Lindsey Metselaar gets real on infertility, IVF, and advice for her 18-year-old self
Lindsey Metselaar is the OG dating and relationships podcaster. Her pod, We Met At Acme explores topics ranging from monogamy to body image to sobriety. Her rules for dating are packed with fresh, hot takes. When Lindsey recently announced her pregnancy and shared her fertility journey with her listeners, we knew we had to chat. Lindsey sat down with us and got real on her journey with going off birth control, infertility, PCOS, her success with IVF, and advice for her 18-year-old self.
Greta: Hi Lindsey! Can you start out by introducing yourself and telling us a bit about yourself?
Lindsey: My name is Lindsey Metselaar. I grew up in New York City, and I started a dating podcast called We Met at Acme almost six years ago now. We talk about dating and sex and all the nuances when it comes to relationships in general. I speak to therapists, dating experts, celebrities, influencers, all kinds of people about their dating lives. I love learning about people’s dating lives. And, I do dating events around the city and just got back from an East Coast tour.
Greta: Love that. Why did you decide to start We Met at Acme?
Lindsey: I was always the person in my friend group who everyone went to for dating advice, and I really felt like I knew everything when it came to dating. It turned out I really didn't. I was dumped on my 27th birthday and didn't see it coming.That kind of led me to reevaluate: Okay, maybe I don't know anything about dating. Maybe I know nothing, and maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way. So I started the podcast off by just having a conversation with a friend, and it took off from there.
Greta: Yeah, I love how you have so many different perspectives on the podcast. How did you decide to share your fertility journey with your listeners?
Lindsey: My fertility journey really started a few months after I went off birth control, because I still hadn't gotten my period. I love what I do because I'm able to be so transparent with my listeners about my life and what I'm going through, in hopes that someone out there can relate to it. I was so frustrated when I was going through this, not knowing where my period was and having issues from going off birth control, and not having a diagnosis.
I was annoyed because I wanted to share this journey with my listeners even then. I knew that this community would be so supportive, I just needed to figure it out a little bit. I was so excited when we had a resolution of sorts; having a diagnosis for PCOS and having a successful IVF transfer. I thought: now is the time. It can be really challenging to share something when you're still in the midst of it. But I knew that the second there was some sort of resolution I was going to share and I was so excited about it.
Greta: I want to talk a little bit about your experience going off of birth control. I'm curious, how long were you on birth control for? Do you remember your experience starting it?
Lindsey: I think I’ve been on it almost 16 years, which is crazy. I had a boyfriend in 10th grade and my mom was very with it and knew that eventually we would have sex. And I think back then, that was the only option. It was like a rite of passage: bring your daughter to go on birth control. Either because of sex or because of acne; there's a million reasons that your gynecologist would recommend you start birth control. It never felt like an option to not be on it. Every friend of mine was on it. It was just what you did back then.
Greta: I feel like it's still kind of like that. I went on the birth control pill when I was 14, before I was even having sex, because of my period. I've been on it since. I am curious what it would be like to go off it, I feel like a lot of things might change.
Greta: What did you experience going off of birth control, aside from the fact that you were trying to get pregnant? Did you experience any changes to your body? I know you talked about how you waited to go off of it longer than perhaps you wanted to because you were worried about getting acne or gaining weight.
Lindsey: I had a weird experience. It was unique to the fact that I ended up having a PCOS diagnosis. When I first went off of birth control, I actually lost weight and had no other symptoms other than not getting my period. I was like, oh, this is great. Very quickly after that, I started to gain weight, I got hormonal acne, and experienced really bad hair loss. And that was when I thought, something is just wrong. I already had a feeling something was wrong because I wasn't getting my period. So those were the main symptoms that I experienced.
Greta: You shared that you have PCOS, I know you're recently diagnosed. How did you figure out that you had PCOS? I don't know much about PCOS, honestly. What is the course of treatment? Does that affect your pregnancy at all?
Lindsey: So great question. There are different courses of treatment for PCOS, and there's also different types of PCOS, so it really depends on what type you have or what you think you have.
Greta: Are you able to get diagnosed with what type you have, or is it kind of just guessing?
Lindsey: They vary by your symptoms. I think what I have is like a post-pill PCOS. There's all different kinds. The most common kind is insulin-resistance, people who are in larger bodies usually have that kind of PCOS. But people in smaller bodies can also have PCOS. It looks different for everyone, I think. That’s why it's so hard to diagnose.
I didn't have the insulin resistance, at least not in a blood test, as much as I just had all the other symptoms. What I had was a textbook picture of PCOS, which is what they call a string of pearls. It's when you have all these cysts on your ovaries, and the reason that you don't ovulate and you don't get your period is because you have an overproduction of follicles. Your body freezes and doesn't know what to do with them. For me, the treatment can be as easy as eating healthy, and that can work for some people. I know people also go on something called metformin to level out their hormones. There's brands that specialize in this, I think the brand is parallel.
Greta: Like supplements?
Lindsey: Yes, exactly. There's a supplement called Anocital, which is a very popular PCOS supplement. Some people go on Ozempic and that's a PCOS prescribed medication.
Greta: Does PCOS affect your pregnancy at all or just more of getting pregnant?
Lindsey: So it can but it may not. It affects your pregnancy if you don't get your period, because in order to become pregnant, you need to ovulate. If you have an irregular cycle or you have no cycle, you are affected by the PCOS. More often than not, it does affect your fertility, unfortunately. If you have the string of pearls with the overproduction of eggs, sometimes while you're on birth control those eggs might not disappear, but they go quicker than if you don't have PCOS.
Greta: That makes sense. You found out that you had PCOS through a fertility clinic, right?
Lindsey: Exactly. Spring Fertility.
Greta: And how did you decide you wanted to do IVF?
Lindsey: It was like a mix of things. I mean, the first thing that was pretty obvious was that I wasn't getting a period. So we tried other ways. We tried a trigger shot to trigger my ovulation. We had some genetic stuff that you can get rid of and not pass on to your kids, if you do IVF, which is a really amazing thing about IVF. So, we decided that IVF was the best path forward.
Greta: How long were you off of birth control and not getting your period for?
Lindsey: I went off March 1, and I started IVF the following March. So, like a year.
Greta: Can you share a little bit more about your experience with IVF? It seems like you overall had a good experience, but I’d love to know more.
Lindsey: I had a really, for the most part, good experience with IVF. I mean, there's really no such thing as a “great experience with IVF.” It's such a taxing experience. But in the context of- I don't know if you've heard about this podcast, The Retrievals.
Greta: I just finished listening to it. Yeah, it was horrifying, very hard to listen to.
Lindsey: It makes me feel so lucky that I didn't go through any of that with my retrieval. But I did have OHSS, after my retrieval, which is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. OHSS happens when you have PCOS, because there is an overproduction of eggs being produced when you take these fertility drugs, and then it can result in your ovaries being so enlarged that you can't really walk and you're uncomfortable. So that happened to me, unfortunately, that was not ideal. But that was the biggest hurdle in our IVF journey. We did the transfer and we were so insanely lucky that it worked the first time, which does not happen often in IVF. We did not expect it at all. And still I'm knocking on wood every day. But that was our experience. I wish we had started IVF earlier, knowing that maybe we would have had the best luck with IVF instead of doing these trigger shots and this and that. But it's hard to know what will work and what won't.
Greta: That's incredible. Congratulations, that's really exciting. Do you have any advice that you would give someone who's thinking about starting fertility treatment? Is there anything you wish you knew before you started?
Lindsey: I would say do the full panel of testing, make sure no stone is left unturned so that you know everything you're working with. Test for PCOS, test your genes, your partner's genes. Test as much as you can. Knowledge really is power, especially in this case. I think that it's important to know and then to also find a clinic that you feel really good about, that you feel like prioritizes you.
Greta: Great advice, thank you for sharing that. I'm going to pivot a little bit, I know you shared about this on your podcast. Did you always know that you wanted children, and were you and your husband on the same page about that? How did you come to that decision, and what did that conversation look like?
Lindsey: Yeah. We always knew that we wanted children. My husband, if it were up to him, he would have an army of children. He actually wanted us to start trying before we got married. And he's just very much dad vibe, which I am so grateful for.
Greta: Love that.
Lindsey: Yeah. He wanted them, for sure, and I wanted them, too. We had talked about that just to make sure we were on the same page because it’s so important to talk about.
Greta: Did you talk about it early on in your relationship?
Lindsey: It wasn't a sit down conversation of, like, are we going to have kids one day? It was more of “Oh, my God, our kids will be so cute,” or “do you want two boys? Do you want three girls? How many kids do you want?” I think if you're having those conversations and you're not sure, but you're not saying anything, then that's not wise, because that makes someone feel like you do want them.
Greta: Yeah, like you're giving off the vibe that you do. I'm curious, what will you or won't you change about your content on We met at Acme post-baby?
Lindsey: I really don't want my content to change much. I think there will be additional content like how to have sex after you have a baby and keep it cool, things like that. But I feel like you're always dating. Even when you're married, even when you have kids, you're dating your partner 100%. And so I love the idea of continuing to talk about that.
Greta: I think that's an interesting angle, too. It’s talked about less: dating as parents. I feel like a lot of people talk about how they stop having sex as much when they have kids, but it's not really elaborated on past that. I have one last question. We're starting to close out our real talk interviews with asking this question, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Lindsey: Oooo… I say this a lot on my podcast. Just make all the mistakes, do all the things. I wouldn't have changed anything. But when it comes to dating, I wish that someone had told me. If you're confused about how they feel about you, they're not interested. Knowing that would have saved me so much time. But it all shapes you to who you are. I think we have to go through these experiences. So I would say just keep doing you, girl. You got this.