In July of 2013, my hubby and I decided we were ready to start trying for our second child. The excitement was consuming, almost as though I was already pregnant and we were just waiting the arrival of our new family member!
So I stopped my birth control, and we waited…and waited…
January rolled around and I still hadn’t had a period, so I went to the doctor. After blood tests and ultrasounds, she called me at home on a Sunday night (never a good sign!).
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and things were turned upside down…
What is PCOS?
PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is basically what it sounds like, multiple cysts on your ovaries. It can affect hormone levels, cause insulin resistance, and result in symptoms such as weight issues, excess body hair, acne, skin tags, irregular periods, and infertility. Long term effects without proper care can lead to diabetes, ovarian cancer, or cancer in the uterus.
It was recommended that because we wanted to conceive our second child (so going back on birth control was not an option) that we be referred to a fertility clinic. The clinic being 2 hours from our home, and us being caught off guard by it all, we decided to simply focus on my overall health (nutrition, exercise, stress management, etc) and see if we could straighten things out naturally.
I mean, why not? I got pregnant once before…
The doctor prescribed me medication in the meantime to help with the insulin resistance…I am now 30 years old and on the same medication and dosage as my diabetic 68 year old father.
It gives me headaches, and makes me vomit everytime I eat a carb for the first 2 months.
6 Months Later…
July 2014 rolled around, no change. Managing stress became a huge issue in the months prior with the passing of my Mother-In-Law (the most inspiring woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing), not only in handling my own grief, but helping my hubby with the loss of his mother, as well as explaining over and over again to our daughter why we couldn’t go and play with Oma anymore.
After visiting the fertility clinic for the first time, I felt new hope! We both felt confident in the doctor’s plans, and everything that was “unknown” up until that point (hormone levels, sperm count, etc) were all looking fantastic, so smooth sailing right?
Treating PCOS and Infertility…
After many tests, biopsies, ultrasounds, etc., we were ready to begin treatment!
Since I was not having my periods on my own, it was induced with Provera, taken for 10 days of rollercoaster rides with raging anger, tears, frustration, and hot flashes. A week later I received my first period in a year!
Being my first period in so long they simply monitored that cycle (meaning doctor visits 2 hours away every other day for 3 weeks) to see if I would ovulate on my own. I didn’t, they canceled my cycle by giving me Provera again to start over.
Next time I got my period, they had me take Clomid . This is a nasty drug for a few reasons. Not only does it make you feel just awful with side effects like vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and breast tenderness, but these are all also symptoms of pregnancy…a horrible tease for women unaware of these side effects.
First round of Clomid produced nothing, they canceled and started again. Second round of Clomid on a higher dosage produced nothing, they canceled and started again. Third round on the highest dosage allowed, I finally had 2 mature follicles! Hooray, start the parade…or don’t, since they “may have read it wrong because there’s nothing there now”…this was 2 days after telling us there were mature follicles.
Probably the only thing worse than having to hear the pity in their voice when they tell you every second day “nothing yet”, is having your hopes raised after nearly a year and a half, just to have them torn down again.
We decided the fertility treatments are not for us, the drugs are just not the way to go. Everything happens for a reason, and I think that disappointment was there to tell us it was time to move on.
Where we are now…
I haven’t given up hope, and it has taken me months to get to the point where I can look at my PCOS through a new light, let alone be able to put our experience into words like this, but I am finally able to see the opportunity in all of this.
This whole process has brought my hubby and I closer than I ever thought possible, it has highlighted areas in our lives that were not in our best interests (and given us the strength and motivation to remove them), and has encouraged my continued education in becoming a Nutritional Therapist.
I won’t say it’s fate, because I truly do believe in my heart that I will have another child, but now is not the time, and I’m at peace with that.