Infertility and PCOS

PCOS Awareness Symposium - Presented by PCOS Challenge, Inc.

I have PCOS. Do you know what PCOS is? No? Well google it…there is a TON of information out there now.

For those who don’t want to google….PCOS = Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This syndrome is fairly common, mostly misunderstood, and widely variable depending on the person. It’s symptoms?

  • Sometimes obesity, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes infertility, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes hirutism, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes depression/anxiety, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes high levels of male hormones, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes insulin resistance, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes irregular periods, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes annovulatory periods, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes ovaries that are polycystic, sometimes not.
  • Sometimes genetic, sometimes not.

In case you haven’t noticed the pattern here, it is completely 100% unpredictable and variable and there is no rhyme or reason for it’s variability: some women are all of the above things, some are half, some are only one or two….and yet we all fit into the category of PCOS.

I was diagnosed with PCOS at 23 (8 years ago). At the time, I was not actively trying to get pregnant and had zero symptoms (except a visibly polycystic ovary) so I wasn’t too worried about it. There was very little information about it at the time, so I accepted what I was told and moved on with my life. Shortly after I was advised that time was not my friend, so if we wanted a baby – then we needed to start now. So we did, and it began what I will call a whirlwind of hell, in which almost all of the PCOS symptoms made their presence known at one time or another. 7 years later we are still not parents, and I am raging PCOS-y, but we are stronger and better people so I count that as a silver lining.

This is my journey as a woman, a wife, and a wanna-be Mother – learning how to reach my goals, even in the midst of PCOS.

TTC Timeline:

Sept. 2009 – Diagnosed with PCOS. No symptoms except visible polycystic ovaries.

Jan. 2010 – Start TTC.

Feb. 2010 – Feb. 2011 – No success. Start seeing RE.

Feb – Oct. 2011 – RE runs a plethora of tests – all come back OK. Aside from visible polycystic ovaries, there is no reason for lack of conception.

Nov. 2011 – Jan. 2012 – RE puts me on progesterone to regulate cycles and prepare me for Clomid.

Feb. 2012 – Cyst on right Ovary ruptures and contorts, killing my ovary and fallopian tube. Emergency surgery to remove all three things. We are devastated.

Mar – Sept 2012 – Recovery from surgery, getting back to work and regular life. We decide to break for the summer and start back at it in September.

Sept. 2012 –  RE goes off on early mat leave, leaving us on a wait list to see another.

Dec. 2012 – We finally get a new RE, I am less than thrilled with it being a young, handsome male who will now be all up in my business.

Jan – Apr 2012 – He reruns all of our testing, which again comes back normal. Refers us for IVF, which is something we are not at all sure we want to do. Desperate and beaten down, we make the difficult decision to move back home (across the country) to be closer to our nephews if we are never able to have children of our own.

May 2012 – Move.

August 2012 – November 2016 – I have some minor health problems that set us back, and we work on settling into our new province, being healthy, saving money, and trying to conceive naturally.

November 2016 – New and wonderful doctor sends us for testing, while prescribing hormones to induce ovulation.

Dec. 2016 – Mar 2017 – I do not ovulate once in this time period despite having horrible side effects from the medication = super frustrating. I end up with another massive cyst, and live every day in fear it will contort like the last one and take my only remaining ovary. It is so very stressful, I am super depressed and feeling like I cannot win. No matter what medication I take, my body hates it and rejects it every way possible.

Mar. 2017 – Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. Begin synthroid and told to stop TTC until we get it regulated. Cyst bursts, and thankfully leaves behind my ovary and fallopian tube – healthy and whole (thank goodness!).

Mar – Aug 2017 – Struggling to find the right dose of Synthroid…I’ve been on two already, and my levels just continue to rise (not lower). So frustrating!! Regulating my thyroid is proving to be more difficult to tame than a wild animal. Not preventing anything, but I don’t believe I have ovulated more than once in this time period….not surprisingly, no BFP.

Aug 2017 – Make the difficult decision not to proceed with medicated cycles / IVF (every time I try any medication of any kind, my body has a crisis…I am waving my white flag, I cannot handle any more emergency surgeries, cysts that threaten to take everything or sudden illnesses). Not sure where this leaves us, but it is clear my body is not handling ART well.

Oct 2017 – After a very emotional September (also, still haven’t been able to get the right dose to regulate my thyroid!), we decide to apply for adoption. I am still holding out hope that we conceive naturally – but from the moment we applied for the adoption – it has felt right. I have peace that I have not had in SO LONG. I know adoption is a long, difficult road – but I am thrilled to be on it and I know it is the right road for us. My poor body can FINALLY have a break while we try to get my thyroid under control!

Oct 2017 – Started Inositol and Vitamin D drops to hopefully help regulate my reproductive system naturally…stay posted and I will let you know how/if it works!