The Beauty in the Breakdown (PCOS pt 4)

Whew! I love a good cry when your endorphins are released and you suddenly feel like all your negative feelings were expelled from your body in the form of tears.

Last night, I had a little breakdown. My husband and I didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. We exchanged gifts Tuesday, but other than that, we just had a pretty normal night. Valentine’s Day is just too crazy for us low key people and we never get out into the masses. I also wasn’t feeling well at all. I’ve been struggling with nausea from the Metformin and nothing I ate was settling well with me. It proved to be a double-edged sword, though, because not eating enough was causing me to feel ill also. Now on top of my awful stomach ache, I was dealing with a relentless migraine and very low energy from not eating. I felt completely wiped out by the time I returned home from helping with my oldest kid’s school Valentines party. My youngest must not have been feeling great, either. We butted heads all evening because her terrible two temper was strong. She’s normally a pretty good, pretty laid back child, but last night a tiny demon must have possessed her little body. It was the worst night she’s had in a long time and she also didn’t sleep well, which is unusual. 

After we put the kids to bed, I sat staring at our living room wall as I tried to hold back the tears. I was doing pretty good with it until hubs sat down next to me and asked if I was ok. Do you ever have that happen to you? You’ve obviously got a lot weighing on you, but you’re doing fine holding it in until someone asks if you’re ok or what’s wrong. Then it’s like someone broke a water pipe and now it won’t stop. That was me. 😂 I didn’t want to cry, it just happened. I am a cryer. If I’m mad, frustrated, sad, happy, grateful, laughing, I’m crying, too. 

I started explaining just how frustrated I was. I’ve been on Metformin since November, a total of only 3 months, but during that time I have just not felt good at all. After first going on it and also after increasing the dose, I had stomach flu symptoms that lasted about two weeks at a time. From then on, I just have this perpetual stomach ache and nausea that won’t let up. It’s not bad enough to throw up all the time, but it’s bad enough to be extremely uncomfortable and miserable. Some days are worse than others, but it is always there and I’m struggling to deal with it much longer. On nights like last night where it’s particularly bad, and I’m also sick with something else like a pounding migraine on top of it, I just want to give it all up. If only giving up gave me better options.

I do have options, it’s just that none of them sit particularly well with me. All have serious cons that I feel could outweigh the pros. I could go back on birth control and take the other medication that I’m not allowed to get pregnant on. That one may not make me sick, and it may work better but then I can’t get pregnant for the foreseeable future. And going on birth control has a history of messing up my cycles even more. So, when the time comes for me to come off of it again, it has the potential to make things harder for me. Then there’s fertility treatments to expedite this pregnancy process. I really don’t want to do that for multiple reasons— pun intended— because one of those reasons is multiples. Due to my high FSH and high ovarian reserve, I have a much higher chance of having multiples than other women if I do fertility treatments. Add to that the fact that twins run along my maternal line of the family. Ordinarily I wouldn’t take issue, but we already have two kids and a vehicle we just bought that can’t hold 2+ more. Or a house that could hold that many, for that matter. It would also mean that I couldn’t have a home birth like I’ve been planning. There’s just a lot of risk there. The other issue is that my body doesn’t tolerate fertility treatments well, either. I’d be just as miserable, if not more so, on those as I am with Metformin; just for different reasons. Part of it is also my pride getting in the way. I really want this to be a natural conception just to experience it. 

I’m not in a huge rush to get pregnant right this second. In fact, I’ve said that since we first started trying again. I’d like it to happen within the next year, but I also want it to be somewhat on its own time. However, I am in a rush to get my reproductive health under control and to feel better. Everything about having severe pcos for the last almost 6 years has been horrendous. I’m glad I got to have a good cry last night. 

Close, But No Cigar (PCOS pt. 3)

I recently posted a couple of blogs about my fertility woes and battles with pcos. I mentioned in the latter post that I had finally found a doctor willing to help me and invest in my health concerns, and shortly after visiting with her the first couple of times, she resigned to pursue another career opportunity. Since then I have been feeling discouraged and disheartened because in the past, I have been through other doctors that just did not offer the quality of care I needed. I had doctors who wanted to prescribe medicine to cover up my symptoms without actually treating them properly, and doctors who didn’t bother to dig any deeper to find out what’s really going on. Due to my anxiety issues, it’s hard for me to even meet with doctors and it’s exhausting to really be putting in the effort to get help and be met with substandard care. 

Knowing that I have less than a month left with my current doctor before she is gone, I decided to contact her in regards to my future care. I finally heard back from her today and she outlined a care plan that I could follow into the near future and told me to contact the front desk to select one of her colleagues to be my new doctor. Unfortunately, 2 of those colleagues are physicians that I’ve already seen before and have not had success with. That leaves 2 others in the same practice, and to say that I’m nervous to be in the care of either one of them would be an understatement. I’m worried that because my current treatment hasn’t been improving my health issues as of yet, I’ll need more extensive, ongoing care and a new doctor just may not be as invested in helping me and I’ll be back to square one. This is such a frustrating process and I’m so tired of being in limbo.

As silly as it seems for someone who is hell bent on having another baby, my husband and I are somewhat taking a break from trying at the moment. Not that my body is ovulating, anyway. But we both agreed it would be best to avoid having a baby too close to the holidays and in November/December— around the time when we are surrounded by people who are sick. Every year when we visit with family over the holidays, someone inevitably has the flu, or strep, or colds— and then passes it along to us. Because we have two other children, we don’t want to “cancel” their holidays, either, due to having a new baby. The idea of bringing a baby into the environment around that time practically makes me shudder. Maybe I’m being over dramatic, over protective, and overly worrisome. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, it is around this same time that I start to have what I believe to be fertility signs— the cramping on one side of my lower abdomen, the fertile cervical fluid, lower than usual BBTs. I decided to order more ovulation tests. I’d given up using them for a while because it seemed like I was throwing money in the trash. When your cycles are up to 10 months long and you have absolutely no idea when to test, you go through a lot of them. And all are negative. For a minute, I did actually think, ok, what if I am ovulating? Would I still abstain from trying right now? Would I stick to my guns and waste an opportunity when they are so rare? It’s so much easier to come to these types of decisions when you know you’re not ovulating. In fact, it’s pretty much decided for you and you don’t actually have a choice. 

Luckily, my ovulation tests arrived in the mail today. If you’re not familiar with ovulation tests, you take them the same way you would an at home pregnancy test. The difference is that there’s almost always two lines that show up on an ovulation test, because you usually always have a small amount of the LH hormone in your system. On a pregnancy test, 2 lines mean you’re pregnant; but an ovulation test is only positive if the test line is as dark or darker than the control line. Even then, if you have pcos it doesn’t always mean you will ovulate. It just means your body attempted to, another reason why I stopped using the tests for a while. Today, though, I took one. 

Close, but no cigar. While there was a prominent test line, it was still lighter than the control. Will that mean I’ll still ovulate in the next few days? Time will tell. I’ve taken these tests enough to know that unless it’s a clear positive, it really doesn’t mean anything at all. Tomorrow, there could be a faint, hardly visible line. Or maybe it’s the same. Or maybe darker, but still not positive. Some women get a clear progression over a span of days from light to dark; not me. I’m not sure if it’s the pcos or just how my body operates, but my tests are all over the place. I’ve done this enough to know not to get my hopes up. Maybe I won’t have to make a decision about whether to try or not after all. 

“The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Nonbeing”

This blog post is going to seem a little dark, but it’s something that has been weighing on me heavily lately and I feel it’s important to talk about.

What’s the most scary thing you can imagine? Does it make your heart race? 

I recently had a discussion after learning of a very young woman in my life who has been clearly battling with anxiety and depression trying to overdose on a bottle of pills. I cringed and my heart sank when I heard a family member say “she’s doing it to get attention.”

The thing is, she was in a dark enough place to have almost ended her own life. But she didn’t want to die, not really. That doesn’t mean she was only doing it for attention. Many people who think of suicide and even those who attempt it do not want to die. But they don’t want to be here, either.

I understand this, because I’ve been there before. I struggle less with depression than I do with anxiety, but I have had anxiety issues for the majority of my life, starting as a child. I briefly touched on this before. My anxiety can often lead me to depressive states. Like when it holds me back from human interaction, or doing things I’d normally enjoy. It’s easy to fall into a depression when doing anything other than nothing (and sometimes even doing nothing) can elicit a feeling inside of you so harsh and so complex that it squeezes the air from your lungs, grips you by the throat, and fills your body with a poison so toxic that the distress you feel from it can make it seem as though your systems are all shutting down while simultaneously speeding up. 

What’s the most scary thing you can imagine? Does it make your heart race? Your skin grow cold and clammy? Does it make you nauseous to the point where you feel you could vomit? Does it cause your limbs and your spine to go numb? Does it make you feel faint, but also hyper alert? Does it make you cry and hyperventilate? Does it make you feel as though there is a pile of cinder blocks firmly planted on your chest? Does it make you feel trapped, as though you’re being buried alive? Does it keep you up all night? Imagine these feelings, all of them together at once, being a constant state of being. Imagine it taking over everything that you are. Imagine the exhaustion you’d feel trying to fight it so that you can function as normally as others do. Imagine it consuming you when you’re alone. This is crippling anxiety and it’s very real. And there is no off switch.

It’s so natural when you’re in this state of being to want to do absolutely anything to make it go away. And sometimes it feels like the only way out is to simply not exist.

“The torment of existence weighed against the horror of nonbeing”. 

I don’t want to miss out on life. I have goals and aspirations like anyone. I have kids that, God willing, I’d love to watch grow up and have successes and families of their own one day. I have a husband that I’m glad I get to spend my life with. I have a home and a family and pets that I love dearly. I have a nice vehicle, and nice things. I have plenty in this life to enjoy and be grateful for that I would never wish to leave behind. The thought of death is utterly horrifying to me. But I also have crippling anxiety that has sometimes been big enough to make me question whether I want to exist even having all these wonderful things. That can be extremely hard to comprehend for someone on the outside looking in. I wish I could paint a picture in such a way that others could really understand and get the full effect. It’s brutal, and believe me, I know it’s often completely irrational. I also know it’s sometimes fleeting, though I can count on it to always come back. My mind is fully aware of these things, but it does not stop it. How can that be possible? I don’t know, but I live it every single day.

Some things that make people mildly uncomfortable, such as talking on the phone or opening up a bill received in the mail, can make me spiral into a fierce panic. Some things that people enjoy, like driving or socializing with friends, can make me feel as though I’m having a heart attack. If you believe that sounds like an exaggeration, ask any hospital how many people come in for heart attacks and leave learning it was a panic attack. Simple day-to-day activities can feel utterly impossible. Like a terror filled animal caught trapped inside a tiny cage, all we want is a way out. All we want is relief. We are physically, mentally, emotionally drained. We are exhausted because we are fighting this 24/7/365. We are plagued by something many cannot process or understand. 

You see, we really don’t always want to die. We just don’t want to exist if it means feeling this way.

She Taught Me to Be Self Conscious— My Husband is Teaching Me How to Love Myself.

Growing up, I remember her wearing makeup every single day, no matter what. She wouldn’t be caught dead without it. If she needed to go to the hospital and was in extreme pain, she’d probably make sure to put on a little makeup before leaving. She always told me that she’d get herself done up every single day even if she had no plans, because you never know if someone might show up at your house. She’d try on multiple outfits and shoes before going anywhere and stare at herself in a full length mirror, adjusting her clothes, turning side to side, wanting to make sure every angle looked perfect. She’d spend hours getting ready. She had stacks and stacks of shoes, and a closet full of clothes. I remember her shopping a lot as a kid, and it was usually for clothes, shoes, or home decor. I remember her getting angry with my father if he had someone come over and she wasn’t given enough warning to look her best. I remember her criticizing every little detail about how people or things looked. “Why is she wearing that?” “She  looks frumpy and matronly.” “That outfit makes her look big.” “Her makeup looks terrible.“ “He has really packed on the weight.” “I hope I don’t age that badly”. “He looks dorkie” “What a slob”. I know now that she must’ve had self esteem issues, and picking other people apart somehow made her feel more put together. 

She made me self conscious. She even started dying my hair in the second grade.

I’ve been with my husband about 10 years now. We were dating two years when we moved in together. He didn’t see me without makeup until months after we moved in together. I’d go to bed with make up on, and after he was asleep, I’d remove it and be sure to get up before him to put a little mascara and face powder on. I’d never get my hair wet when swimming, I was afraid of anyone seeing it frizz up. If I had to take a shower, I didn’t come out of the bathroom until my hair was dried and styled— over and hour, sometimes. I never wanted anyone to see me eating even, for fear I looked like a pig. I gave myself an eating disorder because I’d heard her constantly talking about her weight. I thrived on people telling me how skinny I was because I thought that meant I was taking care of my looks. Looking back at photos of myself then, I can see how sickly and underweight I looked. If I woke up late and had to get ready in a hurry, I’d be in my head all day long thinking about how awful I must look and what people must think of me. She taught me to criticize every aspect of how I looked. I was 13 when I swore I’d grow up and get plastic surgery to fix my chin, and nose, and breasts. She never seemed to be beautiful enough in her own mind, and I never learned how to accept myself and feel beautiful, either. 

Although I still struggle, my husband has changed so much of how I view myself. Even in my worst state, he never hesistates to remind me how beautiful I am. He is always there and always reassuring me. I’ve come leaps and bounds from what I used to be. I wear makeup less, and no longer feel the need to curl or straighten my hair every single day. My bare face and ponytails are just fine. I wear clothes that I find comfortable, and not only what looks the best. I’m not afraid to live in the moment and enjoy things when I used to care too much what other people thought of me. My husband is teaching me how to love myself. Now I will teach my daughter to love herself. The cycle ends here.

A Ship in Harbor is Safe— But That is Not What Ships Were Built For

Do you believe in fate? I do, sometimes. Like when you receive a message that you desperately needed to hear.

I have severe anxiety disorders and frequent panic attacks. I remember it starting around the time I turned 8. I was that kid who gave herself stomach aches before school. The kid who got ulcers from stress. Now I’m the adult who has panic attacks. But that’s not what this entry is about. It’s about one of the best things I ever did to help give me some relief from my anxiety. A couple years ago, I took up sewing. Although, sewing is practically ingrained in my DNA. My grandmother is the most exceptional seamstress you may ever meet. I feel she could probably create an immaculate ball gown from absolutely nothing, not even a sewing pattern. She’s that good.

I’ve never been particularly great at anything, just mediocre at best. But I became really good at sewing— and very quickly. It became my niche, and I really excelled at it. Sewing then turned into other things, like a gateway drug. I wanted to put designs on the clothing pieces I created, so I bought a Silhouette Cameo for heat transfers. I found while learning the machine that making adhesive decals were actually pretty fun, too. And, oh, the things you can do with them. Car decals, laptop and tablet decals, decals to put on tumblers and glassware. And while we’re on the subject of glassware, you can even use the decals to make a stencil for etching glass. Even the machine can etch metal discs with the right tool. And then what if I bought a metal stamping set to stamp metal to go along with my etched metal, that way I can create custom pieces of jewelry? And that same fabric I sew with can be epoxied to tumblers to make custom tumbler cups, and then you can also add decals to those. Yep, I’ve jumped to doing all of that. 

At some point along the way, it became blatantly obvious that this could be, should be, more than just a hobby. If I was going to put so much of my time, effort, passion, and let’s be frank— money into crafting unique and beautiful things, I might as well get paid for it, right? And it wasn’t just me who thought this way. My wonderful, supportive husband has said this from the start. And any time I’d share a picture of one of my creations, the dear people in my life almost always suggested I sell my pieces. Any time I get stopped out and about and asked where I got my clothes from to reply “I made them”, I’d always hear sweet things like “you’re kidding? Do you sell them?” I’m so proud of my work and it’s something I put a lot into. It’s my dream that people would want to buy them to admire them for themselves. I feel so fortunate.

I’d been sitting on this idea of opening up a business for about a year and a half now. Ironically, though, it is my anxiety holding me back. I swore this year would be the year. I’d do it. I’d find someone to create my logo, I’d get the business cards and tags, I’d get a business license, I’d create a business bank account, I’d find a bookkeeping site I’m happy with, I’d build a website. I’d get my ducks in a row and open my business. I’m already CPSC compliant to sell clothing. I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. 

All these anxieties come flooding in. What if I fail? What if I get myself into too much debt? What if I accidentally do something wrong and somehow wind up in trouble with the IRS? What if I accidentally fail to do my CPSIA tracking correctly? What if it’s all a waste? What if I don’t build a client base and have to shut down? What will happen if I shut down? What if creating a business out of this burns me out or gives me worse anxiety? What if some sue happy person decides to find the littlest thing to sue me over? What if someone is unhappy with their purchase and goes online to attack me? What if I don’t have a thick enough skin for that? What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m not as good at this as I thought? What if I’m not creative enough? What if I don’t understand how to do my inventory or taxes correctly? I’ve never been the greatest at math. What if I can’t handle it? What if? What if. I’ve been putting it all out of my mind because I can’t deal with the panic that creeps up and chokes me.

I don’t go on dates very often with my husband, I’m talking 1-2 times a year, and one of those times is usually our anniversary. My husband vowed as his New Years resolution to take me out more. I love him so much for that. A few weeks into January was our first date of the year. We went to this huge Chinese buffet we like, but rarely go to. The food is absolute tasty garbage, but it’s just the kind of low-key, delicious comfort food that we like for our dates. Like any other Chinese restaurant, you get your fortune cookie at the end of your meal. I opened mine, it read: 

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for”. —John A. Shedd

There it was, the message I needed to see. The message telling me that, yes, I will be safe from all those anxieties if I sit back and do nothing, but that is not what my life is made for. We are not meant to do nothing because we are constantly afraid. 

That is why I’m here. That is the reason for this blog; to do something beyond my comfort zone and to hopefully hold me more accountable. 

PCOS: The Return

If you missed my last blog post about my endeavors with PCOS, go check it out! It’ll give a little more insight to this post. 😊

After dealing with the new diagnosis of PCOS and needing fertility help, I finally got pregnant and my daughter was born mid 2016. I breastfed Aria for nearly 2 years, during which I only had one menstrual cycle. My old OB mentioned how pregnancy can sometimes “reset the body” and I may not have pcos symptoms after giving birth. When I didn’t receive my first post-partum period until 10 months after my daughter was born, I wasn’t immediately concerned since I was nursing and nursing often suppresses ovulation. However, it was shortly after that time, perhaps around the time my daughter was 15 months old, when I noticed my symptoms rapidly returning as I was breastfeeding less and less. It started with the weight gain. I went from 120 to 130 rapidly. And from there, it just kept going. My hair was having typical post-partum fall out, but why wasn’t it stopping? Why was it getting even WORSE as time went on? Handfuls at a time coming out. So much that I wondered how I had any hair left. Next, my clear skin faded. And then the hair in strange places I’d never had hair before. This is the ugly truth of PCOS, but it had never been this bad before. Was something else happening? Was it my thyroid maybe? Thyroid issues run in my family.

My self confidence was down the drain. I’d become very depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin. I started avoiding people and opting out of any social activities. My previous OB retired and I was stuck with someone new. She wouldn’t do anything at my annual pap appointment because I was still breastfeeding, and according to her, that meant we couldn’t get an accurate picture of what was going on. Maybe she was right, I’m not a doctor. But I was still very frustrated. I had no plans of giving up breastfeeding early, but I didn’t want to go on like this. I asked that my thyroid at least be tested, but my numbers came back fine.

I had such a difficult time giving up breastfeeding, but my daughter decided she was done before I was. She was just two months shy of turning two. I realized then and there that I just wasn’t done. I didn’t want this to be the last time I nursed a baby. I knew I wanted another in the future.

After stopping nursing, I waited a while to see if my period would return. I began tracking my fertility again. Basal body temperatures, OPK’s, physical fertility signs, and all. Once again, nothing was happening. Then finally after experiencing some strong cramps one night, I decided to take an OPK. To my surprise, it showed positive that I was ovulating. This was June 20th, 2018. It had been over a year since my last period, and two months since I stopped nursing altogether. I thought maybe it was a good sign. I stopped nursing and it only took two months to ovulate? Seemed better than before. Stupidly, I wasn’t quite ready to start trying again at that point, so we didn’t. But I was so excited that my body seemed to be doing what it was supposed to. In hindsight, we should’ve taken that opportunity because we wouldn’t get another any time soon.

Again, months of waiting to ovulate and nothing happening. Symptoms only growing worse. I dreaded going back to the OBGYN. I knew what she’d say; “wait until you’ve been actively trying for 6 months and then we’ll talk options”. This seemed to be the universal response at that office. I decided to wait until October to make an appointment. At least then I could say it had been 6 months since I stopped breastfeeding. After speaking with my “new” OB and not getting the response I’d hoped for, I decided to see someone else who had more knowledge with reproductive issues.

November 13th, I had my first appt with the new, new doctor who knows more about reproductive issues. This was after my other doctor said that I could be having premature ovarian failure in October. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it sounded like a death sentence to my dream of having another baby. It essentially means that my ovaries shut down and would never ovulate or produce mature eggs again, therefore my only options would be to use an egg donor or a surrogate. Neither of which seemed feasible to us due to the cost and everything associated with it. There was about a month long window between when my old new doctor told me that to when I saw my newer doctor and all I could think about was how to move forward with this potential diagnosis. Would we adopt in the future? Would we give up completely? I’ve since learned that that lady couldn’t have been more wrong and I know I will never go back to her again (she was my “new” ob after my old one retired, and prior to that appt, I’d only seen her that one other time for a pap).

Back to November 13th, I met with my newest doctor and she was extremely proactive and for the first time EVER, I felt like I was being heard. I mean, this woman wanted to explore a reason for EVERY symptom I was having. After about 6 vials of blood were drawn, she scheduled me for both a pelvic and vaginal ultrasound. At my ultrasound a few days later, the tech pointed out that my ovaries were basically egg city. She counted over 17 follicular cysts on my left ovary alone. She essentially said that was, in fact, a marker for PCOS— which we already knew I had from my old ob who diagnosed me based on symptoms while trying to get pregnant with Aria, my youngest. The thing is, my old ob never dug any deeper and instead of trying to help me resolve the PCOS problem, he simply prescribed me provera and clomid because he knew I wanted to get pregnant. After that, we never even revisited my diagnosis. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal.

The day before Thanksgiving 2018, I received a phone call from my doctor stating that my results were in and I did in fact have severe PCOS, my prolactin levels were only slightly elevated, but still within normal range (I.e. NOT premature ovarian failure), my testosterone was highly elevated (consistent with severe pcos and the cause of many of my symptoms), my FSH level was also very high (which explains all the follicles/eggies— not totally a bad thing, but not great either). More than all that, it was determined that I have insulin resistance and am borderline type 2 diabetic. This was likely because my pcos went untreated for so long, but we’re not certain. It’s also the reason I’ve gained so much weight that won’t seem to come off despite diet and exercise. I don’t know if I was more upset or relieved to learn all of this.

I had had a follow up appointment scheduled for December 4th so that we could go over my results, but they felt it was imperative to call me as soon as the results came in because they said if we didn’t start treatment soon, my health was in jeopardy. They asked me to start Metformin that day.  Metformin would help regulate my blood sugar, help with insulin resistance, and could help me ovulate. I started at 500 mg with the potential to be increased to 2000 mg when all is said and done. Metformin is a gnarly drug and usually requires easing into it for the body to tolerate it well. My body didn’t tolerate it. I felt like I had the stomach flu every day. I was constantly sick, and it was the lowest dose. I feared and dreaded increasing the dosage.

At my follow up appointment, I was pretty dehydrated from getting sick all the time and we discussed other options because my doctor was worried about kidney issues following the dehydration. She said there was one other drug I could be on, but I could NOT get pregnant while taking it and would need to go on BC. The other option was to go straight to fertility treatments to get pregnant ASAP (PCOS symptoms resolve during pregnancy, I’d just have to be monitored for GD if the insulin resistance stuck around). I told her I wanted to continue on Metformin for just a little longer to see if the side effects get better, because for some it does. I wasn’t ready to give up on getting pregnant, but I also wasn’t ready for fertility treatments yet— especially being right around the holidays. I’m glad that’s what I decided because a week later, the symptoms started to slowly let up. Eventually, I was only getting sick once or twice a day, and then once or twice a week. About the time my symptoms left completely was the time she upped the dosage to 1000mg. I started that about 3 weeks ago, and I’ve been sick again— but not as bad as before. Also, since I had not had a period in several months, and I didn’t end up having one while on the 500 mg Metformin, I was prescribed provera again to induce Aunt Flo. My doctor was worried if my uterine wall had too much build up, it could develop into uterine cancer. Apparently that can happen. 

I’ve done quite a bit of research, and some women have luck with 1000 mg doing the job. But many need the full 2000mg dosage. For some, it doesn’t work at all. Usually if it works, it seems to do so fairly quickly. So, I’ve been a little bit frustrated that nothing has happened yet for me, but I’m trying not to be too discouraged. Unfortunately that same doctor that I’ve been loving sent out a letter this week saying she would be resigning from her position at this office because she’s pursuing another opportunity that she couldn’t pass up. So, now I’m worried about what the future’s going to look like for me with this diagnosis. 

To be continued….

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

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.