I had an email from someone based on a post I'd made to a fibroid forum about pregnancy and fibroids. She was asking about my experiences so I decided to record my reply here as well.
My fibroid started off at 10cm and I was advised to have it removed, although I suffered no real symptoms, and scans showed that my ovaries and the rest of my reproductive organs were all really healthy. I didn't feel comfortable with the possibility - however remote - that something could go wrong with the surgery which would eliminate any hope of having a child naturally and felt that I should trust my body and that it was worth at least trying to conceive (particularly as the location and type of fibroid I have - subserosal pedunculated - does not mean that you are more likely to not be able to conceive or increase the risk of miscarriage, as other types of fibroids do).
Happily I am now 33 weeks pregnant and although the fibroid has now grown to approx 17cm I'm doing really well and not particularly suffering because of it. It has meant that I have been able to have closer contact with the consultant throughout my pregnancy which I have found helpful, as it allowed me to be better informed about the possibilities in terms of what might have happened during my pregnancy and of course the birth itself.
I did suffer some problems in my second trimester in terms of pains in the lower abdomen but speaking to my GP, midwife and consultant, none were able to tell me whether the pains were due to the fibroid or whether they were the round ligament pain that is common during pregnancy. It was very painful however and I was worried that my whole pregnancy would be defined by this discomfort, particularly as the second trimester is said to be the one in which you have most energy. Hmm...
I also suffered from dizzy spells and faintness around the same time, which my medical practitioners concluded was due to my low blood pressure (it has always been relatively low, even before fibroid or pregnancy) combined with a drop in my red blood count leading to minor anemia.
I suppose you could argue that both of these symptoms *may* have been related to the fibroid but I certainly know of other pregnant women who have experienced both who do not have fibroids. I often thought about the effect it would have on me growing both a child and a tumour, and that it was inevitable that it might drain me more than if I was fibroid-free. But at this stage I feel very lucky that my pregnancy has progressed relatively complication-free so far.
My biggest concern was the twisting of the fibroid on its stalk and the red degeneration of the fibroid. It's still possible that this might happen - I still have 7 weeks until my due date - but I feel increasingly optimistic that I will make it to the finishing line without this happening. We'll see.
My bump is inevitably huge however, and I have had to put up with a lot of comments about whether I'm carrying twins or not, and from about 25 weeks had many people assuming that I was nearing full term. A bit annoying but nothing I couldn't handle!
From about 30 weeks I began to feel the fibroid butting up against my ribs which I would say is uncomfortable rather than painful, mainly when I get up in the morning and everything moves around a bit with gravity. What's weird is that pre-pregnancy, the fibroid started off on the right side of my uterus but as my pregnancy has progressed I have watched it change locations, move up across the middle of my abdomen and end up under my left ribs - very strange! The fibroid now occupies the upper left area of my bump, with the baby's feet on the upper right side with its head down.
Watch this space...