PCOS: infertility, loss & hope (part 1)

when I started this blog I sat down and wrote out some rules to follow in order to respect the boundaries and privacy of my marriage, family, and friends to be sure that I never shared anything that violated trust that is so hard to build, yet incredibly easy to lose. I knew, however, that I wanted to share a certain part of my life that has been particularly hard. I also knew that I needed to share it because, when I was in the thick of it, I found so much encouragement and information on blogs written by incredibly honest women. plus, it seems as if the hard times are never over, not until we meet Jesus face-to-face anyway, so we might as well encourage one another because it’s never not needed. (sometimes double negatives are the only way to go)

the debate: do I start at the beginning or do I start with the last three months and backtrack?

I guess the beginning is a good place to start. I’ll break this story up into a few posts because, dang, it is fully involved. I’ll try to include all my resources, but because I didn’t know I would need them for sharing purposes I didn’t keep all of them for reference. the info just ended up in my head. I’ll do my best to find them though as I know they’re important!

Infertility, Loss & Hope (part 1) // The Modern Locket

part 1 – I hate birth control & it hates me just as much

about three months before Dave & I got married I started birth control pills. they were not kind to me. before taking them my cycle was super predictable, and though it wasn’t fun, it never failed me. I believe every woman’s body has its own natural hormonal balance, but some seem to be a little more flexible than others. as far as flexibility, mine seems to be about as pliable as a reinforced steel rod. it affected nearly everything about me and it was obvious that it pained Dave to see me this way. during the 8 months I was on birth control pills I suffered 8-10 migraines a month and found myself slipping further and further inside my own head. it was as if I could hear my own emotional responses to things in my head and was totally aware that they were nutso.  I was thinking in ways I never had before and I knew it. and I knew something had to change.

I went to my OBGYN who referred me to a neurologist. they determined that the migraines were estrogen induced and I should stop taking the pills. so I did! yippee! at last I could be normal! within a few days of stopping the birth control I felt completely normal. no more weird thoughts that felt like a tiny Scrooge was living in my head and no more migraines! I’d never had one before the birth control and was very glad that they didn’t stick around!

since birth control wasn’t a factor anymore we knew kids were now a very real possibility. after all, I was on the cusp of 30 (that’s when you’re supposed to talk about that stuff, right?), and while I’d married a younger man (whoop! whoop!) he was clearly a family man whose eyes sparkled at the thought of a baby of his own to cuddle, kiss, and watch Ohio State games with. at first I was a hard sell, but boy, oh, boy did the Lord awaken a desire in me to have a family that I had squashed for so long. when you’re single past the point where most of your friends are married you gotta do what you gotta do to work with what you’ve got. anything else makes you bitter. i pray for my single lady friends daily, and, Dave can tell you, I also vocally lament their struggles. you are on my mind, ladies.

but i digress.

as I write this I’m in a fair bit of pain, emotionally and physically, from the newest round of crazy that the doctor calls an “anomaly.” but at this early stage I had no idea how much I would need to sit at Jesus’ feet and be reminded of his sovereignty. the following year off birth control was mostly ignorant bliss. I knew it could take a while to get my cycle on track, though in order to get it on track I would have to have a period. it never happened. instead, I steadily gained weight for, what seemed like, no reason at all.

I went back to the OBGYN to hear what I already knew: it could take a while (the average is 1-4 months), but they did an ultrasound just in case and discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I knew very little about it, but when I was shown the photos of my ovaries I knew instinctively they weren’t supposed to look like a swollen gremlin covered in bumpy spots. I’ll spare you the explanation of all that PCOS is, but if you like you can read the info here. from various tests we learned that I didn’t have some of the symptoms related to PCOS, but there was no denying the look of my ovaries and the main factors were there. there wasn’t a single piece of real estate on either one that wasn’t completely covered. my skin crawled when I saw it. it still does when I think about it. my heart sank as I wondered what this meant for the future of our family and there was a twinge of sorrow as I felt that I’d let Dave down. he’s an amazing man, though. more amazing than I ever, ever deserved. the Lord knew more about me than I did when he matched us together. he’s a rock and quickly dispelled any of the doubt in my mind. pray for the men who love women who are suffering the burden of infertility. they are on the front line and helpless to fix the problems of the one they love.

as always, I welcome all questions. if you’ve never experienced anything like this and know someone who has or is, or if you are in the thick of the weeds, no matter your “issue,” I hope you’ll stay with me and share a bit of your struggle. I learned a lot from the comment sections of the blogs I visited because it showed a greater slice of the population and I read things that benefited me either emotionally or physically.