How I Got Pregnant With PCOS 3 Times
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PCOS affects fertility in many women today but it’s treatable and conception is definitely a possibility. I’ve had three PCOS miracles to prove this.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility.womenshealth.gov
When I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18 years old, the doctors I visited didn’t seem to be too informed and lacked experience with it. Every doctor prescribed birth control pills and said I had a mild case of PCOS as I didn’t have any of the other symptoms apart from the irregular cycle and polycystic ovaries.
I took birth control for a short time as I hated the side effects and the PCOS symptoms I experienced really didn’t bother me that much.
Trying to conceive
When my husband and I decided to expand our family, we expected that it would happen pretty quickly (I had “mild” PCOS, after all). However, what we expected to be a fun and exciting experience turned into an incredibly difficult emotional rollercoaster.
In retrospect, I had no idea the impact that PCOS had on fertility. It made trying to conceive very difficult as tracking an irregular period is almost impossible.
Clomid & Metformin
After a year of opks (ovulation predictor kits) and timing intercourse, it was time to get help from my ob-gyn. My scans showed that both ovaries were polycystic but again, it was mild. Our obgyn prescribed Clomid and Metformin. I experienced less than desirable side effects with both – I was nauseous and had diarrhea with metformin and experienced dryness with Clomid. But I stuck with them and we continued trying to conceive.
For the first time, my opks were positive which helped in pinpointing my peak fertile window. This gave us so much hope but, still, months went by with no positive pregnancy test.
We went back to our ob-gyn and he prescribed an increased dosage in both medications. Additional tests (which included an HSG test), revealed that the issue was that my eggs were not maturing.
Infertility took over my life
We were deflated, depressed and fed up.
Personally, what I once gave very little thought to seemed to take over my life. It was now all I could think about…obsess about. I found myself researching tirelessly, trying to seek comfort in others’ success stories and trying to see what miraculously worked for them. I cried, worried and unfairly beat myself up so much.
Being unable to conceive left me feeling like the biggest failure. It didn’t help that everyone around me seemed to be getting pregnant without even trying.
I felt so alone because nobody I knew personally was going through these difficulties and even though my husband was supportive, I know he didn’t fully understand what I was feeling.
I couldn’t bear to hear another piece of useless advice like “don’t worry, it will happen when you stop thinking about it”, “don’t worry, it will happen when you least expect it”, I could go on but chances are if you’re reading this you know exactly what I’m referring to here. And guess what, NONE of that advice helped me feel better or helped me to conceive.
Honestly, there is nothing else you should tell someone or a couple going through fertility struggles other than, “I’m here for you” and then actually be there for them. If you can’t do that, just say nothing!
We persisted and prayed – that’s what worked.
PCOS fertility issues and our relationship
Infertility struggles are emotionally draining and it wreaked havoc on our relationship. We were both trying to be as understanding and sensitive as possible to one another. But despite our best efforts, the journey still negatively affected our marriage.
At times, I didn’t think of him and how he was feeling. I was so wrapped up in my inability to get pregnant and my feelings about it. I felt like less of a woman and a huge disappointment to him.
Neither of us wanted to talk about these things with one another at the risk of sounding insensitive and that caused quite a bit of friction. It’s incredibly important to support one another through infertility and seek help when it’s too much for you to handle.
Thankfully, through open and constant communication, we have been able to repair the damage and thankfully, we’re stronger now, having gone through those struggles.
When it was evident that the Clomid and Metformin weren’t working, we were referred to a fertility specialist. More scans and tests showed that I was Clomid resistant and I was prescribed Femara.
It felt like such a relief to learn the reason we weren’t conceiving and with this new prescription, feelings of hope revisited us.
Femara was gentler on my body and most importantly, we conceived on our first month!
I read of so many instances where women with PCOS were “healed” after their first child. I was certain that I would be one of those women, for three reasons.
Firstly, my diagnosis was “mild” PCOS so I believed I had it easier than what my doctors considered to be full-blown PCOS.
Secondly, my postpartum scan showed that my ovaries were relatively clear.
And thirdly, my cycle was now regular.
However, my husband and I struggled yet again to conceive our second baby. We sought help earlier this time and again prescribed Femara. Thankfully, after the first month on Femara, we were pregnant with our second bundle of joy!
Third Surprise Miracle
While pregnant with our second baby, I came across some research that showed a link between PCOS and Diabetes type 2 and other health issues associated with PCOS. At first, this didn’t bother me as I knew my PCOS was “mild”. But I kept researching as it was intriguing.
Through my research, I found out about lean (thin) PCOS. I realized that my ob-gyn and fertility specialist treated me generally – but! what works for one PCOS-er doesn’t work for all.
I learned that snacking and simple carbohydrates were my downfall and tried to reduce and replace them with much healthier choices. When you’ve struggled most of your life to try to gain weight, you really don’t think of the benefits a healthy diet and exercise routine can have on you. I thought gaining weight was so important that it didn’t matter what I ate to put on the weight.
I didn’t put much effort into maintaining an exercise routine as I felt I didn’t need it because I was slim. After my first baby, I had a huge diastasis recti which motivated me to exercise. Unfortunately, I slacked off when I became despondent about my tummy (more on that in a future post).
Research, however, helped me to understand the important benefits derived from exercise even as a thin cyster.
Sure enough, by adopting just five essential lifestyle habits, for the first time in my life, I had regular, ovulatory cycles on my own.
Within a few months, baby number 3 was conceived naturally.
Now that I’ve been blessed with my three munchkins, I feel like I can look back with different eyes on our struggle and my situation and still, I don’t know what I would have done differently. Instead, I strive to use my PCOS fertility successes to be supportive of others and help them in any way that I can.
Infertility is one of the hardest things a woman can go through. While no two experiences are the same, we are able to use our experiences to help someone. If you would like to share your experience below or if you’d like to reach out for support, please leave us a comment below.