Tag Archives: PCOS

Ruminations on my Return

So clearly it’s been a while since I posted! I’m planning to post more often soon, but you’ve got to break the ice sometime right?

This post is being written from my mobile phone while sitting in a hospital waiting room, so please pardon the visual boredom and lack of layered text today. Why am I in the hospital? Well it’s due to my reason for taking a blogging break recently: I’m pregnant! I’ll be filling in the beautiful, freaky, terrifying, fulfilling details on that over time. For now, suffice it to say we are having a baby girl in January 2014 and we are overwhelmingly pleased.

So today I am having my one hour gestational diabetes screening. You come in, drink a kid’s size bottle of gross flat orange soda type drink, and wait around for an hour. Then the lab draws blood and analyzes it for blood sugar levels to determine your likelihood of having or developing GD. It’s routine, done in every pregnancy.

I’ve had a glucose test before. A little over a year ago, I was in a much sadder place from a self-worth perspective. I had been trying to get pregnant for over two years without success. I knew my weight (approximately 190 lbs) was a large factor in my failure to ovulate, and my total inability to lose weight was making me feel like a worthless failure. I’d just returned from a beautiful wedding in Jamaica, during which I really enjoyed myself but got very few photographs I felt like I could look at without crying. Taking pictures is absolutely one of my favorite things to do, so my weight dampening that joy really hurt. And my lifestyle was also a contributing factor. I was eating unhealthily, living in an apartment I hated, trapped in a cycle of frustration and failure to make the changes I wanted in my life. I was fed up. Something had to change.

So I went to the doctor. She told me most of what I already knew–that I most likely did have PCOS, that my weight was contributing heavily in my failure to ovulate, and that if I can get it under control my chances of getting pregnant are good. She recommended a specific diet (the South Beach Diet), and an additional piece no one had ever suggested before: Metformin. A drug normally given to diabetes patients, Metformin helps people with insulin resistance regulate their blood sugar. Not all women with PCOS struggle with insulin resistance, so my doctor wanted me to undergo a glucose test to see if it was one of my personal PCOS symptoms. Turns out it was. She put me on Metformin in August 2012 and my life started to change.

I’m not exactly sure how big a role Metformin played in my diet and weight loss success. I was absolutely more successful than I’d ever been before. But I was also more dedicated to diet and exercise than ever before. I had the benefit of an extremely supportive running partner. I did notice that being hungry stopped transforming me magically into a horrendous grump when on Metformin.

Regardless of the reasons, the regimen worked. I lost thirty pounds by December. I started ovulating. My cycle regularized (mostly). And on May 6, 2013, I got my first positive pregnancy test.

So here I am, taking my GD test at 27 weeks, 6 days pregnant. This is one of the most universally dreaded screening tests in pregnancy. It’s long, boring, uncomfortable, hungry. But I’m reflecting on the feeling of coming full circle here, of returning to the apex. It’s been fourteen months since I crossed that threshold of being fed up with my life and taking control of it. I’m so glad that I did. Now, unlike my last visit to this part of the circle, I’m hopeful and excited to see what the next cycle is going to bring.
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Breathless, in the Tunnel

I’m twenty-six years old and I still hold my breath through every tunnel.  We could all use a few more wishes, right? There are tunnels too long for this trick–but I give it a shot, gasping at the last instant before I start to get dizzy, or holding my breath just a little longer if I can see the light.

The past few days, I’ve been stuck in one of those longish tunnels.  I’m holding my breath, not quite sure I’ll make it to the sunshine. Even worse, this tunnel curves, and I have no way of guessing how far away that opening in the mountain is. I am anxious that because I can’t see the end, I’ll let go of my breath just a second too soon, and my wish won’t come true.

The sad part is, this is a monthly occurrence. Of course, the happy part is this is a monthly occurrence. Let me back up.

I have Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). (That’s a different post entirely, but suffice it to say the condition makes it difficult to conceive). We’ve been trying for almost four years now, in various stages of effort (at first just quitting birth control, then going on a diet to lose weight and increase ovulation chances, then taking temperatures and ovulation tests, etc.). This is the third day before my expected period, after the second month in a row of timely ovulation (longest normal streak yet)! This is a great victory in itself, one I keep trying to remind myself of as I continue to wait.

So I’m waiting. I’m emotional, irritable, and anxious, all of which could be a sign that I’m not pregnant (PMS).  I know that an at-home pregnancy test could give me an answer right now–but they are most accurate from the actual day of expected period and if I get a negative result I’ll just be trying again every day until I know for sure one way or the other. Waiting. I am having an irrational fear about running, because I’m worried that the exercise will cause my abdominal muscles to start contracting and trigger my period. I’m stressed, because of totally unrelated work issues, but also because running is my stress release and now I’m not doing it. My stress/anxiety makes me want to sit at home and eat chocolate and Doritos (which I did last night). I’m annoyed at myself for not running or eating right, because I don’t want to backslide after thirty two pounds lost since August 1st, 2012.  Plus, one of my deepest character flaws is great impatience with waiting. Which, clearly, is very helpful right now. I am all-too-aware that my mental state does contribute to my physical well being, and so I am only more concerned that stressing out is determining the result here. (I’m also aware that I’m probably overthinking all of this, either I’m pregnant or I’m not and probably none of these factors has an immediate effect on this month’s outcome). I’m spinning from all these intellectually laughable considerations, and I’m embarrassed to talk about them because I know how unscientific they are.

Thank goodness for Cash, who gently wheedled the truth out of me and offered comfort and support last night. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have the courage to write this now. I think it’s important to capture this moment, before I know the outcome, before my narrative is colored by joy or defeat. This curve in the tunnel is pivotal (ha! metaphoric pun! In a few days, I’ll post again with a significantly different perspective and my feelings on this moment will change. But for right now, I feel like a strung wire. Tension vibrates physically in my body, and also in my soul. I am keyed up and psyched. the hell. out. That’s what this post is about.