“We’ll have to jump through hoops one day to get you pregnant.”
I still remember those words as if it was yesterday. I was 18, sitting on the exam table in the clinic at Fairfield University. I had missed five periods in a row and was experiencing other symptoms, such as hirsutism, weight gain and acne. Instead of exploring the idea that I may have PCOS, the doctor told me I was infertile. After that, at every annual OB/GYN visit, I was told how difficult it will be for me to get pregnant, but I never received a PCOS diagnosis.
I got married in my mid-twenties and, after a round of Clomid, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. My husband and I decided to practice natural family planning after that, using the Creighton Model (which relies on biomarkers to tell couples, through NaProTECHNOLOGY, when they’re naturally fertile and infertile). With that plan in place, we were confident that when we were ready to have another, it would just happen, maybe with another round of Clomid. But charting my cycles revealed that I wasn’t ovulating. It was devastating to desperately want another child and not be able to conceive, especially when all of my friends were having second babies. Every month was a cycle of anxiety and disappointment. It was one of the most emotionally difficult periods of my life.
By the time I was 30, the “jump through hoops” prediction I had heard so many years before began to haunt me. Our NaPro instructor, a registered nurse at the local hospital, was the first person to suggest that I had PCOS, which I had never even heard of. I decided to go to a family practitioner who had helped “women like me” get pregnant and blindly followed his instruction, filling prescriptions for Actos, guaifenesin, and a low dose of Clomid.
Months passed. Nothing worked. So my husband and I decided to see a reproductive endocrinologist. I had every fertility test imaginable, including the HSG or hysterosalpingogram test (an x-ray that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes), which finally resulted in an official PCOS diagnosis. I started taking Metformin (which made me sick as a dog), a higher dose of Clomid with monitored cycles and, eventually, injectables. It took many monitored cycles (actually, the last before I would have to consider IVF) before I became pregnant.
Finding out I was having another child was one of the happiest moments of my life, but after I gave birth, I did not bounce back. I couldn’t drop the pregnancy weight and I was constantly tired. At that point, I knew it was time to really heal my body and my life.
I wanted to manage my PCOS naturally, and I knew my diet was one of the biggest things that had to change. I was consuming way too many processed foods: I ate tons of sugar-free, low-carb foods, drank Diet Coke by the quart, and my idea of a healthy dinner was an Orange Glazed Chicken Lean Cuisine. So every evening I spent hours researching different diets, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
I discovered that by crowding out gluten and dairy and focusing more on whole, plant-based foods, clean protein and processed soy-free options, I was on the path to a new me. I started swapping gluten grains for brown rice and quinoa and transitioned from cow’s milk to coconut and nut milks. Cheese and ice cream slowly made their way out of my diet. What happened? The weight started to come off, my energy levels increased, my skin cleared, and my mood brightened. I just felt better.
By the time my boys were seven and four, life was good! We were eating well, I was active daily and I began making time for myself. My husband noticed the difference and starting calling me a Diva. He was right! I was looking and feeling terrific and that’s when I was inspired to start blogging about my experience, hoping to help other women struggling with the same situation.
One morning during the spring of 2008, I woke up feeling exhausted. I thought I was coming down with the flu, but I soon found out I was 11 weeks pregnant. My family welcomed a little princess in January of 2009. It felt like a miracle after doctors told me that I would never get pregnant again without fertility treatments. But truthfully, it wasn’t a miracle: I attribute this fertility drug-free pregnancy to my healthy lifestyle and finding a physical and mental balance.
PCOS Diva was launched that same year, and in 2010, I became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. The birth of my little girl inspired me to set out on a mission to help women gain control of their PCOS so they can live the life they’ve always wanted. My daughter may inherit my PCOS genes, and if she does, I want her to know that having PCOS is not a negative thing. It is an opportunity to live life as a Diva — healthy, happy and more fulfilled.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
PCOS Diva.com is an online resource for women with PCOS which embraces a holistic approach to healing and thriving. As the founder of PCOS Diva, Amy Medling, CHC has worked with thousands of women, teaching them how to make sustainable lifestyle changes, which in turn positively impacts their health and lessens PCOS symptoms. “PCOS Divas” are able to take back control of their bodies and regain their fertility, femininity, health and happiness. Check out her Seasonal Meal Plans, PCOS 101 guide and 7-day lifestyle coaching Jumpstart program. For more about PCOS Diva, Amy’s philosophy and PCOS Diva’s programs, check out the About section of the website.