Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What I've Been Struggling With.....

I’ve always been pretty open and honest here on the blog. As most of you know, John and I have struggled to conceive and I've faced some medical problems this year.

I haven’t exactly gone into detail about my diagnosis, but I think it’s finally time for me to share some of the struggles I've been dealing with this year. Not only will it help me as I continue to deal with the side effects and crazy emotions, but I pray it will help someone else that might be going through the same thing. If one person reads this and realizes that they aren’t alone, than this blog post will have served it's purpose.

Back in February, after months of either not having a period or having very irregular ones, I went to the doctor. I knew something was wrong when I wasn’t having a period, but was continually getting negative pregnancy tests. Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions I went through each month, thinking I was pregnant, only to discover time and time again that I wasn't???

First of all, let me say that I am the biggest baby when it comes to going to the doctor. I have been that way all of my life. I get so anxious about doctor appointments that my stomach gets all knotted up and I usually end up in tears. John usually has to bribe me with some sort of treat to get me through the appointments. That’s how I ended up with my iPhone. :)

As John and I sat in the waiting room the day of my first appointment (on my birthday, might I add) I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was a nervous wreck! I don’t think John realized the extent of my phobia until that day.

That appointment was the first of many to try and determine why my body was so out of whack. I had to take medicine to force my body to have a period. That was followed by lots of blood tests. The doctor even performed a dye test to make sure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked.

For several months we went through the same regimen. Force my body to have a period. Blood tests on specific days of my cycle, scan my ovaries, try to get pregnant, not pregnant but still no period, have a blood test to see if I’m pregnant (that’s cruel by the way)…..start all over again.

Finally one month, during a sonogram, Dr. Fletcher noticed that my ovaries were covered with tiny cysts. She started putting all of my symptoms together and finally came up with a diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age and may become apparent following weight gain or difficulty becoming pregnant. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may have trouble becoming pregnant due to infrequent or lack of ovulation. Early diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome can help reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

When I went home and researched PCOS I discovered that I had EVERY symptom.

 Menstrual abnormality.

 Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormones may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair and adult acne. I had both. For the first time in my life I had to wax my lip and my face was broken out like a teenager going through puberty.

 Polycystic ovaries.

 Infertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may have trouble becoming pregnant because they experience infrequent ovulation or a lack of ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.

 Obesity. About half the women with polycystic ovary syndrome are obese. Compared with women of a similar age who don't have polycystic ovary syndrome, women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese. I am not obese, but I have gained about 20 pounds over the past year.

Another common symptom of PCOS is depression. This is another area that I have really struggled with over the past few months. I have days when I am really down; days when all I do is cry. Yesterday was one of those days. I sat in my car during lunch and just cried. It’s really hard to put into words how I feel on days like that. I know it’s my hormones and the PCOS, because I'm not usually a depressed or sad person. It has been a real struggle dealing with the emotions associated with a medical diagnosis, weight gain, infertility and jacked up hormones.

Finding out that I had PCOS really rocked my world. PCOS had wreaked havoc on my body and caused all kinds of complications. I remember coming home from the doctor and just crawling under the covers. I didn't even call John to tell him what the doctor had said. I was sad. I felt alone. I didn't think there was anyone who would understand what I was going through. It didn’t help that several people blew off my diagnosis like it wasn’t a big deal.

The doctor immediately put me one medicine, that I now take twice a day.

For the first time in my life, I have had to make some major life-style changes. I had to stop drinking so many Dr Pepper’s – if you know me at all, you know this is a BIG deal. I am a Dr Pepperaholic…I could drink them from sun up to sun down.

Besides cutting back on Dr Pepper (I try to only drink one a day) I also had to start exercising on a regular basis. I have joined a boot camp that meets at 5:30 a.m., three days a week. Some days I’m more motivated than others. Monday wasn’t one of those days. When the alarm went off I pulled the covers back over my head.

I’m currently just taking things one day at a time. Like I said, some days are great and some days I feel like I’m walking around with a cloud over my head. Will I ever be able to conceive? I’m not really sure. I know people with PCOS who have, but I also know that I don’t want to mess with fertility treatments. The doctor told me that I would probably need to take a fertility drug to conceive and if I were to get pregnant, I would have to take medicine to keep me from miscarrying. Does it make me sad that I may never get pregnant? It did, but it doesn’t really anymore.
My heart's desire was not to get pregnant, it's to be a mom. I have no doubt that God will give me the desire that He has placed on my heart. I really, really, believe that God has called John and I to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. I will be a mom someday….it may not happen the way I imagined it would, but it will happen the way it’s supposed to.


  1. Oh Jennifer,
    You have no idea how much I can relate! Tests, medicines, 2 surgeries in 3 months, more tests, lots of appointments...it was ALL so overwhelming. Where you just diagnosed with PCOS?
    We were diagnosed with Ovarian Failure about a month ago. Finding out that my body will never be able to produce an egg was beyond earth shattering!
    Not to mention dealing with premature menapause...what a crazy time! After my doc put me on HRT...my crazy old lady symptoms have subsided (thank you Jesus).
    I know you have read the "about us" tab on our blog, so you know that i'm going to say, "Everything that happens to us, God is in control of". He is mighty and all powerful and His plan is perfect.
    I know that what you are going through is aweful, exhausting, stressful, sad, lonely, etc... but just know that youre NOT alone and that God will show you his perfect plan. You will one day look back and say, "I wouldn't have it any other way".

  2. I've just started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago...and reading your post today just blew my mind. I felt like I was reading my own story! Having PCOS is such a discouraging diagnosis. The symptoms are bad enough as it is, but the pregnancy issues were a huge disappointment, to say the least. Thank you for putting into words all of the things that are hard to say. But...God does have a plan, even when it's hard for us to see. Our adoption has completely turned our life around. If you ever want to chat, you can find our email address on our blog! I hope and pray your paperwork will be finished quickly and that you will be blessed with a baby very soon!

  3. I came across your blog today while I was Christmas shopping. We are buying things that support families with their adoptions. We have two biological children and 2 adopted children. I have an online store www.makingfootprints.org and would love to help you fundraise. If you will email me at footprintsincostarica@gmail.com I can get you an account set up. Whoever you refer that makes a purchase with your families name we will donate 30% of our profit from the sales with your name. We started this store to raise money to aid the poor, orphans, and widows on our foreign missions, but I thought it woudl be awesome to help other adoptive families at the same time. As, I can say, we have been there and every penny raised counts. My personal blog is www.myraboins.blogspot.com. Blessings to you and your little one to be,