A mum who only discovered she had two wombs and two vaginas during a routine ultrasound scan that resulted in a miscarriage has welcomed a healthy baby girl.
Primary school teacher, Bethany McMillin, 27, from Michigan, USA, fell pregnant with her husband, Paul, 25, in October 2017 and during her 10-week scan, the doctor noticed something unusual about her anatomy.
She was then diagnosed with a rare condition called uterus didelphys, a uterine malformation where there are two uteruses, two cervixes and two vaginas present.
Consequently, the fetus had stopped developing at just six weeks and Bethany miscarried in January 2018 when she was just three months pregnant. Ever since her diagnosis she was told that the risk of a second miscarriage or preterm labour was very high due to the condition.
A year after she lost her first baby, Bethany discovered she fell pregnant again in December 2018 and whilst she was happy with the news, she felt more cautious in case something went wrong. However, when she reached her nine-week scan, she heard her baby’s heartbeat for the first time and she finally let herself feel hopeful.
In September 2019, she gave birth to her daughter, Maeve, who is now five months old, and she has since embraced her condition and tried to raise more awareness. She says that joining a group on Facebook was helpful for her during her journey.
I became pregnant for the first time in October 2017. My husband and I hadn’t particularly been trying to conceive, but we had stopped actively trying not to.
We announced the pregnancy to my family as a Christmas present on December 23. Late that same night, I began bleeding.
First thing the next morning, we went into Urgent Care, where it was confirmed that I had had a missed miscarriage – I was supposed to be about ten weeks along, but the baby had stopped developing at around six weeks.
The doctor there also informed me that the ultrasound showed that I had two uteruses and two cervixes.
He was a little baffled, as he had never seen a patient with anatomy like mine before, so there wasn’t really anything he could tell me about it.
A little over a month later, I went for a check-up, and the gynaecologist there noticed that I also have a full vaginal septum that divides my vagina into two sections; essentially, I also have two vaginas.
Bethany was understandably confused when she was given her diagnosis as hadn’t heard of the condition before and didn’t even know it was possible.
She was also surprised as her mother had had six healthy pregnancies without any complications – so Bethany had hoped she’d be the same.
The condition the 27-year-old was diagnosed with (uterus didelphys) is classed as a ‘uterine malfunction’.
Over several months [following her diagnosis], I went to more doctors to try to learn more about uterus didelphys, but most doctors weren’t very experienced or knowledgeable about it.
What little they did tell me was pretty bleak; I heard all about the high chances of recurrent miscarriages, preterm delivery, baby being in a breech position, and that I might never be able to have children at all. Despite all that, I became pregnant again in December 2018.
It took about a year. The second time around, I was much more hesitant to get excited, since I knew the chances of another miscarriage were higher than normal.
I was worried because I didn’t know if any doctors in my area were knowledgeable enough about uterus didelphys to provide adequate prenatal care for my specific situation.
I didn’t let myself have hope until after my nine-week ultrasound scan, when I saw my baby’s healthy heartbeat.
Bethany dropped out of college to be a full-time mum to daughter Maeve when she was born in September 2019.
The new-mum said a Facebook group called the ‘Uterus Didelphys Support Group’ was hugely helpful to her.
It’s full of women who also have uterus didelphys, asking questions and sharing their experiences. I learned more from the women in that group sharing their personal experiences than I did from doctors and all their medical training.
Bethany added that finally having a baby was a ‘dream come true’ and the ordeal has helped her become a stronger person.