Sunday, July 5, 2009

As Promised...The Baby "Journey"...

Okay, as promised, this is the point where I give information that might be in the TMI classification for some people and in the Interesting and Helpful classification for others so... Here it is. Read at your own risk (especially men, but I must say, once you are married men get an ear full of things they never knew and didn't ever want to know concerning a woman's body and it's many facets, but they listen and remember and try to understand and cuddle us when we are being confusing, that's how it should be anyway :).

My symptoms for PCOS started in high school. Unlike some people with PCOS, I had basically all the classic symptoms but was never diagnosed in high school with anything because I honestly think it's something that gynecologists don't pay attention to unless you're ready to get pregnant because that's when the complications start to effect things a lot bigger than your self esteem. With PCOS, periods are either irregular (which mine always were) or non-existent. The main problem with PCOS when trying to get pregnant is women with it only ovulate about 4 times a year as opposed to the normal 12+ times a year that other women ovulate. It's hard to conceive when you're not ovulating (obviously). When I got married, for some reason I thought it might be difficult for me to get pregnant and I wasn't really worried about getting pregnant right away so I didn't go on birth control (and I also enrolled for an insurance plan that would cover infertility...just in case.) After 6 months of being married, I decided to go on birth control when I realized it was a lot easier than taking a thousand pregnancy tests a week (that are so expensive, even when you are buying them in bulk from Costco or online) and having that constant panicked question in my mind, "am I pregnant?" I was on birth control for 6 months until Grant and I had been married for a year and worked out our major kinks and adjustments with our new married life together and figured if we
did get pregnant, we'd be ready. I took a pregnancy test on April 29, 2008 on a whim about a month after I went off birth control and found out (to my utter astonishment) that I was pregnant. (This detail was actually the thing that prompted my OB to do official tests for PCOS because getting pregnant immediately off birth control is one symptom of it, especially since I didn't get pregnant those first 6 months). I was pregnant for about 9 weeks (never heard a heartbeat or had an ultrasound and I wasn't sick AT ALL) when I started bleeding and went to the emergency room late one Sunday nite and was told by the ER doctor that the ultrasound they took was really confusing and they didn't see a baby, just a yolk sac. At that time, I really didn't know what a yolk sac was and how it related to pregnancy or anything so I was totally confused. I saw my doctor the next day who told me I was having a miscarriage. That was hard to hear. Later, Dr. Hatch (who I will introduce further in the next paragraph) guessed that my pregnancy wasn't viable past 5 weeks, but I just didn't pass it right away (which is technically called a missed miscarriage). I passed the pregnancy naturally and although it was difficult, painful and it raised some red flags, it wasn't enough to deter me from trying to get pregnant again. After all, miscarriage is actually really common and I had no real reason to think there was anything really wrong. From my reading and from what people said, getting pregnant is really easy in the first 3 months after a miscarriage so I just looked forward to that. I ended up getting pregnant again, but this time I miscarried at 5 weeks. Not AS big of a deal as the first time but it was still difficult thinking there could be something really wrong with me, and it made me get serious about figuring out what my body was trying to tell me. My OB diagnosed me with PCOS but that's really all he told me and he wanted to put me on Clomid to help me ovulate. I didn't feel like my body was ready for another pregnancy and I wanted to get my body where I wanted it to be before I tried to get pregnant again. With the PCOS diagnosis, I started looking online and found a website that I found to be really informative and had a program for reversing PCOS. Interestingly enough I found out that PCOS stems from an underlying condition called Insulin Resistance meaning your body doesn't use carbs for energy like most people, carbs just go straight to fat and if you're eating too many carbs, you gain weight super easy and it accumulates in the mid-section causing hormonal imbalances. (This made perfect sense to me because I have been on a lot of diets and the only one that worked for me was a low carb diet.) Everything clicked and so I went on this program. Knowing that my hormones might be all out of whack and not knowing how bad it was, I sought out a reproductive endocrinologist. I found Dr. Hatch through online searches and I really liked what people were saying about her so I called and made an appointment. Luckily our insurance is so good that it covers infertility and I didn't need a referral to see her. She was AMAZING. I can't stress how much her personal interest and sensitivity impressed and comforted me, and not just her but her staff! I was really spoiled by them. Dr. Hatch did a miscarriage workup on me that included a ton of blood tests and some special ultrasounds where she saw something a little suspicious in my uterus and so she scheduled me for surgery to see what it was and take care of everything. The surgery went perfectly.

I was on my program (low carb diet, tons of herbal supplements, 75 min of exercise a day) for about 2 months and my periods totally regulated. I had three normal periods in a row (which I have never had before) and so after a total of 5 months on the program I felt like my body was where it needed to be to get pregnant so I went back in to Dr. Hatch and they started monitoring me to know exactly when I was going to ovulate. I ovulated that month and after that, they did a pregnancy test about 2 weeks later and low and behold, it was positive! Dr. Hatch gave me a hug and congratulated me. For the first 3 months I was on a high risk pregnancy regimen and Dr. Hatch and her staff continued to monitor me until my 13th week. This time I have seen the heart beat, seen the baby move and know the pregnancy is viable. It has been such a comfort to me to have that extra attention and monitoring. I know the Insulite program I was on helped me regulate my cycle so that my hormones were balanced and I was ovulating regularly, but getting pregnant was only half the battle. I really think the main reason for my miscarriages was what Dr. Hatch removed during surgery. This journey has really helped me realize how powerful a woman's intuition can be and even when my body wasn't cooperating, I was still able to listen to it and find the medical support I needed to fix it. Also, Grant was so supportive during the whole thing. When I told him I wanted to try that program to reverse PCOS, he supported me, even though it wasn't cheap. When I told him I wanted to see an infertility specialist, he supported me. When I told him I didn't want to go on Clomid, he supported me. Even though he was excited and wanted a baby, he didn't make me feel bad for waiting a little longer to find out what might be going on with my body. He never rushed me into anything or made me feel bad for anything that happened. He has been such a great companion during this and even though it's my body that needed the medical attention, he was involved and interested in the whole process coming to doctors appointments with me when he could and calling me and asking me how everything went when he couldn't be there. Now that we're pregnant (I say "we" because I inform Grant so much about what is going on with my body and what I'm feeling that I'm sure he feels it as much as I do :), we are excited but I am still nervous. Being pregnant isn't ever a sure thing for a healthy baby. There are still a lot of things that
could happen. Having a history of things not going right, I can't help but be concerned and a little worried but I figure whatever happens, we'll get through it and learn a lot in the process, especially being parents. I hope we'll get through that :)

Well, there it is. I hope that for those of you out there that might be going through something similar or are suspicious of certain things right now, that this information might be helpful. I know that I wished that my doctors would've informed me better what was going on before I had traumatic experiences, but I'm so glad for what I have learned and the success I've been able to have with the research and greater knowledge about what my body needs that I have gained through these experiences. I am also so grateful for the doctors and programs that are out there that really help with something so delicate as having a child.

6 comments:

Sjauna said...

Love yah, Cal. Thanks for sharing. It's so good that you were able to do all that research and be so informed. I hope that this will be able to help someone else too.

Hizzeather said...

Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I too have a feeling that I may have trouble conceiving...I hope I'm wrong, but it's good to know that there is medical help available.

ps...I got asked if I was pregnant for the first time yesterday! No, not because of my weight...Jamie Morris said she thought she heard I was. I told her it was probably you she heard about, but it wasn't...she was so surprised and happy for you!!! :)

Chris, Michelle, and the girls said...

Hi Cal! Thanks for writing this good stuff. It took me over a year to get pregnant with Hallie because I was so "irregular" too. I started fertility testing and found out I was insulin resistant as well. But, the bigger shock was finding out I was pregnant when I was basically done with the first trimester. (They ran fertility tests but never bothered to give me a pregnancy test). Luckily, I was able to get pregnant with Claire in no time.

The last Unicorn said...

You know I am so glad you documented all of this. I know we have experiences so that we can help others who are going through the same sort of things. It is crazy how much you have to go with your intuition and do what you feel is right for you. We are have different ways of making our way along our journeys. Thanks for sharing... love you!

Erin Spencer said...

Callie, that's so great to read your journey through this all. I actually didn't know about your second miscarriage! But I'm so happy to know that this pregnancy is going so well so far! I'll keep you guys in my prayers. It's amazing what people can accomplish when they discover what their own body needs. It's too bad that not more doctors convey helpful information.

melissa said...

i just love you! in the words of YOU- you are a survivor!! thanks for sharing this. you are amazing. i can't wait to meet baby LePARD. PS why haven't i seen you yet? you are walking distance!!!