In the spring of 2014 after nearly 2 years of trying to get pregnant and suffering 1 miscarriage, I was finally diagnosed with PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS is a condition in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with periods and make it difficult to get pregnant - in fact, it's the leading cause of infertility in women. I went undiagnosed for a long time because I didn't show any of the "classic" signs of PCOS which include things like being overweight, having facial hair, irregular periods, and others - none of which I have. Because of this, the doctors told me they consider me to be a case of "Lean PCOS" which displays the classic ovarian issues but not a lot of the physical issues. I do, however, bear the often invisible signs of this condition which include being prone to depression & anxiety, high levels of inflammation in the body, and a difficulty getting and staying pregnant.
Either way, as someone who has longed for a big family - PCOS just plain sucks! But I've found that my fitness and nutrition play a HUGE role in managing my symptoms as well as in my ability to conceive. As I uncover things that work for me, I will share them with you through my facebook page and blog.
MY PREGNANCY STORY
Since I was a child I have known I want to be a mother. As someone who makes a living taking care of myself and promoting health, I'll admit that I never expected to face challenges getting pregnant or the pain of miscarriage. But I have.
When we are young we are almost made to believe that conception is something that happens with no effort. We sing, “First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” PIECE. OF. CAKE. Right? HA! For many, it seems to happen just that simply. But that wasn’t my path at all. In fact, I didn’t get married right out of college but waited (I admit, impatiently) until I was 31. At the time of my wedding, most of my friends had 1, 2 or even 3 children and there was a big part of me that felt I’d somehow fallen WAY behind. It was not what I had planned or expected.
Soon after getting married, I heard that biological clock ticking and I started to think, “We need have kids soon, I’m getting old!” After several months of trying to start a family (and wondering if perhaps there were issues preventing it), my husband and I found out we were expecting - only to lose the baby just a few short days later. The high and low of that experience is something I wasn’t prepared for and that still scares me to this day. But harder than that was the ongoing struggle to conceive again.
When you want something desperately, it seems you are surrounded by people who have it or are coming by it so easily. When I miscarried, both my sister and sister-in-law were pregnant with their 3rd and 2nd child. In the many months that followed, it seemed as though every time I turned around there was another pregnancy announcement, baby shower to attend, or new birth being shared. And every time I said the words “Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” there was a small piece of me that silently resented their good news. Don’t get me wrong . . . I shared the joy of my friends who were expecting or had given birth. But I couldn't help but ask “Why not me? When is it my turn, God?”
After losing the baby in April 2013, we continued to trust that God had a plan and kept trying. During that time I shared with many people what we were going through and had HUNDREDS of people telling me they were praying for us. We sought out prayer as much as we could - praying ourselves, with our families, and meeting with pastors and friends at our church for prayer. It was one of the things that gave me the most comfort in that year of waiting and hoping.
In April of 2014, after nearly 2 years of struggle and loss, we took the next step and looked into reproductive medicine (we wouldn't have waited that long if insurance regulations didn't require it.) After many tests and lovely experiences being probed and prodded, I was finally diagnosed with PCOS - something the Dr's were surprised by but that they said could be easily "treated" with a simple insulin regulating medication. Outside of that, we were told that there was really nothing they could find that would prevent us from conceiving but that they would like to put me on fertility medication 3 months later simply to move things along. I was counting down to the date when that would begin because each "unsuccessful" month that went by felt like a year.
Finally, the month came . . . and the very week that I was set to go into see the Dr and begin treatment is the same week I took a test that was POSITIVE. I was pregnant with our Lincoln who is now 21 months old. Our prayers had been answered.
But the PCOS struggle continues. We are creeping up on almost a year of trying to expand our family and the frustration is once again settling in. In an effort to do everything within my control to help our effort I have made changes in my diet and am taking supplements to help manage my PCOS. I'm still learning, but I love sharing what I learn with other women who share my diagnosis and the struggle that goes with it. I know how hard it is. I know how frustrating it becomes. I'm in the midst of the struggle myself! If you have PCOS and need help with your fitness & nutrition or just want to connect, please contact me using the button below.