Olympian, mom-to-be Carly Patterson shares her struggle with fertility

Original: Olympian Carly Patterson on fertility

MCKINNEY, TEXAS - It's hard to think of a moment bigger than winning Olympic Gold, but gymnast Carly Patterson believes she is two months away from topping it.

In her McKinney home, the baby's room is just down the hall from her other prized possessions, trophies, medals and other awards that symbolize how hard Carly worked to achieve her Olympic dream.

What you don't see are any momentos of what it took to reach her goal of starting a family.

"You know, you don't even think about a timeline for that. You think it's going to happen on the first try," she said.

Carly married her husband Mark in 2012. Two years later, they felt ready to start their family.


"So we were like 'We just wanted everyone to know like, yup, we're going to be like telling you guys we're pregnant in a month!'" she said.

That month came and went, then it was six months. One year.

"Then I started not saying anything anymore," said Carly.

Soon, the couple's friends stopped asking if they had "news."

"Watching them not only get pregnant but then have their babies nine months later and then watching their babies turn one and get older and you're like, 'I'm still over here just trying to make it happen!'" she said. "So that's when you're like 'Woah, what's wrong with us, what's going on?'"


The pair met with doctors, and Carly learned she had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It affects an estimated five million American women, and can cause issues with delaying or preventing ovulation. But it's treatable, and with a round of fertility drugs, Carly and Mark were pregnant the summer of 2016. The news was one of the highest highs of their fertility journey. Their first ultrasound would bring the lowest low.

"It was like, you're laying there and there's no heart beat, you know it's bad news," said Carly. "That was definitely the worst day of my life probably."

The couple channeled their grief into a new plan for intrauterine insemination. But in the fall, the first round failed. Just before Christmas, the second one did too. Photos of Carly and Mark smiling through the holidays hide what she describes as her feeling of failure. She says it was faith that dug her out of her most negative place.

"That's kind of just when I just really started praying differently about it," she said. "You know, kind of thanking him for this journey, even though it's been really hard."

Carly says it brought her a peace that carried through the couple's third try at insemination, when God's timing finally aligned with hers. She learned this past February she was expecting.

"Obviously I started bawling, ugly crying, the whole shebang, and then I call my husband," said Carly. "He finally answered and I just screamed 'We're pregnant!' the loudest I could, and he was in a meeting, so all of his coworkers heard, and he's like 'Hold on, let me just walk out for a second!'"

It took more than two years, but Carly and Mark are finally the expectant parents they'd prayed to be. And they're also very aware of tough photos of pregnancy announcements can be for couples doing everything they can to conceive.

"Just continue to have the faith, but find things that you're thankful for in each and every day, so you don't get to that negative place," she said.

That pain and frustration is still fresh, even in her third trimester. Having a baby took time and dedication while overcoming setbacks and doubts, not unlike Carly's medals. That's why she says her son or daughter is worth their weight in gold.

If you'd like to read more details about Carly's journey, you can find them on her blog in four installments titled Worth The Wait in Gold.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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