The Positive Aspect of High Risk

Don’t Google image search for anything I’m about to tell you.

I made that mistake and I’m scarred for life.

Just take my descriptions + non-artistic drawing and go on with your night. Or else you will think I have baby aliens growing inside of me too…

Anyway, if you do decide to Goolge ovarian cysts, you are NOT allowed to say I didn’t warn you.

When Justin and I went in for ultrasound number one, it was not what I expected. This is my first lesson in parenting: few things go as planned. Therefore, patience is virtue.

I wasn’t sure how far along I was…but because my last period was in November and there was a CHANCE I could be 8 weeks, so they scheduled my first appointment anyway.

I remember sitting in the ultrasound room with Justin and I had the nervous shakes.

I was cold.

I didn’t know what to expect.

My cramps were awful.

I’m not saying I am super woman, but I do think I have a pretty strong pain tolerance.

But these cramps…well…they brought tears to my eyes.

I remember climbing into the shower one night after a long day at work and I just started crying.

“If this is what pregnancy is like, I am doomed,” I said to myself.

The pain was so bad that my only way to eliminate my pain was to sleep (and you guys know I haven’t had a problem doing that lately).

Anyway, back in the ultrasound room the tech lubed up the vaginal ultrasound machine (which ironically had a condom on it).

At first, she went to my ovaries…but I didn’t know that’s what she was doing.

I just saw giant circles…and I looked at Justin with a confused look on my face.

“Oh my,” she said. “Well, no wonder you’ve had a lot of cramping. You’ve got quiet a few cysts filled with fluid.”

Cysts?

Fluid?

But where is my baby!!!

Don’t I have a baby in there!?!

What the hell am I looking at?!

I remember seeing at least three large black circles and a few smaller ones.

“So, what does that mean?” I finally asked.

“Well, it looks like you’re filled with ovarian cysts,” she said. “And they’re pretty large.”

She kept taking pictures of each cysts.

Measuring each one.

“Like, how large?” I asked.

“Well, they are about double in the normal size,” she said.

“You see that little follicle here,” she said before I could ask about the normal size. “Well, that’s normal. And as you can see, this one is a lot smaller than the other ones.”

My stomach felt sick.

I still didn’t know what this meant for the baby, who apparently is snuggle buddies with my giant cysts.

By now, you want a stronger definition of an ovarian cysts, don’t you? Well here you go:

“An ovarian cyst is any collection of fluid, surrounded by a very thin wall, within an ovary. Any ovarian follicle that is larger than about two centimeters is termed an ovarian cyst. Such cysts range in size from as small as a pea to larger than an orange.” 

Once an ovarian cysts reaches more than five cenitmeters, they recommend surgery.

Why?

Well, the cysts gets too large…it will collapse my ovary. As a result, I will collapse because it will cut off my blood supply.

Scary stuff, right?

Here is the image I drew to spare you the painful Google searches.

I’m a writer- not an artist, people.

Now at this point, I know you are tempted to leave my blog and Google symptoms. Because I’m a mind reader (you’re welcome)- I know this about you…so I’ve provided a list of symptoms below. In case you are wondering, they sound exactly like pregnancy, your period, AIDS, or cancer:

  • Dull aching, or severe, sudden, and sharp pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen (YES)
  • Fullness, heaviness, pressure, swelling, or bloating in the abdomen (Double yes)
  • Breast tenderness (But isn’t this because I’m pregnant!?)
  • Pain during or shortly after beginning or end of menstrual period (Always)
  • Irregular periods, abnormal uterine bleeding, or spotting (You got it!)
  • Change in frequency or ease of urination (Consider me the VP of Frequenter Pee Club)
  • Weight gain (STORY OF MY LIFE)
  • Nausea or vomiting (meh- not so much!)
  • Fatigue (Sorry, I almost feel asleep while typing, what symptom are we on again?)
  • Infertility (Sounds familiar…we were one month shy of fertility medicine)
  • Increased level of hair growth (On my head?)
  • Increased facial hair or body hair (Well let’s hope I don’t have a mustache growing…)
  • Headaches (Isn’t that because I can no longer drink my Starbucks coffee!?)
  • Strange pains in ribs, which feel muscular (My stomach hardly feels muscular, do ovarian cysts give you abs?)
  • Bloating (I thought it’s because I ate too much cheese?)
  • Strange nodules that feel like bruises under the layer of skin (Do I have cancer?)

Finally, she measured all of my cysts…I have 5ish between both ovaries.

Suddenly our entire journey made sense…

And you know what?

There is JACK CRAP that I can do about it…except not stress out and pray. Ovarian cysts don’t care what you eat, drink, or how many half marathons you run.

They grow on your hormones.

(And I am guessing years of birth control didn’t help matters either).

Anyway, we finally moved into my uterus to see Baby Sieb…and instead of seeing a little tiny baby.

I saw another black circle.

She didn’t say anything.

No one said anything.

“Well, I think that’s a healthy sac in there!” she said.

(Of course, this made Justin laugh. I promise we are mature enough to be parents). 

Finally, a black circle with purpose!!!

“And if you look closely you can see a little tiny yok sac,” She said. 

I left the doctor’s office with a week of lab work ahead of me and another ultrasound in my near future.

We will have no problem hitting our out of pocket deductible with this pregnancy, Justin joked.

Two weeks later, I was back at the doctor’s office. My lab work indicated my hormones were increasing every two days (as they should) and my cramping was ten times better!

Oh, it is love- from the first time that I met you…

“My cramping is so much better, ” I told the ultrasound tech. “I think my cysts are shrinking!”

This time, she went straight to my uterus…and before my very eyes…there was BABY SIEB!

Seriously, how cute is Baby Sieb!?
I feel like he / she is dancing in this picture.
“Heyyyyyy sexy, lady!”

And then she turned on the (insert machine that detects the heart beat) and we could not only hear, but SEE our little Nemo’s heart beat.

It was such a magical moment.

I looked over at Justin and we were both smiling with watery eyes.

All those months of negative tests.

All those tears.

All of those painful periods.

All of those minutes of anticipation before each test…

Every single heartbreak was worth waiting for that very moment.

After we saw the baby, she measured my cysts again.

Even though my cramping stopped….the cysts had grown.

Now, most of them were pushing five centimeters.

“Is there anything at all I can do?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“No honey,” she said. “Just try not to stress and worry. We will just keep a close on everything.”

Saturday marked my tenth week being pregnant. 

Tomorrow, I’m going back in my my third ultrasound.

The positive aspect of being high risk is seeing our little Nemo so often!

Despite all of the mass chaos going on in my ovaries, I feel so blessed and lucky to be in such great hands and get even more pictures of our little one.

I think God knew I’d want extra pictures for my Belly Book too!

Obviously I have about 4 journals.

I really hope I don’t need surgery…and that my cysts have gone down in size.

If praying is part of your life, please say a little prayer for us tonight / tomorrow.

If you are more interested in positive thinking, we will take all the good vibrations we can get.

And if you’re just as excited to see our little one as much as we are, just tune back tomorrow for more pictures.

Thanks for your constant love and support. I cherish all of your positive words and encouragement.

Much love,
Ashley

2 thoughts on “The Positive Aspect of High Risk

  1. Mox H. says:

    Actually, birth control is typically the #1 course of treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome – helps keep hormones under control for a fair amount of sufferers. A lot of women go onto BC not knowing they're suffering from PCOS, only to find out when they go off BC to conceive & have troubles thereafter.

    PCOS, being a “syndrome” and therefore encompassing a very broad spectrum of (incurable) symptoms is kind of up to the Dr. to diagnose. I had one pushing the diagnosis on me wanting to add drugs like Metformin to my daily schedule (with my regular BC). Any other Dr. I've visited has been like, “meh, you have some borderline symptoms but if they're not bothering you, you don't need that stuff, just look out for anything worsening as you age.”

    It saddens me to read about your troubles. I'm wishing for nothing but the very best health for you & Nemo – and there's lots of support boards out there online for PCOS & preggo women w/ PCOS (I spent a lot of time searching when the one Dr. freaked me out). There's a community out there to help you.

    -Mox

  2. Ashley Marie says:

    Mox- Thank you SO much for this message. It really does make me happy knowing that I'm not alone…I mean, sometimes I'm just left so many questions…How? Why? Will this affect having children in the future? And there is just so many gray lines…but I'm so thankful for a supportive doctor who really does answer all my questions the best he can. I hope you are doing well with PCOS, I know how painful it can be…Thanks again for reaching out – and you know I'm always hear for you too! xoxo!

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