The Thyroid, The Cervix and The Lovely Baby

It has taken me a long time to sit down and try to put this story into words. There are so many reason why I have avoided writing this post. Firstly I have absolutely zero medical experience just my own journey.Which made me a little nervous about sharing medical information.

Secondly this story, while a part of my life and something the made me stronger, I kinda want to forget some of it.

Finally, I actually didn’t know how I was going to document this story. How was I going to detail what happened and not over complicate things? There is just so much to tell!

However, overtime even though I convinced myself that there was no point in writing this post,  one thing rang true, this is a story that needs to be told. Not because it is Sinéad from The Beautiful Truth’s story, but because there is actually very little information online about having a baby after Thyroid cancer and an incompetent cervix! This is 100% not a woe is me story. This is a story of hope!

The Thyroid

I suppose I will start with the easy part of this story.

In 2013, after feeling unwell for about 18 months and going through test after test, I found myself sat in a doctor’s office hearing the word cancer and my name in the same sentence. At 31 I received the diagnosis of a follicular carcinoma on my thyroid. I knew I was sick, but cancer? I was someone who  ate reasonably well. I rarely drank and  I was also relatively fit. Yet cancer is the great equalizer. It doesn’t care about your age, skin colour or personal situation. It hits you out of the blue and changes your life completely.

Thankfully my cancer story is one with a happy ending and after a complete thyroidectomy, Radio active iodine treatment and a little bit of TLC, I was given the all clear. However, even though I was cancer free, there was always one more question left lingering. Would I ever be able to have a baby?

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-20-14-08For those of you that don’t know, the thyroid is a gland that lives just at the base of your neck, above where an Adam’s apple would be. The thyroid  basically produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism, your heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance. ( This description is from yourhormones.info). Basically the thyroid is a big deal and when it’s not right, it throws your whole body off kilter.

Following the removal of my thyroid, my endocrinologist, managed to get my blood levels correct very quickly. I got my energy back within a few months and I lost weight fairly regularly. However, my periods were never right. They were unpredictable at best. While it was not something I ever spoke about, this worried me, as how would I ever get pregnant if I didn’t have any rhyme of rhythm to my cycle. On top of that, a lot of reading online suggested that getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term after having your thyroid removed was extremely difficult. The rate of miscarriage was high.

To make a long story short, I asked my endocrinologist if there was anything I could do to improve my chances of getting pregnant. His words: ” Don’t over think things. Forget the science and just enjoy yourself!” We were pregnant not long after that!

If you’ve a thyroid problem or in fact no thyroid at all. Avoid the negativity that surrounds getting pregnant.  Unfortunately people are more likely to share their sad stories online , than their happy ones.  Since getting pregnant, i have heard of so many women surviving thyroid cancer and having large families with no issues at all.

The Cervix

So this part of my story first dates back to 2006 when after years of irregular cin 1 smear tests, I finally went for a colposcopy. My colposcopy found a number of pre cancer cells in my cervix. This is a common enough occurrence in women and while harmless enough, if left untreated they are likely to develop into full-blown cancer cells. The course of action for pre cancer cells in your cervix is a lletz procedure.

My first lletz procedure was completed in October 2006 under local anaesthetic. My consultant removed the area of my cervix that contained the pre cancer cells. Having one lletz is quite common and once you’re discharged, I was told there was nothing to worry about and just to make sure to get regular smears.

Fast forward to 2010 and one of my routine smears brought a borderline CIN2 result. After another colposcopy, there was a considerable amount of pre cancer cells discovered. This time I would have to go under general anaesthetic to have even more of my cervix removed. While not completely  uncommon, a second lletz procedure was a little rarer, as one lletz usually does the job.

Following this operation, my consultant told me that if I was to get pregnant in the future, I would more than likely have to have a stitch placed in my cervix, so that I could carry a baby to term.  At the time a baby was the furthest thing from my mind, so I parked that little bit of information until the time came that I needed it.

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-20-20-03With the news of my pregnancy came my first visit with my consultant. I was a high risk case from the very beginning. Controlling your thyroid levels during pregnancy is very important. I am not sure of the ins and outs but I do know that I was at a slightly higher risk than normal. When I threw in the nugget of two lletz, my consultant decided, rather than chance it, he wanted to apply a stitch to my cervix. My cervix was too weak to hold tight on it’s own and would more than likely need a cervical stitch. Again a cervical stitch it commin, but many women have to suffer miscarriage before a doctor will make this decision to apply one.

I was told that for my procedure to take place, I would have to go under general anaesthetic at 12 weeks pregnant . Once under anaesthetic, my consultant would inspect the length of my cervix and see if I was a candidate for a cervical stitch. Basically this meant he would put a little stitch near the bottom of my cervix that would keep it shut and stop me from losing the baby. Then when it comes nearer to my delivery date, the stitch would be snipped and I would go forward with a regular vaginal delivery. Unfortunately on inspection, my doctor discovered that I had very little cervix due to the extent of my second lletz and there was no way a stitch would hold tight until the end of my pregnancy. So plan b was implemented.

Plan b was what was known as a transabdominal cerclage. Basically, my surgeon cut me along the area of where a c section incision would be made. While a c section incision is about the length of your index finger, a TAC incision was hip to hip. The surgeon made such a large incision, as they needed to gently move the baby in the womb aside and place a tie or stitch at the very top of the cervix. This closes the cervix so that the baby can’t go anywhere.

I won’t go into too many details, but it was a difficult time. As I was pregnant the pain medication I could take was very limited and it took a good 6 weeks to recover. ( If you’re going through the same operation and want more details, please feel free to email me)

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-20-19-24Thankfully my cervix held tight for the duration of my pregnancy. However, during my recovery I had a slight tear in my placenta. Basically a small part of the placenta tore away from the side of the womb. Why am I telling you this?  The reason I am telling you this is because when you search partial placenta abruption all you see is bad news. I searched and searched in complete distress and couldn’t find a glimmer of hope. But there is hope. My doctor put me on bedrest for a few weeks and the small tear healed itself and was no longer an issue.

The Baby

After a cancer diagnosis, a very invasive operation at 12 weeks pregnant, a partial placental abruption, 3 bleeds and a few scares, a very healthy baby was born on July 14th 2016 through c section. As I have a TAC (abdominal stitch) I won’t ever be able to have a vaginal birth and if I am honest, I am fine with that! I’ve seen one born every minute!

20160714_131116Since July my world has turned upside down in the best way possible. People tell you that you will be over come with love the second the baby is born and yes, you do feel love when they place the baby in your arms. However, nothing can prepare you for the love that follows. Each day you fall more and more in love with this tiny human. I can honestly say I have never been happier.

My TAC  is still in place and will be until I decide that my last baby is my last. Then, once the baby has been removed by C-section, they will simply cut the stitch and that’s that.

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-20-24-35I know this is a long story and I am sure there are many wondering why I told it? Google is full of bad news stories, it is so hard when you’re in the middle of a health problem to find a good news story. I hope that putting my story out there in cyberspace, that in the middle of the night, when women are frantically googling  for information to help ease their fears , that they will find my story and know, that sometimes, there really can be happy endings.

Comments

  1. Gillian Whelan says

    Wow Sinead, what a story.. I am overwhelmed here with emotion for you and so happy that after all of that you have your beautiful Conor. You are right, Google needs more real life stories with happy endings for those frantic Googlers who think that things will never be right again. You are an inspiration. Your blog is truly an enjoyable and I hope 2017 brings you lots of happiness, good health and good fortune x Gillian

  2. AMANDA BEDFORd Brodie says

    Wow sinead what a story. What a rollacoaster you have been on.
    Thank you for sharing because I have friends with thyroid issues and I know very little about it.
    Love your snapchat and baby Conor is gorgeous xxx

  3. Corrina stone says

    Wow just wow you’re an amazingly strong woman, fair play to you for writing your story to give others hope. Huge congratulations on the birth of your bundle of joy!

  4. Sharon says

    Well done for sharing your story it may help someone else in the same situation. I love your blog and follow your Snapchat also.

  5. Helen says

    Fab story Sinead….it’s amazing to hear a happy ending after all the stress and worry you must have gone through. Thanks for sharing with us. You’re an inspiration. Ive thyroid issues myself and not one doctor has told me it can cause issues with pregnancy. Will certainly be having a chat with my GP on my next visit. xxx

    • Sinead K says

      oh do not for one second be worrying. So many doctors will say it can have problems and the internet says the same, but as my end says, if your levels are right and your healthy like every other person, then you should have no problems.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. I found pregnancy such a whirlwind and stressful at the best of times, fair play to you for handling such an amount of stress and pain on top of the regular pregnancy. So delighted everything has turned out so well for you and your family after all you’ve gone through, wishing you three a lifetime of happiness! There’s nothing better than hugs with my hubby and son so I know how much joy it is for the three of you!

  7. she shu says

    Sinead

    Well done on sharing your story it is so refreshing to hear the good news stories and even those of us who didnt get a happy outcome get so much pleasure hearing from those who have. Wishing you and your family continued joy and health xx

  8. Eileen says

    Ahh what a story you have Sinead.And with a very happy ending.Thank you for sharing and I am sure it will give great comfort to others in a similar situation.I love your blog and wish you and your little family a happy and healthy new year.

  9. Lorraine says

    Amazing story! So thrilled that baby Conor arrived safe and sound and you are both doing well. It is truly incredible to think you both went through all that emotional and physical trauma. A very inspirational read, and I too hope that it gives light to others.

  10. Em says

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy and for all that you have achieved!! Thanks so much for sharing your story Sinead! It means a lot that someone will speak out about their experience and getting through your pregnancy afterwards.
    I’m a dodgy CIN girl too. I didn’t want to be the moany girl talking going through it at a time when my close friends happened to be at a point where they were having children themselves and i found I was a bit alone at times when I was having my treatment. I was almost afraid to hope for having children in the future in case it happens again but you have really given me so much hope that it’s a challenge that can be overcome!! Thank you!!

  11. says

    Wow Sinead I know u didnt write this blog looking for sympathy but I genuinly teared up reading it! You have been through so much but it just goes to show the Body is wonderful mysterious machine and you got such an adorable healthy baby boy despite all the odds that were stacked against and although a c section cant have been a picnic on top of the surgery you had before it at least your vajajay didnt get cut to ribbons either so every cloud and all that lol anyways Thanks for Writing this Blog I hope it gives hope and information out to the people that this could effect! anyways huge fan of your blog a long time even bigger fan now! Keep up the good fight xx

  12. Roisin says

    Loved reading your story, I followed your snapchat throughout your pregnancy and had no idea you were going through so much. I think you are brilliant for sharing your story- what an inspiration for other women out there in the same boat.
    Love your blog and Snaps, Conor is gorgeous xx

  13. Melia says

    Thanks for sharing your story! You are right, it is impossible to find stories of pregnancy after thyroid cancer. I was diagnosed and had my thyroidectomy 3 years ago. I am glad your story turned out well, as I am hoping mine will! I am currently 27 weeks pregnant. I am very excited but also a little nervous/scared. After my thyroidectomy I have had bouts with depression and anxiety (according to doctors not due to synthyroid or having no thyroid….yeah right, also being treated for both so all is well). I am hoping not to have to deal with PPD, that’s the one thing that scares me the most. Did you have any problems like that during or after pregnancy? Glad to hear you and your baby are doing just fine! Again thanks for sharing your story!

  14. says

    Wow you’ve really been through the wringer Sinead, so happy it all worked out for you and fair play to you for sharing your story. You’re dead right, the first thing you do is Google to find people with similar stories so that bit of positivity will really help someone! 💋

  15. denise says

    Sinead your an inspiration, delighted that you have got your beautiful baby after all you have been through , enjoy him x

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