Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not my favorite subject

I don't like to blog about infertility, it's not a pleasant topic. But as much as motherhood consumes the lives of my family and friends, my lack of motherhood consumes mine. Infertility makes life really hard and often quite complicated. Infertility is a nasty beast, that will chew you up and spit you out, with no remorse. Infertility doesn't discriminate either, it doesn't care who you are. While unpleasant, I find it healing to  be able to air my thoughts and experiences regarding infertility here on my blog, and who knows, it make even help someone else. Which makes the unpleasantness all worth it. I mentioned a diagnosis a while ago and I think its okay to share the story now. 

It was a cold dark December day (December 7th, 2011 to be exact). I was in my OBGYN's office. Suffering from an ovarian cyst, I made an appointment with Dr. O. At the appointment I was called back quickly for an ultrasound during which they did a lot of measuring: my uterus, uterus lining thickness, ovaries and cysts (also counting cysts). Then I was sent back out to the waiting area, 45 minutes later I was called back into an examination room, where I waited for 2 hours (half naked!) on the table, with not so much as a nurse peeking in. I stuck it out because I desperately needed treatment for cysts. I was almost ready to leave when he FINALLY showed up. Dr. O performed a couple of exams, and informed me that the cyst had already ruptured. He told me that my body will always make cysts, I have PCOS. This is the first mention of an actual diagnosis, I had known that my ovaries looked polycystic, but no diagnosis could be made without closer observation (ultrasounds counting and measuring the cysts). Dr. O then gave my 2 treatment options: actively trying to conceive, or go onto hormonal birth control. I argued for a 3rd option: metformin, he wasn't thrilled, but did agree to prescribe it.  Metformin is a diabetes medication that also helps PCOS patients by leveling out hormones, which can eliminate the cysts, and help with ovulation.  It's not a well liked option, because of the side effects, but I've been on it before so it's okay. 

It was a really rough day, because Dr. O's bedside manner severly lacked any compassion, especially as he was slamming me with a diagnosis. To make matters worse the appointment went so long I couldn't go home before work to clean up, so I got into the car, called my loving hubby and totally broke down. He is an amazing listener and helped me to calm down before driving to work, then I went and worked like it was a normal day, feeling nasty, and having cried off all my makeup. 

FYI: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of a female sex hormones. This may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other health changes.

PCOS is linked to changes in the level of certain hormones:
•   Estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones that help a woman's ovaries release eggs

•   Androgen, a male hormone found in small amounts in women

It is not completely understood why or how the changes in the hormone levels occur. The changes make it harder for a woman's ovaries to release fully grown (mature) eggs.  Normally, one or more eggs are released during a woman's period. This is called ovulation. In PCOS, mature eggs are not released from the ovaries. Instead, they can form very small cysts in the ovary.
These changes can contribute to infertility. The other symptoms of this disorder are due to the hormone imbalances. (Source Here)

I am Shaylee, I have struggled with infertility for 6 years, I have PCOS. Dr.O is terrible, I left his practice, as did my aunt who had basically the same awful experience  My husband and I desperately want to be parents, and we have spent about $11,000 thus far, just trying to make that happen. The injustice of it all is that people get pregnant all the time, for free! Or on "accident",  you all know it doesn't happen "accidentally", right? 

I accept and a knowledge that it will take medication to get help me get pregnant. It will take medication to keep me from miscarrying during a pregnancy.  I am not ready to resort to medical procedures (IUI, IVF) because we know we can get pregnant, we've done that part 4 times. A diagnosis helps, we had gone so long without a clear diagnosis. I now have a great doctor who is also a "piano mom" of mine, and surprisingly, it's not awkward. 
First and last. 
I am the oldest. 
He is the oldest.
We do things first. 
That's just how it is. 
First born to first time parents. 
First to walk/ run. 
First in school. 
First stitches. 
First one taller than grandma. 
First one to drive. 
First one to serve a mission. 
First married.  
First pregnant.
All true.
But not the first to be parents. 
Our Best case scenario: 
5th on his side, 4th on mine. 
We don't always have to be first,
But how will we feel if we're last?
We've been the first 
To Deal with Multiple Sclerosis,
To Have miscarriages,
To Have fertility  surgeries,
To Explore adoption,
To go blind,
And  we are still here, still intact, still surviving, still hoping. 
But how will we feel if we are last?