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I Spent Years Trying To Get Pregnant, And Now I'm Trying Not To

Oh, the irony.

14/03/2017 11:53 AM AEDT | Updated 14/03/2017 12:59 PM AEDT
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I changed my diet and lifestyle and became really fertile.

For my 17th birthday I got a Spice Girls CD, some bootcut Levis and my first period.

Hip hip hooray, blow out the candles, you're officially a lady! My mum was probably thinking: "At last!" but I was not pleased.

Periods, I realised, were a complete nuisance, a thing to have to remember and be responsible about and cope with -- and, frankly, I'd been getting along just fine without them.

I didn't know anything about fertility so assumed I would get pregnant first go... Or second go... Or... third go?

Fortunately (or so I thought) my cycle turned out to be very un-cycle-y. My periods came every three to four months (Surprise! I hope you weren't wearing white pants!) and were ridiculously insipid. Like, one ultra-thin pad per day was plenty. I thought it was pretty handy, this special menstrual system of mine. It never occurred to me that my lady parts were underperforming and might need fixing.

Then, at 24, my boyfriend and I decided to have a baby. I didn't know anything about fertility so assumed I would get pregnant first go... Or second go... Or... third go? Twelve months later there was still nothing exciting happening inside my womb, so we went to get some medical advice.

My boyfriend was sent to our local hospital semen-counting department for a clinical wank (result: excellent swimmers). And I had a chat to a GP who cleverly connected all of my medical history dots and told me that I probably had polycystic ovaries (PCO).

An internal ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis (NB. Wow, these are great, not invasive at all). A normal lady has less than 12 "cysts" in each ovary. I had 50 in one and 60 in the other. Incredible! Astonishing! But also not conducive to baby making.

The cysts, my doctor explained, are actually follicles; eggs that haven't matured enough to get sent to the uterus. The verdict: I sucked at ovulating.

A lot of women with PCO go on the contraceptive pill to regulate their hormones, but I didn't want a four-week cycle, of course. I wanted a baby. So I was prescribed a drug that was supposed to trigger ovulation. I took it four times. Nothing happened. Perhaps the dose was too low. Perhaps I was too stressed out. Either way, no eggs came out, and no babies were made.

"Let's just not bother trying for a bit," I said to my boyfriend, disillusioned and cranky.

And then, of course, I ovulated naturally and voila -- unexpected conception. Getting pregnant had only taken 18 months. I gave birth to a baby girl three months after my 27th birthday.

It was only when I thought I might like a second baby that I started researching polycystic ovaries. Everything I read suggested that diet and exercise both have a huge impact on hormones. My ovaries, I discovered, were far more likely to behave themselves if I lost weight and avoided blood-glucose spikes.

So I cut out sugar and got a gym membership. I ate less white bread and more spinach. I had protein balls for morning tea instead of biscuits. I took up running. I stopped snacking after dinner.

At 24, when I needed an egg, I hardly got any. Now that my body is fully functional, I have no use for all the eager ova.

And I got pregnant, like, first go.

Now, at 36, I'm so good at regulating my hormones that I'm SUPER AMAZINGLY FERTILE. My cycle is an actual cycle these days -- albeit a five-weekly one -- and I feel like a proper lady at last.

The only thing is, I do not want to get pregnant again. Babies are lovely, but NO THANKS.

Oh, the irony.

At 24, when I needed an egg, I hardly got any. Now that my body is fully functional, I have no use for all the eager ova.

I had a pap test yesterday. Afterwards, my GP said: "And what are you doing for contraception, Jean?" "Oh, just staying right away from my husband," I replied. "Until menopause."

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Throughout 2017, The Huffington Post Australia is running a series called No Two Women. The series will cover everything women, and men, need to know about what women deal with thanks to their hormones.

We want to hear about your experiences, and about what you want to read. Let us know by emailing notwowomen@huffingtonpost.com.au or contribute a blog post by emailing blogteam@huffingtonpost.com.au


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