I struggled with sharing my story as it has been a hidden secret from many for several years. It is a topic that I often shy away from as it is difficult to discuss. After weeks of debating on whether I should disclose my struggle, I decided that this could be an opportunity to help other women who are going through a similar situation. It is important to let women know that they not alone and we should no longer suffer in silence.
In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal condition that causes the imbalance of the reproductive hormones. It can affect fertility, menstrual cycles, cause weight gain, and increase the chances of developing additional health issues such as Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Endometrial Cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, I was young and unaware of how it would affect my future. During that doctor’s visit, I remember the doctor telling me that it may affect my chances of conceiving a child. I was completely unbothered by the news I received as I wasn’t ready to have a child. I thought that I would cross that bridge when I got to it. However, this condition affected me in ways that I would have never imagined.
I’ve always struggled with horrible PMS symptoms and menstrual cycles. The pain in my pelvic area was constant and the mood swings were out of this world. I knew that something was off, but everything began to make sense shortly after my diagnosis. I began researching and connecting the dots. The extreme fatigue, weight gain, skin tags and dark patches of skin, were all symptoms of PCOS. Things started to change for me. I realized that this condition is more serious than I wanted to believe.
Fast forward to 2012, my now husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family. I knew that it would be difficult due to my condition, but I was optimistic. I was told that women with PCOS could conceive, but medical intervention may be necessary. I was determined that we could conceive on our own and truly believed that I would become pregnant quickly (mind over matter right?). I had never been more wrong. After a year of negative pregnancy tests, I realized that we needed assistance. We began seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. He ran several tests on both of us and to no surprise, I had several ovarian cysts and my hormones were severely imbalanced. I was sent to a Nutritionist and put on a medication called Metformin. After being on this regimen for 5 months, we were still unable to conceive.
Throughout the years, my husband and I have been through 7 medicated cycles (using both Femara and Clomid), had five failed IUIs (Intrauterine Insemination), one chemical pregnancy, and two miscarriages. It has been an arduous journey, and I still struggle with hearing the word infertility. When you are young and dream about one day becoming a mother, you never think about the possible roadblocks that may prevent your dream from coming true. Going through this difficult journey can be both physically and mentally draining. It can put a strain on your relationship due to the stress of all the doctor’s appointments and constant disappointment of not becoming pregnant. I became distracted with my body as I believed it was failing me. I felt it wasn’t working the way it should. I felt less of a woman because I couldn’t give my husband the child we both desperately desired.
Fortunately, my dear husband and the few that have known about this journey have been absolutely amazing. They have been my shoulder to cry on, my nurses who gave me the medication I needed, gave me my cold pack when the hot flashes were unbearable, my sounding board when I needed to vent and most importantly, my strength when I was weak. It has been a long time since we have actively tried to conceive. After going through a miscarriage at 11 weeks, the thought of going through that kind of disappointment and depression, terrifies me.
After months of deliberation, we have decided to try again. Our new RE believes that we have a great chance of becoming pregnant and going full term. We will begin our journey in November/December. I am now in the process of preparing my body for the road that lies ahead. I know this will not be easy but I am at peace with whatever happens. We know that we will become parents as there are several options out there. I will be taking you all on this journey with me. Buckle up, it may be a bumpy ride…