A woman who struggled to conceive because she has two wombs has finally welcomed her baby boy.
Louise Campbell, 28, had always dreamed of becoming a mother and started trying for a baby with her husband Nick, 37, a year after they started dating.
After suffering three miscarriages, she was finally diagnosed with uterus didelphys – a rare condition that means she has two uteruses and two cervixes.
Following her diagnosis, Campbell suffered a further miscarriage, but two-and-a-half years later she finally fell pregnant.
The excited couple were over the moon to welcome their son Michael into the world in February 2018.
“To finally have Michael just feels too good to be true,” said the healthcare worker from Driffield, East Yorkshire.
“I love being a mum, I'm in my element and I finally feel like I’m ‘me’ again after all of the stress of dealing with having uterus didelphys.”
The new mum first discovered she had the rare condition after an investigative laproscopy following her first three miscarriages.
Her gynaecologist warned her the condition meant that trying for a baby came with a risk of late-term miscarriage and premature labour.
“It was a huge shock and I really struggled to come to terms with the fact that I had this condition that I’d never heard of before and that it could stop me being a mum,” Campbell says.
After another miscarriage in 2015, Campbell’s gynaecologist recommended the couple try IVF, but one month before their first IVF appointment, the couple discovered Campbell had fallen pregnant naturally.
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At an early scan the pair were overwhelmed to see their healthy baby on the screen.
Campbell said: "I experienced a bit of spotting a week before the early scan and I just thought it was all over again.
"When we went for the scan, I didn't expect there to be a heartbeat but when there was, I fell in love instantly and I just wanted to do anything to protect him.”
Campbell was monitored frequently throughout her pregnancy. She took blood thinners and had a whopping 11 scans in total.
Three weeks before her due date, the baby was found to be breach, which can be common with uterus didelphys due to lack of space in the womb.
Campbell was booked in for a c-section and her son was born on 15 February, 2018. The couple named him Michael after Nick's father.
“When they pulled Michael out, he didn't cry right away and I was terrified, I immediately thought something was wrong,” Campbell said of the birth.
“It was only for a few seconds but it felt like a lifetime before he let out this strong, loud scream and it was the most incredible sound I'd ever heard, it was such a relief.
“I just felt so emotional and happy that we finally had our little boy and our family was complete.”
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Just over two years later, Campbell is loving being a mum and is keen to raise awareness about the condition.
“I found it hard to talk about my condition before as I just felt like I was different but now I'm very open about it because I want other mums to know you still can have a baby even with this condition,” she says.
“I knew nothing about uterus didelphys before my diagnosis and I think if I had heard of someone else’s experience like mine then it would have been very helpful.”
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What is uterus didelphys?
In simple terms uterus didelphys means being born with two uteruses, two cervixes and in some cases two vaginas.
“Uterus didelphys is a rare condition which is thought to affect around one in every 3,000 women,” says Dr Simran Deo, from online doctor Zava UK.
Uterus didelphys is usually only diagnosed in adulthood, but it actually occurs in the womb, when a female foetus’s uterus and cervix are forming.
“The uterus forms in utero by the fusion of two tubes (the Mullerian ducts),” says Dr Nick Raine-Fenning, spokesperson for RCOG.
“The wall between the tubes breaks down in its lower aspect leaving one womb and one cervix whilst the upper parts stay separate and form the two Fallopian tubes.
“The process can go wrong at any time leaving two completely separate tubes and therefore two uteri and two cervixes (known as uterine didelphys or double uterus) at one extreme or one uterus separated by a muscular wall (a septate uterus).”
According to Dr Deo, uterus didelphys can often occur without presenting any obvious signs, meaning that it is often only discovered during a pelvic examination or similar.
“Women with uterus didelphys often don’t have any symptoms, which can make diagnosis tricky,” Dr Deo says.
“The condition is often only discovered during a pelvic examination, or during tests to investigate repeated miscarriages.
“Women who find that using a tampon doesn’t prevent blood flow during their period should speak to their doctor, as this may happen when menstrual blood is coming from a second vagina. It is also known to be more common in women born with only one kidney, which may lead to testing for uterus didelphys.”
Uterus didelphys does not necessarily cause period problems, but it is associated with infertility, miscarriage and preterm delivery.
So if you’re concerned that you may have the condition, it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm your diagnosis and seek advice, particularly if you are hoping to conceive.
“While some women can conceive and have children without complication, it may be harder for a woman with uterus didelphys to become pregnant,” Dr Deo adds.
“If you are diagnosed with uterus didelphys and are planning for a baby you should discuss your options with your doctor before trying to conceive.”
The good news is that despite the increased risk, it is possible for some women with the condition, like Campbell, to carry healthy babies to term.
“Many women suffering with this condition can go on to have healthy babies, it may just take a little more planning and precaution,” Dr Deo adds.
Additional reporting by SWNS.