Guest Blog - One woman's struggle with infertility and coming to terms with it

One woman’s journey with infertility

 

19, that was the age that I found out that I had PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). I went to the doctor as I was having a few issues that I thought needed to be checked. My periods were not regular, I would skip a month or two, or it would be that heavy that I would soak through, and even soak through my clothes. Other months it would be barely there. I also had excess hair, in places that you get told woman aren’t to have hair, such as around the nipple, chest hair, snail trail and facial hair.  The facial hair has been the hardest to deal with, the rest we can hide with our clothes. The facial is a bit harder.  After a few blood tests and a couple of ultrasounds, the doctor told me what was up.

For those that don’t know what that is, PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome isn't well understood, but may involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Symptoms include menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne and obesity.

Treatments include birth control pills to regularize periods, medication called metformin to prevent diabetes, statins to control high cholesterol, hormones to increase fertility and procedures to remove excess hair. There is no cure; it can be managed to some extent. Hair removals such as removal cream, shave it, like every couple days, wax it, or laser.  


A side effect I guess you could call it is issues with fertility, getting pregnant. Not everyone who has PCOS has that, but a large majority do according to the research I’ve done over the years.
At 19, I wanted children, but it wasn’t really a priority, so I know about the PCOS, but didn’t really think about it, I wasn’t ready for kids, and I was also single.

A few years later, I got married and we started trying for a child as we both wanted a family. I got pregnant, which made us so happy, but sadly we miscarried at 9 weeks. As expected we were devastated. After a while we tried again, but that was the last time we got pregnant together. We both underwent tests to see why we weren’t getting pregnant, and we were dealt another blow, he had infertility issues too after a sporting injury we think.  After a while our marriage ended, not because of not getting pregnant.

In the years after the marriage I have had other issues, such as obesity to try to overcome. That’s not changed, I’m still classed as obese. With some PCOS ladies, weight loss is a challenge, we can put it on easy as, but the taking off is another story. The body fights. I’ve done so many different eating plans, shakes, the works to lose the weight, I do lose a few kilos, but it comes back. `

I am now nearly 40, and I still haven’t had my much wanted and longed for child. I’ve looked into IVF, IUI, adoption, and surrogacy. With both the IVF and IUI they both told me that to my BMI was too high to be able to do it. Adoption in New Zealand is very hard, there is not many children available for adoption, most either go into the foster care system, or family take in the child. There is less than 100 children put into the adoption route every year, and there is currently 5000+ people on the waitlist. Some have been waiting in hope for a long time. Adoption from overseas is possible if you have a fair bit of coin to qualify for the countries criteria. Then there is fostering where you can do Home for Life, but that’s not the same as adoption. As hard as it is, the parents can still get the children back even after years. 


With surrogacy its almost impossible to find a woman willing to carry for you, let alone go through the tests needed to be done before you could try. Although in very recent years this is becoming easier to access with websites like https://lovemakes.family/ that help to match intending parents and surrogates.  

 Christian and Mark from Instagram (@lovefromyourdads) Are also helping to petition the government to change our archaic and outdated adoption and surrogacy laws so hopefully in years to come it will make it easier for women like me to have a family.

I did a short stint as a foster parent which I loved. I may look into that again with a different agency. The first one and I unfortunately weren’t a good fit. My foster child had a few issues, which I was okay with, however the help that we were promised didn’t happen and the placement fell through. There needs to be so much more support for foster families.

The hard thing is giving up on my dream. Do I give up? Do I keep fighting? And to be honest, I keep changing my mind. Its a constant internal battle that I fight.

When I look at the situation honestly I know I have left it too late. I have too much weight to lose to be able to get pregnant and carry safely. I spoke to my endo doctor about it, and he was great. He told me straight, that if I did get pregnant at my current weight I could have some issues. I may not be able to carry to term, and the birth could cause other issues. Having a vaginal birth I could have a stroke due to the bearing down, or a C-section I could be out of action for longer because of having the excess fat, meaning longer healing time. My age is another drawback, being 40 and lessened chances with that.

Heck if it ever happens I would be the happiest person around. I know I would have to have more checks than some, but hey it would be worth it.

I always thought I would have a big family, and I know I would have been happy with one.

Sure I am sad that I haven’t had a baby, but I try to not let it get to me much. I can still be around babies, still love them. Still hug them. I can still be happy for my friends whom have gotten pregnant and had children, loving them all so much

I may not have human children, but I can have fur children. And be the best aunty I can be.

I may shed a tear once and while, but I know I will be okay.

 

-Anon

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