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Our TTC Story | Vasectomy Reversal & PCOS

March 20, 2017

Sleepsuit – The Essential One 

We made a wish and you came true… 

*Disclaimer* I wrote this the night before my waters broke so it never went live. References to National Fertility Week are no longer valid and I am obviously no longer pregnant!*

This is such a hard blog post to write, it’s quite personal and I really want to get across my point but the post isn’t quite flowing how I want it too, so fingers crossed it comes across well. Okay, so despite having the odds stacked against us our TTC journey ended up being simpler than we ever prepared for or expected, I never wanted to talk about it as I know both a vasectomy reversal and PCOS can cause a lot of trouble for people and that my story may just rub salt in the wound, however, when we were struggling to conceive, positive stories gave me the hope I needed.

We want a baby…

Rich and I started dating in August 2014, we always had to be pretty upfront and honest about what we wanted due to him having had a vasectomy. I put my cards on the table pretty quickly that I wanted children and that if he didn’t want anymore (he has two beautiful littles already) then we couldn’t be a thing. Rich told me that he would have more kids and would try a reversal when the time was right. So, I came off the contraceptive pill in September because there was no need to be taking it.

Rich proposed to me in April 2015, this was quick but perfect. We have always had to lay our cards on the table and be honest about what we want also as we have worked together for a few years and still work together we just felt like we had been together a lot longer. We planned a wedding for August 2016 and said we would book his vasectomy reversal in for before then, however, wedding planning wasn’t what I thought it would be and I decided I wanted a teeny tiny elopement much sooner and pulled it forward to 27th August 2015 – this meant his operation was being pulled forward too!

Vasectomy Reversal…

Rich had his operation in early August at a local private hospital Circle Bath and it cost just over £2000. Rich was having his operation just over 2 years after his vasectomy so the odds were in our favour at a 90% success rate but we still had a huge amount of fear that it wouldn’t work.

We needed to wait 12 weeks to get the results of his reversal… in those 12 weeks, we were going to learn about a whole new hurdle against our quest to get pregnant.

Wait… it’s MY body that’s broken?

So as we discussed I came off the contraceptive pill in September 2014 – Rich noticed my cycles were a little “off” but I always assumed that as I had been on the pill for 8 years, it was normal. I wasn’t logging my cycles initially so always assumed they were a few days late. In June 2015, 2 months before Rich’s operation, I downloaded the Ovia Fertility app to start tracking my cycles and learnt that things were much more “off” than we had initially thought. My cycles could be up to 60 days apart!

Obviously, I now knew this wasn’t right and despite seeing 2 separate doctors was told to not worry and that in due course we would make a baby. There is something profoundly irritating to having your worries shunned away so easily. The one thing you really deserve control of is your ability to make a baby and to understand your body and when you know there are people that can help you understand but won’t, it’s very hard.

After about 3 months of trying for a baby and not even being able to pin down an ovulation day, despite charting my temperature, checking my cervix and doing ovulation tests daily… I started to get really down. Rich asked me to book another doctors appointment and he would come with me. We were booked in to see a man called Dr Scott (I now like to call him Dr Great Scott!) who again went through the spiel of how there was nothing they could do, we left pretty deflated. However, on my walk back from the doctor surgery Dr Scott called to say that he may have had a thought, he told me I could have PCOS and if I did, they’d be able to refer me to a gynaecologist. I started to dismiss this idea, I couldn’t have PCOS? I didn’t have any other symptoms? Anyway, he asked me to come back over the next week for blood tests and referred me to the hospital to have my ovaries scanned for cysts.

True to his word, I was back at the doctors within a few days having my blood drawn, which came back in line with PCOS and my scan was the following week which would be the defining factor before I got a diagnosis. Going to the scan was really emotional… Rich couldn’t come as he had to be away with work and I didn’t want to move it as I wanted answers. You go to the ultrasound suite and I couldn’t help but feel I should be here to be having a baby ultrasound, not this… in the appointment, the sonographer confirmed there were cysts on my ovaries. This again was super emotional, I wanted to cry with a sense of relief and a sense of uncertainty of the unknown.

I was then referred to the gynaecologist and would be set to see him about 3 weeks later. I felt really grateful that we were on a path and that we had the support of the NHS, I was excited to understand what we needed to do. At the gynaecologist, he was really positive about our situation. As I was in my BMI we were able to discuss treatment without having to lose weight first (a normal port of call for PCOS sufferers) however he needed to know that Rich’s operation had worked and also he needed to establish whether I did ovulate irregularly or at all. He told us to have Rich’s analysis and that my cycles would need to have blood taken for 3 months to understand my hormones for the best course of treatment, he would see us again the first week of March.

Again I was having mixed emotions, we had to wait another 3 months babyless and we potentially wouldn’t make a baby until 2017 now. (bear in mind we were in 2015 when this happened) but I also felt that at least something was happening. So we scheduled in Rich’s analysis for February and I carried on going to have my blood drawn on certain days of my cycle.

Just waiting… (the darker moments)

I can’t really remember my feelings over the next few months, they certainly were not positive. I agonised for a baby and found it really hard, I tried to research PCOS but there is very limited information. I decided to throw my energy into getting us “baby ready” by finishing off major work to our home renovation and also trying to get us into a really good position financially by making huge overpayments on things we had to pay off. We planned for Christmas and had a lovely one, however I found new year really hard, I just felt like I hadn’t achieved anything of real value in 2015 (apart from get married) I hadn’t completed what I wanted.

I know I had some really dark moments  in those months where I just felt horrible, why didn’t my body work like normal? We found an online pharmacy that sold Clomid (the treatment we were waiting for which can make you ovulate) and there were many times we considered buying it, we also worried about our relationship… Rich has kids and if we couldn’t make a baby that would put a huge strain on us. If it was my issue that stopped us then that would be different, but if his operation had failed we would have a lot of problems… Despite knowing all this before I married him, to raise someone else’s children as your own knowing you can’t have them because of decisions he’s made in a past relationship isn’t an easy pill to swallow.

February was a really busy month, we were doing a huge amount in the house and had builders in. We also decided to celebrate Valentines Day by getting another dog (we did the same thing the previous year) so I now had a new 6-month old pup to look after as well as working really hard in the house. I had given up charting my cycles in the run up to my next gynaecologist appointment and just kept a log of my periods, we had Richards analysis coming up and as it was in Bath (about an hour away from us) we decided to book a hotel, do some shopping and make a weekend of it. Rich was supposed to find out his results the same day but as his Dr was away, we would have to wait 10 days which was disappointing.

Something isn’t right…

The following week, I started to notice I was “off” slightly. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but I noticed my mood had shifted. I felt like I had a dark cloud above me and was exhausted, by mid week I also noticed that I had gained a little weight, my boobs hurt so bad and I was exhausted, like more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. I assumed that as my cycle had been 60 days between periods this time, I was just due in for the mother of all periods. However, the Friday night was really weird. My mother in law came down for the weekend as it was Mothers Day that weekend. She brought some gin and I had a glass. It made me feel really sick, also the smell of her vape pen was also making me nauseous. I assumed the gin had gone to my head a little and by 8 o’ clock wanted to go to bed. In the night I woke up having hot sweats and even made an effort to get up and get the dogs some fresh cold water due to it being so hot. However, they were fine… it was just me that was overheating.

I really can’t remember what the defining factor was that made me question “could I be pregnant?” but the next day Rich and I decided to pick up a clear blue pregnancy test which I would do that evening. I remember that we got the weeks indicator test and it came back saying “positive” with an egg timer… I thought “it’s broken, why the egg timer?” I went downstairs to Rich who was looking after his kids with him mum and just said “I don’t understand” – we have previously been burnt by pregnancy tests… in the August we had a positive pregnancy test, but the following day when I did another which was negative. We never knew whether this was a false test or a chemical pregnancy but that is a whole separate blog post for a separate day. – so anyway the egg timer eventually went away and we were left with ‘pregnant 2-3 weeks’. “Do another one in an hour?” said Rich, we were both a little bewildered. The second clear blue came back with the same results… so we decided to go out and get a pregnancy test from a different brand, just to make sure. Sure enough First Response came back “pregnant” – I just couldn’t understand it. Rich told his mum and I text mine. This was all the day before mothers day, could I be a mum?

I still wasn’t having it despite everyone telling me it was okay, I was pregnant. No, it wasn’t meant to be that simple… we were 4 days away from the follow-up gynaecologist appointment… we were prepared to be told we needed IVF. We didn’t think Rich’s operation had worked and had even discussed how we would get round that. How could I be pregnant? I found out on a Saturday night and on Monday was booked in at the doctors, I needed some verification. The doctor did a urine pregnancy test and she was trying to shake me to tell me I was 100% pregnant, the result came back straight away, That wasn’t enough, I wanted her to do a blood test. The next day, she called. My HCG levels were sky high… I was pregnant.

Richards doctor also rang in this time to give him the all clear that his operation was successful. Richards response was “I know, the wife is 5 weeks pregnant!” – I still cannot beleieve that we were able to do that and cancel our gynaecologist appointment. Two big things we had agonised over, we no longer needed. We had done it!

The second I had stopped panicking, waking up at 5am every morning to check my temperature as well as researching fertility, and focussed on the house and the good things we had, my body allowed us to get pregnant. In the early days I could tell you exactly when we had “tried” and would do crazy things like try and balance on my head afterwards (well not quite, but not far off) – I couldn’t even tell you the actual time my baby was conceived… we weren’t even “trying” anymore! Not like before.

Why I am writing this…

Here I am at 38+5 weeks, ready to pop any day now and I’m desperately hoping this story comes across how I want it too. It’s easy to forget now I am pregnant all that we emotionally went through and all of those feelings we had. I remember reading about a specific baby bouncer when we were trying for a baby and deciding that I wanted that bouncer, even though I had no baby, That bouncer is now set up waiting for the baby and I am taking these things for granted. Last night Rich was reading someone on a Facebook group asking for advice about Clomid (a drug they give to PCOS sufferers to encourage ovulation) and he said “that could have been us” and it sunk in slightly. We were ready to give up the earth to have a baby and as it turns out we didn’t have too, but I have taken that for granted.

I always vouched whenever I got pregnant eventually I would be open and honest about my story, I would want people to know I didn’t just “get pregnant”. When we were trying for a baby and I saw people post on Facebook that they were pregnant, it used to make me jealous, but in hindsight, I didn’t know their struggle either. People that struggle to conceive need to discuss it openly so that others don’t feel isolated and to stop it from being so taboo.

Also despite the fact it took us 6-months to get pregnant and those 6-months were agonising, it was just 6-months which is pretty normal for healthy couples, let alone us… we were incredibly lucky! However, in those 6-months it was good news stories like ours that gave me the hope that we would make a baby, so I figured adding another in wouldn’t cause any harm.

Also (again) not long after I was diagnosed another blogger came out with her story, and although I didn’t like the way she discussed PCOS as being hopeless, I noticed hundreds of other girls coming out of the woodwork as suffering from the same, PCOS and any form of “infertility” is scary and no one should face it alone. We always said that we wouldn’t tell people we were trying due to the fact it would add pressure to us, which was the right thing to do, however, it meant I isolated myself from hearing from others in similar situations to myself.

Everyone has their issues and this was certainly ours, I think it’s really important to discuss the negatives in life so that you don’t portray a false sense of perfection.

Like I said, we got pregnant the second we stopped trying so hard and were waiting for the doctors to take control and the relaxation worked for us, a LOT of people told us this advice and although it’s what eventually sorted us out, this isn’t necessarily the advice I would give. Trust your instincts, if you don’t feel like something is right, leave no stone unturned. You have the right to understand your body and you have the right to access information and treatments that will help it work as you need it too.

If anyone ever has any questions, please feel free to get in contact! 

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