I started my menstrual cycle when I was 10. By the age of 15, I was having issues with it. During my cycles, I experienced excruciating pain where I could barely sit. I also noticed instead of lasting a few days, my cycle were lasting for months at a time. There were other times where it wouldn’t come on for months at a time. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I didn’t tell my mom. When I was 17 I told my oldest sister, and she took me to the doctor who just prescribed me birth control pills, but never said what was wrong. I remember looking in a Woman’s World magazine that same year and seeing something about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In reading the description about what was going on with the individual, I found that I could identify with the symptoms, so I figured that’s what I had. The birth control pills that the doctor prescribed for me did not solve my problem; it was just like putting a bandage on it. The problem persisted throughout college and afterwards. After I started working and had my own insurance I finally decided to go to a specialist. This doctor never told me what was wrong with me, but she did prescribe extended release Metformin. Afterwards I saw where she had written PCOS on my script, so there was my official diagnosis.
When I met my husband, PCOS was one of the things I talked to him about. I had to let him know that I didn’t know whether or not I could have children because I wanted for him to make an informed decision about whether or not that was something he was willing to accept. After we got married, we decided that I would go to the doctor to have a checkup to see what course of action we would need to take for conception. They decided that they would start me on clomid, which is a fertility drug. While I was on it, I had to come in at least twice per week so they could do ultrasounds. I did not understand what they were looking for while I was in there. They kept talking about follicles. I did two rounds of clomid over time, and I was so emotional that I told my husband I could not do it again. The doctor’s would make comments about me losing weight and being able to conceive. It was insulting and irritating because I knew people who were significantly heavier than I who were having babies with no issues. Why not view me as a human being who was interested in conceiving. I decided that I would not be going back to that doctor.
I have always struggled with my weight, and I had several times in the recent years where I was trying to get it together weight wise, but it was like I had to work at least twice as hard as others to lose any amount of weight. It was frustrating. I decided to go away somewhere and just work on myself for a few weeks. There will be another post about that coming soon. When I got back, my oldest sister was telling me that she had spoken with her doctor about my situation. He told her to let me know that I could come to his practice, and if I would prefer a female doctor, one would be joining his practice soon. In June of 2013 I went. Below is what I wrote about it June of 2013.
Hope For a Baby: Well, I’ll start off by saying that I have a new OB/GYN who happens to be a male. It’s a shame that he seems to care more about me and my desire to conceive than my female doctors. I hadn’t been sharing with anyone that I dreaded going to my doctors because they seemed to only look at me as a morbidly obese woman. I already know my weight and the fact that I am morbidly obese. They act as though I am the largest woman ever to attempt to have a baby. Well there are women out there who happen to be a lot larger than I am who have had no issues with having a baby. My new doctor did not even mention my size. He just started talking to me about everything he could do to help me on my quest to conceive. I really appreciated his interaction with me, and it caused me to feel a little weepy. I feel like he is the first doctor to give me any hope. He asked me if anyone had ever checked my tubes for blockage. No one has ever checked them. He needs me to come into the hospital for a procedure where they will check for blockage. He said that if there is blockage, everything thing such as the clomid has been a waste of time. I look forward to the next step.
Then my writing in December 2013:
It’s Been a Long Time: It’s been a long time since my last blog, a little over 4 months to be exact. Things have really changed in my life. One of them is pretty major. I began to see a new doctor months ago. This doctor looked at me as a human being, a woman who wanted to have a child, and he told me that he would give me what I wanted. He never once mentioned my weight or the fact that I have PCOS. It was so refreshing. My previous doctors acted as though I didn’t know that I was morbidly obese and need to lose weight. That can’t be the only reason that I have been having problems conceiving. I see women who are significantly heavier than I am who have children with no issues. When you don’t look like people, sometimes they seem to dismiss you as insignificant.
My new doctor had a plan of action for what he wanted us to do. He did a somewhat painful test to check for blockage in my fallopian tubes. There was no blockage, but he said that even if there was some mild blockage, the test would have gotten rid of it, and that would significantly increase my chances of conception. He put me on birth control for 2 months. After that, I started clomid. I believe it was just 50mg. I took a pregnancy test in the wee hours of the morning of September 22nd. There were two lines meaning it was positive!!! I began to cry because I had taken so many pregnancy tests before that were negative. No matter what, there would only be that one line staring back at me. This was such a big shock. I will say that my new doctor gave me hope on the first day that I met with him. It wasn’t a question of if I got pregnant, but when. I wanted to tell the whole world as soon as I found out, but I only told my immediate family and a few close friends. A few weeks ago, I finally told people on Facebook and at my job. Now I am finally getting around to talking about it on here. As of today I am 15 weeks. I will be 16 weeks on Tuesday. I have my next appointment on Friday. I hope that I get an ultrasound done on that day. My first appointment, all they gave me was one ultrasound picture. On my second appointment there was no ultrasound, but I got to hear my baby’s heartbeat with the doppler. I think I will get the 2D ultrasound done at 18 weeks just so that I will have something. (End of old post)
I am so glad to have saved those previous posts that I wrote because they allow me to go back and reflect on those times and share. I had such a hard time sharing those posts because people can be so judgmental, but you never know who you could help by sharing your story whether it’s by letting people know they aren’t struggling alone or giving them an idea for treatment options, etc. I have been in multiple PCOS groups on Facebook for years and I’ve seen so many women struggling. There are people who have tried over 20 years and finally conceive when they are in their 40s. There are some women who haven’t been in the struggle long. There are some who have struggled for many years and tried all types of fertility treatments and have not had success.
Once my son began to walk, the comments of, “Oh, he’s getting out of the way to make room for another one.” began. Then people started asking if we were planning on having another one or just telling me that he needs a sibling. Every time someone makes a comment, I cringe just thinking about the journey. I feel like my husband and I are blessed to have one especially considering the fact that we didn’t know if we would have one. This situation can be so personal and delicate, and unless you have a close relationship with someone you should probably refrain from asking such personal questions. Some people are quick to say, “Oh, it’ll happen.” You really don’t know that because there are so many people for whom it has not happened, and they’ve tried everything. Sometimes all people need is a listening ear and not empty words.
If you have PCOS and think that you cannot conceive, maybe it’s the treatment that you are receiving and maybe not. I have been through a few doctors and my current doctor was sent to me by God.
My husband’s and my greatest blessing is now three and a half years old, and we love him to pieces.
Can you relate?
Sarah has PCOS. Our struggle to have a family is the entirety of our depression over the last year.
I’m sorry to learn this. I have seen some of your struggles. There are so many people suffering and struggling. It is different from one person to another. There are really no words to make things better. I’ll just say that I’ll send hugs your way.