A long and wordy post from Kelli–
If you happened to miss it, I’m pregnant!!! Wahoo!!!
For a long time though, I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to say those words.
I’ve always wanted to have kids and be a mom since I can even imagine, but unbeknownst to me I was not in the category that needed to be told how easy it was to get pregnant in high school.
For quite some time, I’ve thought maybe I had a disease called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Here’s some more info–https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439
When I first found out about what PCOS was, I just thought it was a fertility thing and didn’t really think much more of it because at the time I wasn’t wanting to be pregnant, so I just burried my head in the sand and carried on with life (Please note, that this is not a good way to deal with things!).
I’ve been on birth control for quite some time also, so I wasn’t really too worried when I didn’t get a period because it was a known side effect of the medication I was on. For a while I was taking the pill and was always regular on that, so I really didn’t think too much of it.
Looking back, I’ve had lots of side effects and symptoms of the disease for quite some time though, but just explained everything away. Carrying weight around your middle? Runs in the family. Sleep apnea? Again, runs in the family. Blood pressure and cholesterol problems, iffy blood sugars? I’ve really hit the jackpot with my genes! Anxiety and depression? I thought everyone had that.
My biggest breaking point? I had gone off the birth control pill that I was taking in May of 2015. I was still in nursing school and super stressed with it on top of working every single day that I didn’t have class through the summer. Some of my funding didn’t carry over during the summer and I didn’t want to take loans, so I managed to get through it, but barely.
That Fall, I started nursing school back up. Unbeknownst to many people, I was an absolute wreck. I had gotten to the point where I would get a test and if I didn’t absolutely know the answer to the questions on the first page, I would have myself convinced within the first 5 minutes of the test that I was going to fail the test, fail out of the program, and fail at life in general. And the worst part was that there was not convincing myself otherwise–Because my mind always questioned me and asked “What if it is actually true?” all while knowing that if that would happen I’d get my stuff figured out eventually, but I just couldn’t get past it. And when I wasn’t in class or working, all I did was study and sleep….and study some more. I had this completely irrational fear that if I didn’t study for just 30 more minutes or review something one more time, I would fail the nursing program.
For some reason, I ended up in the doctor’s office for some reason completely unrelated and ended up pretty much having a panic attack/breakdown. Before that, I had always lied my way through every depression and anxiety screening test they had made me do becasue I was embarrased. That day, I let it all out and I’m so glad that I did.
As it turns out, that was the first day that I realized that the way I had been feeling for a long time was not okay or normal….and finally faced up to the fact that it wasn’t just a one off day. I ended up getting some medication to help me because at the time, I was at a crisis point. And just like magic, I got a period about 2 days later. I had stressed myself out so much that I wasn’t getting my period. Or that’s what I thought.
After a recheck and adding another medication in, I ended up having to go back on birth control because the medication I needed wasn’t safe to be on when trying to get pregnant. And looking back on it, I needed to get myself together before I worked on that part of things!
So I managed to get my act together, graduate, and got a full time job at our local hospital. Once I was through with orientation, I made another appointment with my new provider to try and transition off of meds. She was absolutely wonderful! We made a plan to change some medications while switching off of others. Once I was off of the medications that required birth control, I was able to work on the fun part of things. We had made a plan that if I didn’t get a period, I would come back in 3 months and we would make a new plan and start talking about referrals to a gynecologist fro some more in depth testing. Then I waited….and waited….And finally got a period! I was psyched! But for the next three months? Nothing…except lots of tears. And lots of hard talks….and lots of thinking about how hard I’d want to pursue things…and then lots more tears…
So my three months was up…and then some….and finally mom put her foot down and said that unless I made an appointment, I wasn’t allowed to wallow in my sadness and continue my perpetual pity party. I know it’s a surprise, but she happens to know that I excel at dragging my feel and always has a way of kicking my butt into gear.
So I made my appointment with my amazing nurse practitioner. I shed a few tears…actually quite a few. I told her I was pretty sure that this was going to be hard on me and that with my history, I thought that an anti-depressant might be helpful. She sent me on my way with a prescription and a referral to our local gynecologist.
I was kind of bummed that it took a while to get an appointment that worked with my work schedule, but in the mean time, I was able to connect with a few girls at work and got a bit more comfortable telling my story, so by the time that I had my appointment, I would tell it without becoming a blubbering mess. This is the appointment where I realized that PCOS was about more than infertility and awkward facial hair. You end up with a higher risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression also happen to occur at a higher rate with PCOS. In that appointment, lots of things fell into place and I realized that a lot of the things that I had been worrying about and fretting over really weren’t my fault as I thought they had been. I ended up leaving with a prescription for fertility meds, lots of information, and hope. Lots of hope! That was one of the first times that the tears I was shedding were good and happy tears.
I took my meds as I was supposed to, religiously took my basal body temp every morning, did lots of blood work, and some more akward testing to make sure everything was as is should be anatomically. Google hysterosalpingogram if you want more details!
I had a follow up appointment and was bummed to find out that my fertility meds hadn’t resulted in ovulation. When I had the appointment, we also discussed my blood pressure that had been borderline high, but I had been watching with my nurse practitioner. My gynecologist wanted it better controlled, so I ended up starting meds. He told me that he’d like me to work on healthier eating, exercising and getting my blood pressure under control for a few months and see him again in July. Tears flowed after that appointment…and they weren’t of the happy kind….
I happened to have a foot appointment after that and they recommended surgery–So I figured that’d fit in just fine since I wasn’t going to have to worry about getting pregnant….
And then guess what!? It happened. No meds, no planning, nothing! My body did it! I was so proud of something that I don’t really have any control over, as silly as it sounds. I had decided that even if it didn’t end as I had so hoped that it would, I accomplished more and was farther than I was before…and I was gonna celebrate that!
You can imagine how excited I was when I took a test! I seriously wasn’t able to hold in my excitement. There are good things about knowing you are pregnant pretty much immediately after and things that make it hard….Because I knew….but again with PCOS, I am at an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, pregnancy complications….So if you know me at all, you know that I can’t keep my mouth shut for anything…so this was hard!!!
I called my gynecologist right away as I knew that I needed to have an HCG test done. It was low, but I knew that as long as it doubled within the next two days, it would be a good sign. So I had my second draw done….and it definitely didn’t double. I called back to discuss the results and he recommended that I have another double draw done. So I went back in…and you guessed it–No doubling. I cried and cried….it was a sign that I’d likely miscarry.
I finally went in to get the last draw done. I had it done and decided to kill some time at the thrift store. I had seen these velcro hair rollers that mom’s childcare kids like to build with and was going to get them, but then decided not to….and then went back to get them. I turned around and there was a statue of a pregnant lady…And at that point I knew it was going to be fine. It was just an odd peace, but I knew things would be fine. I went back to get my results and guess what?!?! IT DOUBLED!!!
From then on out, it’s been a whirlwind of lots of appointments, an ultrasound, lots of extra blood work (PCOS has an increase risk of lots of things…pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, etc.). So far, things are going well though. I’ve been sick from exactly 6 weeks….but I’m getting good at telling when I’m going to puke, snuggling Puppycat and getting rested up for the days of no sleep. The constant headaches and tiredness is getting normal. And for the first time in my life, I haven’t had an appetite (I’ve actually lost 15 pounds, which is less than ideal) and have to force myself to eat, but I’m finding out what works better and what to avoid. And I never thought I’d say it, but I’ve never been so happy to puke in my life! It was always my nemesis before, but I guess with motherhood, I better get used to it!
So this is my advice to everyone–Watch what you say to people you know might be trying to start a family. I’ve told some people parts of my story, but I’ve really never told many people all of it. There’s lots of it that’s embarrassing and awkward, but the thing is that none of it is my fault and once I’ve been able to realize and accept that, I’ve been able to move on. And it’s not something that I generally want to just talk about and discuss. Lots of days, I would prefer to talk about anything but that!
Here are some of the comments I’ve heard while trying to get pregnant–“Oh so and so had that and you know they never were able to have kids.” “My daughter in law has that. What are the chances that I’ll actually get grandchildren out of her?” “What are you waiting for?” “Isn’t that the point of getting married?” “Do things just not work for you or what?” “Why would you want to go broke just to have a kid that’s gonna make you end up even more broke?” “I’m sure that things will work out eventually.” “Maybe you aren’t trying hard enough.” “Oh they never did have kids. Wouldn’t that just be horrible to never have kids?”
Some of those probably have you shaking your head. But I’ve heard each and every one of them and I can tell you exactly where I was and who said each of them. And some of them knew we were trying and were having trouble and many of them were from people that I know and see most days. I’m not angry and I know that they didn’t mean things to hurt, but the sting was still there.
So here’s a takeaway–Just be careful of what you say. If someone wants to talk, listen. Blanket statements like “I’m sorry you are going through that.” “If you need to talk, let me know, I’m here to listen.” “I’m here if you want to talk or just need to have a good cry.” Those are good, but please, please, never squash hope! Because between many prayers and lots of hope, my story can keep on going!