Dec 6, 2018

Oh Baby...

My oh, my, how time flies by. This post was way overdue, but I'm glad I finally got to writing it down. I posted a pregnancy announcement pic on my Instagram in September, and I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for your heartfelt responses, they made me feel so special :)

In the caption of that same post, I mentioned that the road to getting pregnant was a long one, and that I would explain that soon. I guess the time is here now.

Bad news
As most of you know, this is not my first time becoming a mom, we already have a beautiful 7-year old princess that is our everything. I think that for at least these past 3 or 4 years, she's been asking for a sibling, and to be fair, it broke my heart. Reason why is because we were trying to conceive again ever since she was 2,5 years old. Funny how life works, whenever you're not planning to have kids, you have to watch out to not fall pregnant by accident, but the moment you're actually planning it, it seems to take FOREVER. After about 2 years of remaining unsuccessful, I went to see my doctor, who in turn referred me to a gynaecologist. After lots of testing, the answer was there: I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Being a part of the plus size community, where I have seen the topic PCOS posted from time to time, I knew exactly what it was. I was devastated. More so because I never suspected anything, as we had no problems getting pregnant the first time. I learned that there's actually a thing called "secondary infertility", which is being unable to successfully conceive after having been pregnant previously. It really felt like a slap in my face, but at least, there was an explanation now. At first I was prescribed some medication to help, but when that did not work, I had to be referred to another hospital, that specialized in fertility issues.

What now?
By that time, I was not in the right place mentally, and decided to take a little break from this medical circus. When I felt ready, I scheduled an appointment, and again, I had to get several tests done, to confirm the initial diagnosis. Well, no surprise there, it was still PCOS. I was told that having PCOS does not mean there are no chances for a woman to conceive, so fertility treatments, such as IUI or IVF were definitely an option. The down side: I was too heavy at the moment. I wasn't eligible for treatment until I lost at least 66 lbs (around 30 kg). Not very encouraging, knowing that losing weight with PCOS is also rather difficult. I cannot explain how this all made me feel. It brought a huge burden on my shoulders in the sense that I felt that if I would not be able to lose that much weight, it would be MY fault that we were not able to expand our little family. Luckily, my husband did not, and never made me feel that way. He was ever so supportive.

The hospital actually offered a one-year programme to help women with PCOS that are trying to conceive, and considering the fact I had nothing to lose, I signed up. The programme was to be done with a group of peers, under the guidance of a physical therapist for exercising, a psychologist for mental support and a dietician for nutrition advice. I signed up in May 2017, and the programme started in October 2017. By that time, I already lost about 15 lbs (7 kg) on my own. Mind you, I did not have a problem with my weight, but if this is what it took to reach my goal, I was obviously going for it. What I actually liked about the programme is that they were not planning to put us on a diet (diets go strictly against my personal beliefs), they were just giving advice on how to make better choices when it comes to food. It was more about a lifestyle change, something that would be easy to maintain after the programme. Being in the programme had its ups- and downs, and I eventually stopped progressing, but lost 22 lbs (10 kg) in total. Still not nearly enough.

Drastic measures
It made me feel desperate and sad. By this time, it was already the Spring of 2018, and after many times going back and forth in my mind, speaking to the psychologist, my husband and friends, I was seriously considering more drastic measures in order to keep my weight under control, hoping to be able to get these fertility treatments, but also for my health. Regardless of the wish for expanding my family, PCOS brings a lot of health risks and symptoms that I wanted to avoid. I looked into having gastric surgery and even got a referral to a hospital from my doctor, along with a recommendation letter of the hospital that offered the lifestyle programme, saying I would be the perfect candidate. It was hard for me to accept at first, but after doing lots of research, I was convinced I made the best decision for me. I was invited to an information session that was scheduled on May 28, 2018. The Friday before, May 25, I had a meeting with the psychologist and I suddenly remembered that my period was late (despite having PCOS my periods sort of seemed to be getting more and more consistent). Even though I've done this many times with great disappointment after, I decided to buy a pregnancy test. Just in case.

Yaaas girl!
After I got home, I completely forgot about it, but I remembered again in the evening and took the test. Low and behold, it said I was pregnant!!! I was in complete shock I tell you.
Isn't God great? I was to have a meeting and a screening for surgery the week after, it felt like divine intervention, like God saying: "No need girl, I got you".  The disbelief on both myself and my husband's face was great. We were so happy, but at the same time, very cautious; I mean, this took 4,5 years. And it worked eventually, with NO medical help or intervention. We obviously decided to, apart from our parents, keep the news to ourselves until I reached the "safe zone" of 12 weeks. My oh my, that seemed like forever. It was the hardest thing to keep it a secret from our daughter, since she wanted this so bad. We eventually told her as soon as I hit the 12 week mark, and her response was priceless. We caught it on video, I will share it soon :)

Dress - Grass Fields

So long story short, fertility struggles SUCK, but I am so happy that we did not give up. I also hope that my story helps give hope to others that are going through the same ordeal, as fertility issues are not things people like to share much. We always want others to see the good times, never the bad. However, that's just not how life works, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Please, feel free to reach out to me if you're struggling or have questions, I'd be happy to answer them.


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