Skip to Content

From PCOS To Motherhood: Megan’s Story

This is Megan's PCOS to motherhood story. 

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) when I was 18.

The afternoon after my diagnosis, I cried on my way to work because the first thing I saw when I Googled PCOS was INFERTILITY.

I always wanted to be a mommy. Now all I had were the heartbreaking search results that told me it would be a gift I might never receive. 

PCOS To Motherhood

After I started my job at Denver Health hospital. I visited the Women’s Care Clinic and saw a resident for my annual exam and to start the family planning process.

My husband and I figured I had a good, stable job that I could make a career out of, and it was a good time to start thinking about expanding our family. We knew it would take a while and likely require medical intervention.

I was in her exam room for less than 5 minutes when she came in and said, “I see that you put family planning on your reason for this visit. Did you know your BMI is 44?”

She didn’t look at me while she was talking.

And she didn’t introduce herself or allow me to tell her my name.

This doctor walked into the room, looked at my chart, and saw that I was 5’6 and 276 lbs.

I told her that yes, my husband and I would like to start trying for a baby in the next few years and I just wanted to start preparing myself for that journey.

I will never forget her voice saying this, “At 276 lbs, I would not recommend pregnancy for you. My recommendation is the Implanon birth control implant or an IUD. It’s effective for up to 5 years and in that time, I recommend you meet with our bariatric surgeon. You need to lose at least 100 lbs before I would consider you healthy enough for pregnancy. And bariatric surgery would be your best option to lose such a large amount of weight.”

She went on to discuss my age and how I was too young to be considering a baby, but honestly, the rest of the visit was a blur.

At 22 years old, I was timid and didn’t know how to (or that it was okay to) stand up for myself when being spoken to so harshly by a care provider. 

I do remember telling her that I would not, under any circumstances, have any implanted birth control. She rolled her eyes at me and ended the visit with an unsolicited prescription for birth control pills. And the very strict instructions not to forget to take them.

I went home and fell apart on my husband’s shoulder. He wasn’t quite ready for a family yet.

But he pushed his hesitation aside for me for a few minutes enough to tell me to get a second opinion.

My husband told me if I wanted to have a family, we’d find a way to make it happen. He told me to call around and find a specialist who would work with me regardless of my weight.

As an employee at Denver Health (DH), my health insurance options are limited. The visit with the resident left a horrible taste in my mouth.

But I didn’t have any option to see a provider outside of the Denver Health network.

Related: PCOS Conception Story: Stop Telling Me To Just Lose Weight

I talked to a few co-workers and they referred me to an amazing endocrinologist within our DH campus. I saw Dr. Bessesen for the first time in August 2012 for a second opinion and advice to lose weight ON MY OWN, if that was what it was really going to take to get pregnant in the near-ish future.

He was the very first person to tell me that it was OKAY to be 276 lbs.

It was OKAY to want a family, and it was OKAY to be pregnant as a fat woman.

It was even OKAY if my body needed a little bit of extra help to conceive and/or carry a healthy pregnancy.

Through my half-hour appointment (and lots of tears) we decided to try a little bit of weight loss and see how I felt. If at that point I felt like I wanted to sign up for a Bariatric Seminar, he’d be happy to refer me, but he didn’t feel like it was necessary for me to get the results I wanted- a healthy pregnancy.

I started on a prescription weight loss medication with the goal of losing 10% of my body weight, just to reduce the risk of diabetes, and gestational diabetes once the time came.

Between my visit with Dr. Bessesen in August 2012 and March 2013, I had lost 68.5 lbs.

My clothes fit better, I had incredible amounts of energy, and my libido even went up!

It was amazing, and to top it off we found out on March 21st that I was pregnant.

It was unexpected, mostly because I had been told for so long that I would never be able to conceive without medical intervention.

My husband had recently lost his job and there was a lot of panic at our surprising news, but there was also so much joy and pride that we were able to do this one thing on our own.

I called my doctor immediately, took the next day off work, and we went happily along to my first prenatal appointment at my regular PCP office. Once there, I was hit with some unfortunate news. Because I had a history of blood clots, I was considered high risk and would not be able to do my prenatal appointments with my regular doctor.

Related: How To Talk About Plus Size Pregnancy Risks In A New Way

That meant I would have to be seen at the Women’s Care Clinic; the office where I had been told I was unfit for pregnancy and motherhood because I was fat. I bucked up and decided I was going to do whatever it took to make sure I could bring this precious baby into the world safely.

My first appointment in the high-risk clinic was horrible.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to see the same resident who I had seen previously, but I was scheduled with another student who didn’t know me from Joe Schmo. This person knew nothing about my history, nothing about my incredible weight loss, nothing about my personality.

Related: A Journey In Self-Love Through My Plus-Size Pregnancy And Birth

Within the first 5 minutes of my first prenatal appointment, she turned to me and said “With pregnancy and obesity, I just want to warn you that gestational diabetes will be a big hurdle. We’ll give you a book to track your blood sugar numbers and a meal plan, and then between 38 and 40 weeks we’ll talk about scheduling a c-section if the baby is too big.”

I absolutely froze.

I’m so grateful that my husband was there and snapped me out of my deer-in-headlights stare when he said, “You already know she has gestational diabetes? How do you know she’ll need a c-section already?” Thank you, Lord, for this man.

The OB said that gestational diabetes (GD) was very common in obese women and even though DH has one of the lowest c-section rates in the country, most of them are because of large babies due to GD.

I finally asked why we were talking so much about Gestational diabetes and she said, “well, that’s why you’re in the High-Risk clinic right? For Diabetes?” Only after I explained that I was referred to High Risk because of a history of blood clots did she even look at anything else on my chart. I did not receive an apology, just an “Okay, so you don’t have diabetes? We’ll discuss that part later then.”

For two months, every time I had a prenatal appointment the resident on call would ask if I’d had any issues with my sugars. Every time, I had to explain that I did not, in fact, have GD.

After about the 4th appointment I’d had enough.

Related: The Unforgettable PCOS Birth Story of Hannah Rae

That’s the time I discovered Plus Size Birth. I read your story and the stories of other plus size mamas who were in control of their bodies. They had the births and pregnancies THEY wanted, not what was convenient for the doctor.

It empowered me to start standing up for myself with my care. And to do my own research on things before taking what I was told at face value.  

I begged to be transferred to the midwifery program and I’m so glad I advocated for myself. Not only did they quit asking me about gestational diabetes, they actually started EDUCATING me about my plus size pregnancy.

I passed my glucose tests with flying colors, and never had any issues with blood clotting.

I started to enjoy my pregnancy.

We found out we were expecting a boy, I started showing and making the very most of my “B” belly, and we were so happy with the way our care was going.

plus size pregnancy

On November 15th at 37 weeks and 4 days, I went to my regular appointment and met a new midwife, Claudia.

My blood pressure was higher than normal.

She suggested we keep an eye on it for a little while in the OB Screening room.

She gave me information about pre-eclampsia. While she said it was probably nothing, she wanted me to be informed just in case I did show signs.

After 3 hours and a negative urine test, they sent me home. I started making dinner and doing laundry to pack. We had just purchased a house. We were getting ready to move and settle into our new home before our new bundle arrived.

A few hours later, I received a call that the lab had misread my urine results.

I needed to return to Denver Health to be induced.

I was terrified.

My plans for a natural, medication-free birth were crushed. I was still 3 weeks away from my due date and our home was torn apart. My wonderful husband calmed me down and said, “If this is it, this is it. Let’s go.” I called my doula and told her to meet us at the hospital.

We arrived at Denver Health and were expressed to Labor and Delivery. The midwife I had met earlier, Claudia, was waiting. She told me she was sorry things had to be like they were, but assured me that we were going to have a healthy baby no matter what.

All I could think about was the c-section I was sure to have, that it was my fault because I had gained 70 lbs during pregnancy.

And that my body couldn’t even do the ONE thing it was actually designed to do.

They started induction medications and we waited.

For 3 days, we waited.

The midwife team came in and talked to me every few hours.

The entire time we were there, reassuring me that I COULD do this. A c-section was not necessarily imminent. And I would have all the support I wanted to birth how I wanted, provided my baby boy was safe.

Even though I ended up with a ton of Pitocin, which led me to eventually request a light epidural. I was able to feel my contractions and feel when it was time to push.

At 1:52 pm on Monday, November 18, 2013, I birthed a 6lb 13oz beautiful baby boy!

With 3 pushes, I birthed him into the arms of a slightly unprepared nurse. The midwife hadn’t even had time to come back in the room.

That little boy is still in a hurry all the time. At 2 ½ years old and is happy, healthy, and thriving.

plus size birth story

Plus Size Birth inspired me and enabled me to realize my body is NOT broken. My body KNOWS how to birth a child. Plus size does NOT equal incapable! Most importantly, it taught me to love myself; to love my body.

Liam loves his mommy’s soft, comforting body, why shouldn’t I?

Hear Megan's full story via the Plus Mommy Podcast – PCOS And Pregnancy: Megan’s Plus Size Pregnancy Story

plussizebirth
Follow me

Iris

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Plz help me too

plussizebirth

Friday 21st of May 2021

Here's a helpful PCOS and TTC resource, Iris. https://plussizebirth.com/plus-size-women-pcos-stories-resources/

Kayla

Sunday 29th of July 2018

I was diagnosed with PCOS in January of this year, though I had already considered it as an option because I have very irregular periods. I began seeing my current OB in January, also with the intention of trying to get pregnant. I told her that I had been trying naturally since my wedding in 2014 to get pregnant, but with no luck. She immediately jumped to starting me on progesterone to induce a period then on a cycle of letrozole to induce ovulation.

She, nor her staff, have ever once questioned my weight or blamed it for my infertility. She actually informed me that my PCOS made it easier for me to gain weight quickly and that none of it was my fault. After two cycles without ovulating, even with the meds, I told her I was ready for the next step. She offered an ovarian cystectomy, a tubal dye test, and ovarian drilling. I did my research and I was sold. They removed 30-40 small cysts from each ovary, which they said were the size of apples. My dye test was perfect and I was also told my uterus was incredibly hospitable. I took all of this as great news and at my 2 week post op check in, I was informed that I had ovulated! On my own, with no meds! I wasn't testing and I was on strict no-sex directions from my DR, so I missed it, but just the thought of it made me so happy I was in tears.

I then had a rough two months where my active follicles became cysts instead of maturing, but in June I reacted positively to the meds and had two active, mature follicles, AND my first positive ovulation test!!! I did test for pregnancy two weeks later and it was negative, but I didn't allow myself to get beat. I ovulated. I had a period that was not caused by medication. I was normal for a full month, and that made me ecstatic.

This past cycle in July I also had two active and mature follicles, one on each ovary this time. I am currently in my two-week-wait, but I am so positive that this will work for me now.

Thank you for all you do. This blog has made it where I refuse to settle for less than everything I deserve when it comes to providers. I have luck on my side with my size-friendly OB, but I know how to speak up for myself if needed when it comes to my delivery.

plussizebirth

Monday 30th of July 2018

Kayla thank you so much for everything you shared! I'm so glad you have connected with a great care provider who is supporting you. I wish you all the best!

Angie

Friday 11th of May 2018

I'm 37. I have pcos and I'm taking Clomid to get pregnant. I'm 312 lbs. I am diabetic but I control it on my own. I have lost 103 pounds on my own. And still loosing. I'm in my ovulation stage with the fertility drug. The first dosage. I'm just scared I won't get pregnant this time around. And I'm getting to old to he pregnant. I never thought I would be able to have another kid. My son is 18 now. I'm with my fiance. Hopefully we get pregnant this time. I don't like the psychological side effects of the drugs.

plussizebirth

Saturday 12th of May 2018

You are not alone, Angie! Thanks for sharing your story.

Sara Holt

Thursday 27th of April 2017

I loved reading this. K struggled with my weight my entire life. At 16 my family doctor told me I was morbidly obese and needed to lose weight. This was after I told this doctor I had tried every single diet under the sun and nothing worked. Including Weight Watchers, which is just where a 16 year old girl wants to be. At 18 my mom's OB diagnosed me with PCOS. Very little was known about it 13 years ago (I'm 31 now) so there wasn't much I could do about it. 3 years ago after I got married I stepped on the scale and it read 253 pounds, the heaviest I had ever seen myself and I knew it was time to change. I was re-diagnosed with PCOS by my own OB and then diagnosed with insulin resistance. The two together make fertility even lower but my OB and my endocrinologist both assured me I would be able to have kids. My endocrinologist told me "get your weight under 200 and we'll talk about getting you pregnant." The next 3 years were spent working out and getting healthy and losing weight. And I loved it! I was more confident, I was happier, and to top it all off we began plans to build our first home. And then, right as we decided to stop birth control and "not try" to get pregnant... My younger brother and his girlfriend announced they were expecting. I was so excited but so heartbroken. I was the older sibling, it should have been me first. My nephew was born February 12, 2016. And to say I love this kid is an understatement. He is the light of my life. That May, after months of difficulty our house was finally built. I had held onto so much stress that my period stopped for about 8 months. The day after our house was built, my period came. And then... on July 7 I had to leave work early because I felt like I was about to vomit all over the office. I got home and thought to myself, "I never get sick, so something is off. I've got one pregnancy test left, might as well do it and get rid of it." Instantly it read PREGNANT. After staring at it for 5 unblinking minutes and 5 more tests, I was pregnant. No fertility treatments, nothing. And I had a healthy pregnancy. No GD, no high risk, no high blood pressure, nothing. And now we have an absolutely beautiful 3 month old baby girl. And I will continue to exercise and be healthy for her sake. I do not want her to struggle. I don't want her to feel self conscious. I don't want her to cry her eyes out in a Target dressing room because she's too big. I don't want a doctor to tell her she's too fat. So I fight for her. Thank you for posting this and reminding me how blessed I am!!! And congratulations to all of you PCOS mommies who are defying the odds!!!

plussizebirth

Thursday 27th of April 2017

Thank you so much Sara for sharing your story!!