DESPITE being told she was infertile in December, Tao McCready – the founder of two endometriosis support groups in the Borders – is due to to welcome her baby boy later this year.
The mum-to-be told the Border Telegraph that she and her husband had all but given up trying to conceive when they miraculously discovered the pregnancy during a meeting with an endometriosis specialist.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Tao, 36, of Selkirk.
Two days before Christmas, she was told that, despite having surgery in September to aid her fertility, she was infertile.
“Two days before Christmas I called my doctor for my test results – you’ve got to take all these tests to check your fertility – the lady on the phone said, ‘You’re infertile’ in such a blunt way,” said Tao.
‘Fertility has always been my end goal’
After the devastating blow, which saw Tao reach out to her GP to access counselling and to prepare to start a round of IVF, Tao discovered she had naturally conceived.
Due to having such an extreme form of the condition, Tao sees a specialist in Edinburgh.
She explained that she was left with two options after her surgery – to try a course of IVF, or have a full hysterectomy.
Tao said: “The fertility side has always been my end goal.”
Because of her high priority status, she received her first Prostap injection (which initiates a chemical menopause) ahead of IVF treatment.
“My side effects were terrible,” said Tao. “Terrible migraines, vomiting, and nausea. I got my first fertility appointment after [the injection] at the end of January, I had the bathroom bin as a sick bucket on the drive there, and I was throwing up in the waiting room.
“My husband was really concerned, and my mum said, ‘That’s not how it [menopause] was for me’.
“At the appointment my husband said about the side effects and the doctor looked at me suspiciously and said we’d do an internal exam before we left.”
‘Defied all the odds’
It was thanks to their doctor’s suspicions that Tao and her husband discovered she was six weeks pregnant.
She added: “He [baby] defied all the odds.
“I was infertile in December, and he survived chemical menopause.
“I couldn’t believe it, I asked the doctor if he was sure.
“When we came out of the appointment, the reception cheered – it was like in a film.”
The news of her pregnancy caused Tao to reflect on the time she spent being misdiagnosed with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and borderline personality disorder.
She told this newspaper: “Had I had my diagnosis sooner, would I have gotten pregnant sooner?
“Desperately wanting a family, and not being able to has a massive effect on you.
“People are getting left behind – I wonder how much of their time is being wasted. I don’t want others to go through that.”
‘I’m laughing again’
Tao is now 23 weeks along, and will get to meet her little boy in October.
And she said that for the first time in 20 years she has no pain from her endometriosis.
“My husband said to me I’m laughing again,” she said. “I very much feel more like myself again.
“It makes me think about what life without chronic pain is like.”
And Tao is determined to continue her work with the two support groups she created in 2019 throughout her pregnancy.
“I’m not going to let them [group members] down,” she said. “They’re just as important as the baby.
“I don’t intend to leave – if anything I want to fight for them more.”
For more information on endometriosis and support available in the Borders, as visit the Facebook page ‘Endometriosis Awareness in the Scottish Borders’.