PCOS and the “Bean on the screen”

It’s been just over a year since we found out that I was pregnant, and what a year it has been. To say I was in a state of shock when the nurse confirmed my pregnancy is an understatement…

On Christmas Eve 2015 a specialist sat across a table from me, and finally after years of pain and frustration he confirmed my diagnosis – polycystic ovary syndrome. It’s WAY more common than you would think and it’s a royal pain in the arse. I spent my younger years thinking the cramps I had during my period were totally normal, I’d spew my guts up for 4/5 days with the pain, lose a half a stone because I couldn’t keep anything down.  Every doctor I saw simply prescribed the pill, which in turn made me a hormonal psychopath every time I started a new one, without fail. A couple of years, a few burst cysts, one or two trips to A&E and an operation later, I finally had my diagnosis.

I was told there and then that due to the nature of the condition and the number of cysts, the likelihood of me conceiving naturally was low, and that eventually when I was ready for a family I could talk to my specialist about fertility treatment. I’m no stranger to fertility treatment – my parents went through that process for 13 years in an attempt to conceive me. I was IVF attempt number 10, and then after 4 more cycles of the treatment my twin sisters arrived to complete our family. My parents didn’t spare any  of the heartbreaking details about their turmoil to have their family, and so when the doctor advised me I’d be following the same path, my heart sunk to my feet. I’d just graduated the week before, so my plan at that particular moment in time didn’t  involve babies. I was preoccupied with thoughts of finding a graduate job, but this news did make thoughts of eventually wanting a baby jump to the forefront of my mind. I was 23, I had an itch for travelling and a degree under my belt, I decided I’d worry about it later.

To cope with the symptoms of PCOS the doctor had prescribed the pill. It would dull down my symptoms and give me some relief. I hate the pill. It’s always had a very negative impact on my mood, and the more I speak to other females the more I realise it’s a very common side effect. The last time I’d been on one was in my teens, and it turned me into an utter nut job. You could do something as simple as make my tea a shade too dark and I’d be off to another room breathing into a paper bag. Every time I started a new one, I hulked out.  I reluctantly saw my own doctor, told her about the diagnosis, she prescribed a pill that she believed would work and sent me on my way, except as she sent me out the door she told me I should probably do a pregnancy test, just to be absolutely 100%. She explained, it’s “protocol” when they prescribe birth control. I remember that causing me to wince a little bit – I told her I would, in the back of my mind thinking it would be a waste of time and money.

Andy and I went out for a pizza that evening, I very casually joked with him about that  conversation with my Dr. Most of the time, Andy is the sensible head in our relationship. he keeps me right more than I’d care to admit. He thought it would be a sensible idea for me to just do a test before I started the birth control…

Fast forward around two hours later and we’re standing hugging in the car park of Tesco… I have a positive test in my hand and I’m crying and asking what the hell we’re going to do, and he’s telling me EVERYTHING will be fine and we’ll be ok. (I wish I’d listened to him and calmed down – I have a habit of massive knee jerk reactions. I can make almost any situation seem like a catastrophe).

Fast forward just under a week, a drawer in my bedroom bursting with positive pregnancy tests “just to be sure” we weren’t getting false positives (how naive was I, those are like SO rare), and I found myself sitting in the waiting room of the Early Pregnancy Unit of the hospital. I’d had quite a lot of familiar cramping, and needed to make sure I wasn’t miscarrying, a nurse scanned me and confirmed my pregnancy. We were 6 weeks pregnant. She told us to go back for a follow up appointment 2 weeks later.

My belly was scanned so early that the nurse could only show us the yolk sac. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that we got to see our “bean on the screen”. Just like that, absolutely everything dropped very low on my priority list. This little baby that I thought was a total impossibility was the most exciting little miracle, and suddenly I was brimming – I was going to be a mummy, and Andy a daddy. Within the month of a PCOS diagnosis I found out that against some pretty terrible odds I’d fallen pregnant. And now, a year on, I can’t believe how lucky I am to have something that I didn’t even know how badly I wanted.

I’m all too aware that fertility is a touchy subject. The sad stories are heartbreaking and the breakthrough stories, well those are amazing, but I just had to share ours.

So today, as I sit here writing this with my sleepy little man cuddling up beside me after receiving vaccinations this morning, I count myself extremely lucky.

He’s our little miracle!

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