PCOS & Inflammation: Ellen’s Story [SUCCESS]

February 1, 2021

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Today’s journey story of a woman named Ellen. She is a 33-year-old doula who enjoys reading, cross-stitching, and yoga. Ellen spent 4 years as a doula before trying to conceive herself. She got pregnant quickly but miscarried at 11.5 weeks. She went in for an ultrasound and was told there was no heartbeat. She took 2 rounds of medication, which led to a month of bleeding and 2 trips to the ER. Ultimately, she ended up having a D&C. She spent the next year undergoing testing to discover the root cause of her miscarriage. Working with a naturopath, she discovered her body was very inflamed from an active EBV flare. She also has the MTHFR gene mutation, and a hormonal imbalance from PCOS was adding to the complications of keeping a pregnancy. Also during that time, she worked to manage her health and lower her inflammation. Once they tried again, she became pregnant. After an early scare, she went on to have a healthy baby. Join us to hear how Ellen has had another miscarriage since trying for a second baby.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Ellen was a type-A planner who was productive, motivated, and regimented
  • How she met her husband through mutual friends when she moved to Hawaii at age 23, and they began doing yoga together
  • As a couple, they are strong yet vulnerable to each other
  • How Ellen always wanted to be a mom and was obsessed with babies as a young girl
  • Why she’s glad she allowed timing to work out regarding a spouse and children and didn’t rush things to happen earlier
  • How Ellen had early menstrual issues as a girl and started on birth control pills very early; she went on to have weight gain, gallbladder problems, and insulin resistance
  • How she went vegan, focused on diet and nutrition, and was diagnosed with PCOS in her early 20s
  • When her copper IUD caused issues, she swore off birth control while in Hawaii and then saw a naturopath who changed her thinking and prompted big changes for Ellen
  • After marrying and moving back to WA, they started trying to conceive, never suspecting that they would have issues; Ellen was PCOS-symptom free and had normal cycles
  • How she became pregnant right away and was excited but unsure as she saw a midwifery group at a local birth center
  • With the first ultrasound, no heartbeat was detected, and Ellen felt like something was wrong
  • The next ultrasound at 11-½ weeks gave the same result, and a new doctor prescribed her medications to facilitate the miscarriage
  • As the miscarriage progressed slowly, Ellen felt angry at her body and detached from her husband
  • How she ended up eventually having to have a D & C after a traumatic bleeding event, an ER visit, and a month of bleeding
  • How Ellen began advocating in different ways and researching and learning about the MTHFR gene mutation, which she had
  • How Ellen began focusing on hormone health in her diet and lifestyle
  • As she started trying again to conceive, she became pregnant but only told a few close family members
  • When her HCG numbers weren’t good, her doctor said to “prepare for a loss”–just as they prepared for a planned trip to Europe
  • How Ellen was affected by hearing the baby’s heartbeat and enjoyed a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy and home birth
  • The difficulties in postpartum with feeding issues and tongue tie and lip tie for her daughter (a common characteristic of the MTHFR mutation)
  • The difficulties in being a mom with a type-A personality
  • How Ellen started trying for Baby #2, trying to plan it out perfectly, but her quick pregnancy ended as a chemical at five weeks
  • How Ellen has let go of the stress and the pressure of her “planned” timeline
  • What Ellen recommends to her clients regarding seeing a naturopath
  • How to address postpartum depression along with secondary infertility
  • How infertility has changed Ellen: “Infertility has made me more cynical initially. I had to work through the tendency to be bitter toward other people’s pregnancies. I have found a deep compassion for women who are going through infertility, miscarriage, and loss. My experience has also shaped the work that I do.”
  • Ellen’s advice to her past self: “Give yourself grace. Infertility is not your fault.”

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Thanks for listening!

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