Well we FINALLY got here! Twelve weeks pregnant today! Woo Hoo! Baby number three! I am so amazed and feel so very very blessed. This has been a tiresome journey (but totally worth the wait of course). Today I would like to share with you a bit about this journey and my struggles with getting pregnant due to Poly Cystic Ovaries, and basically why I am especially super excited and thankful for this precious gift of life.
Firstly, let me briefly explain what Poly Cystic Ovaries (PCO) is and is not. While one in ten women have PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome), having Poly Cystic Ovaries (PCO) is more common, anywhere from 20% to 30% of the female population have it (But many women go undiagnosed). It is also one of the leading causes of poor fertility. Those with PCOS have excess male hormones in their body resulting in additional symptoms such as excess body or facial hair, obesity, acne etc. I DON’T have this.
What I DO have is PCO which means that I DO have enlarged ovaries with multiple cysts (eg. more than 20) on each one. The eggs are not reaching maturity and getting ‘stuck’, and they then become cysts. This means I have an irregular menstrual cycle and the question of how often I ovulate (if at all), and when, is a key question that I (along with every other woman with either PCO or PCOS that are trying to conceive) would like to know. Though I am pregnant I am still none the wiser really.
Here is a good article explaining the differences between PCO and PCOS. Also You can read further about PCOS here.
So, in short, I am one of many women who have had trouble conceiving due to cysts on the ovaries.
But for now let me carry on with my own personal story of PCO….
I remember as a teenager having very irregular periods that came, sometimes, up to three months apart, and then they would last a whole month! It was horrible. The doctors just put the irregularity down to the fact that I was a teenager and my body was still adjusting into a routine and suggested I go on the pill to regulate the cycle. So I did, and didn’t think much more of it for some time.
It wasn’t until my husband and I wanted to start trying for a baby that I started to ask more questions and after an internal ultra sound, the diagnosis was confirmed. Poly Cystic Ovaries… I remember at one of the ultra sounds recently, my doctor counting over 30 cysts on each ovary !
I tried using ovulation testers etc to help me know when (and if) I was ever ovulating but they weren’t useful for me and my varying hormone levels so basically I had to settle with the reality that I had no idea what my body was doing OR see a fertility specialist and look at what options we had. However, much to my frustration, the doctor would not write a referral for this until we had been trying for quite a while with no success.
My first pregnancy (which was a miscarriage about 9 years ago) and my first child were both special cases and I have quite a miraculous tale to tell about these pregnancies in their own right so I will save their story for another post down the track (don’t you just love a bit of suspense??!!).
We didn’t try for a second baby till ‘My Little Scientist’ was two years old because of various marriage struggles and depression etc. We then tried for a baby naturally for over a year with no success. I so desperately wanted another child and as any woman knows who has struggled with infertility, there is such an emotional roller coaster attached each month waiting to see if there has been success or not.
The roller coaster was ‘extra loopy’ in my case as by body would skip periods so often anyway. So my hopes would get up and I’d rush out to buy a pregnancy test only to be disappointed. Time, and time, and time again. I couldn’t tell you how many of those little life-changing sticks I have pee’d on in my life, but there is A LOT!
Added pain came as very well-meaning people would ask “How old is your child?” and after making their own assessment and judgements promptly enquired “Are you planning to have another one?”. Answering this question was painful to answer, the fear of further probing questions to come….
“I hope so” I would say with a forced smile.
“It’s in God’s hands”
(and I really hoped he would do something about it soon!).
After two years of trying we decided to start doing something more, the yearning in my heart for another child was weighing heavily in my heart and the gap was getting big with my son now three and a half.
We got a referral to see a fertility specialist. My husband did a sperm test to eliminate that as another possible draw back, then the doctor prescribed a series of tablets to get me started on when my next cycle came. These tablets (mainly the drug called ‘Clomid’) would regulate my hormones and induce ovulation at the right time. At least then we’d be better informed when to book our “date night” !
That is when the miracle happened. That very cycle never came! God had stepped in to be our fertility doctor and allowed it all to happen naturally without any ‘extra help’.
We were over the moon! The pregnancy went smoothly and ‘My Little China Doll’ was born in December that year.
I always had in my mind that I wanted three children and third time round we didn’t want to waste any time. We knew we COULD fall pregnant naturally, it was just difficult to know when I was actually ovulating (there could possibly be only be a few chances each year) so we had to be prepared to give it plenty of time.
I also learnt along the way that using the pill to regulate my cycle actually did more harm than good as it caused my cycle to be even more out of whack once I stopped having them. So we certainly didn’t want to go down that path again.
Well, time did go by and the emotional roller coaster (with the extra loops) continued for two more years (hmm…. I am starting to see a pattern here, two years seems to be a magic number for me!).
My daughter is almost two and a half now and to be honest, I was starting to move on in my mind. I had started to consider what life would be like without a little baby to occupy my time and the dreams that were growing were looking more and more appealing.
I actually had a conversation with a good friend about babies just a few days before I found out that I was actually expecting. She was asking if I will go and see a specialist to help with having a third child and I said
“I am at peace with whatever God decides.
If he blesses me with three, great, if not,
I am okay with the two precious ones I have.”
I have had a rule for myself for a long time now that if a period didn’t come I wouldn’t just run out and do a pregnancy test straight away, I was spending way too much money on these things only to be disappointed. I need some other indication eg. morning sickness etc. So it wasn’t until my second period was due and I was about to go away camping for four days that I thought I should do a test just so I knew what to expect and, to my absolute shock it was positive! I rubbed my eyes and looked again (and did a second test just to make sure of course).
So now, amongst the constant feeling of nauseousness and panic of “how the heck am I going to cope with three kids!!??”, I say thanks to God for honouring my patient waiting and hearing my deepest prayers.
“For it was you, God, who created my inmost parts;
YOU knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Your works are AMAZING, my soul knows this very well ! ”
(Psalm 139:13, 14 paraphrased)
I have had a feeling all year that he had a specific plan for what I was to do this year but I still had no idea what until this happened. When an opportunity for something new came up that, in my mind, seemed like a good idea. I would pray about it and often have this deeper sense (God’s prompting) that this wasn’t where he wanted me to invest my time. Door after door would close and for a whole term I have been asking God “If not that, then what Lord!!??”.
It was around the time we would have conceived that I actually wrote down some of these thoughts in a letter to God saying, “if it is going to be a third baby, it better happen soon God!” Lol.
Well, that prayer was certainly heard loud and clear! …..and then my life came to a sudden and unexpected halt and it all became clear why God really didn’t want me to over-committed this year.
Disclaimer: I hope that this testimony might be an encouragement to anyone out there who has Poly Cystic Ovaries and wants to have a baby. MY experience is that it can happen, in time. I do want to add though, that every person with PCO and other fertility struggles has a different journey to walk. For some, pregnancy may come with time and patience, like it did for me. For others, medical treatment may well be the best or only way to get results. I really believe God can help in these sort of ways too.
For anyone struggling with infertility, my advice is to pray about it and ask God to lead you down the right path that is best for you and your family.
Do you struggle with infertility due to PCO or PCOS?
What has been your journey to falling pregnant?
Do you have any advice for this mamma freaking out about having three children?