction!