Monday, June 30, 2008


I am currently in what is known in infertility circles as the Two Week Wait or 2WW. This is the period of time between ovulation and finding out if you are pregnant or if you need to take the next step on your infertility journey. This cycle, Kevin and I underwent a more aggressive infertility treatment than just the oral meds and monthly shots. We did IUI - intrauterine insemination. It was our second attempt - the first cycle, my ovaries basically over-responded to the injections, causing me to be dangerously close to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. A week or two of little to no physical activity and a month of ovarian rest, and we were ready to try again. This month Kevin gave me shots for fourteen days, then made it in a cup. We rushed the sample to the RE's office where it was washed, prepared, and injected directly into my uterus. Thus, we are in the 2WW. We'll find out if the IUI was successful this Wednesday. Keep us in your prayers.

This post isn't about the IUI though; it's about PCOS.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in 2003. I underwent a plethora of emotions. First, I was relieved. There was a definitive reason why my cycles were so berserk. On top of that, it explained the weight, the hair, the acne, the depression. Next, I was angry. Why hadn't anyone found this until now? I was 26 for pete's sake! What the hell is wrong with the dozens of doctors I had seen in my post-pubescent life? Finally, I felt sadness. I was sad for Kevin and me. I knew that this meant that we would have a more difficult time conceiving our family than a couple who did not have to struggle with the hurdles of PCOS.

PCOS is a serious condition that is not only difficult to diagnose, but difficult to manage. As I learned more and more about this endocrine disorder, my life began to make more sense. All the things about my body that had bothered me for years were finally explained. It wasn't my fault. I wasn't doing something wrong - there was actually something wrong with my body. Following is a list of symptoms that women with PCOS may experience. Not all women with PCOS share the same symptoms. Of the fifteen below listed symptoms, I suffer from twelve of them.

Symptoms of PCOS:
infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
infertility because of not ovulating
increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
ovarian cysts
acne, oily skin, or dandruff
weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
high cholesterol
high blood pressure
male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
skin tags
pelvic pain
anxiety or depression due to appearance and/or infertility
sleep apnea

PCOS also could have been the reason for my recent miscarriage. The miscarriage rate in women with PCOS is increased 20-50% when compared to women without this disorder. PCOS sufferers are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Not only is it harder for us to get pregnant, it's also harder for us to have a healthy pregnancy.

Women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious, life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. There is no cure for PCOS. Symptoms can be managed through a high-protein, low-carb diet and exercise.

It is the PCOS that continues to make our journey to conceive so difficult.


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