Story 42 - 15.11.2020
“It's a long story, but it starts with being diagnosed with endometriosis at age 19. This led to fertility treatment (only needed to help to ovulate, and then I got pregnant many times without meds), numerous miscarriages (including a terrible late silent miscarriage).
I have been lucky enough to have two children. However, during both pregnancies I had obstetric cholestasis. In my first pregnancy, I think it started at around 20 weeks, but I wasn't diagnosed until week 39. In my second pregnancy, I had confirmed symptoms (bloods) at 12 weeks. Extremely elevated LFT's [Liver Function Tests] at 23 (maybe 25) weeks, and almost had to give birth.
At the time, the test that I needed was being sent to Germany and the results were taking 10 days. I'm sure you understand that this posed an extreme risk as there was no way to tell if the toxins raised quickly, which could result in death for me and my baby. I also really struggled to get the vitamin K meds that I needed to prevent potential haemorrhaging. I luckily managed to get through the pregnancy and was induced at 35 weeks and had a healthy baby, but my story could have been different and fatal.
What does this have to do with abortion? If I get pregnant again, without early abortion the risk of fatality is very high, due to the cholestasis, and will be probably be earlier than in previous pregnancies. I also cannot take any hormonal contraception. I am in stage 4 endometriosis, so scar tissue and adhesions make sterilisation risky (I also have adenomyosis). My only option is hysterectomy, and I don’t want that.
I was with my partner for 16 years but am now a single mum, struggling financially, and if I got pregnant again there is no way I could afford to go abroad to get the abortion that I would need. Without an abortion I (and my baby) would probably die.
Please keep fighting the fight and stay strong and positive. Abortion HAS to be available in Malta.
Note: The first pregnancy was in the UK; the second in Malta. I also saw several obstetric doctors that had minimal knowledge of obstetric cholestasis. How do I know this? Because one was reading a textbook about it during my appointment and another googled it! Overall, my medical care was great though, and doctors were very thorough. I'm not complaining, but I am terrified of being in the same situation again, and concerned for anyone else who may ever be in a similar position. Obstetric cholestasis is rare, and it also tends to run in families too. I have 2 daughters and am obviously concerned that they may develop it during their pregnancies. They are young now, but I live in hope that abortion will be an option for them, should they need it.”