Tuesday, 28 July 2009

For the record

It occurs to me that I've never properly documented my struggles with infertility. I was prompted to do it though by a post on Meet me at Peachtree about the author's own battle with the disorder which threatened to stop her having children.

The story starts, I suppose, in my teens. I developed really bad spots that, of course, being a teen were very upsetting, so I was put on Dianette - a form of the contraceptive pill that treats acne specifically - at a very young age. And, because the pill worked like magic and gave me perfect skin, and had the added benefit of a contraceptive, I continued to use it throughout the rest of school and University.

At the age of 21 I started to have a little irregular bleeding, so my GP recommended I come off the pill for a break. And what happened next surprised us all - I had no period at all for 6 months. After numerous negative pregnancy tests I went to see a consultant, who, after a series of blood tests and an ultrasound, diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Basically, he'd found what looked like a "string of pearls" in each ovary, tiny "cysts" which were in fact failed ovulations, plus a set of tell-tale imbalanced hormones, including high testosterone, and imbalanced LH (Lutenising hormone) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating hormone).

PCOS is a very varied disorder that affects many women very differently. Often it's linked to obesity, but as I was a healthy BMI (about a UK size 14 at the time) that was discounted. After a glucose tolerance test it was determined that I was at risk of Diabetes and put on Metformin, a drug they give Type 2 Diabetics to manage their blood sugar. The affect of the drug was dramatic - I lost a lot of weight and felt an awful lot better. And, on the advice of the consultant, I went back on Dianette to manage the other symptoms, and although devastated, tried to forget about it.

Fast-forward five years, and I met my husband. I was aware, of course, that we'd probably have problems conceiving, but we were keen to spend a number of years enjoying our time together before children came along.

Then, last year, I began to have irregular bleeding again. I went back to the doctor, who thought I might have a polyp in my uterus and carried out a hysteroscopy under general anaesthetic.

What she found was a complete shock. She found - NOTHING. There was absolutely no womb lining, nothing even to take away for analysis. The bleeding I'd been having was in fact the blood vessels in the fragile wall of the uterus breaking.

My consultant felt it was probably an extreme reaction to the pill I've been on all these years.

It was then that we decided enough was enough, and I came off the pill and we decided to see what would happen. We waited, and we waited, and nothing - no periods at all, for months.

So, I went back to see the doctor. This time, she decided to give me Clomid to try to "jump start" my system. Eventually, it worked. 45 days later I had my first natural period for over 10 years.

So, that's where this blog picks up. Everything else is documented in here. As you will know if you've followed my tale, I've now had several cycles, although I still haven't had absolute confirmation of ovulation, or, in fact, if my womb is back to anything like the way it should be.

The path ahead isn't exactly clear, but one thing my husband and I do know, is that we're not giving up.

1 comment:

  1. It's such a difficult path, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you, and I hope you and your husband get your miracle.




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