Causes & Treatment

Cancer Robbed me of Having a Baby

Eloise Edington  |  15 Jun 2021

Fertility Help

The Ribbon Box has created a community for those who struggle with infertility, to share stories and experiences. It is our hope that we all work together to de-stigmatise infertility and open up the conversation to all who need to hear it. Today, Vaishali is sharing her story. She discloses her struggle with cancer, how the Mirena implant impacted her fertility, her IVF journey, coping with baby loss and struggling to find primary support.

Words by Vaishali

Vaishali’s Story

My name is Vaishali and I am from London, England, but I currently live in Preston, England, with my husband Rahul. We have been married for almost six years now and having a family was something we spoke about, even before we got engaged. I vividly remember putting Rahul’s hands on my stomach once and saying, ‘your baby will grow here one day.’

Trying to Conceive With Unsuspected Cancer

Fast forward to 2016 and we decided to start trying to conceive. This proved to be difficult, as I was experiencing really heavy, unexpected bleeding. I was referred to a gynaecologist for testing, and in March 2017 I underwent a polypectomy and ovarian drilling to help me conceive. Ten days later, I received the news that they had found cancer in my womb.

The normal treatment for this is a hysterectomy but luckily, due to our circumstances, I was given the chance to try ‘fertility-sparing treatment’. That’s high doses of Provera, followed by the Mirena IUD. Within eighteen months there were no signs of cancer or pre-cancer and we were given the green light to start our IVF journey.

Beginning our IVF Journey Following Cancer

Our first round of IVF started in March 2019 and resulted in a pregnancy. I loved being pregnant, I could even withstand the sickness. I just thought: ‘This is what I have been waiting for these past three years’. Unfortunately, in August 2019, I contracted an infection and, I don’t know how, but it caused me to go into early labour and my daughter, Jaya, was born at twenty-two weeks and one day gestation. She was too early to be saved. She lived for fourteen minutes and died in my arms.

Related Article – A Letter to Myself Before Infertility and Baby Loss

Fertility Help

IVF Frozen Embryo Transfer

Not long after our baby loss, we decided to try again. I was desperate to have a baby. However, this second round of IVF failed and I had to go back to my oncologist to have a biopsy. We received the results that my sample showed signs of pre-cancer and, on the day the UK went into its first Covid lockdown, I had the Mirena inserted again to treat these pre-cancer cells.

In September 2020, I did another egg retrieval and froze some of our embryos. As soon as the Mirena came out and I was cleared for IVF, we tried an IVF frozen embryo transfer. What I never saw coming was a problem with my uterine (womb) lining. It was not thick enough for the IVF frozen embryo transfer. We have tried four times so far and had no luck.

Related Article – Fresh / Frozen Embryo Transfers & Pregnancy Signs – What You Need to Know by URE Centro Gutenberg

How The Mirena Implant Can Affect Fertility

We are about to undergo our fifth attempt after an ERA cycle last month. It’s been so difficult to take all the IVF medication and fertility injections, to be so hopeful that we had been successful – only to then be told the IVF cycle was cancelled. It is devastating and soul destroying. We know the Mirena thins the womb lining, which is great at keeping me cancer free, but a thin lining threatens the likelihood of successful conception. It’s such a contradiction.

Infertility Support Groups and Hope

It’s been five years since we started trying to conceive (TTC) and it’s been so difficult. I don’t talk about it much because very few people in my life understand the mental, emotional and physical toll of trying to conceive.

I can only keep trying and hoping that what I am doing works and one day we can bring our baby home.

Following Words by Fertility Help Hub:

It is so important to share stories like these so that if you’re struggling with infertility, you have an infertility support group to turn to, especially when the people around them cannot understand. It also encourages people who are naturally fertile to empathise more and perhaps provide a better primary support system for their friends and family. If you find that shared stories help you, then there are plenty to read on the Fertility Help Hub Website and you can also join our free non-judgemental support app here.

Related Article – How Long Does the IVF Process Take?

If you want to be a part of infertility support groups and communities, then subscribe to The Ribbon Box Newsletter, where we offer support, fertility options, resources and holistic fertility care advice.

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