My story started when I met my now husband Pete. Up until that point I had been a ‘functional anorexic’. I was seriously ill shortly before my 17th birthday but managed to fight back to be able to get on with my life. And I did just that. I was still terribly underweight, had no periods but I was ‘happy’ living like that. It wasn’t until I met Pete that I realised that I wanted to live not just survive – I wanted to really enjoy life and so I started to fight my anorexia full on to try to bring my weight up to a healthy level so that I could live a long happy life with him… and one day have children. We got married in March 2011 a couple of weeks before my 31st birthday.
Trying to conceive
We had talked about having children long before we got married so we started trying straight away. We bought a house with a room we still name ‘The nursery’. We told friends and family that we were trying and everyone was pleased for us. I knew it would take us a bit longer than most couples as I was conscious that 15 years of anorexia would have left its mark on my body but I was fit, young and healthy and thought that within a year I would be pregnant.
After trying for a year I went to my GP who said that the rules had changed and that it was now 2 years. I was having none of that! I kept pestering my GP who eventually referred me to the Gynaecology department of the local hospital. I was given a prescription for Clomid and scheduled in for an HSG scan (to see that my ovaries were clear) and an ultrasound. The HSG was all clear. The scan was fine too, except that I heard the nurse mention Polycyctic Ovaries. I was assured that everything would be OK and that the nurses sister had Polycystic Ovaries and had managed to conceive. I wasn’t to worry. I went away to take Clomid for the next 6 months.
6 months later I was referred from the hospital to the Leeds Centre for reproductive medicine. I was prescribed another 3 months of Clomid while they completed another round of tests.
The next step was Ovulation Induction. This is when my polycystic ovaries really began to cause problems. I kept over stimulating resulting in too many follicles. I kept producing cysts and so after 9 months of treatment I had only had 2 full cycles. I had 2 abandoned cycles and a number of months having to sit out cycles due to cysts. The next step – IVF.
OHSS and IVF
So here I am having been trying for nearly 4 years. I am half way through my first cycle as it had to be cancelled due to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Our embryos are sat in the freezer waiting for us. Hopefully in January I will be able to have the transfer and fingers crossed, after 4 years of trying be able to say that I am pregnant.
So what got me through this? Embrace Fertility came at a time when I needed it most. I was sat on the bus on my way to one of my many appointments when I saw a post on Facebook from the Infertility Network UK promoting the Embrace course. The treadmill of it all was starting to affect my life, my work and my state of mind. I knew I had to do something to change my attitude to it all as otherwise I would end up sick, unemployed and still childless.
Almost a year on from signing up to my first Embrace course, I am still on the path towards motherhood but my attitude and approach to the whole process is so much more positive. I am able to cope with the ups and downs to treatment in a much more healthy way. I don’t see failures anymore, instead I see another step forwards towards holding our baby. I am grateful for the time it has taken to get to this point, as it has meant that the fertility specialists know exactly how my body works.
I would have never have got this far without the support from the Embrace Fertility group, and the techniques and tools I have learnt on Embrace. Every time I see a pregnant woman I think “yes please!” No longer do I sob for hours thinking ‘why can’t it be me’, instead I feel warm and happy to know that although my journey is longer than theirs, I will be a better, more balanced person, and a better mother for it.
Over to you
Are you now trying to conceive following anorexia? Do you suffer from polycystic ovaries or have experienced OHSS? Leave a comment below, email me or join our online community for ongoing support and to share your experiences with like-minded people.
Karen co-runs the York Fertility Network with the support of the Infertility Network. The York Fertility Network has a Facebook group and meets every 1st Monday of the month. Email email@example.com or follow them on Twitter click here.
Thank you to Luaxan for use of the image.