Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PCOS and Infertility: My Story

After my recent announcement you probably wouldn't believe that I did suffer from infertility for 9 years. It is true. Matt and I were married in 2002 and by 2003 I was off birth control and trying to get pregnant. Mid 2003 we went to my doctor's office and they told me that the best way to get pregnant was to lose 10-15 lbs. Keep in mind I was not super heavy at this point. I had gained maybe 10 lbs by the time we had gotten married. I was upset. And talked with a friend who told me to go see her doctor who specialized in infertility.

I visited that doctor and took all the test and ultrasounds and on the ultrasound, there it was. The Ring of Pearls around both ovaries. The doctor went over my blood results and said that I had a hormone imbalance which made it difficult for my body to know when to release an egg. Basically, my body didn't know when to start producing the hormones to tell my body to make an egg and then when to release it. So all the eggs just started lining up around my ovaries. She also advised that PCOS is related with insulin levels. My insulin levels were fine. (and incorrect insulin levels can make you gain weight and make it more difficult to lose weight.)

She put me on some clomid as part of my way to get me to ovulate. The first month I ovulated but nothing happened. No pregnancy. The second month I had a cyst and we had to stop clomid for the month. The next month after that we took a break again. I was getting frustrated. We gave up for the time being. And moved up north to Flagstaff, AZ where I started seeing a new doctor who said he was a fertility specialists. WRONG! He gave me high dosage of Clomid and didn't monitor me. He diagnosed me by looking at me and said I had PCOS because of facial hair. I was on clomid straight for 7 months. And he had me take Metformin which is an insulin regulator. I had a ruptured cyst that put me in the hospital and my periods were the worst they have ever been.  And the mood swings, Matt wanted to volunteer to go to Afghanistan to get away from me. I am a red head, my temper is already pretty short so it was really BAD! Looking back I feel like I had a black veil over me. Everything was just tainted differently than it should have been. It was not good and that 7 months was the worst of our marriage. We fought more than we ever had and he didn't even want to touch me!

We gave up, in the sense of no more doctors at least for awhile. Still stayed on Metformin and started to gain weight. So this was 2006. By 2010, Matt was deployed and had a strong impression that we needed to find another doctor to get started on our family. A good family friend had gotten pregnant by a REAL Endocrinologist (hormone doc) and I called that doc. I met with the doc, told them about my experiences and that I REFUSED to go on clomid because it was so awful for me! The doc agreed and told me what he suggested. Regular monitoring and I was going to take hormone shots to jump start my body. Instead of putting a hormone into my body tricking it to do something (clomid) We were going to shoot me up with the actual hormone to make my body do something! I took some other tests to make sure that all the pipes were clean and working, and Matt was gone for 2 more months anyhow so we had a little time to kill. I did do one round of shots before he got home as a control to figure out dosing and make sure it even worked. Well it did work but not as fast as we wanted it to. So for the first "real" round my dosing was upped. I was getting blood tests very frequently, so much so I have a preferred vein I like to use and it is named "Old Faithful!" And every time I have to go have my blood taken I tell the vampires where it is at and that it is deep but works every time. Half the time I get stuck in the blind because they can't find it but it works every time, when they trust what I say and listen to me.

Anyhew, that round worked but I didn't get pregnant after Matt got home. I had to skip a month due to going out of town. The next month we decided to pair the hormones with my first IUI (inter uterine implantation) They take Matt's soldiers, clean them, and then implant them directly into my uterus using a catheter up there. The soldiers still have to "find the egg" as it were and do their job. Not an IVF where they take the egg from the female and the guys soldiers and combine them together outside of the body then implant the eggs back into the female for implantation.

We were going to find out on our Anniversary if the IUI worked. Sadly it didn't. We also had word from Matt's military that he was going to be deployed in October to Iraq. So we didn't have enough time by the time my cycle came around to do another round before a HUGE trip we had been planning on doing. So we did our HUGE 2.5 week trip to Disney World and then a cruise to the Caribbean. We had a great time. I got pampered by my husband. We went on 2 amazing tours of WDW and the cruise was more fun than we ever dreamed. I got massages and acupuncture while on the cruise. We found out that his deployment was postponed for the time being. YES! And the day after we got home my cycle started!

I called my doc and told them and they got me started on the shots by day 3. We were rolling. And everything was happing way faster and better than it had the other 3 rounds. By 2 weeks we were ready to go. Halloween I took my HCG shot to trigger ovulation, (ouch, that one HURTS!) and November 2nd was my IUI! 2 weeks later we found out we were pregnant with Mason! It worked. Since then I have had 3 spontaneous pregnancies. 1 resulting in another baby, Collin.

When I was doing the fertility treatment I was exercising and I had lost 35 lbs. I was below 200 when I got pregnant, just below but I was in the 190's range! I was running. Eating wasn't all that great but I was still learning what to put in my body. I wasn't eating the rights amounts or kinds of foods really. When I found out I was pregnant with Mason I stopped exercising because I didn't want to lose Mason. Worse mistake I ever did! And I started eating food again (I was on slim fast to control my calories.) I wish I didn't do that! And I didn't exercise prior to getting pregnant with my 2 next pregnancies which both ended in miscarriage. With Collin I was very active and stayed that way. Now I am trying to do the same, if my morning sickness will allow me!

What is cool though I had been told by my 3rd fertility doc; the one that got me to work, he said that sometimes when a woman with PCOS get pregnant and has a baby it can jump start her body to doing what it should be doing, regular ovulation and periods. I hoped it would and was surprised when it did. Now we can't turn me off. But you know what, I am amazed with my body that it is working and that I have 2 healthy boys and another on the way. I pray everyday that me and the Baby are watched over and protected and that if it is God's will that I can continue to carry the baby and have it part of my family.
I promise you that if you were told that you have PCOS you can still have children. It might take some time, but it can still happen. My advice to you, find healthy activities to do and a great meal plan and stick with it. It is good for your body and good for you when you do get pregnant. Just hang in there. I know how you feel. The sadness that you get when you see other people with babies. Or hear how so-and-so didn't even try and they now have 3 kids when you don't have any. Or the pressure from your family or religion to pop babies out. I get it. I was there for 9 years. Wishing, hoping and praying that I would have a child of my own. Never really thought that I would have 3 though after it taking so long just to get one. In the end, learn to love yourself, forgive yourself because you will be secretly mad at yourself because you can't be like a "normal" woman and have babies. And enjoy life with your partner. Babies will come.

My stats:
9 years of waiting
3 fertility doctors (1 real one)
54 shots in my belly
2 IUI's
6 pregnancies
3 live babies

****UPDATE 10/15/15
I miscarried pregnancy #5 on March 21st at just shy of 14 weeks pregnant. It was a very hard miscarriage and almost took my life because it was so traumatic. Hoping that we can get pregnant again soon though.

******* Update 9/29/16
I birthed a healthy 7 pound 5 ounce baby girl today! Elyse Cheyenne. She is my rainbow baby after my traumatic miscarriage last year. She had the exact same due date as my pregnancy last year and decided to make us wait and force her out. Born at 41 weeks 1 day.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have PCOS too, and it's definitely a roller coaster ride. Add in Celiac (which has a lot of similar symptoms and issues) and we had the double whammy. Years of infertility, miscarriages, years of secondary infertility after finally having a kiddo, exercising and eating right for years, and here we are pregnant with our third who's due 21 months after our second was born. It's not how we thought our life would be, but we wouldn't give up our kiddos for anything :)

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    Replies
    1. And you are still running and kicking butt! That is a huge inspiration to me that I can still do this. You are amazing Jen!

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  2. Very interesting and informative post. Thanks for sharing.

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