Season 2 of The Big Ward, oh how I waited…
It has to be said that this is just my story of conceiving after gastric bypass. I am not a medical professional and am not in any way, shape or form giving medical advice. If you have any questions about fertility after weight loss surgery please make sure you consult the appropriately qualified professional.
One of the most common things I have been asked about my gastric bypass was if I would still be able to have children afterwards. This was a really important question in the lead up for me too so I thought I’d share my story about getting pregnant after gastric bypass with you. Fertility is a very interesting and complex topic and being post-op gastric bypass just adds another element to it.
My first child was not exactly planned, he was a lovely but very unexpected surprise. About three months after his birth I had a Mirena IUD inserted as it seemed like the easiest, hassle free way to manage my contraception. I’ve always had low iron and Mirena is a great way to manage that too. I freaking loved the Mirena and would have another in the future when I need it. It worked really well for me but if you’re considering it make sure you do your research so you get a good idea if it will be suitable for you or not.
I’ll start my story about getting pregnant after gastric bypass at the point of having my Mirena removed, so here goes:
I had my Mirena taken out this afternoon! Since I had to have a local anaesthetic to have it put in I expected it to hurt a little bit coming out and it did. It was uncomfortable and hurt for about 10-15 seconds. In the couple of hours since I have been cramping and my tummy is a bit sore. I ended up taking Panadol so I didn’t notice it so much. When I went to bed that evening my tummy was a bit uncomfortable and sore but nothing that stopped me sleeping. The next day I was fine, went for a run in the morning and felt completely normal.
Two days after having the Mirena out I got my period. I have to say I did not miss those stomach cramps for the last four and a half years. When my Mirena was in my periods were really light and I would often miss them completely. Apart from bloating and occasionally turning into a raging bitch I didn’t really get any other symptoms. This period was so different. The cramps were so bad it was hard to focus at work and taking Panadol did not really make much difference. I had a couple of bad night’s sleep because my tummy was aching. There was a lot more flow too, part of the reason I had a Mirena is that I get too low in iron and it certainly helped maintain my iron levels.
When I started thinking about contraception I realised apart from when I was pregnant and for a few months after having my son I’ve been on hormonal birth control for the last 15 years. That’s a long time to have periods that haven’t influenced by hormonal birth control and it’s no wonder this one was a bit crazy.
It turns out that while I might have thought I had my period two days after my Mirena was removed I don’t think it was. The period I thought I had went on for seven days, for me that would have been a longer than usual period. I had six days clear after that and the I started bleeding again and that lasted for four days which I think was probably my period. To be honest I have no idea, but when you’re about to start trying to conceive it’s difficult not knowing what the heck is going on. This reinforced to me that it’s good to get it taken out a little while before you actually want to start trying to conceive. Your body needs a chance to settle and figure itself out and it’s helpful for you too so that you can track your cycles a bit better.
If you have a regular cycle it can be much easier to track and know when things like ovulation are likely to happen in your cycle. I have always had an irregular cycle but in saying that, I’ve never really tracked it or paid much attention to it until after I had my first child. The Mirena certainly did what it’s supposed to and it reduced my periods down so much that I think part of why my cycle seemed irregular. When I had the Mirena my periods were so light I think I missed them happening completely. Looking back at the history of the app I used to track my period then, the length of my cycles seems completely random and there was no particular pattern.
Since I’ve had my Mirena out I’ve now had two, what I would call ‘normal’ cycles. The first cycle was 38 days in length and the second was 26 days. I was expecting a longer cycle and the app I have been using to track my cycle was predicting it too so when I got my period (in March) it was a big surprise. I thought it was around the time of ovulation and suddenly my period made an appearance. I have been tracking my basal body temperature and looking back over my cycle I can see the point where I ovulated.
Our first month of trying to conceive (March) didn’t work out how I obviously wanted it to. I know that it can reasonably take a while and it would have been pretty awesome and lucky for it to happen the first cycle we were trying but I’m still a little bit disappointed. I’m now a bit more aware of how crazy my own body can be and more knowledge never hurt anyone right? I am interested to see how my cycles go from this point on, will the length start getting a bit more predictable or will they be all over the place, who knows?
Our second month of trying started at the end of March when my period showed up unexpectedly as I said further up. This time I was a bit more onto it and I decided to use the length of my last cycle (26 days) to inform when I would start doing ovulation tests. I used the Clearblue Digital (standard and fancy pants ones) mainly because I wanted to make sure I was ovulating. Sure enough I got a positive ovulation test the day after I was expecting it based on my last cycle. I was pleased that I was at least ovulating and had an idea when it had happened.
Around this time things for my body turned to custard. First of all I got a cold towards the end of my period and that developed into an ear infection. I was taking antibiotics and not feeling so great. Then I got shingles and for a couple of days there, right in the middle of my fertile week, I was taking antibiotics and antivirals. It felt like my body was staging a protest and I figured with all of that going on the chances of me conceiving this month would be quite low.
A week after my fertile week and ovulation my boobs started getting really sore. Over the next week they doubled in size but then that’s not much of an effort when you’re an A cup to begin with. My basal body temperature wasn’t dropping as it does when my period was on its way and I started to wonder if it had all actually worked. I started taking early detection pregnancy tests 12 days after ovulation, which is about as early as they will work, and got negative tests for a few days in a row.
Then I decided that First Response clearly hated me and when I did my online grocery shopping I ordered some ClearBlue ones as well. My shopping order arrived the day before my period was due and the box said they were 98% effective the day before your expected period. When I went to put the bathroom stuff away I could not help myself and I did one of the Clearblue tests. There was a faint line indicating positive. I didn’t trust myself so I took it downstairs to my husband and asked him what he could see. He said two lines too but the second was quite faint.
The next morning I did a First Response and a Clearblue test with my first wees of the day. That’s when the concentration of the hcg hormone should be at its highest. I got two faint but definitely positive pregnancy tests. This was enough to convince me, three tests from two different brands had given me positives! My husband was still not wanting to get his hopes up. I told him I would get a Clearblue digital test that day and do it in a few days as it displays in writing the result so there’s no trying to guess what the result it.
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait a few days to take the test so I got two. The Clearblue digital tests are not as sensitive as the early response ones so I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to get a positive. Then I went straight to the mall bathroom and did one then and there. To my absolute joy and amazement it was positive! There was no denying it now, I really am pregnant. I took a photo of the test and sent it to my husband asking him if he was convinced now! He was over the moon 😀
A little wrap-up of all of that is I had my Mirena removed in January. We weren’t particularly careful in January and February but I was quite unwell (campylobacter) a lot of the time so nothing happened. In March we started trying properly but we basically missed the fertile week and it was unsuccessful. In April we were focused and ready to go and then I got shingles and we decided the chances were pretty low. I had a couple of symptoms before my period, mainly sore boobs/nipples and basal body temperature not dropping and what do you know, it worked.
I can’t believe our luck to be honest with you. I’m so happy it didn’t take forever to happen, I’m too impatient and the waiting from ovulation to seeing if my period would arrive, a whole two weeks, was excruciating. My heart is with those who struggle to conceive because it’s an absolute mindf^@k. Now I get to wait out a pregnancy and while I’m so happy I am already worrying a little bit about getting to the milestones without anything going wrong.
Have you had a baby after gastric bypass or another type of bariatric surgery? How did you go in conceiving? Are you thinking of or wanting to have a baby after weight loss surgery? Did this post reassure you? Comment below and let me know.
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