I got my first period when I was 16. I was always "too thin" according to my doctor, so I was not surprised by the late coming period. My periods were very sporadic. I was put on birth control to induce periods. After graduating from college, I gained about 40 lbs. I went to my nurse practitioner and she suggested getting blood work done and later confirmed PCOS was the culprit. I did not know anything about PCOS. I searched the internet for symptoms, but found the worst stories about how women with PCOS can never have children. I was mortified! My husband knew how devastated I was, but was super comforting and assured me everything would be ok.
Christopher and I met in 2010. I graduated from college in Virginia and went back to live in my hometown, where I regrouped with some friends from high school one night. Christopher was at the gathering, and turned out to be related to my friends from high school. I instantly felt comfortable with his family...probably because I already knew some of them. We had a quick connection and moved in together in 2011. He proposed in November 2011 and we were married in October 2012. Once my husband and I were married we wanted to have children right away. The dilemma we were faced with was when I stopped taking birth control I did not get a period and therefore, was not ovulating. The PCOS likely had something to do with this. We tried metformin to regulate my periods and that did not work. We gave up trying on our own in 2013 and went to Shady Grove Fertility.
Deciding to Seek Treatment
Our first meeting with Dr. Osheroff was very promising. He told me that he would do everything he could do to help us get pregnant. He made us feel so comfortable and hopeful. After it was confirmed that I was in fact battling PCOS, we immediately started treatment using clomid. This went on for about 3 months because we started with the lowest dose and kept working our way up. When the highest dose of clomid wasn't working, we were told we needed to start with Gonal F shots. I was terrified at the thought of sticking myself with a needle every day, but we were willing to do whatever it takes in order to start the family we’ve always dreamed of having. Upon starting the shots, I began eating clean and losing weight. I lived my life around making sure I was healthy during treatments. I became so preoccupied and scared that I pushed my friends and family away. Every time we went for an ultrasound, the shots were not working so we had to increase the dose. This went on for about one month and then we finally had two viable eggs!
We ended up doing one round of IUI to start. However, Dr. Osheroff told us that it could take up to three times for it to work. If it didn’t work the first three times, we were to move on to IVF. I never thought we would conceive on the first IUI.
We successfully became pregnant (the two week wait was agonizing) with twins! The two week wait was so difficult because my body was going through changes and every time I felt a strange physical or emotional symptom, I hopped on the internet and searched EVERYTHING. That was the worst decision. I spent my days google searching and developed terrible anxiety. I remember the day my nurse called. I waited to listen to the voicemail because I was nervous about receiving a negative result.
On our last ultrasound with Shady Grove Fertility, we found out one of the babies did not have a heartbeat. We were devastated, but reminded ourselves that everything happens for a reason. We were still over the moon ecstatic to be pregnant with one baby. The nurses and doctors were with me every step of the way. I cried and laughed with them on many occasions, and they always made me feel so comfortable. They never gave me false hope and provided the most honest answers and information. They always let me know what the worst outcome would be, so I was pleasantly surprised with the pregnancy. I did not expect it to happen so quickly.
I gave birth to my daughter Charlotte on 12/27/14 via emergency c-section due to HELLP Syndrome. It was a scary day, but Charlotte and I both came out of the surgery perfectly healthy. Our family of three is perfect and I owe it all to Dr. Osheroff and his team. The life we have now would not be possible without them! I have actually started having regular periods since my pregnancy, for the first time in my life. We are going to try for a second child on our own, but if we are unsuccessful we will definitely be returning to our friends at SGF.
Devin’s Advice to Future Patients
Keep trying and don't alienate friends and family as I did. I pushed everyone out and kept our struggle a secret. I now realize that letting everyone know what was going on would have been the better choice. At the time, I was embarrassed and felt so alone. Now I know so many other people have been through this process, and talking openly about it would have made my treatment process so much easier.