Thank you for stopping by today to read our story in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week 2017!
What is the cause of my infertility?
I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. The cysts are not harmful but lead to hormone imbalances. In women with PCOS, the ovaries make more androgens than normal. (Androgens are male hormones that females also make.) High levels of these hormones affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation.
In women with PCOS, the ovary doesn’t make all of the hormones it needs for an egg to fully mature. The follicles may start to grow and build up fluid but ovulation does not occur. Instead, some follicles may remain as cysts. For these reasons, ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made.
Cliffs Notes version: I have a ton of eggs, but my hormone imbalance causes my eggs to be surrounded by tiny cysts which means they don’t have room to fully mature.
How does PCOS affect me?
PCOS obviously affects my fertility, but it also impacts my daily life — I struggle with chronic fatigue, random weight gain, brain fog, anxiety/depression, painful cramping, and cosmetic issues that impact my self-esteem.
How long have I known?
I received an official diagnosis in March 2013 when I first visited a Reproductive Endocrinologist. We had been “not trying/not preventing” to conceive right after we were married in 2009. We officially began “trying” in 2012. Read a more in-depth, detailed post from the day I received my diagnosis HERE.
What measures have I taken to get pregnant?
I went through two rounds of ovulation-inducing drugs (Femara/Letrozole with HCG trigger shot) and intrauterine inseminations (IUI) in 2015. Both cycles “failed” with no detectable pregnancy. According to our doctors, nothing “went wrong” per se, but that it’s just a matter of chance.
What’s been my biggest challenge?
Receiving negative pregnancy tests time and time again is an obvious challenge. But personally, the biggest challenge has been moving past feelings of isolation, loneliness, and purposelessness. I watch everyone around me move on, and it can lead me to feel forgotten.
What’s been my greatest joy?
The Lord has blessed me with the gift of time. In my time, I’ve dedicated myself to spending time in the Word in order to know more about who God is, what He says about me, and what His love means for my life. As I’ve grown deeper in gospel knowledge and truth, I’ve uncovered a boundless, freeing, uncontainable joy! I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Has infertility affected my marriage?
I can truthfully say that infertility has strengthened my marriage. Matt has been absolutely 100% supportive. He has never made me feel guilty or ashamed of what he’s had to endure. He has stood by my side through hormone swings, fatigue, breakdowns, doctors visits, and procedures. He’s brought me flowers after “failed” cycles and bought me presents on Mother’s Day. He’s made me laugh time and time again, which has taken the seriousness out of the journey. Our love has truly grown throughout this process. We’re learning that our marriage comes first (after Christ!) — and the reality is, it may just always be the two of us (and our dog Rudy), so we better nourish and treat our marriage as a priority.
Has infertility affected my faith?
Absolutely. In fact, my faith has grown and matured in only a way God knows how. I never imagined that my suffering would draw me nearer to the Lord, but it has. I’ve come to truly know who He is as Lord and Savior, which is the main reason why I began this blog. This isn’t about my story, this is about the Lord’s greater redemption story! I’ve never felt more joy, life, and freedom — and I know it’s because my suffering caused me to surrender to Him.
Has infertility affected my friendships?
I’ve drawn closer to certain women and apart from others. I believe the Lord brings people into different seasons of life for different purposes. There have been varying levels of support or lack thereof, but I do my best to faithfully give grace to those who haven’t truly walked with us. I still enjoy going to baby showers and kids’ birthday parties — no envy or jealousy here!
Has being a public infertility blogger been a positive or negative experience?
I feel like it’s my responsibility to respond with my blog’s name — It’s Positive! Overall, coming out of the “infertility closet” has opened the door to deeper relationships and an increased ability to sympathize and love others in their suffering. Even though I’m open about what is helpful and hurtful from others, it can be frustrating when few heed this advice and want to “fix” our infertility. It’s also frustrating receiving messages from strangers or people I haven’t spoken to in years who want to sell me some of their multi-level marketing products to “help” with my infertility. Fellow infertility and faith blogger, Caroline Harries from In Due Time, wrote a great post about this HERE.
What are our next steps?
We’re still in “break mode,” enjoying the freedom of not worrying about medications, doctors appointments, side effects, and disappointments. Freedom is — well — freeing!
Why don’t you just do in-vitro, foster, or adopt?
All of these options, including the treatments we’ve already undergone, are life-changing and personal decisions. They are costly to the body and to finances, and there is still no guarantee of having a child. (For instance, I now suffer with fibrocystic breasts, which I attribute to the months of synthetic hormones I was taking prior to treatment. Though benign, I suffer with intense pain depending on the different fluctuations in my cycles. I also have to have bi-annual ultrasounds and yearly mammograms.) In considering our future in building our family, we are being prayerful about our decisions and next steps. Nothing is off the table, but nothing is in the near future.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)