PCOS to Pregnancy


I've had several emails and requests to discuss my personal road to here.. many questions regarding the twins, do they run in your family, did you do InVitro, how long did it take for you to get pregnant, etc.. 

So- after seeking permission from my sweet husband to share his experience as well- because the pieces don't fit well together without him, I've decided to share:)  This post is long, and I apologize in advance for it.. but I feel it is necessary to cover all the bases.

The Beginning

My (our) story starts about 10 years ago.. I started having issues with regularity.

(Ok- stop right there.. this is going to have some pretty deep info about myself and Jordan's reproductive abilities..nothing to gross you out per say, but I would stop reading if you're fearing TMI..)

Back to my irregularity.  Off and on I couldn't get a regular monthly cycle going, and it was at that time my Ob/Gyn at the time decided to put me on birth control.  I was 17 years old. 

Irregularity continued over the next 5 years, through 4 doctors, multiple trials with hormones, birth control, and uncomfortable exploratory exams- nothing.  Even on the highest dosage of birth control/hormones my body could handle, I was still not getting into a regular monthly cycle (I would start my period about a week into active pills.. sometimes really light and other times had me headed to the hospital for excessive bleeding or cramps that put me to my knees and would force Jordan to carry my into the ER in his arms curled in the fetal position.  Makes me want to cry thinking about those times..)  Finally the last doctor I saw took me off everything and decided to let my body do it's thing.  3 years went by and I can count the number of times I had a period on my two hands. 

A Diagnosis- Finally.

Jordan and I finally, after 5 years of marriage, decided it was about that time to have kids.  We wanted them, and wanted to take the next steps in doing so.  This led to another doctor search.  Randomly one day in November of 2009 I opened up my insurance book and picked a name.  Dr. Walsh. I liked the name well enough.  It sounded.. pretty.  So, I called and made an appointment, with the new doctor (yet again.) and got into see her in the New Year, January 19th.  After 20 minutes with this woman I realized the fact that I 'liked her name' was no accident (duh..God's hand is in everything.  It is humorous to think that I actually had something to do with it all).  She scheduled me for a sono that following week and I was diagnosed: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). After 8 years, and finally FINALLY some answers.  My misdiagnosis for so long was simply because I didn't 'fit the bill' for a classic PCOS'er.  I was not overweight, did not have facial hair due to overproduction of testosterone, I surely don't think I look like a male.. but what I do have?  Irregularity and acneic skin (which I only thought I could attribute to my mother..) as well as ovaries that look like two clusters of grapes at any given time of the month. 

So where does that leave us for babies..?  It was shortly after my diagnosis when we decided to seriously start taking steps on the route to pregnancy.  Per recommendations of my ob/gyn, and the fact I've been off birth control for about 4 years at this point and no baby, we had Jordan screened for infertility as well.

A Bump in the Road

The results came to conclude that Jordan had fertility issues of his own. (The hits just keep on coming..) Jordan has what is called varicoceles or varicose veins on his man parts.  His results showed that while he has an absurd amount of spermy guys, but they are with decreased morphology or, for lack of a better way to describe it- lazy sperm due to the addition warmth of the blood flow in the varicoceles down there.  There were millions of them, but once they got to my egg (if I even had any that month) they had no strength to break through.  Surgery to repair this birth defect was scheduled and Jordan began his (rather painful) recovery.  The three month follow up after his surgery was rather disappointing.  His numbers hadn't budged from before surgery. We knew of the risk that this surgery wouldn't work, but surely there was something we could do to improve his number in the least bit, right?  I decided to pull out my dietitian brain and do some research. 

After a brief evidence-based analysis on male infertility I decided on several things to include in my sweet husband's nutrition prescription. 
1.) Cut the caffeine.  I didn't realize what a crazy role this plays with fertility- for both male and female. 
2.) Increase your fruit & vegetable intake.  No problem there.  I keep him loaded.
3.) Flaxseed.  The Omega-3's are beneficial for male fertility.
4.) Supplements.  Jordan began to take the following supplements: Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-12, Men's Multivitamin, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and L-Carnitine (I think that’s all of them..) 

At his 6 month post-op appointment Jordan's numbers went through the roof.  The urologist had never seen such numbers of improvement before.  So much so, that he decided to see Jordan back for a 9-month appointment before releasing him to make sure.  Finally the 9 month post-op appointment came, and Jordan was still with improved numbers, and finally he was released as fertile:)  

Reproductive Endocrinology

So back to me.  With my lack of ability to produce viable eggs, we were advised my by Ob/Gyn to seek assistance from a fertility specialist for further care.  She recommended IVF Plano with Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. James Douglas and his amazing team of nurses.  Our first appointment with Dr. Douglas consisted of a basic interview/counseling session as well as the drawing of our plan of care through this process- due to the history of infertility in the both of us, Dr. D decided our first step: IUI ( Intrauterine Insemination).  We left the appointment feeling ready and confident, and about half a mile down the road reality set in.  What if this didn't work.  What happens when we have to repeat this process multiple times.  Were we financially ready to make the commitment?  We had done some previous research on PCOS and treatments and have had several friends try different things before skipping right to the serious treatments of IUI and In-Vitro.  Jordan and I both felt we were skipping a step here somewhere. 

Finally, after a couple weeks of praying and talking about what we thought was the right way to go about this, we decided to try simple hormone therapy (Clomid) to start.  We figured going this route for a couple months would help us to feel more confident in our decision to go with IUI after the hormone therapy didn't work rather than skipping it all together.  I had a friend give me some advice, and through my tears it clicked.  After starting IUI it isn't like you can take a step backward to hormone therapy and expect it to work.  Start from scratch, and see where it takes you. 

And that we did. 

 

And Then There Were Nine

After taking the prescribed Clomid as directed I was at Dr. Douglas' office multiple times over the next couple weeks- sonogram after sonogram- monitoring for egg production.  It seemed that my body loved Clomid beyond everyone's expectations.  I was on the lowest dosage of Clomid (50 mg) you can give (My Ob/Gyn actually laughed out loud when she discovered my dosage and how my body reacted to it.) and my body produced 9 eggs- yes NINE eggs.  The sonographer confirmed with me that I did have two larger eggs, and promised that the other 7 would stop growing and eventually fail to be viable for ovulation.  I was scheduled to return in 3 days for yet another sonogram to check measurements.  On that day I did in fact have two eggs ready to go, and the other seven, well, they did not stop growing, and were rather large at this point.  My doctor made it clear that I needed to ovulate today or I may have a problem on my hands.. Yowza.  After testing for my LH surge, and I was without (classic PCOS), the office decided to give me an injection (Ovidrel) to force ovulation.  I was advised to go home and make sure I have sex  the following day (Tuesday) and again on the day after (Wednesday) in hopes for it to work.  No problem, right?

Not So Romantic After All

Jordan and I decided this wasn't going to become some robotic action just to try and get pregnant- it was all stressful enough in the first place.  Well- no one plans for the weather.  That day happened to be a day of crazy storms and multiple tornado touch downs and disaster here in Fort Worth/Arlington.  Jordan was called into work for emergency assistance, and on his way to grab his bag from the house he called me at work to inform me of all this.  We were running off generators and hiding in doorways away from windows here at the hospital- so when he called I said "Okay, love you and be careful." and we hung up. 

Immediately it clicked in my brain and I called him back- "You aren't going anywhere before you see me- wait right there, I'm coming home."  My boss looked like she had seen a ghost when I walked into her office and told her I was leaving.  Thankfully she is aawweesommme and totally knew and understood what was going on.  I had to be open and up front since I was in and out of the office several times during the week due to doctor appointments and follow-ups. 

I got home safely and it was just wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.  And he left.  So romantic.

Follow Up- Again.

At the end of that week I went back to the doctor for another sono, and this time I was looking at empty follicles where the eggs once were and had since ovulated (so incredible.) It was confirmed that I ovulated 2 eggs- one from my right ovary and one from my left.  I left there with instruction to take a pregnancy test in two weeks (Wednesday) and then call if it is positive.  So- you mean to tell  me I have to wait two weeks before I found out if all this worked?  Good grief.

 

The Time Has Come

Finally the time came to take that test- I/we had been waiting for two long weeks!  I say long- it actually flew by and I couldn't believe it was already time.  I kept counting my days to make sure I wasn't off somewhere.  That morning I woke at 3am having to pee so bad.  I laid there realizing quickly that I wasn't going back to sleep unless I got up to pee, and I wasn't going pee unless I pee'd on that stick.  So- 3am was in the morning, the early morning of the day they told me to take the test.  What the heck.  

May Take Up to 3 Minutes For Results to Appear

3 minutes?  Try 30 seconds.  That test was positive in no time flat.  I couldn't believe it.  I got back in bed and felt Jordan moving around a bit.  'Jordan.. I'm pregnant.'  It worked.. I feel like it is too good to be true at this point.  That was.. easy.  But- reality is, it wasn't actually easy as I recollect back through our journey here to write this LONG post (sorry).  

In the days following my positive pregnancy test I took multiple blood tests to check HCG, progesterone, etc.. all came back healthy. Very healthy.  My HCG level was well into the 700's in just two weeks of pregnancy.  That flew up some red flags for me.. even though all the nurses could say was 'You have a very strong pregnancy.'    On the morning of my second HCG test a couple days later, the nurse informed me that it would be okay if my numbers didn't quadruple as they would normally since mine were so high to begin with.  Oh, but they did,  more than quadruple might I add.  HCG was in the 3,000 range.  Even with all this, I had thoughts of multiples, but since multiples are pretty uncommon with simple hormone therapy, I didn't think twice (no pun intended).  

Finally came the time to see this sweet baby on the monitor!  I couldn't contain myself!  I was 6 weeks 2 days along when the sonographer said "Well.. how do you guys feel about twins?" 

Tears.  All I had was tears.  I couldn't stop crying- joyful crying, let me be clear on that..

So here we are- with our sweet baby twins.  A rather long time coming, and we are blessed with not one baby, but God chose me to carry and be a mother to TWO babies.  What an honor that he would bless me in this way. So, no IUI, no In-Vitro.. just a little help from hormone therapy and a good doctors.  I have been so blessed with GREAT doctors.



Road to Fertility ROUND 2 HERE

32 comments:

Jenny said...

So glad to have found your blog and this story. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 years ago. Like you, I wasn't overweight, but I had practically no menstrual cycles. When I was diagnosed, my testerone levels were through the roof, but you would never know it looking at me (thank goodness!). My Dr. said he had patients with much lower numbers and obvious features. When I got married we tried on our own for a year and a half to get pregnant, but when you don't ovulate it doesn't really work well. We started Clomid and on the 3rd round had a successful pregnancy! Our little boy is 18 months old and we are at it again. I hoped that things with my PCOS would work its self out after my pregnancy. This had happened for a friend, but unfortunately not for me. We are ready for another round of Clomid. Praying for another success story!

Your babies are gorgeous! I wish you all the best!

Kendra Pahukoa said...

oh this is just such an awesome story! you are a very blessed girl indeed! :)

Meg @ Fit Tone Groove Mama said...

Love your story! God is so good:)

Anonymous said...

Wow this is such an amazing story. Brought tears, happy years, and hopeful years. Congratulations on the beautiful sweet little girlies! Xox

Kasey Jackson said...

Amber! So funny, I was browsing Pinterest today and your bump tracker came up in the "kids" category today. I was like, HEY, i know that girl! :)

It was so sweet to read your story and learn a little bit more about you! :)

-Kasey Jackson

teresa bowen said...

Such a good post! Some men are encountered problems on their sex drive and they are looking for more products which they can use to increase their testosterone level. I want to share with you the vitamin d testosterone.

Natalie and Lee said...

What an amazing story!!!! I got chills!! Your baby girls are adorable!!

Lisette said...

I jut read this whole story and am on the verge of tears. What a beautiful story! Sorry you had so many bumps along the way, but was a beautiful outcome!

AuntiMo said...

Amber, thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband are traveling the same road, and it is such a relief and joy to read your story. Crying. Thank you so much! God bless you and your precious family.

Becca Moss said...

I just read your story and I can't begin to tell you how it has made me feel. The end when you found out the girls were going to be twins made me cry. I'm so glad the Lord gave you these babies and to be their momma! You're doing a fantastic job of raising them, don't let anyone tell you any different! xoxo

Kenzie Ashcraft said...

Oh this story had me in tears! What a blessing :) Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Loved hearing your story! What a blessing!

Was wondering if you did anything to help your PCOS during this journey. Diet, metformin, supplements, etc?

Good luck! Love hearing the updates! God bless!

Dresden said...

Just found your blog and I love this post. I went through the exact same thing. I was diagnosed with PCOS and rarely had a menstrual cycle. After 5 years of marriage we decided we wanted to start a family. Long story short, my 4th round of Clomid they doubled the dosage and what do you know...I'm pregnant with twins! Due mid-December. So glad to know other people have had the same experience. What a blessing to be able to have children. Thanks for your words :)

Lindsay Hopkins said...

I found your blog through Pinterest by chance and I am so glad I did! I am currently going through this same exact process and hearing your success story makes me hopeful.

Your family is beautiful - all the best!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your story! My sister follows your blog and called me the day she read and said…YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!! My sister…knowing I have the same diagnosis as you with the same atypical signs and a struggle with fertility. My husband and I are going on just over a year with our struggle. And like you…JESUS has been whats getting me through each day. From climid to injections meds to ultrasound after ultrasound. We currently are trusting God and spending time in prayer for the next step. IVF perhaps…as the doctors would like to do… I know Jesus has an amazing plan for us and your story gives me hope and assurance I am not the only one struggling! Thanks again for sharing :)

Sana said...

Such an amazing heartfelt story. I got diagnosed with PCOS 4 years ago and am currently undergoing IVF after 7 failed IUI attempts (longgg story...can be found at www.projecthinspiration.blogspot.com).

May you always stay happy and blessed!! Xx

Lindsay Ingram said...

Love your blog and your girls are the he cutest things ever!
We are pregnant with our first baby, a clomid baby, and due in just 2 short months!
I enjoy reading about your beautiful girls!
God is good!
-Lindsay
alittlebitwestern.blogspot.com

Kristy Mays said...

Thank you for sharing your story. We went through some similar things with my PCOS. I was on Clomid as well and we continued to pray God would answer our prayers...and that He did. We're now trying for #2 and the same issues are arising. I started Clomid again, fingers crossed. I've only been able to skim some of your posts, but I look forward to reading it regularly. I hope you'll also check out my modest blog :) Thanks! Kristy
http://themaysbabyandmore.blogspot.com/

Danielle Snider said...

just found your blog! thanks for the story. it gives me hope! I will do my first round of Clomid next month. I hope it works as well for me as it did you! Your babies are beautiful! Congrats! :)

mmacatugal said...

That was a great story I had the same problem PCOS pregnancy. I found out when i went to my doctor because we trying for almost half year. Then my doctor said i had infertility problem and then i started to get some pills (clomid) it took me around 3-4 months before we got result. We were so shocked when i got my first scanning it's twins!. We are so happy because we waited this moment, now i'm 26 weeks and everythings fine with my 2 twin boys. we can't wait to hold them and travel together with them since we are adventurous couple. We are feeling blessed :)

mmacatugal said...

That was a great story I had the same problem PCOS pregnancy. I found out when i went to my doctor because we trying for almost half year. Then my doctor said i had infertility problem and then i started to get some pills (clomid) it took me around 3-4 months before we got result. We were so shocked when i got my first scanning it's twins!. We are so happy because we waited this moment, now i'm 26 weeks and everythings fine with my 2 twin boys. we can't wait to hold them and travel together with them since we are adventurous couple. We are feeling blessed :)

Lizzi said...

I have pcos and was just online doing my ever-so-often search to see if anything new about it came up...And I came upon your blog. My last name is Walsh so of course I got a kick out of that. I'm controlling my pcos (I'm not married or trying to have children though) with my diet and some vitamin supplements. I love when people have happy endings to these stories! Congrats!

Jessica said...

Thankful I found you via Pinterest! I just took my first round of clomid last month and am now 10 weeks with twins! Can't wait to catch up and follow!

Niki Lyn said...

Beautiful story! Really enjoyed reading it. (:

Bashlee said...

This post has given me so much hope. A lot like you, I am not your typical PCOS'er. I was diagnosed almost a year ago, at age 18, and have been devastated by the likihood that I may never be able to have children. It keeps me up late at night (as it's almost 2 am right now for me) thinking and worrying and looking up the facts. And then I found your post. And I have never felt as hopeful as I do right now, that someday I may be able to be a mother. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving me some hope. And congratulations on the babies!
Xox- Ashlee

Bashlee said...

This post has given me so much hope. A lot like you, I am not your typical PCOS'er. I was diagnosed almost a year ago, at age 18, and have been devastated by the likihood that I may never be able to have children. It keeps me up late at night (as it's almost 2 am right now for me) thinking and worrying and looking up the facts. And then I found your post. And I have never felt as hopeful as I do right now, that someday I may be able to be a mother. Thank you so much for sharing your story and giving me some hope. And congratulations on the babies!
Xox- Ashlee

Mara Erickson said...

Within the last week, I was diagnosed with PCOS after struggling with fertility. Your post has given my heart hope that while our road may be longer than expected and a little bumpier than anticipated, it is possible. Your story was a blessing to me, thank you so much for sharing! Your family is beautiful!

Summer Mohn said...

I am so glad to have found your blog. Thank you for sharing your story. I have not been diagnosed with PCOS, but have been irregular for quite some time. My husband and I have been trying for a year, and this month, we finally decided to try Clomid. It has been a really difficult decision, as I was scared to death about "forcing" something that I knew God already had a plan for. I am in the middle of my two week wait! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

The Mustard Seed said...

Hi. I know you get tons of comments on here but this is worth a shot right? :-) so first off- hi I'm Angel! Just found your blog the other day in pinterest when looking up things about multiples. My husband and I are in the throes of secondary infertility and started clomid this cycle. Well reading your story gave me a lot of hope. When I read about you responding to Clomid well- I thought great but not likely. Well today I went in for my ultrasound and had 9 follicles- 8 measuring good. The doctor was shocked. She decided to hold off on HCG to prevent multiple eggs from ovulating. She felt sure that she only saw 2 that were in the lead, but I'm kinda nervous. I don't know if you remember way back when measurements or anything?? She didn't offer a trigger for ovulation so I'm just kinda hanging in the balance. Anyway- I absolutely adore your blog and follow you on IG too.

Christy said...

Hello! I was diagnosed with PCOS and I happened to stumble across your blog via pinterest. I cried the most joyous tears as my husband and I are starting this journey! I'm trying to stay positive and i'm hoping for an amazing outcome.

Mommy J said...

Your story is breathtaking! I couldn't help but cry while I was reading it. I was diagnosed with PCOS 6 years ago. I had lots of treatments and I was taking omnifarious medications. Unfortunately no result. My only chance to become a mother was ivf with donor egg. I had so many doubts! The greatest fear was that I will not be able to give love to this child, because it won't be genetically related with me. But I decided to try and forget about my confusion. I must say I have no regrets! One more problem was prices. Costs for this procedure are very high in USA and Greece. It was hard to find clinic with professional doctors, quality service and affordable price. We decided to go abroad for the procedure. After a couple of months of thorough search, reading of hundreds reviews and contacting clinics directly we've found good Ukrainian clinic biotexcom. I wanted to carry my baby and give birth by myself. I wanted to be with him from the moment of his birth, from his first breath. I wanted baby to look like us. I should say that all doubts just faded away when the doctor made an embryo transfer. The only thing I wanted at that moment was my baby to be born healthy. Now, when I remember how I was tearing myself apart with all that thoughts I smile. Every time I look at my son, I see that every day more and more he looks like me. I raise healthy and, of course, the most beautiful baby in the world! We asked our doctor to find egg donor, who will look similar with me. Now I have absolutely no feeling that my son is not mine genetically! No one can ever tell he is from donor egg. We decided not to tell anyone that we underwent this procedure. I think I will not tell my son about donor. I'll do everything for him so he will have no need to know about this. I think it will change nothing for him. We are very happy that we addressed to this clinic and had de ivf. Thank you for your wonderful blog! I wish all girls with PCOS all the best!

Stephanie Schallhorn said...

For some reason this week, my PCOS has been constantly on my mind. Whether it is because we celebrated that our wedding is only 3 months away, with all the stress in the world surrounding the police (which my fiance happens to be a cop), or whether is was a sign from God that I just need to start paying better attention to my body - i really don't know. But it led me tonight to sit at my computer, when I should be in bed, to search for answers. I have never been a person who is into blogs, but I searched PCOS Blog and yours popped up. i read it and my eyes immediately filled with tears. While your story is beautiful, my eyes filled with tears because for the first time I felt understood. And by someone who I have never met - funny how God works! I have the exact - or should I say non-existent - symptoms for PCOS. All i have is zero menstrual cycle and tons of acne. So your story spoke to me loud and clear. I cannot wait to begin the process of starting a family in the next year, and you gave me hope that while it may be hard in the beginning - it is all worth it!

Thank you for being so incredibly brave and sharing your story. PCOS doesnt define us!
God bless and thank you so much.

Stephanie

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