Field report

Pregnant naturally after miscarriage and despite PCOS

In the case of an unfulfilled desire to have children, the woman is usually in the foreground. But men also want to have children and suffer when it doesn’t work out with getting pregnant or their partner suffers a miscarriage. One of many is Marco.

He met the love of his life, Julia, at a Christmas market and married her four years later. The dream of a small family was perfect. But it soon turned out: Julia could not get pregnant. She underwent hormone treatments with extreme side effects, then actually became pregnant, but lost the child in the 17th week. After a deep crisis, the two discovered OvulaRing and regained hope. Finally, with the help of OvulaRing, they became parents naturally in March 2020. We talked to Marco and Julia about their difficult path to the desired child.

Marco and Julia, when did your desire to have children start?

Marco: In the past, I didn’t really want to become a father. Then, at the age of 29, I nevertheless had a child with my partner at the time. Three years later we separated and it was clear to me that I didn’t want another child because the separation was very painful for everyone involved, especially for my son. That changed the moment I met Julia. With her, the desire to have a child together flared up in me.

Julia: It was completely different for me. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to become a mother. However, at first I was not at all convinced that Marco could be the right partner. When we first met, I thought: What a terrible show-off. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Did you try to have children right after the wedding?

Julia: Yes, of course. But I had already suspected before the wedding that it might be difficult. I’d been on the pill for years and hadn’t had a period for the last few years. After several months I still wasn’t pregnant and I didn’t have a cycle, the worry slowly turned into fear.

You then went to the gynecologist who diagnosed you with PCO syndrome. Did you know about PCO syndrome before?

Marco: Neither of us had ever heard of it. With me, however, it was no wonder. I had never seriously dealt with the topic of the female cycle or pregnancy before. In my mind, all women just got pregnant when you have unprotected sex. The most normal thing in the world. In the meantime, I know that it’s often not that simple.

Julia: The diagnosis wasn’t so bad at first, but the referral to the fertility clinic was. All my friends got pregnant just like that and going to a fertility clinic was a big hurdle for me. I felt so alone and different from everyone else.

What effects did the hormone treatments have on you, Julia? And on your relationship?

Julia: Die Behandlung hatte schlimme Nebenwirkungen: Hautausschlag, Haarausfall und depressive Verstimmungen. Ich bin in ein schwarzes Loch gefallen und habe viel geweint. Das war eine ziemliche Horrorzeit. Außer mit Marco und meiner Mutter habe ich auch mit kaum jemandem darüber geredet. Das war ein Fehler, denn nach außen hin habe ich immer schön gelächelt, aber innerlich war ich total verzweifelt.

Marco: Eigentlich sind wir beide sehr positive Menschen, aber plötzlich wurde die Welt für Julia düster. So kannte ich sie gar nicht. Es war schwer für mich, sie aus diesem negativen Denkkreis rauszuziehen. Natürlich habe ich immer versucht, sie aufzubauen, aber gegen eine geballte Ladung Hormone kommt man mit guten Worten nicht immer an.

Then you had your lowest point after Julia got pregnant and you lost that baby at 17 weeks. That's the nightmare of every expectant parent. How did you get out of it?

Marco: That was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I felt so helpless. We cried a lot. I also cried a lot at work.

Julia: The time after losing our baby was cruel. It took months for me to feel better mentally. But something had changed in my body as a result of the pregnancy. Suddenly, my cycle started going on its own. I realized that I didn’t really need the fertility clinic to get pregnant again.

How did your colleagues react?

Marco: At some point, I just started talking about the topic with my colleagues. And the feedback helped me a lot. After I opened up, I heard from more and more people who had suffered similar fates.

Julia: For me, it took longer before I was able to talk about it. For a long time, the only question I was asked about having children was: Well, when will it be time for you? By the way, this question to newlyweds should be forbidden. But, of course, the people asking couldn’t know that it’s not that easy for us. And I probably should have been open about our problems much earlier.

Meanwhile, you share your experiences on Instagram under the profile julie_s_blog. That's an almost offensive way of dealing with the topic. How did it come about?

Julia: I found it easier to share on social media in the beginning. I met women on Instagram who had gone through similar stories. It wasn’t until much later that we realized that couples in our circle of acquaintances also had an unfulfilled desire to have children or had lost a child. Although this happens so often, it is still a totally taboo subject and it is a great concern of mine to give as many affected people as possible the feeling that they are not alone.

Marco: Men don’t talk about this at all. Not even in social media. They suffer in silence. Talking about it has such a liberating effect. And I’ve received a lot of positive feedback for my openness from my work colleagues as well as from Julia’s Instagram followers. Especially as a man who talks about it.

In the meantime, you have become proud parents. What was the path to your second pregnancy like?

Marco: Easy. (laughs) Julia: Surprisingly, actually much more relaxed than with the first one. As I said, I had a cycle again. But not a regular one. So I started to monitor my cycle to determine the fertile window. First with a thermometer, then with OvulaRing, a method that permanently measures the temperature inside the body and evaluates it with a medical algorithm. Marco: I still remember the thermometer. Every morning I woke up to the beeping. It’s worth it, of course, but it was still a bit annoying. Julia: I was also annoyed by this constant measuring. It was inconvenient and built up pressure again. That’s why I was extremely happy when I found out about OvulaRing. With it, I didn’t have to think about it every day at certain times. So I could stay relaxed and still keep track. I am sure that being relaxed helped me to get pregnant again.

Marco, have you become a pregnancy expert because of your history together?

Marco: Well, I still can’t interpret my wife’s cycle curve, which OvulaRing maps, correctly, but fortunately the software displays it quite foolproof. In fact, I find the processes interesting and am glad to have learned so much more about the origins of human life in the meantime, including the downsides associated with it. Our friends now know that we always have a sympathetic ear. The Instagram followers anyway. And if even just one couple is more courageous about having children, that’s really great.

Dear Julia, dear Marco, we wish you all the best for your future together as a family!

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