Babies, definitely not for the faint hearted!

All comical musings of excess hair growth aside, week 17 turned out to be quite harrowing and in no way helped my cause when it comes to eliminating grey hairs. As it turns out, I think I learned the direct correlation between blood pressure and stressful situations this week from personal experience.

With Monday came my midwife appointment at the clinic where I waited for half an hour after my appointment time to be seen by yet another new face and asked all of the exact same questions I was asked the previous week. Sigh! No I have not started smoking , changed my diet, gotten taller or become an alcoholic in the past seven days. Better ask me again next time though, in case I succumb to a life of vices in the next seven days.

Measurements were good, babies heart rate was strong and I managed to survive the entire appointment without turning into a feral four year old and having a tantrum on the floor of the consultation room. Barely.

The rest of the week went by without too much drama apart from business drama in regards to clients suddenly all forgetting to pay us…at the same time…and a particularly interesting smelling customer that had me revisiting my close bond with the porcelain bowl after she had left. I have said it before and I will say it again. Deodorant is not a luxury item, it is a god damn public service people. Get it on ya!

Thursday night came along and husband had a couple of big jobs to finish worth some big dollars when they were collected on Friday. I set him up for the night at his work bench with drinks and snacks and off I went home to cook dinner and look after our daughter. I was feeling fine, things were on track and silly me, I thought they were going to stay that way.

Midnight , right on the dot, I am sitting on my bed watching tv while my daughter slept next to me and I felt something odd down below. Off to the toilet I go, only to find when I stand up that my pyjama bottoms now look like they have been involved in a chainsaw massacre. I was sure they were blue when I put them on. Now they are red. Well actually, now they are in the bin. There was no saving them.

Freaking out is not a term that adequately describes what I felt at that moment, seeing so much blood at a time in pregnancy where you well and truly do not expect to see it. I bled a lot when I was pregnant with my daughter but never after 12 weeks. I remembered every time I rushed to the hospital feeling like I would bleed to death being told that there was nothing they could do , i was better off to go home and miscarry there.

Naturally, my first instinct was to go but not wanting to feel that sting of rejection for both myself and my baby I decided to call the maternity ward first. Seems 17 weeks deserves a little more attention and I was told to come straight up.

The rest of the night was a blur of blood tests, iv’s and the most excruciating pelvic exam in the history of the procedure. I kept a brave face. I had to. My daughter and husband were waiting just outside the curtain. The non sound proof curtain. The only evidence of my plight was the sky rocketing blood pressure and heart rate on the monitor and the cold sweat I was drenched in. Talk about stoic. I even managed to crack a few jokes during the ordeal so that my husband would think nothing serious was happening at that time. Whilst I was waxing lyrical about random subjects the nurse chuckled and the obstetrician used forceps to pull large blood clots from the surface of my cervix. Fun on a bun!

Another midwife arrived to listen for the babies heartbeat. We listened. And listened. And we got nothing. Looks were exchanged, brows were furrowed with worry and the midwife even tried to pass my own heart beat off as the babies to make me feel better but we all knew, myself included that this was not a good sign.

The obstetrician then had a conversation with me in a low voice, with a sympathetic hand on my shoulder that involved the word miscarriage more time than I care to count. He tip toed around the word, almost using only a whisper whenever he had to say it just in case I turned into a basket case at the mere mention of what we all knew could very well be the reality at this stage. My reality!

Then the worst part. I had to wait until 11:30 the next morning to have an ultrasound. That was nine hours away. That was cruel and unusual punishment. My husband and I barely spoke. The next morning we both went to work, as usual. Set up shop as usual. Just pretty much business…as usual until 11am when I quietly said goodbye and went off to the hospital.

My words to a friend , “it is what it is”. What could I do? I could not get caught up in a game of what if and if only. It helps nobody. I had to stay level headed. I could fall apart later.

My appointment time came and went and my bladder was full to bursting. Every woman in that waiting area did the same awkward little shuffle to her seat, the same little side to side shift and the cross / uncross of legs. Silently we suffered until I was the last one in the waiting room and I could suffer no more. There should be a law against keeping a pregnant woman waiting past the time of her ultrasound appointment. In fact when all is said and done i might make that my new crusade. Because you know, It is not like I don’t have enough on my plate right now.

There are no words to describe that rush of relief when that ultrasound shows a healthy baby, a healthy heartbeat and you realise you haven’t lost it. It is an experience I have now had twice in my life and it always takes your breath away. There was baby, kicking away. The sonographer said that my placenta was lying over the cervix which was more than likely the cause of the bleed but other than that the baby was normal and right on track.

So now, in order for me to successfully avoid another c-section, my disobedient placenta has until 32 weeks to move its ass upwards and out of the way. I had a feeling I was getting out of things too easily this time round. But all is well for now. I am taking it easy, no heavy lifting and I am going to have relax my standards about house tidiness but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

For now, here is the latest pic of the baby Sasquatch.

20130420-155935.jpg

Could it be?

2 days and no nausea. Could this be the other side of the nightmare? I so badly want it to be true but I am sitting here waiting. Every twinge, flutter, bubble and gurgle that emanates from my stomach causes me to panic briefly while I wonder if my brief reprieve from hell is over.

Today I actually got so much done it blew my mind. Housework, washing, shopping, all of the stuff that has fallen into disarray over the last few weeks. I even very nearly made Adriano Zumbo brownies but decided at the last minute not to push my luck.

No exercise happened because of this damn heat and also due to the fact that I had read recently that exercising while pregnant is fine as long as you don’t raise your heartbeat over 129 bpm. Ordinarily my polar heart rate monitor would be a big help in ensuring that I kept this in check but during my ride yesterday it had a bit of a malfunction. I am pretty sure that it needs new batteries, either that or I have a serious cardiac condition that causes my heart rate to soar to 260 bpm whilst resting. I think that particular condition is called death and seeing as I am fairly alive, must be the battery. I have entrusted the polar to my husband to change the batteries so I should have it back sometime in the next 12 months!

The absence of sickness is doing strange things to my head. I should be more elated about feeling more like myself but instead it is causing a little bit of anxiety. I am struggling to stop my head from going to a dark place. There is a small scary voice saying that if I am not feeling sick then maybe I am going to miscarry. I know that I have nothing to base this fear on but that is the funny thing about fear, it doesn’t rely on truth, science or rationale to survive.

I never thought that I would find some strange comfort in feeling so unwell. Simply put, if I had morning sickness I must still be pregnant. Now without the nausea, the uncertainty creeps back in. I should probably not think too much about it, I may wake up sicker than ever tomorrow and this whole post will be moot.

Ha, anyone reading this must think I am terribly bi-polar. One minute I am whinging about feeling sick then the next I am whining about feeling better. To answer your question, yes. I am most certainly certifiably crazy aka pregnant. For the next seven months I cannot be held responsible for anything I write or think or say. My apologies in advance.

Wish you well

I have had that damn Bernard Fanning song going through my head for a few days now. Not because people have been wishing me well. Quite the opposite it seems. Starting from Saturday I have had an entourage of doom & gloomers following me around making sure that I don’t manage to sneak in a rare moment of peace.

First, my regular Saturday visitor made a point of warning me not to get too cocky. Just because I may make it to 12 weeks doesn’t mean that I won’t still have a miscarriage she said. Hmmm, gee thanks, not usually what I want to think about at 7am on a Saturday but ok, thanks for the heads up! Then she follows with yet another pearler, not to worry if I do miscarry as usually it means the baby would have been a spastic. Seriously, what a delightful little ray of sunshine she is. I kid you not people, these were her exact words, no artistic license taken whatsoever.

Today was scan day. I got up at 5:30am like a good girl and went to the toilet before proceeding to choke down my 1.25 litres of water. Actually that is not quite true, I had been awake since 3:30 am suffering from some anxiety about the scan so I was already awake at 5:30 playing plants versus zombies in bed. I did literally choke down the water, as I predicted, my stomach was not a happy camper about the deluge at such an ungodly hour. I fought to keep it down the whole way there.

The instructions regarding volume of water were overkill to say the least. Turns out it was completely unnecessary to drink that much. I suffered unspeakable torture this morning. I have never in my life needed to pee that desperately. Luckily I was first. As it was I was nearly in tears, the need was soooo bad.

Turns out your bladder can be too full! Mine was and she couldn’t see anything to begin with. Another delightful person to add to my entourage ( note the sarcasm ) she decided that I must have lost the baby and proceeded to tell me so within about 30 seconds of starting the scan. I was horrified. To say the least. But not convinced. I had been down this road before. I stopped myself from panicking and just concentrated on not peeing myself.

After much poking, prodding and other forms of torture, I was allowed to go to the bathroom. Hooray! I waddled as fast as my legs could carry me to the bathroom. When I came back, she switched ultrasound attachments and had another look with my now relaxed and zen like bladder out of the way. Ahh, there it was. A heart beat!

When were the sonographers going to learn to look first and speak second. This happened to me on a number of occasions with my first child. At least three times I was told that I had lost my baby and to go home. After demanding a scan and sitting in emergency waiting rooms for 12 hours, they were quite shocked to find my little bump still happily floating in the amniotic sea with a steady heartbeat. This was another one of these experiences, telling me that clearly nothing has changed in the last four years.

So, it turns out that I am only seven weeks along, not ten as first calculated by my GP , meaning that I am far from being out of the woods with regards to morning sickness. Peppermint has become a lifesaver however.

Are a rocky start, I did get a picture of the baby blob, it doesn’t yet resemble anything identifiable but it is where it should be, with a good heart beat and it is alone. Thank goodness, the thought of twins was doing my head in to be honest.

20130204-151349.jpg

Not all pregnancies are created equal!

As my title suggests, not all pregnancies are created equal. Indeed they are not. I am experiencing alot of familiar things right now. My morning nausea that never happens until mid afternoon. This is what actually clued me in at 10 weeks that I was actually up the duff. Normally I am way more observant but I blame owning a business, Christmas and regular irregularities due to having PCOS as to why I let it get by me for so long. The point this, this is familiar.

Sore boobs, fatigue, a level of air headed bimbo-ness that leaves Anna Nicole Smith looking like frigging Einstein …….this is familiar.

Food cravings? What have we here? This is new. I never had one with my first child. Not once. Never ate a pickle dipped in ice cream. Never drank a chickpea and alfalfa smoothie. I just ate pretty much normally the whole way through.

This time? I am like a woman possessed. Like the spirit of Betty Crocker has taken up residence in my body. I want cake. No scratch that. I want baked goods. I mean, why limit myself to one particular type of baked good when there is a whole bevy of baked beauties out there for me to enjoy, right?

I read somewhere once, probably during my last pregnancy, that cravings while pregnant were our bodies way of saying that we need something in that particular food. So basically, we should indulge in our cravings to gain said hidden nutrient.

What absolute garbage. I have never heard of a pregnant woman craving broccoli unless it was smothered in Hershey’s chocolate syrup just as carrots are not usually at the top of the midnight craving list unless being used as a medium to scrape Nutella out of the jar. What kind of “nutrient” could my in no way underfed body be needing from a damn cookie???

Oh, now I know, I just really needed the vitamin e and omega 3 from the walnuts in these chocolate brownies. Yeah, that must be the reason why I just ate the entire tray of the damn things. We all know how important omega 3 is to our growing baby and vitamin e is great for stretch marks so I best be eating a brownie a day then. All hail the newest “health food” , next week there will be a book about the brownie diet and how to lose 500 kilos by eating 500 brownies in 500 seconds. We shall call it the 500 diet and it shall be endorsed by Oprah.

What does a craving feel like, you ask? Well imagine happily going about your business when, wham bam, all of a sudden you feel like there is a gaping hole in your stomach that only a ( insert craving) will fill. The longer it takes to satisfy said craving, the larger the hole gets until your entire being is consumed with thoughts for cookies, cakes,pickles etc etc. fear not, it is possible to deny cravings, you will not die of cookie starvation ( a terrible affliction, just ask Cookie Monster , he is a shadow of his former self I hear) You just have to get really good at distracting yourself.

Yeah, seriously, this is the kind of shit my pregnant brain goes on with these days. Thank god for this blog, I think my husband has stopped listening to my ramblings, diatribes and tirades.

But you won’t abandon me will you readers? After all, if you have never had a baby, you will need to know this one day. Lesson: cravings are fun but they will still add to the expansion project that has become your pregnant ass. Crave in moderation for the sake of the seams of your maternity pants!

Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me

After the exhilaration fades, once all of the congratulations die down, there is not enough to occupy my mind. This is when my old friend paranoia pops her ugly head in for an unwelcome visit.

She is like that annoying friend we have all had at some stage or other in our lives who always knows the worst possible time to show up on your doorstep. Once she gets her stiletto clad foot in the door, she makes a beeline for the couch, kicks up her well shod, perfectly manicured feet and settles in for a while. Getting rid of paranoia is like trying to get rid of cellulite, damn near impossible once it has found it’s way to your ass cheeks.

I have spent the day bordering on an anxiety attack, attempting to keep myself busy at work and failing miserably. I am repeating this silly little mantra over and over. “Please let it stick, please let it stick” if you have never been pregnant before, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, the first trimester will absolutely, positively do your head in.

And it doesn’t matter if this is your first, second or fifteenth child. There is no escaping the paranoia. That dreaded feeling that at any moment this could just simply cease to be. Especially if you have had a miscarriage before. If that is the case, then multiply the paranoia by twenty thousand. I see your paranoia and raise you a full blown panic attack.

That bitch, paranoia, sits perched in your favourite seat pointing out all of the things that could go wrong. Reminding you of all the things you did, ate, drank before you realised you were pregnant. Before long you are convinced that your uterus is a barren,lifeless wasteland that couldn’t sustain a cactus let alone a baby. And it is all my fault because of that piece of Brie I ate, or that one apple cider I had with Christmas dinner.

The thinking gets to be ridiculous, it got the better of me today. I went to the doctor to schedule my first trimester blood letting and while I was there I made him do another pregnancy test just so that I could gag my unwelcome, nay-saying paranoid doppelgänger with the positive results.

All day I kept thinking, five tests, all positive, doctors test positive, sore boobs, nausea, extreme tiredness, more time spent peeing than actually working, a craving for chocolate chip cookies so hardcore I would have sold my soul for one. Yup, I’m pregnant. Definitely pregnant. Please let it stick, please let it stick, please let it stick.

The doctor places me at about 10 weeks tomorrow. Two more weeks until I can kick that bitch off of my couch and out of my house. Until then, I’ll just keep repeating my little mantra to ward off the anxiety.

My baby ( whom I am almost certain will be a little girl but don’t quote me) is approximately the size of a prune today. About 3cm long, she officially graduates from an embryo to a foetus tomorrow. Her brain is starting to spark up and her vital organs are in place and are beginning to function. Se has tiny little nails on her fingers and toes and she can now swallow fluid and begin to move her little limbs although it will be a little while before I can feel her efforts to make a break for it through my stomach.

My daughter is making it her mission to tell everyone that mummy has a baby in her tummy and when it is grown up enough it will burst out of my tummy. She has picked out and helped me buy our first few baby things. A little toy rattle, a green fluffy bunny rug and a couple of very hungry caterpillar outfits.

When my first daughter was born, I was unprepared for the overwhelming, unconditional love that I felt for my child. It literally knocked the wind out of me and left me gasping when I realised how much love we were capable of feeling for such a tiny little human. At that stage I did not believe it possible to love another child as much as your first. How could it be possible when she was my everything. Now I am learning that you don’t sacrifice space in your heart reserved for your first child when you have a second, your heart just grows larger to accommodate the love you feel for them both, equally.

Now we just gotta get through the next few weeks. Please, please, please let it stick.

20130129-223619.jpg

The truth of the matter.

I have a few common sayings that I throw around in my daily conversation a lot. Maybe a little too much. One of them is “to be honest” as if it needs to be clarified when I am being honest or when I am stretching the truth a little. Another favourite is “at the end of the day”. This one is on the verge of over-use and should be retired. But the one that gets thrown around most often is “the truth of the matter is…” I figured that seeing as I say it so damn often, I should actually own the saying for once and tell you once and for all….

At the end of the day, to be honest, the truth of the matter is………this 12wbt means a little bit more to me than I may have led you all to believe. Even more so than the first round that I did ( round 3 2012). It is confession time people. In the spirit of Michelle’s ” say it out loud” mindset task I am going to write about why this next 12 weeks means so much to me. At this stage there is a high likelihood that I will chicken out and relegate this post to the draft folder, never to see the light of your computer screens.

I am 31 and as a side effect of entering my thirties I am experiencing a rather bothersome symptom. It is the very loud and very ominous sound of my biological clock ticking. Now I know that a lot of you might think me crazy to be concerned about this is my very early thirties. Two of my best friends were in their late thirties to early forties when they had their children and even my mother was in her late thirties when she had my younger siblings. That is all fine and well for some but I seem to be reproductively challenged.

If you are familiar with my blogs you will know that I am part of a very special group of people with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Apart from the joyous symptoms including enough facial hair to participate in Mo-vember, weight gain and thinning of head hair, early miscarriage is another common problem. One that I have become familiar with.

I have a daughter. She is 3. She is my life and I love her desperately. It took me about 7 years to conceive her and after about 8 threatened miscarriages, quite a few hospital visits and a thoroughly entertaining c-section she was born. From the moment she entered the world, my brain went into overload. I had no idea that we as human beings could be capable of loving someone so much. I literally felt that my heart would burst. I remember calling my mother 3 days or so after her birth. I was in quite a state because at that moment it dawned on me that at some point in her life, something or someone was going to hurt her. She might fall, she might get sick, she might have her heart-broken and I was not going to be able to stop it. I was beside myself at the thought and I had to ask my mother the question that all new mothers inevitably ask….

How the hell am I going to be able to protect her from the world? And then the second most common question…When do we stop worrying so much? I needed to know, I felt my brain would spontaneously combust at the thoughts of all the bad things that could happen. If there are any expectant mothers reading this, spoiler alert……The answers were in no way comforting. You cant and You never stop worrying.

As I settled in to those first few months of motherhood in a zombie-esque fashion, I doubted that I would be capable of managing another child. I felt that the love for my daughter was so strong and all-consuming that it may not be possible for me to love a second child as much. Now three and a half years have passed and my daughter is going off to kinder next year. I can finally sit back and recall with strong mental clarity, all of the experiences we had during those first few months. Now that I have finally emerged from that fog of first time motherhood I am able to actually laugh at the things we did.

Like the time that my child had a nappy leakage event with a clean-up operation that rivaled that of the Chernobyl disaster. I recall discovering my child in a strange olive-green jumpsuit that I was certain was originally white. What disturbed me more was the fact that the strange colour change had taken place from neck to knees. Did I run for some paper towel? No. A wash cloth? Nope. Run a bath? No way.

I ran for the phone and called my mum, 4 hours away. Not to ask for help but just because I simply had to tell another person who would appreciate the massive clean-up I was about to undertake. Only another mother could take a phone call like that. I also recall how my sometimes difficult child would only take her bottle whilst hanging upside down from her fathers knees or the time that we literally walked up and down the hallway all night long, tagging in and out like a very long and boring wrestling match.

I think about all of things now and I laugh. And then when I finish laughing, I get sad. Because I want that again. I want another baby.

I think I will be able to audibly hear the gasps and questioning of my sanity from my family even from 400 kilometres away. This admission might come as a surprise. The reason being is that I have had failed attempts over the last few years. Miscarriage at 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks. I don’t care how many weeks. It hurts. And I absolutely cannot help but to feel like maybe it was something that I had done wrong. Like if I wasnt so overweight, maybe I would have been able to carry to term.

I would shrug it off. Make out like it wasnt a big deal and that I was expecting it to happen. But man, oh, man. That feeling when the cramping starts is like the ground just falls out from underneath you. Then when you see the blood, you know it’s all over before it even really had a chance to begin. Then you wonder what might have been. If only….You can lie to your friends and your family about how you are fine. You knew it was a high possibility blah,blah, blah, There was still a part of you eyeing the baby clothes at Target. You still couldn’t help looking into the spare room and mentally calculating where the crib would go.

I have spent so long pretending that I did not want another baby. I figured if I faked it long enough eventually the longing would pass. But it didn’t. And life is too short to live a lie. So there it is. This is what the 12wbt means to me. My doctor says that if I can lose 10 kilos, I will find it easier to conceive and have a higher chance of carrying to term. And I have figured out the dilemma about having enough room in my heart for two. It is not that you have to share the love over two children. Quite simply, your heart just gets bigger. The love for your child is infinite and unconditional. Even if she is laying next to me in bed right now asleep and tearing shreds off my legs with her Freddy Kruger style toenails, something she inherited from her father of course.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome…..The gift that keeps on giving

Nearly four years ago I was on my way to Melbourne to meet my Mum and go shopping for a wedding dress. I had a pre-conceived idea of what I wanted. What I ended up getting was not even close. We had our appointments set at four different bridal shops and immediately upon entering the very first shop my mother ( an expert shopper) shot off into the many racks and racks of dresses. I, on the other hand went straight for the discount rack. A few moments later I heard a gasp come from one of the racks and my mother said ” oh Amber, you have to come and see this one”.

Now before I go much further I have to explain something about my mother to you. She has exceptional taste. She knows what she likes and you can guarantee that if she likes it, it is going to have the price tag to match. On the same Melbourne trip I had gone wandering the city with my Dad. We ended up in a quirky little shop that sold all sorts of glass ornaments and the like. I saw one item in particular that I knew my mother would love. I was quite nonchalant in picking up the glass and turning it over for the price. $3000! Immediately my palms start to sweat as I try to figure out how I am going to put this back without breaking it. Sweaty palms and $3000 glass is not a combination I would recommend…but I digress.

As I made my way over to the rack of wedding dresses I was mentally calculating how I was going to afford whatever she had found. I knew it was going to be amazing. I knew my fiance and I were only just starting out in our business and I knew that I had bugger all money. The dress was as I expected. Beautiful. It was me all over right down to the elegant black embroidery running through the bodice and down through the train. It was also twice what I could afford to pay and that was without the veil. I ended up getting the dress of my dreams because my dear mother bought it for me, god bless her!

My Mum, the dress and I

Upon returning to the hotel I called my partner and said mockingly ” well I got the dress, now you just have to not get me pregnant for the next 6 months, haha” I say mockingly because my partner and I had been together for six years already at that stage. For five and a half of those years we never used contraception. Not once. I had never been able to fall pregnant in all of that time. We put it down to a surgery I had years ago and had quite adjusted to the idea that we probably would not have children. At the time of me making that phone call I was 2 weeks pregnant, I just didn’t know it yet!

I had a rough time for the first 4 months of my pregnancy. I would experience severe lower abdominal pain and heavy bleeding pretty much constantly for the first 3 months. There were several trips to the hospital where I would be told that I was suffering a miscarriage but that they were too busy to see me. I was told to go home to lose the baby and go to my GP tomorrow. The last time that it happened was worse than all of the others, I was admitted to hospital as the bleeding was too heavy but for some unknown reason they refused to do an ultrasound. They were so convinced that I had lost the baby, as was I to be honest, that they saw no reason to want to do a scan. Even though all logic told me that no baby could survive that much blood loss, I demanded the ultrasound. I needed to see it on the screen. To know for sure that it was over. Several times they came to discharge me but I dug my heels in. I was not going until I had that scan. They agreed, begrudgingly. “there is no point” I was told. “you wont see anything” said another. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally after five hours of waiting, they finally took me for the scan. I think that they thought if they made me wait long enough I would give up and go home. Well if I have learned anything in life it is to never doubt the tenacity of a mother when it comes to her child. The sonographer was quite abrupt. Obviously felt this was a waste of her time. ” so we are confirming a miscarriage?” she asked. I could barely speak, just nodding and waiting to hear my worst fears confirmed. The sonographer babbled away about how common miscarriage was and how I shouldnt worry, I could just get pregnant again. Little did she know how long it took to get pregnant the first time! Suddenly, she went silent. I looked towards her and asked what was going on. Looking a little more than surprised, she turned the screen towards me and pointed out a tiny little fluttering blip and said ” do you see that spot there? That is your baby and the heartbeat is strong” I broke down, relief flooding through me. My husband and I both cried tears of joy although to this day he will tell you he wasn’t crying. It just so happened that a bug flew into his eye at that exact moment causing his eye to water profusely apparently.

Through all of this, nobody could tell me what was the cause of all the near miscarriages. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter at 39 weeks by c-section. During the surgery the doctors removed a large cyst from one of my ovaries. However, nothing was said about it at that time and we went about our daily lives with a new-born.

My little miracle

Months went by and my symptoms were stacking up. Periods so heavy they left me housebound though irregular in timing. Hair falling out at an increased rate. Excess facial and body hair that i had never had before. Weight gain with no change in eating habits. Severe lower abdominal pain. I went to several doctors who could not give me diagnoses. I was so sick of feeling like everything was just off and nagging at several different doctors to find out the cause. I was sure it was something hormonal due to the hair growth but the doctors just looked at me like i was an idiot and suggested that I try waxing and eating less! One even tried to prescribe me antidepressants. I told him I wasnt depressed, i was just turning into a man…Did he consider it normal that a 27-year-old woman was growing thick black hairs out of her chin and all over her stomach????? I remember thinking to myself …if I could just get a diagnoses, find out what was happening so it could be fixed, it would be such a gift.

I usually avoid googling medical symptoms. It is the quickest way to a healthy case of hypochondria and paranoia. Inevitably every path leads to some hideous incurable disease and after 15 minutes any rational person could be convinced they had terminal cancer. But I had no options left. I started my internet research and surprisingly, the results were showing one thing. PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had just about every symptom to the letter. It even explained my difficulty in becoming pregnant as well as the trouble I had during the pregnancy.

I returned to my doctor, information printed out from the internet in hand and told him I knew what was wrong with me. I showed him the papers and demanded a referral for an ultrasound. The whole time he was doing the referral I was lectured on not using the internet for self diagnoses blah blah blah. Well I wasnt getting one from anyone else so what choice did I have? I endured his condescending diatribe and went off with my referral. My ultrasound came and went and before the week was out I returned to the doctor for the results. ” Well, it is as I first suspected, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome” Excuse me??? As you first suspected??? It did not matter. I had my diagnoses, the gift I had been waiting for. Turns out it really is the gift that just keeps on giving…and giving…and giving. If excess body hair were currency i would be a very wealthy woman.

I tell myself now that if I ever find myself out of work I can just skip my waxing for a week and join the circus as the new bearded woman. Pulling my chin hairs out does provide me with hours of entertainment when I am bored. You gotta try to find some positive in every negative.

Now after 1500 words you are probably wondering what this has to do with weight loss. Well, any woman out there with PCOS will tell you. Everything hinges on weight loss. The only way to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of PCOS is to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight range. Sounds easy right? Well here’s the catch, and there is always a catch! Having PCOS means that it is very very difficult to lose weight and ridiculously easy to pile it on. We are hormonally challenged in the worst way. If our hormones spent the amount of time that they do growing our beards instead working with us to lose weight we would be laughing. Now I am not saying that it is impossible to lose weight with PCOS, just very difficult. For every kilo that your Non PCOS affected friend loses, the PCOS sufferer loses say 200 grams.

I can tell you from personal experience. There is nothing more frustrating and demotivating when you are trying to lose weight than training your guts out six days a week, eating steamed chicken spinach and broccoli and drinking litres and litres of water only to step on the scale and see nothing. Not a gram lost. If that alone doesn’t make you feel like quitting at least once or twice, you would be lying.

My husband and I did the Body for Life 12 week challenge some time ago. We followed the program to the letter. After 6 weeks at the halfway point, my husband had lost 10 kilos of body fat all ready. I had lost 2. Seriously, 2 kilos in 6 weeks! We trained together. I knew I was training just as hard as he was. We ate together, I knew I was doing to right thing nutritionally. But thems the breaks when you have PCOS. My husband went on to complete the Body for Life challenge and had an amazing transformation. I quit at the 6 weeks. I am not proud of it but I did. I found myself so despondent at the results that i just let it go.

But now things will be different.

I ACCEPT that I have PCOS. I ACCEPT that the next 12 weeks will be a battle. I ACCEPT that I have quit in the past and allowed things to break my stride. I ACCEPT all of the excuses I have used in the past. I ACCEPT that I am a mother and that it is my responsibility to set the best example for my daughter as I possibly can and that quitting does not achieve this.

I WILL finish the 12 week body transformation. I WILL finish it even if only lose 2 kilos. I WILL recognise that 2 kilos lost is still an achievement no matter how long it took. I WILL not rely on the number on the scales to keep me motivated. I WILL not quit.

I WILL win the battle.

I WILL train my ass off until my symptoms are as minimal as possible.

I WILL NOT be a 31-year-old woman with a beard 🙂