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Our Long Journey: PCOS

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series National Infertility Awareness Week

10152640_10100104676813859_60380467291068624_nGravida 3, para 1. Three pregnancies and one child, my son with bright blue eyes. The current stats swell in the mind’s eye. 3 positive tests, but only one baby. Like runner impatient at the starting line, Muscles tense, breathing quickens, heart rate soars to meet the blackness of space. It’s just pee, a fast yellow stream on a stick. You keep repeating, “No big deal, no big deal,” but inside you’re burning for the second line. Years of NEGATIVE intrude, pushing away any ‘instinct’ you might have left. You’ve had to doubt your body for so long the ‘feeling’ is gone, you have learned to believe any symptoms are just hope, unfounded, silly hope. As the second line appears, tentative and light, tears stream down your face. Joy. Loss. Pain. Will this baby be little #2, or another stream of blood staining your psyche?

Gravida 1. We’re sitting in an office, not an exam room. The wood panel and files tell us the doctor is busy. The last year has been spent ‘trying’ and wondering. It happened once, a fleeting moment many years ago when a positive test had been the source of so many tears. I hadn’t thought to find myself here, in a wood-paneled office waiting to see what part of me had broken. What had I done wrong? Why was I lost, a desert in a sea of green grass meadows and overgrown forests…

The discussion was short. The most common answer: PCOS. The symptoms fit. We were led to another room. “Transvaginal ultrasound, let’s take a look.” The silver-haired doctor showed me a wand. It was quick. My ovaries bright on the screen, the cysts large dark circles bulging and pressing on the borders of the ovary. PCOS. The screen flicked dark and the exam was over. We received a slip of paper, a prescription, Metformin. I wasn’t sure of the mechanism, but it would help with ovulation. It made me sick, nausea/vomiting/constant diarrhea. I didn’t want to say anything, I didn’t want to lose my chance.

Gravida 2, Para 0. Charting cycle days, drugs, a secret battle against dehydration, and I was sitting in the bathroom after a horrible day. It was early, my breasts were tender… I dared to allow my self hope. Then stopped, the empty space where lines never appeared stared up at me. I closed my eyes and blinked the NEGATIVE away. Pretending none of it mattered I sat there waiting. When the second line peeked through the vast white space I was immediately terrified.

I tested every day until we saw the flicker of his tiny heart on ultrasound. Every single day, until he was REAL.

Gravida 3, Para 1. It had been a week. Testing everyday. Then suddenly my breasts stopped hurting, NEGATIVE. Tears came flooding out, baby #2 was elusive. It wasn’t working. None of it. Maybe I would find myself completely barren. “Be thankful for the one you have.” a co-worker had said. I cried at the memory, I cried when the blood came, I cried for my supposed ungratefulness, I cried for my son, my husband and myself. I was grateful. I am grateful.

Gravida 4, Para 1. I think every single day about luck, chance, and physiology. It hurts to know that infertility can be as final as a slammed door, or as impermanent as being enclosed in a bubble. People have said, “Oh, you should have had them closer together…” I have looked at them quizzically, I have said, “Some of us don’t get to choose.” Some of us don’t get to choose how we create our family, or when. I like to remember that. All families are a journey, each with different bumps and bruises along the way.

Pregnancy #4 and hopefully baby #2…He is a rainbow baby who is almost here. A second slice of amazing, years upon years of ‘trying’… He hasn’t made it easy. He is a clomid baby. He is a son and a little brother. He will be strong. In the beginning I was terrified he wouldn’t stick, then just over half-way there were contractions. Then more contractions, and medication and bedrest. Now I poke him and make him move to prove to myself he’s still ok. The infertility has bred fear and apprehension in my heart. I hope for happiness, but have trouble believing it could be real. I am grateful everyday.

This is my story. It is about fear and hope and our journey toward love.

Information about PCOS:

womenshealth.gov

pcosfoundation.org

Info and support are out there for everyone affected by infertility. Like Aramelle said, we really aren’t alone in this. There is a lot of support and a lot of information about diet and lifestyle changes that can help! PCOS and infertility in general sucks, but it’s not hopeless. Nothing is hopeless really.

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About Jamie Schnell

Jamie Schnell
Jamie Schnell is an RN and full-time mommy to three boys. Her husband, Adam, keeps track of all the stuff that she can never remember where she had it last, and she loves his geeky-wonderfulness. He is definitely the best daddy. Jamie has a BA in English to accompany her BS in Nursing, and recently completed her Master's in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track. Jamie loves reading, writing, crafting anything and everything, green beans, having little parties to celebrate life, coffee, camping, cooking, spa days, Cheetoes, naps, and just being outside.

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