Woman, 39, with endometriosis who thought she was infertile reveals she discovered she was pregnant with a ‘miracle baby’ during her final scan before surgery to remove her ovary
- Caroline Darlington, 39, from Cheshire, tried for baby with husband for years
- She suffered endometriosis and a cyst, and decided to have last ovary removed
- She discovered she was 16 weeks pregnant with ‘miracle’ son Jorge at the scan
A woman who thought she was infertile has revealed how she learned she was pregnant while having a scan before surgery to remove her last ovary.
Caroline Darlington, 39, from Warrington, Cheshire, had been trying for a baby with husband Roy, 48, for years – and even turned to IVF – before accepting their family was complete with their adopted son, now six.
The stay-at-home mother was diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and suffered with excruciating endometriosis before she reluctantly decided to have her last ovary removed.
During a final scan to check her womb health before surgery, the sonographer made the discovery that she was 16 weeks pregnant with her ‘miracle’ first biological child Jorge.
Caroline Darlington, 39, from Cheshire, had accepted she was infertile and was having a scan before having her last ovary removed when she learned she was pregnant with her son
During a final scan to check her womb health before surgery, the sonographer made the discovery that she was 16 weeks pregnant with her ‘miracle’ first biological child (pictured, at 30 weeks pregnant)
Caroline and Roy married in 2001 and moved to Germany for his work in the army, before they started trying for a family.
She said: ‘I’ve always wanted children, ever since I was a little girl and played with dolls. I trained as a nursery nurse so I have always been around children.’
After coming off the pill, Caroline’s periods were irregular and she eventually discovered she had polycystic ovary syndrome – a disorder where the ovaries may fail to regularly release eggs.
She underwent nearly two years of investigations and different treatments but she still didn’t fall pregnant.
Caroline gave birth to her son Jorge Albert Darlington on March 29 at Warrington General Hospital – where Caroline was due to have her ovaries removed – weighing a healthy 11lb 4oz
WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
The three main features of PCOS are:
- Irregular periods – which means the ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation). This can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
- Excess androgen – high levels of ‘male hormones’ in the body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair.
- Polycystic ovaries – the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts).
Source: NHS Choices
She said: ‘It definitely had both a physical and psychological toll on me because even with all the treatments, they still couldn’t tell me why it wasn’t happening for us.’
In 2004, Caroline was referred to Hammersmith IVF Hospital for a course of IVF, but it failed the day she took her pregnancy test when she started to bleed.
Caroline said: ‘It was an awful time. I was traumatised really.
‘You just thought it was going to work and obviously it didn’t.
‘After that we kind of had a break and decided that we weren’t going to have children because I didn’t want to keep putting my body through all the hormones.’
In 2007, Caroline was rushed to hospital with extreme abdominal pains, which turned out to be a ruptured ovarian cyst.
She said: ‘They rushed me into the theatre and immediately had to clear up the internal bleeding.’
The following year, the exhausted couple moved back to the UK, and decided not to go ahead with any more fertility treatments.
In 2015, Caroline and operations manager Roy adopted a 10-month-old little boy.
It took two years for them to welcome their first son, now six, and they thought that their little family was complete.
On Christmas day in 2016 Caroline suffered a second ruptured ovarian cyst.
Caroline and Roy married in 2001 and moved to Germany for his work in the army, before they started trying for a family
She said: ‘I lost about two pints of blood and one of my ovaries was removed – it was hugely traumatic.
‘I felt more terrible for my son, though, because it was his Christmas day that was being ruined.’
Caroline was then diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the womb lining begins growing in other places such as the ovaries.
It is thought over 10 per cent of women worldwide have this condition that can affect fertility.
Caroline said she might never have had Jorge if Covid hadn’t postponed her ovary operation just long enough for her to fall pregnant
Caroline continued to be in a lot of pain and eventually made the decision to have her second ovary removed, which would make her infertile.
She said: ‘In the end I had to ring my consultant and tell him I couldn’t continue with the pain and looking after my son who has complex needs – it was all too much.’
She began pre-op prep in February 2020 – with the surgery due to follow very shortly after – but everything was put on hold when Covid hit.
Caroline was finally undergoing pre-op prep again in September 2020 when she found out she was 16 weeks pregnant.
Caroline was finally undergoing pre-op prep again in September 2020 after the pandemic hit, when she found out she was 16 weeks pregnant
The new mother said: ‘I had a scan, and the nurse told me, “your ovary looks fine, but you’re actually pregnant.”
‘My stomach had been swollen but I just assumed it was the cyst growing. I remember thinking “Oh my god, what is my husband going to say!”‘
She waited to tell Roy the news to his face, but when she got home he’d already guessed she was pregnant because he said he could hear her smiling down the phone.
She said it never would have happened if Covid hadn’t postponed her ovary op just long enough for her to fall pregnant, revealing: ‘We were both in complete shock for a few days.’
Caroline now believes her son Jorge is a ‘miracle baby’ and said she feels ‘so grateful’ to have welcomed her second son
Caroline gave birth to her son Jorge Albert Darlington on March 29 at Warrington General Hospital – where Caroline was due to have her ovaries removed – weighing a healthy 11lb 4oz.
She said: ‘We feel our new arrival is a miracle, that would never had happened if there hadn’t been a pandemic.’
The family are ‘very smitten’, with Caroline revealing: ‘We feel grateful for our blessing and let people know out there that you should never give up hope!’
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Endometriosis occurs when cells in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month, these cells react in the same way as those in the womb; building up, breaking down and bleeding. Yet, the blood has no way to escape the body.
Symptoms include pain, heavy periods and fatigue, as well as a higher risk of infertility, and bowel and bladder problems.
Its cause is unknown but may be genetic, related to problems with the immune system or exposure to chemicals.
Treatment focuses on pain relief and improving quality of life, which may include surgery or hormone treatment.
Source: Endometriosis UK
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