Sharing my journey with PCOS and infertility, what it has looked like for me and what it means or could mean for the future of our family. Oh, and as always, a healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled throughout.
**DISCLAIMER: This is out of my norm for home posts so if you’re here for the home goodies, you can skip right on past this to just read some other cool things we have done to our house lately like our design plans for our MEGA CHEAP master bath remodel or our Little Tikes Playhouse Makeover.
**Second disclaimer: I’m like definitely for sure 100% not a doctor. At all. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn once.
If you aren’t in the infertility world (or even if you are) you may not know that September is PCOS awareness month. The average home blogger is posting about all things fall (which I’m about to do too…like tomorrow) but here I sit, soy sauce on mouth, posting about infertility. Ew.
That’s right. I said ew. Because I have PCOS and I HATE IT. I don’t say hate about a lot of things, but this is one that I say I HATE. Because I do. I realized I hadn’t shared our full infertility story so I figured why not?
PCOS and Infertility: My story
How did I find out I had PCOS?
A year after we got married and decided to start trying, I knew immediately something was wrong. I had all the typical symptoms and after a series of bloodwork and me changing to a new doctor, I was diagnosed in 2014 officially. Our doc told us it “wasn’t a death sentence, but it would just be a lot harder for us.” Ha. Tip of the iceberg there.
What even is PCOS?
Technically, PCOS (or polycystic ovarian syndrome) is not an infertility issue. It’s an endocrine issue that causes infertility. It is a hormonal imbalance that means you produce too much male hormone and not the right balance of estrogen/progesterone and so your body is just all whack.
What are some PCOS symptoms?
There are a variety of symptoms that, again, you can Google, but here are some that I’ve experienced:
- You gain/hold on to weight in weird places.
- You get really cute facial hair.
- Your cycles are whack or nonexistent.
- You have cysts on your ovaries (that you can see on an ultrasound)
- Most importantly – you typically don’t ovulate.
If you missed sex ed because all you did was laugh every time your teacher said the word penis then you might have missed that to have a baby, the woman has to ACTUALLY OVULATE.
You can read all about it here if you want, but there are millions of articles if you just google, “PCOS”.
You’re actually at a higher rate for miscarriage which is real sucky too. We’ve only had one in 2016 that we lost at 11 weeks and let me tell you – I have NO CLUE how women go through that more than once. It’s devastating.
Is there a cure or treatment for PCOS?
Short answer is no. There are ways you can manage symptoms, but that’s about it. It’s why we eat keto. It’s why we have been seeing a chiropractor for over a year in hopes to keep everything in line and regulated. But we are in year 5 of PCOS infertility and at this point, we have exhausted almost every option except IVF.
There are also tons of apps and trackers. Although the Ava Bracelet isn’t good for people with PCOS, I use it anyway. You can read about what my unfiltered thoughts are about it here.
Can you get pregnant with PCOS?
Yup. You sure can. I have what they call “mild PCOS” which means at any time my body could decide to function the way it should. Could be once a year, once every 4 months, or every 87 days. But there is no way to tell. So there is ALWAYS a chance which is actually INSANELY frustrating and disheartening.
For us, it took 1 round of fertility medicine and some divine timing to conceive Charlotte. However I will say that we have taken the same drugs we did with Char, taken even stronger drugs (almost 15 rounds of those drugs), done 3 rounds of IUI and nothing.
What’s the hardest part of PCOS?
I often call infertility a silent soul killer. Want to know why?
See this face? It lies a lot. There are so many more days where my face looks the exact opposite of this – drenched in tears and red from screaming of frustration and anger. But on the outside I look like this and nobody knows.
PCOS and infertility has brought and continues to bring some of my absolute darkest days.
I’ve lost friendships. Really good ones.
I’ve torn up nearly every baby shower invite I get and throw it immediately away, usually while rage crying.
I get triggered by certain words or phrases and weep uncontrollably.
I grieve and mourn the loss of something I never had.
I’ve seen DOZENS of negative pregnancy tests and my heart still sinks every time.
I’ve nearly had to replace my phone approximately 6.8K times because I’ve thrown it yet again when I see another social media pregnancy announcement or get another text “just to let me know they’re pregnant”.
I’ve secluded myself. On purpose. Because I don’t want to see or talk to anyone because all I think about is how badly I want to carry a child again, to throw up again, to be uncomfortable with swollen feet again and I feel like all I do is see people get “surprise” babies or even “planned” ones that one month they were “planning” and 2 weeks later, they were pregnant.
“Be happy you have your sweet babes” …. and other stupid things well meaning people say
“It’ll happen in God’s timing.” (I know.)
“But you already have 2 beautiful babes. Be grateful for that at least.” (I am.)
“Maybe God has a different plan. You don’t know what he’s up to” (Okay, but like if he could let me know what that’d be swell.)
“When y’all start trying again, you should ______.” (Okay, first off, we have never STOPPED trying and second, I can guarantee we have done _____ and also ________, ________ and ________ about 80 times but thanks.)
“You’re suffering so well. What a beautiful testimony you have.” (Yeah, but for once it’d be nice to just not suffer and in the midst of darkness I don’t care about my “testimony”.)
“You know it’ll happen if you just relax and don’t think about it for a while.”
“Be careful what you wish for. You might end up with twins!” (FRICKIN BRING IT ON DUDE. I WILL GIVE BIRTH TO A LITTER IN A BOX UNDER SOME ABANDONED TRAILER STAIRS IF IT ALLOWS ME TO BE PREGNANT.)
What’s next for our family?
We know we want to adopt at LEAST one more time. And truthfully, I would love 2 more biological children and if I’m going ahead and asking for things, yes. I want twins. I know they’re challenging and I may beat my head against a brick wall if they come, but I will NEVER be ungrateful.
Our reproductive endocrinologist told us our logical next step is IVF which I so badly don’t want to do. It’s brutal on your body/emotions and I’m crazy enough as it is.
What tips do I have for enduring PCOS and infertility?
Oh girl. First of all, if this is you, I’m like LEGITIMATELY sorry. Even if your’s isn’t PCOS; any infertility in any capacity just sucks a huge one and I’m really sorry.
Scream if you want to.
Cry if you need to.
GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA if you need to. Actually you probably should. It’s why I haven’t gotten on my personal one in almost a year and why I am VERY selective on my blog Instagram about who I follow.
Document things. Start a blog if it helps. It’s 98% of the reason I started this one. Never told you that part before, but there it is. I needed SOMETHING to take my mind off of it, even for a second.
Be selective in what you tell to whom. Have your safe people.
It’s okay not to go to baby related things. It really is. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Most importantly just don’t do this alone. Infertility is HELLA isolating as it is. If you’re like me, you feel alone, barren, and a whole different level of body guilt/shaming because you’re a woman and you can’t do the ONE THING you were created to naturally be able to do. I get it. It’s okay to be alone sometimes but don’t be alone, you feel me?