To wrap up the week, we’re continuing our coverage of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month and and sharing your stories. We asked you, our community members, to share your PCOS stories and so many people generously stepped forward.
In this post, Shannon Thornhill shares her story. Shannon’s husband, Andy, blogs at The Tao of Pig Pen.
How did you discover you have PCOS?
I found out that I had PCOS from my first reproductive endocrinologist. I had assumed that I had it earlier and had asked my OB/GYN to test me for it. My Mom had seen an article on it years ago and I had almost all of the symptoms. My OB/GYN did not do the correct testing and even after multiple ultrasounds she said my ovaries looked fine. After the first miscarriage (over a year after first trying to get pregnant) and another 7 months of trying I asked for a referral. The minute each of the different RE’s would look at my ovaries during my first stim cycle they would go “You have polycystic ovaries.” So I went misdiagnosed for years.
Did PCOS affect your ability to conceive? How?
PCOS definitely made it had for me to conceive and contributed to my miscarriages, I don’t produce enough hormones. They were actually worried at first I was going into early menopause.
What treatments did you try and what worked for you?
I went straight to injectables. The RE at the first clinic said Clomid would never work for me based on my blood work. Unfortunately they never checked my husband thoroughly and he has issues too. They chose to do 5 rounds of IUI of with injectables, of which we only got 3 attempts. I hyperstimulated on one and never stimulated enough on a second. Did not get pregnant with any. I chose to change clinics and the new RE said we needed to do IVF and she even showed me the pictures of my tubes that the first place said were good and you could see endometriosis around one of the tubes because the dye was really fuzzy on one side. We got pregnant both rounds (never had any to freeze) and lost the first but got our daughter from the second. Implanted 2 eggs both times.
If you could give one piece of advice to PCOS sufferers, what would it be?
PCOS affected my life by the fact that it caused so much heartache over the years with trying to have a child. It also has definitely contributed to my weight issues my whole life and my cycles are sometimes unbearable. I would like to tell the public to think before you speak when it comes to fertility issues. That it is not a snap of the fingers for everyone to become and stay pregnant. I would tell anyone that suffers with PCOS to fight to make sure you are getting the right care and never give up. Do your own research and be proactive! Miracles do happen!!
If you have children now, do you think that your fertility difficulties made you a stronger person? A stronger couple? A stronger parent? Why or why not?
We are lucky enough to have a beautiful daughter after years of battling the fertility dragon. I absolutely think that it made me a stronger person and parent. And we are lucky that it made us a stronger couple. It can easily go the other way. I may have felt weak at times during the process but I believe I was and am a strong person for having gone through it. I think you appreciate things much more when it takes so much to bring them to fruition.