Postpartum hypothyroidism this is my true story and the challenges I faced. Postpartum Thyroiditis stories and postpartum and hair loss are all relevant.
Finding out I was pregnant was one of the greatest moments I have ever had in my life. It was 100% planned; I had changed my entire lifestyle to have a baby. I quit smoking, caffeine, started eating better, took vitamins, and did everything I was supposed to for a healthy baby. Finally, I decided to get pregnant in September so that I could have a spring baby. On the first try, I was blessed enough to get pregnant.
Immediately after conceiving, I started having typical pregnancy symptoms of vomiting, swore breast, and tiredness. In addition, I felt like I was staving all the time and could not get full. Personally, at the time, I just thought overeating was a side effect of quitting smoking. But once I became pregnant, I had to eat every 3 hours on the dot or throw up.
Other symptoms include
- Insomnia the whole pregnacy
- Fatigue/ Sluggishness
- Plantar Fasciities- shooting pain in my feet
- Hair was falling out right from the start and felt like straw
- Skin was constantly breaking out
- Tail Bone Pain
- Sciatica- nerve that radiates pain from your lower back, through your hips, buttocks and down each leg.
- Joint Pain
- Kankles- when your ankles and feet become one. (swelling)
- Rapid weight gain
The picture of me holding a baby was taken the day I found out I was pregnant. Which was the same day I got to meet my best friend’s baby, who had moved away.
What is Hypothyroidism
It’s where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (underactive thyroid). Untreated Hypothyroidism can cause several different health problems.
During my pregnancy, I had no idea my thyroid was underactive. However, there were some symptoms right from the beginning. Like how fast I was gaining weight, joint pain, hair loss (thinning), insomnia can all be symptoms of both. Honestly, almost all those symptoms could have been a symptom of both. This is why it was so easy for it to go unnoticed.
My hair was falling out and became incredibly unmanageable. It felt like straw and would immediately dredge up after taking so much time brushing it out. So I cut it short, hoping it would make it more manageable.
The Weight Gain
Yes, I am very aware pregnant women are supposed to gain weight. Starting, I was okay with all of it. However, other people’s reactions to me gaining weight during my pregnancy made me feel down about myself. Yes, I had to eat every 3 hours, or I would get sick. But what I would typically eat was a granola bar or a little bowl of cereal, or a couple of crackers. My bigger meals were mainly salads because I was always craving Italian dressing. Trust me; I was eating way more when I was not pregnant. It was typically only two times a day, but larger meals like lots of pizza and pasta.
Anyways, my mom was convinced I was having twins, and she at one point had me convinced. She would say, ” you were the same size as me when I was six months pregnant, and your only three months; you have to have two babies in there.”
At 28 weeks, I walked into a gas station, and the clerk had said, “wow, you look like your about ready to pop; how far along are you”? I said, “28 weeks,” She asked, ” are you having twins,” I said, “no.” She then says, ” you must have a 10-pound baby in there.”
These were the comments I got my entire pregnancy. Another example was when I walked into a store at 30 weeks; three different people asked me if I was having twins after finding out I still had ten weeks left.
My gynecologist at 28 weeks told me I needed to stop gaining weight because I had already accumulated well over the amount I should have acquired for my pregnancy. I told her I had no idea why I was gaining so much weight and didn’t know how to stop. She said that if I didn’t stop, it would make labor difficult and would most likely cause complications.
At the start of my pregnancy, I weighed 116 pounds; at around 30 pounds, I was over 200 and still had ten weeks to go. Therefore, all these comments and twin remarks were making me feel extremely helpless and depressed. Besides going to work, I didn’t want to leave the house or go into any stores. The only pictures I took my mom made me take; I was too ashamed and didn’t want to remember. Little did I know at the time; it wasn’t my fault.
Working The whole Pregnacy
I worked in a printing shop during my pregnancy. Well, I had worked there for years; my job title was a production manager. During my pregnancy, I worked 13 hour days, five days a week, standing the majority of the day, walking up and downstairs, and managing every department. Yes, I was allowed to sit, but only because I was pregnant. However, I chose not to; because the pain in my feet and tailbone would get 10x worse when I would stand up again.
Why would a pregnant woman work long hours standing on her feet in pain?
Simply because I wanted to make sure I could buy everything my baby needed. Not only that, I had to pay for two months of maternity leave. When I was home on my days off trying to rest, I couldn’t. I couldn’t sleep because of insomnia; I couldn’t sit because of my feet and tail bone pain. Working created a distraction to keep my mind off of how much pain I was in daily and the lack of sleep I was getting.
My Pregnacy Picture Timeline
Most people looking at these pictures don’t think I look that big, but people who saw me while pregnant always commented. This is because I carried her all in front and not in my hips. In other words, some females who carry in their hip have a belly that looks more like a beach ball, and I am straight-up basketball. I had a girl ask me if I was carrying a basketball under there; it was so round it looked fake.
2 Weeks Before Delivery
Two weeks delivery my water started slowly leaking. I had called the doctor and told them that I was leaking fluid, and they had told me that if it wasn’t saturating a pad, the baby was probably just on my bladder. A couple of days later, I had called again, though it would not have soaked a pad when it would happen; by the end of a day, it would have. The nurse on the phone had told me that time, “it’s not your water; you will know when your water breaks.” I should have gone in and made them test me, but this being my first baby, I just assumed they were right.
The Day Before I Gave Birth
It was Memorial Day, and I was off work for a three-day weekend. I started having difficulty breathing; my chest felt extremely heavy like an elephant was on it. I was already going to be going to the hospital that day to tour the maturity ward. So, I went to the ER to get checked out for difficulty breathing. They immediately hooked me up to a contraction monitoring machine and then left me in a room. They had come back in, unhooked me from the machines, and said, “well, your not in labor; you can go ahead and go.” This was quite a surprise since I wasn’t in there for contractions, so I had told the nurse, “I am in here because I am having a hard time breathing, not because I think I’m in labor.” The nurse immediately went and got a gynecologist, and a doctor finally saw me.
The gynecologist hooked me up to an ultrasound machine, where we found out my water was extremely low. I explained to her that I had been leaking fluid and had talked to the nurse about it twice, and they just told me the baby was on my bladder. With that said, she had a test done to see if my water was broken. The test came back negative; she then gave me a choice to stay in the hospital overnight and be hooked to IVs or go home and drink a lot of water and come back in the morning. She said if my water levels didn’t go back up, they were going to induce me. The purpose of this was to try and get more fluids back in my stomach. Of course, I chose to go home and drink plenty of water. That night I had 3 liters of water and was anxious to get back to the hospital.
The Day I Gave Birth
I grabbed all my bags because I was most likely going to be induced. So they took me straight up to the maternity ward, where I was taken care of right away. The first thing they did was another test to see if my water was broken. This nurse, however, explained that she had to leave the q-tip up there for a full minute to make sure the test came back accurate. I thought it was funny she said that because the nurse literally swabbed it and walked out the day before. So there was not leaving it in for a minute.
While waiting for that test to come back, the doctor hooked me up to an ultrasound machine. We found out that my water levels were still the same as the night before; the doctor had then left the room to check on my test results for the water breaking test. So I went to stand up to put my clothes back on and out came a bunch of water. I had completely drenched my pants and left a puddle on the floor. I then was waddling to the bathroom, which luckily was in the same room. Sitting on the toilet, I was trying to make sure no more water came out, but instead, there was this terrible, disgusting mess of goo.
This is comical, but there is a reason they call it the mucus plug. At this point, it was all down my leg, and I was trying to clean it up with toilet paper. Unfortunately, toilet paper was not invented for cleaning up mucusy goo, so I had it stuck all over me. Embarrassed, I was trying to get it cleaned up before the doctor came back in; I had grabbed the padding they had left on my bed from the ultrasound and started wiping it off my legs with that. Remember, I had a huge belly, so this was a lot harder than it sounds.
Right then, of course, the nurse had walked back into my room as I was standing there with toilet paper stuck all over my legs. So she says, ” first off, your test is positive, and what are you doing”? So I then explained everything that happened.
Since I didn’t start contraction on my own, I still had to be induced. So I was in labor for ten whole hours. But my baby girl was finally here, and when they had placed her on my chest, she had looked at me, and it was such a fantastic feeling. But, unfortunately, that feeling had turned into fear almost immediately when the doctor started yelling “baby needs help” repeatedly. They grabbed her off my chest and put her on the already prepared medical table, and started helping her breathe.
Luckily in what had seemed like an eternity was probably only a couple of minutes; she was okay—only weighing 5 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches long. So she was only a week in 4 days early. But she was so very, very little.
The Next Morning
The following day a new doctor came in and took her to the NICU without explaining why he just said she was sick. Little did I know at the time, I would be spending the entire week in the hospital. Because she was under 6 pounds, she had to be pricked in the foot every 2 hours for a blood sugar test. Not only that, she had to have an IV put in her tiny hand for fluid and medicine. It was incredibly heartbreaking to see. But after a week, she was finally healthy enough to go home.
She was born sick and in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) because my water was leaking for so long. When your water breaks without knowing it puts you and your baby at risk of infections.
Now to the after birth part of the Hypothyroidism. After finally making it home with my newborn, it was the first night I was home in an entire week. We got discharged from the hospital around 8 am, and we were finally home with our newborn. Immediately I started experiencing lightheadedness, aches and pain, fatigue, and was running a fever. Therefore I had to go back to the hospital because these were all signs of an infection. So, back in the hospital, they ran a CT scan to check for blood clots and took some blood and a urine sample. It turns out I just had a urinary tract infection, which had taken them 5 hours to figure out. But once again, with all the blood work, it was missed again that my thyroid was so low it was practically dead, as my doctor had put it five months later.
From here on out, the symptoms of Hypothyroidism were getting worse and worse. But now, after nine months, I could finally get some much-needed rest because I no longer had insomnia. Of course, everyone said there wouldn’t be any sleeping once the baby was born, but that was the opposite for me. As a newborn, all she did was sleep, and like clockwork, she would walk up every three hours on the dot. Then, I would feed her and go right back to sleep.
However, I was extremely fatigued all the time. They called it chronic fatigue syndrome, which is long-lasting exhaustion that’s not relieved after sleeping. This was causing some severe cognitive problems. I had a difficult time forming coherent thoughts and expressing them. Focusing and concentration was almost impossible because having one task for a day was enough, and I could hardly complete that because I would forget what I was doing. Although my main focus was on the baby and making sure, she was fed and changed.
At this time, my tailbone was still hurting bad along with my feet, so I was finding it painful to sit down. So I did everything standing, including watching t.v. Along with that, I was experiencing chronic pain and stiffness in my muscles and joints, once again, mainly after getting up from sitting down. It was getting terrifying; the thoughts that I could remember made me think I was getting M.S. which my mom has, or Alzheimer’s, which my grandma had. Finally, after my memory got so bad, I was forgetting whole conversation; I ended up going back to the doctor.
Finally Finding Out
When my thyroid test finally came back, I got the answers to why I felt the way I did, and I was so grateful. But instead of my doctor putting me on a low dose of medication and working my way up. Instead, he decided he was going to put me on a high dosage immediately. Oh my god, I thought I felt terrible before; just imagine all those symptoms I already had topped with panic attacks, memory loss, depression, helplessness, and insomnia once again.
It takes up to 6 weeks for thyroid medication to kick in. After it did not relieve any symptoms after 3, I started to see a doctor who ran some other tests. In which I found out I also had Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system gets confused and mistakenly attacks your thyroid. Fibromyalgia is comprehensive spread muscle pain and tenderness; it’s also referred to as overactive nerves. Here is an article on the connection between Fibromyalgia and Thyroid disease. All of which were contributing to my daily suffering. It took an entire six months for me to start feeling normal again. Also, I was still overweight and couldn’t lose any weight no matter what I did.
After two months of maturity leave, I was already back at work, forced to work overtime. Due to my health and my newborn, I kept refusing, but they threatened my job. I don’t know what I was doing at that point to benefit the company. I was a walking zombie with no memory or energy, and I was in charge of a group of people.
Due to these conditions, I regret one huge thing. Because I was so down and depressed, I have no pictures of me with my baby except the day she was born. I refused to take any images of myself; I didn’t want to reflect on myself that way. Now I want to remember and see how much I have gone through and how much I have accomplished. And it should have never been about me, but the moments my daughter could have looked back on as well.
Once the medication finally started working, and I felt like myself again. I was finally able to lose weight, and I started dropping it fast. I was excising, taking daily walks with the baby, on a low-carb diet, and going to the chiropractor. Life was finally feeling liveable again. But, unfortunately, not all symptoms got better, and I still experience a lot of pain significantly when the weather changes dramatically. But at least I’m able to spend time with my little one, and it’s now been three years since she was born!
In one of the pictures, it was a day I felt good enough to start logging my weight loss. It was taken eight months after having my baby-190 pounds and 5.3.
The other picture is on my daughter’s first birthday four months later. I weighed 123 pounds that day, uniformity this is the best picture I have because I am holding her the rest. But that’s a total of 67 pounds lost in 4 months, which wasn’t that difficult after my medication started working correctly. So if your having problems losing weight and constantly gaining weight with no real reason why-have your thyroid checked.
What Could Have Happened
Since my thyroid condition was left untreated during pregnancy, it could have caused the following.
- high blood pressure
- low red blood cell count
- muscle pain and weakness
- increased risk of miscarriage
- premature birth
- lowered IQ and impaired mental and motor development in baby
- and more
These complications are the exact reason I am writing this article to make mothers aware of what could happen if they have an untreated thyroid condition. Suppose you ran into this article because you were researching weight gain during pregnancy or just hypothyroidism. It should be addressed in health care facilities if a mother is gaining a lot of weight and doesn’t know why. They should be immediately tested for thyroid issues. Every issue I had addressed when I was pregnant was not taken seriously, and I didn’t address them more because there the professionals. At one point in my pregnancy, I had asked them to test my thyroid because I had an issue previously; they told me my problems once were because my thyroid just got sick and returned to normal it happens sometimes, and there is no reason for me to be tested now.
I feel like the luckiest woman in the world because my daughter is beautiful and completely normal, and besides being in the NICU for a week after birth, she is happy and healthy.
Postpartum Hypothyrodism Conclusion
So I have gone over my before and after pregnancy complications with hypothyroidism. It was really hard to address it while I was pregnant because there are so many different symptoms of pregnancy that are the same symptoms as Hypothyroidism.
Thank you for reading my story and if you have any questions for me or concerns about yourself please leave a comment or contact me at: email@example.com.
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