Today we’re continuing our coverage of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month and sharing your stories. We asked you, our community members, to share your PCOS stories and many of you generously stepped forward.
Today, Shannon Thornihill reveals the PCOS experiences she shared with her husband Andy.
How did you discover you have PCOS?
I discovered I had PCOS after seeing the RE. I had asked my regular OB to see if I had it and she completely missed it, even after all of my issues, miscarriage and ultrasounds. Every MD and ultrasound tech since then has said, “You have PCOS,” the moment they look at my ovaries.
Did PCOS affect your ability to conceive? How?
PCOS most definitely made it hard to conceive and to stay pregnant. My hormone levels would not rise. I also have an irritable uterus. We tried for 5 years going thru 5 IUI’S and 2 IVF cycles and multiple losses before we had our daughter. I knew it would be hard to conceive because I had skipped 9 months in college. And had never been regular unless I was on birth control.
What treatments did you try and what worked for you?
We skipped Clomid all together. When the first RE I saw did the blood work she said it would be pointless based on my results. So we went straight to injectables with IUI. We did 5 rounds there with only 3 actual attempts due to hyperstimulation on the first and not stimulating on another. We never got pregnant and I would start bleeding before beta time. We switched clinics and my new RE said she didn’t think IUI’S were a good option…so we went to IVF. She got us pregnant both times but we lost the first. I never had eggs to freeze. I had complications during both retrievals, so both cycles were fresh. The second pregnancy stuck and we got our beautiful daughter.
If you could give one piece of advice to PCOS sufferers, what would it be?
My advice to people with PCOS is to be an advocate for yourself. If you think something is not right keep pushing and asking questions. It is a fight and you have to go into battle with a plan.
PCOS affects my life by causing me pain and sickness every month. I have had emotional pain from the frustration and losses. It frustrates me with my weight too. I just wish people would keep their thoughts to themselves when it comes to getting pregnant. Or staying pregnant. Just because it was easy for you doesn’t mean it is for all of us. Ignorance can hurt.
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 do have a beautiful daughter after our journey and she is going to be the only one. I spent almost the whole pregnancy in bed. My husband and I are definitely closer and stronger after all we have been through. I think it has made us better parents because we know how precious it is. We take nothing for granted. And it makes the tough days tolerable. Because even though it is amazing there are tough days, which I think a lot of people going down the fertility path wont admit. Plus, we’re a little older when we had her. At least my husband was! haha…