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Sunday, February 25, 2024

It felt unbelievable to learn I was pregnant -Mother-of-two who battled PCOS for over five years

My name is Mrs. Adaobi Chukwudi. I was born on the 19th of March, over three decades ago, in Onitsha, Anambra State.

I’m the first child in a family of six girls. I grew up in a Christian home and was a very calm child. My parents and grandmothers were the major influences I had as a child. The virtues I learned from them molded me into the woman I am today.

I always miss my mom. She was a loving, kind, and hospitable woman. Although she left this world so soon, she is still precious to our hearts.

Education
The first school I attended was Creative Minds Nursery and Primary School in Onitsha. Although my father didn’t obtain a formal education, he sent all his daughters to the best schools. He also encouraged us to work hard. After I completed my primary education, I was admitted to the Federal Government Girls College in Onitsha. In the beginning, I was a day student, but later on, I moved into the hostel. For me, life in secondary school was both interesting and challenging. After I passed my UTME, I got admitted to study Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Port Harcourt and graduated in 2014.

My Polycystic Ovarian Cyst Experience
When I was a teenager, I used to experience irregular menstruation. The bad news is that whenever the period came, it used to be very heavy and painful. So, I was always on pain relief medications. Since my cycle was irregular, I was always happy any month I missed my menses. So, all that went on until I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian cysts caused by hormonal imbalance.

Polycystic Ovarian Cyst
In 2015, I got married to the best husband in the world. After our wedding, we decided to wait for six months before having a child. Guess what! By the time we were ready, that was when the struggle to get pregnant began.

Since my cycle was erratic, tracking it was very difficult. I had menstrual cycles that revolved around 33 to 41 days. It was so unpredictable. So, I started visiting different gynaecologists. They recommended several medications, which I took. Yet, nothing happened.

Infertility is a sensitive and challenging experience. For five and a half years, I walked on that path, and I must confess that it was not easy at all. On several occasions, I cried and asked God, ‘Why me?’ Whenever I saw a pregnant woman, I used to imagine myself as one. I took many medications. Some of the fertility drugs I took even had adverse effects on my body, and I was rushed to the hospital twice. I experienced hypotension and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). It was really a very challenging period of my life.

Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

While all of these were ongoing, I became a monthly visitor to a diagnostic centre for follicular tracking. I was hoping that some eggs would mature and fertilise. Unfortunately, my hopes were always dashed each time I saw the results.

I also went through several medical procedures, and one of them was a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This is an X-ray dye test that allows your provider to check for blockage in your Fallopian tubes. A thin, threaded tube is usually passed through your vagina into the cervix.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome with PCOS
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome with PCOS

In my case, the procedure turned out to be the most traumatic experience of my life. The first attempt by the medical personnel failed, and the tube had to be pulled out and passed through again. This left me feeling bitter and questioning why I had to endure such pain. After that experience, I stopped trying to conceive. I stopped taking any medications, skipped doctor visits, and didn’t track my menstrual cycle anymore. I also told myself that maybe I was not meant to conceive naturally.

The miraculous conception
During those waiting years, I lost my self-esteem and had to withdraw from people. I didn’t want any questioning, sympathy, or judgment. I became a workaholic just to keep my mind busy. I also started working on my visa. Thankfully, it worked out, and we moved to a new country.

Adaobi
Adaobi

During the summer of 2020, I made up my mind to go for Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART). Intrauterine insemination was the first option I had. After speaking with our family doctor, she supported my decision and sent me for a variety of tests and scans. She needed to see the results before referring me to a fertility clinic.

Then, on one sunny Monday afternoon, I walked into the radiology centre to get an ultrasound done (both abdominal and trans-vaginal). While the sonographer was scanning through my abdomen, she asked me when I last saw my menses. After I told her, she said: “I can see a yolk sac that is exactly six weeks old, and that means you are pregnant. Congratulations!”

When she said that, I didn’t believe her because my hope of being pregnant had been dashed in the past. She went further to say that my doctor would confirm the results. So, some days later, all the results came out positive.

The time I actually believed that I was pregnant was when I heard the heartbeat of my baby at nine weeks. At that moment, I was speechless. I held my husband’s hand so tightly and took a deep breath—a breath worth more than a thousand words.

While I was in the washroom, I watched as tears of joy, relief, and gratitude flowed down my cheeks. Isn’t it amazing that God answered our prayers at a time when I had given up on conceiving naturally? He wiped away my shame and gave me a testimony.

I welcomed my bouncing baby boy on June 1, 2021. The first time I held him in my arms, I felt like I was dreaming. After five and a half years of crying on my pillow, God gave me a reason to smile. Also, in September 2022, he blessed me with another son. So, today, I’m a mother to two handsome boys, and I’m enjoying the experience of motherhood.

Leisure
I relax by listening to music and dancing. I also enjoy watching documentaries about great people. If I had the opportunity to meet a public figure one-on-one, I would choose to meet the former first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. I love her grace and aura and I’m inspired by her lifestyle.

Final word
To every woman who is experiencing infertility or any hormonal disorder that affects her ability to conceive, I want to let you know that I understand a bit of what it feels like. However, I would advise you to hang in there.

Waiting for a child is never easy because your emotions will be drained. It is okay to cry, shout, worry, or feel bad, but when you are done, always find a reason to be happy. Don’t lose yourself in the process.

Also, instead of wasting your time whining over things you have no control over, channel your energy into improving yourself and building your career. Get support from people that you trust. In my case, my family and a few friends were my support system.

This is a stage when people will suggest different drugs or solutions to you. Scrutinize every piece of advice you get and avoid self-medication. Also, block anyone that brings bad energy, otherwise, your mental health will be messed up.

While you are still hoping for a miracle, you might be tempted to lose your faith in God or do something wrong. Please, don’t give in. Keep praying and believing in God’s promises. He performs miracles in strange ways that no man can ever understand.

Also, if you can afford assisted reproductive techniques such as intrauterine insemination, in-vitro fertilization, or surrogacy, then go for it. Ignore other people’s opinion about it. Let your happiness be your top priority. I wish you the best of luck.

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