When Sarah married husband Brandt at 21, children were the furthest thought from her mind. But by age 25, she and her husband had decided it was time.
Going off birth control for the first time in her life, Sarah started feeling different, and experienced pain in her lower abdomen. Six months later, she found herself in the hospital for emergency surgery with a ruptured ovary. She was shocked to learn afterwards that she had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in reproductive-age women that can affect ovulation, hormone levels and menstruation. Birth control can lessen symptoms of PCOS and reduce growth in cysts — which is why going off birth control made Sarah’s cysts develop so quickly.
Sarah was forced to go back on birth control to manage her PCOS, but later decided to try again. After six months of trying to conceive, Sarah was worried because she wasn’t getting her period regularly and was told by doctors she wasn’t ovulating properly.
After seeing two OB/GYN doctors over the course of a year, Sarah and her husband were ready to see a fertility doctor. Because they were under 35, they were medically required to try for a year before seeking fertility treatment.
After meeting with Dr. Laurence Jacobs, Sarah was advised to quit smoking. In between intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments, Sarah quit smoking cold turkey. But after experiencing two miscarriages, Sarah needed to take a break.
In 2011 she started treatment again, and spent nearly two years doing IUI’s. After her first IUI, she became pregnant but miscarried. Later, she experienced another heartbreaking miscarriage.
Sarah felt frustrated and drained, and upset that she still felt so far from her goal. She had gained weight after quitting smoking, and felt discouraged.
Looking at all of the pieces of the puzzle, she felt something click. The two factors she could change were her diet and exercise, and she had been told by Dr. Jacobs that changing both could boost her fertility.
Taking charge, Sarah decided she would get herself in the best shape possible for fertility treatment. Her finances had taken a hit with treatment, and she saw this as her last chance. She was determined to achieve a lasting pregnancy and be in the best shape of her life.
Sarah started taking Cross Fit classes, and followed a Paleo, low-carb diet. She found a friend and confidante in the owner of the Cross Fit gym, who also had PCOS and needed fertility treatment for her first two pregnancies.
In four months, Sarah lost 30 lbs. and dropped her Body Mass Index from 29 to 24. She also started taking Metformin, a drug that aids in insulin regulation and ovulation which is commonly prescribed to women with PCOS. When she went back to see Dr. Jacobs, she felt like a new woman.
With trepidation and excitement, Sarah and Brandt started their IVF cycle. They were ecstatic when Sarah learned she was pregnant, and became more excited as the months went by. Nine months later, baby Landon was born.
Sarah says that her four-year path to parenthood was not easy.
“This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, and I succeeded,” she explains. “Landon is our treasure, and he was worth all the sacrifice.”