Going through menopause can be an awful experience. From the hot flashes, to the cramping, pain and discomfort, it's something that every woman will have to deal with at some point in her life.
For Amanda Lewis, she wasn't expecting to experience this natural change for many decades when she was faced with menopause before she even hit her teenage years.
When she was only 11-year-old, Amanda's weight began to spiral and she started to experience some extreme mood swings, something not uncommon with puberty.
We all remember the ups and downs at that age, and while it was extreme for some, it was worse for Amanda.
"The biggest thing was the weight gain and my mood swings. I went from a size 8 to 18 in a matter of months and then I just started getting down," she said.
Until one day her mother found her sobbing in her room and she knew she had to do something.
"I was so emotional she just didn’t know what to do with me. Worried sick, she dragged me to see the doctor the next day," Amanda said.
It wasn't until six months later that doctors realized that she wasn't going through typical puberty. Evidence in her blood work revealed that she was going through premature menopause, decades before most women start to experience the symptoms.
"I’d already gone through the menopause, even though I’d barely even started my periods," she said.
She was put on a regiment of medication and that introduced new struggles for the pre-teen.
The hardest part about her condition was the fact that she would not be able to become pregnant.
“I was still only 13 and too young to understand what the doctors were saying. But one thing did stick in my mind – I would never have a family. Even at that age I was devastated," she revealed.
That's when she met her other half, Tom.
When Amanda met Tom, she explained her condition to him right away.
"He was fine about it - the way I was building it up he thought it was something a lot more serious," she shared of that emotional conversation.
Explaining that the couple could never conceive a child naturally, Tom assured her that they can look into it when the time came and not to worry about it.
Now at 30-years-old, Amanda and Tom are expecting their first child together.
Using a donor's eggs, Tom's sperm and IVF, Amanda is carrying the child she never thought she'd be able to have.
"I knew I wanted to try the treatment [IVF] but the odds of it not working were very high,' Amanda shared.
For the mom-to-be, the odds were definitely in her favor. The IVF treatment worked the very first time and she became pregnant.
In order to prepare for her pregnancy, Amanda had to take hormones to increase the size of her uterus. But it was clearly meant to be, because her body took to the treatments very well.
"It was only 2mm thick and it should have been 8mm. But we got it there in a month. [The doctors] were quite surprised," she said.
The mother-to-be will be watched closely throughout her entire pregnancy, and after she gives birth she will then go through the experience of menopause all over again.
Despite her condition, Amanda remains hopefully about continuing to grow their family.
"We have three top-grade embryos in the freezer, so they're all ready to go if we want any more," she said.