Baby’s Name: Shekhinah Wijeyesekera
This is an interview on Primani’s journey of more than 8 years of surgeries and medication to help her battle Endometriosis, PCOS and help her conceive and give birth to beautiful Little Shekinah.
1. Your problems with Endometriosis – when did it start and how did it affect you during twenties?
Well it was first identified when I was 24, as I was in severe pain during my monthly cycle. The scans back then were not that great so doctors could not detect what was wrong with me, despite doing multiple vaginal scans. So had to undergo a laparoscopic surgery to identify the cause which was later diagnosed to be Endometriosis. Quite honestly, it affected me pretty badly coz while there were the ‘OK’ seasons; more often than not I was in severe pain when I got my monthly cycle, due to the nature of this condition. This resulted in me being cut off from routine life 3-4 days a month as I could not work, sit, eat, sleep or basically do anything due to the pain and it was a miserable season of my life.
2. How old were you when you got pregnant with your baby?
I was 33 when I conceived my living baby.
3. What was your journey of getting pregnant like?
It was a journey with way more downs than I could account for and a mere handful of ups! I had started the journey with a tenacious belief that I’m never going to give up. But after 8 years of loading on countless medications & injections, 2 surgeries, 7 doctors, negative reports, miscarriages and buckets of tears; I really had come to the end of my road. 3 months after my last miscarriage I was told by my gyno that I had to go in for a 3rd surgery, as I had apparently bled into my womb (called Adenomyosis) when miscarrying, which caused the endometrial cysts to grow further. And this had to be surgically removed to even consider getting pregnant again. So scientifically it was impossible for me to have got pregnant since we decided not to do the 3rd surgery as my body (and mind!) just couldn’t handle it anymore. But miraculously I did conceive in the most inexplicable way and even my Gyno did not believe it at first. In fact at one point he said “The Endometriosis must be wondering, how can there be a baby inside, when I’m so big and large and all over the womb!” .. So the only way I can explain this pregnancy, is to call it a Miracle.
4. How strong was your support group?
My husband, family and my closest friends along with my church family gave me tremendous support. While doctors and the world out there were tearing my hopes apart, my support group helped me stand my ground and believe in the impossible.
5. Did your difficulty in getting pregnant affect your relationship with your husband in any way?
Yes very much so. But we came into marriage on a solid foundation and the strength of that foundation helped us to battle the storms and bounce back. Even though we got married very young, I believe we got married for the right reasons. And I’m certain that apart from our faith in God, this is what helped us make it through those dark years. 13 years later, those difficulties have ironically made our marriage stronger and more resilient.
6. Did you ever consider adoption?
Yes. But being an only child, I was a steadfast believer that I would one day mother a child of my own. So that was the primary reason we decided not to adopt.
7. During your pregnancy with your baby, did you take any special precautions?
Yes, I didn’t have a choice. My pressure was very low from the start and this coupled with constant nausea (practically throughout the whole pregnancy) and severe breathing difficulties resulted in me being extremely weak throughout. I lost 14kg throughout and I blacked out few times and as a result I was pretty much restricted to my house throughout and could not even do the simplest of things other pregnant mums did. Furthermore my baby turned head down at 5 months and came in for pre-term so I was ordered bed rest. 2 weeks later when we checked again, the Doctor surprisingly said she has turned back up into the correct position, which is yet again a medical miracle. So one thing we did fervently during this period was to speak to her on a daily basis and say her name out loud and say ‘Shekhinah you are going to live. So you’ve got to turn back up into the right position. It’s still too early for you to come out darling, so you’ve got to wait inside for few more months’. And obviously speaking to her in this manner helped our baby to beat the odds and survive miraculously.
8. What advice do you have on getting the correct health care?
Health is wealth and I’m beginning to see the reality of that more and more. Especially in relation to maintaining a healthy reproductive system, please don’t take chances and if anything is out of the ordinary get it checked soon. In my teen years my period was haywire. I didn’t’ take it seriously and obviously most of my issues started there. I know lots of females with erratic cycles, unusual bleeding and even unbearable pain, but they don’t bother getting a professional consultation. Endometriosis, PCOS and other similar conditions like Fibroids etc are not untreatable if detected early, and statistically a high percentage of females do have a condition of this nature, in some form. And having gone through the kind of ordeal I did, my sincere advice is that early detection can really spare a lot of heartache in this area.
9. Advice on choosing a good doctor and your advice on specific treatments?
Having switched 7 doctors, finding a good doctor is no easy task. My advice is to pick a doctor whose beliefs and values would go in line with yours. I consulted some of the best Gynos in the industry but honestly, while they may be highly ‘qualified’ in this area, in a humane and practical sense they were instrumental in emotionally bringing me down. Some basically refused to treat me if I didn’t go along their suggested line of treatment, while some started treating me by first pronouncing that my chances were very bleak. But the 7th and final doctor was willing to work ‘with me’ and didn’t force treatments I was not willing to take. But most importantly I decided to stick with him due to his positive attitude and not so much due to his treatment plan. When all other doctors had given up hope that I could ever conceive, there was a sense of empowerment in that final doctor, who helped me believe I would conceive.
10. What general advice would you have for ladies who have difficulty getting pregnant?
“While you wait, make plans & make a life for yourself” – that would just about sum up my advice. Many women make the mistake of letting this become the core focus of their lives. This makes us only see the negatives of life and what is NOT there. Reality is there is more to life outside of getting pregnant, but when becoming a mother overwhelms you, then you lose the purpose of life. I became a mother 11 years after marriage and it was a very long wait for me. But during this painful period I focused on other things that added value to my life. I got actively involved in serving people especially helping marriages, which put things into perspective in relation to seeing the struggles of others. I travelled and invested in some wonderful memories which to me were more valuable at the time, than money in a bank account. I invested time in my career which was flourishing at the time my baby came into this world and this in return gave me confidence to start off a small-scale consultancy of my own, while being a full time mum. And I invested a lot in making my house a home, although I felt the constant void. My point is that I chose to invest in things that helped me grow – and it was a decision I had to make on a daily basis to stay strong and positive. I was a rather backward individual and never dreamed I had it in me, to be who I am today. But the years of waiting really seasoned & matured me. And now looking back, I have to be honest in saying; I wouldn’t have it any other way as this made me a resilient fighter. So take your eyes off the complications and difficulties in getting pregnant as this can really bog you down and further delay a pregnancy from taking place.
11. Would you try getting pregnant again?
Yes, in a heartbeat. But I am again fighting Endometriosis as it seems to be recurring. But I’m fighting it with all I’ve got, with a ton of help from above.