At 23, I was diagnosed with PCOS while trying for my second baby. I went off of birth control pills in November of 2014, just 2 months after my husband and I got married. My plan was to really start trying for a baby in early spring of 2015 but I had read everywhere that BCP need to get out of your system for a while before you might start ovulating again, so I decided to quit them early. It was a good thing that I did, because I was not at all prepared for what I dealt with next.
After my periods didn’t return for several months, I began to wonder if something was wrong. Any time I thought about it— which was often— I was on Google trying to determine if this was normal. I read so many anecdotes of women claiming their periods returned right away, or at least within the first 3 months of ditching the pill. Even medical websites said that 3 months seemed about average, but it could take up to 6 months for cycles to regulate. I was tracking my basal body temperature every morning, using ovulation predictor kits, learning about physical indications of ovulation, and even taking supplements such as Vitex. Nothing seemed to work.
Around the 6 month mark, I was getting frustrated. Early spring had come and gone and I wasn’t ovulating and trying for a baby was futile. I was due for my annual pap so I made an appointment and casually brought up my concerns with my obstetrician. He asked how long I’d been off birth control, how long we’d been actively trying, etc. He had me take a pregnancy test in office because he was convinced I was probably already pregnant and that’s why nothing was happening. Although, I had told him I’d been taking tests at home and all were negative. Just as I suspected, the one in office was no different. He sent me home and told me just to wait a little longer. “Sometimes these things happen and it just takes a little more time for the birth control to leave your system”. I went home feeling more frustrated than ever. I cried to my husband. I felt as though my body was failing me.
It was around this time that I had joined a few online forums for women dealing with infertility and trying to conceive, and I felt even more discouraged rather than uplifted. These women, although not yet pregnant, at least seemed to be ovulating normally. They at least had a chance every month. I had nothing. I felt guilty for feeling envious toward them because truth be told, we were all on the same journey; desperately longing for a baby. Every month, heartache, frustrations, discouragement, anger, and repeat. Crying became my new normal.
Around a month after my pap, my husband and I went to his family reunion. While getting dressed for the day, I realized that my clothes were just not fitting right. Everything was tight and uncomfortable. It was the first week of June and HOT, and the reunion was outdoors. I ended up wearing a baggy poncho top meant for cooler weather with my biggest pair of jeans because I felt so self conscious in anything else I owned. I was miserable outside the entire time, but in my mind, it was better than looking like a busted can of biscuits. When we got home from the reunion and I changed, I noticed that I was having some physical fertile signs. I immediately got my ovulation tests out and lo and behold, a positive test. My first one since coming off of BC. I excitedly told my husband, and we got down to business. Later after much anticipation, my period came. Although very disappointed, I was in slightly better spirits knowing that I had ovulated and my body seemed to be functioning again… or so I thought.
Two months later, it’s August and I’m still waiting to ovulate again. Nothing is happening, again. At this point, I’m completely fed up. I call my doctor and schedule an appointment. I express my frustrations to him, and explain my symptoms. He asks me if I’ve had any unexplained weight gain. My mind flashed back to trying on clothes before the reunion. Yes. Any breakouts? Check. Lower than average basal body temperatures? Check check. Hair loss? Yep. “It sounds like you have PCOS.” Pcos? I’d heard of it, but didn’t know a lot about it. He prescribed me provera to induce my period, and then clomid to help me ovulate.
I went back home a little worried about this new diagnosis, but slightly relieved to have help. I began provera that day and clomid a few days later. I was supposed to come back for a progesterone test to see if I had ovulated on the clomid. I’d normally have someone watch my two year old son while I had appointments, especially ones in which I was getting blood drawn, but I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on at the time. I didn’t want questions. I didn’t want to explain. I remember taking him with me and sitting him on my lap while the lady drew my blood. He was so good and watched quietly. I was thankful for that. A few days later, I got the phone call— I didn’t ovulate. I suspected as much because I never did get a positve ovulation test. It was time for provera and clomid, round two.
At this point, I felt lower than ever. Not even clomid could help me ovulate. What was I going to do if it wouldn’t work again? I went online and looked for clomid success stories. I came across a YouTube video of a woman who was describing her experience with clomid. She did not have success on her first cycle, either. She just needed a bit of a higher dose. Maybe that meant I still had hope!
Day 14 of my cycle rolls around, typical ovulation day for those who’re on clomid or just have a regular 28 day cycle, I wasn’t feeling much of anything. No cramping, no positive ovulation tests, no other physical signs of impending ovulation. I was a ball of nerves and convinced this wasn’t going to work again. There was so much riding on this. I needed it to work. I tried to tell myself that I need to be calm, or else my anxiety and stress might cause anovulation. I decided to take a nice, relaxing bath. I sprinkled epsom salt into our large garden tub along with some essential oils that I read were good for fertility. After all, I was willing to try anything at this point. I laid back in the tub, closed my eyes, and tried to relax. I kept trying to somehow manifest my ovulation. I was repeating “you can do this, body. You can ovulate” in my head, like some sort of crazy person pep talking her own body. The next day though, I got a positive ovulation test. And on cycle day 16, I ovulated— which was confirmed by my progesteron test. 17 was my number. On October 14th, 11 days after ovulation, I got my first positive pregnancy test. I was elated. My husband and I cried. This was it, so close to a full year after stopping birth control.
Our baby girl, Aria Quinn, was born on her due date. June 24th, 2016.