At 32, Abby Johnson is happily - gratefully - pregnant. She says, "Honestly, sometimes I pinch myself because we tried so hard for so long."
For two and half years, Abby and her husband kept trying to get pregnant. It wasn't working. Abby had been having irregular periods since she was a teenager. But wasn't until she came to see fertility specialist Dr. Mark Perloe, Medical Director at Georgia Reproductive Specialists, she learned why.
Abby has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS.
Abby says, "Actually it was a relief. Because finally someone said, 'This is why. This is the name of your issue.'"
Dr. Perloe says PCOS is a metabolic disorder that affects each woman differently. The symptoms change with age. Younger woman may have irregular cycles, difficulty getting pregnant,
weight gain, excessive facial hair and acne.
As women age, PCOS can raise their risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Lifestyle is a big issue. Perloe explains, "PCOS is a genetic condition. So you are born with a propensity or a possibility of getting the condition. But it's really lifestyle that brings it on. So, it's 'Do you exercise? Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? What kinds of foods are you eating?"
Dr. Perloe had a two part plan for Abby: First, he put her on the drug metformin to get their blood sugar under control and asked her to cut her carbohydrates and eat more protein - to lower her blood sugar even more. When she didn't get pregnant after several months, they switched to "plan B," a fertility treatment knowns as intra-uterine insemination, or IUI.
Abby says, "Anytime you're going through fertility treatment, it's an emotional journey.It's a lot of getting your hopes up, is it going to work this time? And when it doesn't work, you get discouraged a little bit. "
But after the second round of IUI, Abby got pregnant. She was eight months along when we first met her. She could feel Levi moving inside her. She says, "The doctor asked me, 'Does he kick at least twice a day?' I said, 'He probably takes a break twice a day.' He's very active child."
And September 26th, Levi was born. This baby Abby and her husband fought so hard for was finally theirs.