AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local woman opens up about her struggles with infertility due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. Kenya Johnson told NewsChannel 6 her story from health battle to healthy baby.
“Wanting to have children, but not being able to and actually going through the process of taking medication to try to have kids. That got a little overwhelming for me so I just decided if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and if it’s not, it’s not. I discontinued the medication. I have a fur baby though,” she told us.
Kenya Johnson may have only had a fur baby back in 2016. But now, she has a human baby, Kaylin Lee. The 41-year-old Augusta woman is living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which causes infertility in some women.
For Johnson, the road to motherhood was not easy.
“I felt tired all the time,” she recalled. “I was overweight. I had the excess weight in my abdominal area, my stomach area.”
All of these symptoms, including Johnson’s irregular menstrual cycles, come from PCOS, a metabolic, reproductive and endocrine system disorder impacting up to 15 percent of women. She was diagnosed in 2015. As most women with PCOS, her infrequent periods more than likely meant she was not ovulating and thus unable to conceive. But before she could think about being a mom, she had to get healthy.
“I was pre-diabetic. I also had sleep apnea at the time. It actually got to the point where I stopped breathing in my sleep,” she explained.
Another blow to her health was hypertension and that’s when doctors told her she had to make a change. So she began to walk more and get lots of water.
“Anything I did it seemed like it just didn’t work,” Johnson said of her struggle to lose weight, something common in women with PCOS.
She decided it was time to have weight loss surgery to save her life. And it did. Pre-diabetes and sleep apnea all went away. Despite being a new, healthier woman, she learned PCOS did not go away.
Then one day she got really sick.
“Blood pressure was extremely low and I was losing a lot of blood,” Johnson told us. “I went to the emergency room and the doctor said, are you pregnant? I said, can I get a new doctor because you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s just not going to happen for me. She said no, you’re definitely pregnant, but I’m thinking you’re miscarrying.”
And in the darkness of losing an unborn child, Kenya saw light at the end of the tunnel and that gave her hope.
“That was September 30, 2017 and she was conceived March of 2018,” she said.
Aside from bed rest, Johnson said pregnancy and labor were both fine.
Kaylin Lee was born that November, just a few weeks shy of Kenya’s due date.
“Kaylin did have to go to NICU. She was only 4lbs and 9ozs. And it wasn’t her weight. Their concern was her blood sugar. It was high,” she recalled.
Whether she passed PCOS down to Kaylin is something that concerns Johnson, but she knows how to treat it now. And though she has her hands full these days, this new mom has no regrets.
“It’s all in God’s plan,” she said. “It might take longer. I never thought it would take me until I’m 40 years old to have a child, but it took me until I was 40.”
Johnson is still treating her PCOS as she prepares for Kaylin to turn one in November.