I'm not pregnant!

So just what was this mystery thing that was growing inside me?

Published by: Jessica Gibb
Published on: 15 March 2012

You know what they say. Being content makes you put on weight. And it seemed that all those cosy nights in, eating spag bol and drinking wine with my fiance Nick, 21, had definitely taken its toll on my waistline.
It'd only been a few months since we'd started living together, but I was already struggling to do up my size 12 jeans.
‘Come on!' my friend Leanne, 24, called. ‘What's the hold-up?' Nick was out with his mates, so me and her were heading to the pub.
I staggered out of the bedroom, my flies still undone.
‘I think my jeans shrunk in the wash,' I groaned. But Leanne's mouth fell open.
‘Erm, I don't think so,' she gulped, nodding at my swollen tum. ‘I think you're pregnant.'
I froze. ‘No, I can't be,' I whispered. It was impossible. I mean, I was that paranoid about not getting pregnant, I was on the pill and made Nick use condoms.
Still, I could see what Leanne was getting at. I had only put weight on around my tum...
‘I think you'd better do a test,' she said. I nodded. She rushed out and bought me one and, as I sat there waiting for the result, my hopes and dreams - my future - flashed before my eyes.
I was at university studying sports coaching, hoping to be a PE teacher. I'd always wanted a career before kids. And Nick and I were still so young!
But then... ‘It's negative!' I laughed. ‘See? I'll just have to go on a diet.'
Yet, after a few weeks, I still felt bloated, and had tummy pains, sickness and diarrhoea.
So Nick took me to the doctor's and waited outside while she examined me. ‘Well, I think you're pregnant,' she said, moving her hands around my belly.
I burst into tears. ‘This can't be happening,' I sobbed.
‘Well, I'll do an ultrasound to double check,' she said. ‘Let's see if we can hear the baby's heartbeat.'
‘I've found a pulse, but that's your heartbeat,' she said finally. ‘You've probably miscarried, I'm sorry. But I need to send you for a scan so we can see properly.'
Rushing outside, I started sobbing in Nick's arms.
‘I'm so sorry,' I cried. ‘They think I'm pregnant. Or I've lost the baby. Oh God, I don't know.'
‘Shhh, it's okay,' he soothed. But I had to wait three weeks for my scan. And during that time, I ballooned to a size 14.
Out went my skinny jeans, and in came comfy leggings and baggy jumpers. Just like maternity wear...
I worked part-time at a nursery, and the mums certainly noticed my ‘condition'. ‘Oooh, when are you due?' one mum grinned. I felt my face flush.
‘Oh, erm, I'm not pregnant,' I mumbled. But even my own mum Christine, 45, wasn't convinced.
‘Are you sure there's nothing to tell me?' she frowned one day.
I looked like I was five months pregnant. Each day, I'd swing from one feeling to the next. If I was pregnant, how would I juggle a baby with my course? The next minute I'd be telling myself I just needed to cut out the cakes. It was driving me mad!
Finally, it was time for my appointment. ‘I'm sorry, I can't get out of work,' Nick worried. ‘Will you be okay?'
‘Yes, I'll call you as soon as
I'm out,' I promised him. Secretly though, I was terrified.
‘There's definitely something there,' the sonographer frowned.
‘What is it?' I panicked.
‘I don't know, but whatever it is, it's big,' she said. ‘I need a doctor to see this.' I was shaking by the time he came into the room, 10 minutes later.
‘Ah, yes,' he said, looking at the screen. ‘It's a cyst on your ovary.' I knew I wasn't pregnant!
‘It measures 10in across,' he continued. ‘It's the same size a baby would be if you were five-and-a-half months pregnant. We'll have to operate to remove it.'
My op was booked for three months later. I rang Nick to tell him the news.
‘It's not a baby,' I said. ‘It's a massive cyst.'
‘Well, that's a relief,' he said.
‘Yes,' I smiled. ‘I thought I was going mad!'
I was still in a lot of pain, though. There was a risk that if the cyst burst, it could cause blood poisoning. So I had to be careful not to knock my bump. Just like a protective mum-to-be...
But then one morning, I woke feeling so sick. As I rushed to the bathroom, Nick chased after me.
‘Are you okay?' he asked.
‘It's like morning sickness,' I moaned, after I'd thrown up.
Soon, I could barely keep food down and was in absolute agony, so I went to hospital for a check-up.
‘The cyst's now so big, it's pushing your intestines and stomach up under your ribcage,' the doctor explained to me.
I was sent home with painkillers, and my operation was rushed forward. This time, just four weeks later, Nick came with me. ‘I love you,' he said.
‘Love you, too,' I croaked. Then I was wheeled down to theatre, where a nurse gave me an epidural in my spine. ‘Isn't that what you give women in labour?'
‘Yes, but you're going to be in pain in the same area,' she explained. This was all so surreal. I may as well have been pregnant!
The op took more than three hours, and Nick was by my side straight afterwards.
‘How do you feel?' he smiled.
‘Like I've just given birth!'
A few minutes later, the surgeon came up. ‘Do you want to see it?'
I nodded and took the photo he was holding. ‘That's disgusting!' It was an enormous bloody mass.
‘It weighed seven-and-a-half pounds,' the doctor said.
‘The size of a baby,' I said.
The doctor chuckled. ‘Funny you should say that. It was too big for our scales in theatre, so we had to weigh it on the ones in the maternity ward.'
But then he grew serious. ‘We had to remove your right ovary where the cyst was growing.'
‘Can I still have children?' I panicked. After fretting I was pregnant when I didn't want to be, the thought of not being able to have a baby one day was horrifying to me.
‘Yes,' he smiled. ‘All it means is that it might take you a little longer conceiving with just one ovary.'
I can't believe my baby turned out to be a giant cyst. Hopefully, next time I'm showing a bump, I'll be ready to have a baby for real. At least I'll know what to expect!
Chantelle Jones, 21, Brighton, East Sussex