Posts Tagged ‘Polycystic ovary syndrome’

As I mentioned in my last post, I told my immediate family and some close friends within a day of finding out I was pregnant, when I was about “4 weeks” along according to how doctor’s calculate due dates.  I did not want to tell my husband’s 8 year old brother that soon because I didn’t feel comfortable explaining a miscarriage to him, and I knew I would be the one who would have to explain it if it happened.  My “rule” was that I would tell anyone that I felt comfortable also discussing a miscarriage with, and if someone did not fall into that category, then it was too soon for them to know.

When I told my in-laws, we sent his little brother upstairs to get something so he would be out of the way.  I quickly explained that I was pregnant (yay!), that it was early, and that there was a greater risk of miscarriage until 12 weeks.   We asked them not to say anything to his little brother, they promised, and then his little brother came back downstairs.  I did not explain that I was actually at a higher risk of miscarriage than most women because of having polycystic ovarian syndrome.  I superstitiously didn’t want people thinking negative thoughts, and I figured that every woman is at risk during that same time anyway, so there was no reason to point me out as a special case.

I didn’t realize that there’s no commonly accepted “3 month” rule in Peru.  When my husband and I quickly moved from our little 1 bedroom apartment to a small house, my in-laws came over to help with the move.  They talked about my pregnancy in front of my husband’s little brother, and when my husband called them on it, they casually explained that they had told him a while before while they were shopping for baby things.  I was crushed, and had to go to the back bedroom to pull myself together.  I’m really close to my husband’s little brother, and have been in his life since he was 1.  I had been reading a lot about how to tell him so that he would still feel special and not assume that he would no longer be such a big part of our lives.  I also felt like I missed out on the chance to tell him in the special way that I was planning, and I had no idea how many people they had already told that I would not want to discuss a miscarriage with.  It felt like a huge betrayal, because we had explained how important it was to us, and they had promised, and then they had just as casually gone back on their word.  I was only 7 weeks along and still far away from the safe point.  I told my husband that the next time I get pregnant, we are not telling them until it’s safe and we don’t mind everyone knowing, because they clearly can’t respect our wishes and keep their mouths shut.

The next choice I had to make was when to tell the people I work with.  I actually told management at my office very early (at 9 weeks), because they were setting up staffing for a major project that was going to come to a head right at my due date, and they wanted to put me in a lead role.  If I waited until I was 3 months along, it would have been a huge problem to replace me, so I chose to proactively let management know much sooner than I told the rest of my office.  For most people, I would not recommend that you do that, but in my case, I think it made me look like a good employee and was actually to my benefit.

I told the rest of the people at my office at 3 months, when the risk of miscarriage dropped dramatically.  I’ve already posted a lot of tidbits from the strange things my coworkers said to me when they found out I was pregnant.  Overall, I found the experience of telling people to be mostly embarrassing or frustrating.  It was fun to tell a few of my friends, who didn’t say awkward things and who acted excited from the start.  Telling other people involved a lot more reservations on their part, or awkward comments, office politics, or out and out betrayals and fighting.  It made me consider just not telling people whenever we have our second child.  Somewhere around the 6th month they will all surely figure it out, or just assume I have a stomach tumor, right?

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I like to collect data.  I heard once that you track what’s important to you, and I think this is really true.  When people are on an exercise kick, they usually have a record somewhere of which days they’ve exercised, or how far they’ve run, etc.  It seemed like the natural progression for me to track my efforts to get pregnant.  Additionally, I had to take  a natural family planning class when we got married in the Catholic church that traumatized me.  I had a lot of material on natural family planning and a lot of knowledge about taking my temperature and tracking other symptoms of fertility that would probably gross most people out, so I decided I might as well get my money’s worth out of that.

I think the fertility awareness education that I had undertaken (under duress) helped me become pregnant more quickly than I normally would have, especially considering that I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome not that long ago.   I was especially interested in becoming pregnant quickly because I had to stop taking medication like anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine months before even trying to become pregnant, with the knowledge that becoming pregnant could take months, and then being pregnant would take (at least) 9 months.  I was anticipating at least a year of having no access to better-living-through-chemistry, at a minimum, so you can imagine I was very invested in getting off of my medication, waiting the required amount of time, and then getting pregnant as quickly as possible.

The morning that I took my pregnancy test, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t pregnant.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw a faint line on the pregnancy test.  I hadn’t even taken the test when my husband was home!  And I wasn’t going to see him until about 12 hours later, so I had to wait an entire day knowing I was pregnant without telling anyone so I could tell him first.  That just about killed me because I’m terrible at keeping secrets.

It was a little disappointing when I did tell him, because the line was faint.  He wasn’t sure if it really meant I was pregnant.  I patiently explained that false positives are incredibly rare – in fact, when you test early you usually get a false negative.  I also explained that any line is not normal – any line at all means it’s detecting a hormone produced during pregnancy.  However, his reaction was pretty contained.  He didn’t want me getting excited before we were sure, and he didn’t want me telling lots of people either.  I was sure, especially looking in retrospect at symptoms I had been tracking.

The next day, I was adamant that I was going to tell my parents and a few of my close friends.  My philosophy was that even though it was early, I wasn’t going to tell anyone that I would be unwilling to discuss having a miscarriage with.  For me, I knew if I had a miscarriage I would want to be able to talk to my family and a few close friends, so I felt comfortable telling them.  When I told 2 of my best girlfriends, they were thrilled, and yelled, and looked at the picture of the pregnancy test and agreed I was definitely pregnant.  Predictably, they were knowledgeable about pregnancy tests and believed me.

When I told my family, they wanted me to go to the doctor for a blood test to confirm that I was pregnant, and they had the same contained and doubting reaction that my husband had.  Going to the doctor made me feel stupid.  The doctor asked me if I had had multiple positive pregnancy tests.  When I confirmed that I had, and that based on the other symptoms I was tracking I was pregnant, he told me to go home and that I was pregnant.  When I insisted on having the unnecessary blood test, it confirmed that I was pregnant…like I had already known.  At least my family finally believed me, even if the doctor thought I was an idiot.

Then my family exclaimed about how early I knew (the same week I missed my period).  How amazing modern technology is!  Apparently pregnancy tests have changed a lot since when my parents used them.

Heres’s a fun fact about pregnancy in the American medical system:  Doctors start counting a pregnancy from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.  However, most women don’t ovulate until somewhere around halfway through their cycle, and the egg doesn’t implant until a few days after that.  This means that doctors are counting women as pregnant a full 2 weeks before the average woman has even released an egg to become a blastocyst, which is cray-cray.  This boils down to the fact that by the time a woman with a normal cycle misses her period, she is “4 weeks” pregnant to doctors in America.  But the egg probably implanted a few days ago.

None of this math works if you have irregular cycles because of a condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome.  But when I told my family I was pregnant, I was “4 weeks” along according to the way doctors count pregnancy.  (And I could tell you the exact day I conceived because of the natural family planning class I took.)

The next hurdle I encountered in telling people I was pregnant was scheduling my first visit to the OBGYN.  When I called, the receptionist asked me in a bored tone when I had my last menstrual period.  Because of the polyscystic ovarian syndrome, that’s not a good indicator of how far along I was.  The way the receptionist did the math, she thought I was more than 3 months along, and terribly irresponsible for not coming in sooner.  When I protested that I hadn’t actually gotten pregnant until much later than that, she ignored me and set up an urgent visit for me.  The nurses during that visit did the same thing, until they did an ultrasound that confirmed the due date that I had given myself.

Overall, telling the first group of people that I was pregnant was mostly frustrating.  I knew early on and with precision because of the charting that I was doing, but people didn’t believe me, and then when I tried to give the doctors the information I had carefully collected about my cycle, they ignored me.  I hate when people condescend to me, so it was a fairly unpleasant experience.  The next hurdle I had to overcome was when to tell people outside of that immediate circle of family and friends, like my boss and my husband’s little brother (who I didn’t want to upset if I had a miscarriage).

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