Some women have stretch marks, like a tiger that earned their stripes through childbirth, a passage of womanhood. Some see it as a body marred, others a symbol of beauty.
I measured my scar tonight, 28cm's across my lower tummy. I'd like to tell you my story.
As a young girl I had always had pain with periods, mood swings and was always chubby. At sixteen my mother took my to the doctor to discover I had PCOS. Apart from prescribing the pill the diagnosis didn't change my life that much. I was already living with the hell before they put a name to it.
There were times I would have excruciating stabbing pain in my tummy till the point I broke down in tears. By the time a reached a hospital and was seen to they could only guess at a cyst bursting. This could happen at any time and would go just as it came without warning.
When I was married after never falling pregnant naturally I sought help with fertility. Since I knew it would be harder for me the idea was to start early. I was twenty two I believe when I tried the first and only fertility drug I have ever taken.
I vaguely remember being told there was a chance of something going wrong but I would have to be extremely unlucky. After all these years I just researched what happened to me and the first article I read said that being a young women with PCOS were major risk factors for what happened to me.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.
I was actually trying to ride a bike and lose weight at the time. The pain I started to experience was ovarian torsion and hemorrage. My ovary was the size of an orange and had turned on itself, I was bleeding internally.
It took three visits to the hospital emergency for them to admit me to hospital. I had always used having a shower as a way to deal with pain. Through out the night a nurse found me laying on the floor between my room and the shower unable to go further. I was told to get back into bed and not attempt a shower again. The pain relief they gave me could not stop the pain.
It was not until the next day that they decided that they had to operate or fly me to a larger hospital or I could die. The next thing I knew I was signing my life away and being rolled away on a table to the first operation of my life.
I thought I was going to die. I was very afraid. The last thing I heard before they knocked me out was the doctors discussing the football score.
When I awoke I was on strong drugs for some time. Unfortunately there are a few incidents I will never forget.
They put me in the maternity ward. My mother was the one to break the news to me that they had removed one of my ovaries and my appendix. A nurse came and accidentally congratulated me on my twins. I had heard from my hospital bed the twins being born, they were not mine of course. The nurse apologised to my mother as she was too embarrassed to talk to me.
I remember waking up to ring a nurse for a bed pan as I was unable to get up to begin with. I remember feeling wet but was groggy from the pain relief. As the blankets were pulled back I saw fear on the only male nurses face I had seen as there was blood everywhere. I had bled out from my wound.
It was a nurse who demanded the doctors needed to give me a blood transfusion, three I think it was. That same nurse was the one that realised I had not had my anti-depressants my whole stay there and if I had ever needed them, I needed them then.
One particular night a loud arrogant young doctor was seeing to another patient in my room and ran straight into the end of my bed with another patients bed. Hot shearing pain tore across my stomach all 28 cms. Then that same doctor used me as a pin cushion unable to find a vein for my IV.
I was angry, very angry and devastated. I remember waiting for my husband to show up on his lunch break and ending up in tears as he didn't show up. Only to learn he wasn't at work, he was with his mother. I might add she got her grandchildren in the end but not from me, from the woman who came after he left me.
To add insult to injury I was told I must get up and walk around. So I marched as well as I could doubled over with stitches across my tummy only to run into my brothers girlfriend attending her first ultrasound for their accidental pregnancy.
I wanted out of that hospital so badly I demanded to know what was required for me to leave. Two things the IV removed and a bowel movement. I marched myself to the doctor and made sure the IV was taken out and even convinced the nurses to give me something to help me go to the toilet.
The wound healed, it still pulls sometimes or itches. I must admit that I'm not sure I ever did. Part of me was never the same. From then on I have been trying to learn how to heal and accept the fact I will probably never have children. I envy women with stretch marks or scars from c-sections. The beautiful babies they had to show for all their pain. I am now thirty three and have never been pregnant and never attempted fertility treatment again.
I'm not ashamed of my scar, it bears witness to an event that changed my life. I might add that after removing that ovary I never had the attacks of sharp pain again.
I'd like to say to those suffering with PCOS and infertility, you are not alone. I'd like to say to women with children, please remember that not all are so lucky, some of us suffer in silence a pain that you will never know.