My Struggles With Infertility
I’ve thought about sitting down to write this so many times, but it’s hard to bring yourself to share something with others that is so deeply personal. I’m not sure why I feel like sharing it now. I have never wanted to before but I think it’s because I’m sick of struggling alone. I know there are so many women who struggle the way I do. Yet because I have kept this in the dark (other then sharing with family mostly) It can often times feel extremely isolating.
I have PCOS, short for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was 16 years old. My mom has is and it never seemed like that big of a deal. The doctors asked me if I wanted to go on birth control and I declined. My main symptom was irregular periods. Here is a great summary of PCOS that I found off of pcosdietsupport.com
Basically I don’t ovulate every month, which means that my cycle is very irregular. I also might have some cysts on my ovaries. The biggest thing, though, is that I don’t process carbohydrates properly and my body is over sensitive to insulin. This means that I produce too much insulin for the carbs that I eat. The insulin also makes my ovaries release too much testosterone (all women produce testosterone – I just have too much of it).
As a teen I never thought much about it. Some people would even say I was “lucky” that I didn’t/don’t get a monthly period.
Fast forward a few years and Stephane and I decided we wanted to start having babies. We knew we would most likely need medical help and planned in advance to meet with a doctor. In many ways I feel blessed that i’ve known I have PCOS since I was young. I know that in Canada you have to have been trying for at least a year before most doctors will intervene. In this case I feel blessed that we already knew I had PCOS and that we were able to see a Doctor much sooner. After 9 months of trying both on and off medication we were able to conceive Olin through the use of a medication called Clomid. This was a whole journey in and of itself but I decided to give you the short and sweet version.
When Olin was born he was extremely colicky (well actually he had silent reflux) because of that I went on a restrictive diet. I was breast feeding and wanting to do everything in my power to help my new baby boy who cried for the first 3 months of his life almost none stop. Through this diet I went off of dairy for 5 months. After 2 months my period came back. For the first time in my life I got a regular period for 3 consecutive months.
Olin had began to outgrow his silent reflux and I stopped my diet and went back on dairy. A few months later I realized that my periods had fully stopped. I knew the only major change was that I had started eating dairy again. So I decided that I would go off dairy (pretty much for life) knowing that when we want to conceive are next baby, we could hopefully do it naturally.
It took a few months but my period did return and I was getting semi regular periods. At least more regular then they ever had been before. Previously it was not odd for me to go 3 months without having a period. The fact that they were happening every 4-7 weeks was a big deal. It gave us hope to conceive a baby naturally.
We started trying to conceive naturally around the winter of 2017. I was taking all the measures to track my ovulation, but in many ways it’s still a guessing game. Six months passed and we decided we should see a doctor. We met with a doctor and got a referral to the only fertility doctor in town and are appointment still isn’t till this December.
We were/are more then disappointed after talking to the doctor who referred us. I told him we had been through this all before. Done all the test, used medication to conceive Olin and yet there was nothing he would do for us. I should add that we moved cities/province so it wasn’t as simple as going back to our previous doc.
That leads us to right now, we’ve been trying for our second baby for almost a year now and we will continue trying naturally until are December doctors appointment.
Currently i’ve been sharing the facts with you. What I haven’t shared is the pain, the hope, the disappointment and the anger. In many ways what I grieve most are my expectations of what I thought are family would look like. I always imagined having my babies 2 years apart. If we got pregnant this month, olin would already be almost 3 years old when “baby” is born. If it doesn’t happen till the new year he will be older than that of course. I know there is nothing wrong with a bigger age gap between kids, it’s more about letting go of my dreams and desires of what I thought my life would look like.
I’ve just recently began an intense PCOS diet - dairy free, grain free, gluten free, sugar free. When so many things feel out of my control during this process, I feel the need to manage the things I can control...diet and exercise. The more I research about PCOS, the more I read about what I should be eating and how I should be working out regularly. So those are the current steps I’m taking and journey I’m on.
It’s hard to share about infertility struggles. There are so many women who have struggled much much longer then me or have experienced incredible loss. It feels almost unfair to share my struggles when I have already been blessed with my beautiful boy. Believe me when I say, I am so incredibly thankful and blessed for my boy and my life.
Yet, the reason I chose to share, isn’t to in any way compare or say that I have it worse or better then someone. It’s simply to say that maybe you feel alone like I do, and you just want someone else to know that you’ve been struggling. I wanted to say this to you and for myself:
It really really sucks, it’s not fun, it’s not glamorous. It’s painful and yet, there is hope. It may come in waves like it does for me. When you feel it, just sit in that moment for a while and remember Gods goodness and promises over you. But friend, I am so so sorry. I’m sorry you’re going through this, I’m sorry that you’re constantly disappointed and monthly walking through the pain of what could have been. Having to continually let go of a dream that maybe this is the month. Don’t let yourself become bitter, remember to celebrate. Celebrate every momma and sweet babe, every pregnancy announcement, every birth. Life is so worth celebrating and it’s what will keep you from a hard bitter heart. Remember to grieve, you’re walking through continual pain, don’t let the weight of it take over. Cry, scream, get mad and then choose thankfulness and always choose Hope. I’m sorry you’re walking through this painful season and I hope to one day be celebrating your victory, whatever road you end up taking. Know that YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Thank you for taking the time to read through my journey. This road can be a very lonely one and it’s extremely hard to talk about. I wanted to share my journey because I would hope that by sharing my process it could help someone else feel a bit less alone during there own.