Getting pregnant seems so easy, right? Many couples try hard to avoid it and still end up with unplanned pregnancies. And then, there are those of us who struggle with infertility. There are so many infertility diagnoses out there, including the dreaded “unexplained infertility”(the catch-all diagnosis). We could be here forever discussing them all. I will stick with what I know (and have), PCOS (a.k.a. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and a uterine septum.
This topic will be covered more in-depth in future posts, so for the purposes of this post, I will keep it simple. Women with polycystic ovaries have cysts covering their ovaries. Some months they may ovulate, and others not. This endocrine disorder causes a host of various metabolic & health issues. PCOS infertility is just one of them. Many women with this disease can actually be more fertile when they are older and find themselves pregnant (ahem, case in point). There is no cure for PCOS, however it is managed with diet, exercise, and for some, either herbal supplements or medications.
Basically, when a woman’s uterus forms during her own fetal development, it starts as two tubes that fuse. For some of us, there is a piece of tissue in the middle of the uterus that never dissolves as it should. If you looked at my uterus from the outside, it would look normal. On the inside, there was a piece of tissue hanging down. This tissue does not have the rich blood lining that the rest of the uterus has and that an embryo requires for implantation and survival. This puts women with septums at higher risk for early miscarriages. Fortunately, there is a surgical procedure to remove this extra piece of tissue. Hooray for one easy fix!
I’d been aware of these diagnoses since my late 20s while in my first marriage, and I’d had one surgery for the septum. Fast forward almost 10 years. I was 37 and my husband and I were actively trying to conceive. I started with my regular OB/GYN who told me that he’d seen many patients with PCOS conceive easily with just Clomid. After a few unsuccessful rounds of Clomid, I began seeking an infertility specialist. I wasn’t getting pregnant, nor was I getting any younger. Well, good thing that I did! Lo and behold, there was some residual uterine septum, so my new doctor started by surgically removing it. At the time I was also doing acupuncture and eating gluten free. Then began our series of IUIs…
Again, I will go with the short version for now, but after 3 failed IUIs, we made the decision to move on to adoption. In order to do that, we had to stop all fertility treatments and my doctor had to sign papers affirming that we had done so. This was a requirement of the adoption home study. I did however continue acupuncture for hormone balancing as well as eating gluten free. Two weeks after our first home study visit, SURPRISE! For the first time ever, I was pregnant. We were over the moon. We called our adoption team with our decision to hold on the adoption. But alas, it was not to be. The baby had no heartbeat. We were devastated and heartbroken, but our clocks were ticking. I was now 39 and my husband was 48 so we took a month off then resumed the adoption process.
Two weeks after completing the 4th and final home study visit, my cycle was late again. I had another positive pregnancy test. Needless to say, we were a little more careful in allowing ourselves to feel any kind of excitement this time. Thankfully, that baby is now a happy, healthy 5 year-old boy!
So what was the secret to our polycystic ovaries pregnancy? More to come on that in my upcoming series with a Reproductive Endocrinologist and my acupuncturist!
Like what you’ve read and want more? Come on over and join the Community