PCOS and Infertility: hurry up & wait.

Zachary and I have been married close to three years and together for about five years. He would tell you, I was ready to grow our family as soon as we said “I do”… though I learned or at least tried to pretend to have some patience as he wasn’t quite as eager at that time.  I wasn’t that girl that grew up picturing my wedding day, my mind skipped right past that step to my happy little family. You see, for me, the best part of being an adult was going to be being a mom. Of course I had never considered that we would be part of the 6.1% of couples who struggled with infertility.
For the last year we FINALLY buckled down and got serious about getting pregnant. For us, there was A LOT of planning that went into taking the first steps towards getting pregnant. If you don’t already know about my medical diagnoses, read more here. I saw my dysautonomia specialist at Vanderbilt, as well as an inherited disease specialist I was referred to. We were cleared at both those appointments and given a list of medications I would need to be weaned off of before trying to conceive. Next up we needed to tackle our local doctors and build “the team”. My obstetrician-gynocologist referred us 30 minutes from home to a high risk fetal specialist, who did reluctantly sign on but referred me to a local cardiologist whom he wanted on the team. That appointment went well and we were given the green light.
Our first notable stumbling block came when “we”, i.e. I, noticed, month in and month out, I wasn’t ovulating. We went into this endeavor knowing I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, so I scheduled with my obstetrician-gynecologist to resolve the ovulating issue. True to character, I had researched and made notes of the treatment plan I thought may best resolve the issue (yes, I am that person). I showed up, notebook in hand, explained the problem and my proposed plan of action. My fantastic, easy going doctor thought my research paid off and agreed it sounded like a good plan. I was prescribed progesterone cream, femara, continued on metformin, started taking ovulation test, logging anything fertility related in my chosen app and doing the necessary blood work each month. Within five months it was clear our issue wasn’t resolved. Like a flip was suddenly switched, as fall approached, my dysautonomia symptoms came on with a vengeance, as a result of being off multiple maintenance medications.  We were fast tracked, due to the additional health issues, to the best infertility specialist within a two hour drive. Once again, I sat through another appointment, discussing how to help my body do what it was made to do. The doctor explained the success rates, treatment options, treatment cost, financing options, and lack of insurance coverage. Yes I looked poised but sitting there I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry, scream, or even laugh (stress-relieving laughter, not funny ha ha). Anyone who is or has gone through this, I’m sure can relate. We moved forward with a progesterone oil injection, increased dosage of femara, and continued with everything else. My husband was sent for male labs and analysis and his results showed that we both had factors that were contributing to our infertility. We opted for COH/TI and an enhancement protocol for  my hubs. I was told if I didn’t get a positive pregnancy test in November to call and we’d move forward with increased femara dose, goal f or follistim.
With the ever increasing symptoms that had been brought on by fall, it came to a point that I had to go to Vanderbilt for advice. I was having profound orthostatic tachycardia, symptoms that resembled anaphylactic shock and fatigue. I had gone from working out 4-5 days a week to spending as much time in bed as possible. It was my specialist opinion that I needed to start back on those medications I had discontinued for the conception plan. We agreed I would give it until my next expected monthly and see if I would be blessed with a positive test result. November came and I missed missed my monthly!! I was excited but tried to be realistic, since I’ve never had regularity unless on birth control. As I bought my last pregnancy test that I’d ever need, I whispered a prayer begging God for those two bold lines. It was the longest three minutes and as I looked at the result window I finally knew, I would never feel my baby move, or know the closeness that you feel during those nine months but I was resolved to become a mom and make a difference in our future.

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