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Saturday, January 10, 2015

17 weeks!

I will be 17 weeks tomorrow and just started feeling movement the other day. What an amazing feeling! I'm so humbled to be able to finally have a child of my own. I never thought it would happen and to know that it is finally here just seems so amazing.When I can feel those little movements and when I hear the heartbeat it all seems so surreal to me. I don't think I can even express how thankful and in awe I am. It's so true that waiting for something makes it so much more special. I would've always been thankful for a baby, but after waiting several years it makes every little detail so much sweeter.

Don't get me wrong, I have had morning sickness and several other things that aren't pleasant, but it is all worth it! I am thankful after a pretty rough time with morning sickness to now be past it at this point. My thyroid is being monitored frequently since the baby relies on my thyroid hormones to grow and develop. At my appointment the month before last my t4 (what the baby uses that helps them to develop properly) was a little lower than they liked so they checked my levels again at my last appointment. They had dropped even lower than before so my doctor increased my medicine and will recheck my levels again. It's hard not to stress over it, but my t4 isn't extremely low so that helps. It's always hard to know everything isn't perfectly where it should be, but I know God is taking care of our little one and I'm thankful my doctor is staying on top of everything. We knew with my thyroid issues this would be the way pregnancy would go, but with the first baby and not knowing what to expect it can be hard at times not to worry. I'm just so thankful to have had an uneventful pregnancy so far and a healthy little one. Being able to feel them move is so comforting and I'm so excited for this stage of pregnancy. We had an ultrasound around 10 weeks and the ultrasound tech had a hard time getting a good picture of our baby because he/she was so active! She said we have a little one who loves to move so I'm sure before too long I will feel them moving all the time!

We find out in a little over a week if we are having a boy or a girl and I can't wait! The closer it gets the more impatient I am becoming.  I haven't really bought anything yet because I was waiting to find out the gender. I plan on doing a little shopping right after my ultrasound! I have avoided baby sections most of the time because I don't want to be tempted to buy things. A few weeks ago Bobby and I were in Walmart and I had gone to get something from a different part of the store than where Bobby was. On the way back I thought I would ask Bobby if he wanted to go look at baby stuff since we really hadn't in a while. As I turned the corner I saw that he was already walking out of the baby section with a few outfits that he wanted to show me. I think it is safe to say he is just as ready as I am to start getting stuff! I would appreciate prayers that my t4 will have increased some at my next appointment. I am still feeling very tired and having other hypothyroid symptoms so I am thinking they may have to increase my medicine again, so just pray my levels get to the right point soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Answered Prayer...

Let me start by saying...God is good!!! After almost 5 years of being unable to get pregnant my husband and I now have a little one on the way! I'm due in June, probably late June, but we aren't 100% sure yet. I just had to start with that, yes!!!! Now, a little back-story...

I didn't end up going to the endocrinologist for my ultrasound because both of my grandparents ended up in the hospital that week within 24 hours of each other. I just decided to cancel and reschedule for a later time, but I still hadn't gotten around to setting up a new appointment. I had been off my thyroid medicine (like the endocrinologist wanted) and felt miserable. I lasted about a month and started it back again because I was tired of being tired quite honestly. I hadn't had thyroid labs done in probably 4-5 months and had no idea where my levels where. But I was tired of thinking about it all so it didn't bother me. All I have been taking was my low-dose naltrexone and my thyroid medicine for the past month. I had kinda decided that maybe Bobby and I would be childless forever and go travel the world or something, I was ok with that. I thought, it's not MY plan, but if it's God's plan then He knows best.

Almost three weeks ago I had been sooo tired all week. To the point I just couldn't stay awake, but I had been taking my thyroid medicine so I didn't know what the deal was. Well by that Thursday I was still so exhausted and we were having a birthday dinner for my father-in-law. I knew I wasn't pregnant, it was me after all! But I thought why not test to be sure? After all, it would be a great birthday gift! So I bought the test, came home, took it. I looked at  it a few minutes later and...two pink lines??? What?!?! I immediately thought the test must be faulty (I even double checked to make sure I didn't buy an ovulation test on accident...nope!) I showed it to Bobby, yep he saw it too. We both didn't believe it, so I took another...also positive. Did we believe both tests? No way! We went to town and bought a third test (also positive)  before it finally sort of started sinking in. We were pregnant!!!!! But it still felt too good to be true so my sweet hubby woke up at 4:30 the next morning and went to Wal-Mart. He bought 3 different brands on tests and woke me up to take them. Yes, I took all 3 brands at the same time to be extra sure (we are insane, I realize) and when all 3 of those showed positive we finally started getting excited!!

My thyroid can be an issue during pregnancy and increase the risk of things going wrong, if we don't keep an eye on my levels. From what I've read as long as we monitor it everything should be fine. So we immediately started having blood work done. I wanted to wait to post until after we had my thyroid levels checked and made sure my hcg levels were doubling like they should. I'm happy to say that everything looks healthy thus far, my hcg levels are doubling even quicker than that's considered "normal" and my thyroid test came back with my levels at a good point. One of the most exciting things to me (other than having a baby) was to see that my thyroid antibodies are decreasing! This has always been the goal and with my latest labs both of the thyroid antibodies have decreased by half or more! Considering that they were going up every month I had labs done this is a huge answer to prayer. I have to say I truly believe it was the combination of taking Armour thyroid and my low-dose naltrexone. Probably more so the naltrexone, since that's the only thing I've changed since the decrease has started. I highly recommend it to those with autoimmune issues and I'm so thankful I have a doctor who was willing to try it and willing to work with me on my thyroid. The combination of that and the Mercier Therapy that I do is what has helped me to get healthier and to heal my body. I know God led me to Stephanie Mallet (my thyroid doctor) and Karen Miller (my Mercier Therapist) to help me on the path to having children. I will never be able to thank them enough for being such caring people and having amazing hearts. I know God is using them and I know my family is thankful for the help they've given us.

We would appreciate everyone's prayers that the baby continues to stay healthy. I have my first ob appointment this Thursday and we are going to see if we need to see a high-risk doctor to monitor my thyroid levels throughout the pregnancy. We know there are no guarantees, but we believe life begins at conception and we are going to enjoy this little life that God has entrusted us with as long as He allows and we aren't going to live in fear of the "what-ifs." I know in my heart God can keep myself and my child healthy. So far everything has been wonderful (yes there is morning sickness and other things, but I don't care because it reminds me that I'm finally pregnant, something I wasn't sure would ever happen) and I'm just so thankful. So, so thankful to be allowed to experience one of the best things in life. We are also thankful that everything is going well and all of my blood work has come back good. Since we weren't really monitoring anything and I just started back my medicine not too long before I got pregnant things could've been bad, but God has been in control and watching over us and our little one.

I would also like to encourage those who are still trying for a baby, we waited almost 5 years, with many prayers and tears and many times of feeling like giving up. Please take encouragement from this and don't lose hope! You are in my prayers and my heart aches for you to be blessed with a little one someday soon.

Friday, August 8, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

I have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to update my blog. I hope everyone is doing well! I finally had my long awaited endocrinologist appointment Wednesday. I had been nervous about the appointment after talking to other women with Hashimoto's about their endocrinologist appointments.  I honestly wasn't expecting it to go the best, but I was still hopeful that I would be wrong. I had my husband there with me for moral support and I'm so thankful he went with me! The doctor was very nice and polite, but he immediately questioned why I was taking the type of medicine I flag for me. I thought great, this isn't going to go well. And it didn't. By the end of it I was trying not to cry in front of a complete sweet husband noticed and didn't miss a beat, he just took over asking questions for me. 

To try not to bore you with all of the medical terms, he pretty much told me I don't need to take my medicine anymore. He also said that I can do absolutely nothing to help lower my continuously increasing antibody levels (the antibodies are what are attacking and killing off my thyroid) and I just have to let it happen. It was very very frustrating to me because I have known people who have had much higher thyroid antibody levels than I do and they have decreased their levels to a normal range (anything less than 40 is normal.) At my last labs my levels were close to 400, but I've known people with levels in the 800's that have gotten them below 40, so you can't tell me it can't be done! I knew I was fighting a losing battle with him, so I just sat there and listened until he was done talking about it all. I figured if I could at least get an ultrasound from the visit then that was the main reason I went anyways. So I asked him if we could do an ultrasound to check for cysts and just to look at my thyroid. He said we could (yay!!!) but I needed to stop my thyroid medicine and come back in 2-3 months for bloodwork and an ultrasound. He also told me there was nothing I could do to help my autoimmune problem and because I already had one autoimmune disease it was likely for me to have another.

That's when the tears began. Frustration mainly. I waited 6 months to get in to a doctor...6 months of having nothing to do to try to help my Hashimoto's but wait for my appointment and hope they had good news for me. Now he was telling me there was no good news and I had to wait another 2-3 months to get the ultrasound that I had already waited 6 months for. I wanted to scream. So, here's to waiting a few more months to find out anything new! I felt like my husband and I wasted time and money going up there, but that is the way it is sometimes. I feel bad that my regular doctor tried really hard to find me a endocrinologist who would fit well with the treatment we are doing and it didn't turn out that way. But at least I can help other patients to weed out the doctors who aren't going to help them the way they need. One positive thing is I am getting my ultrasound at least!
My husband and I would appreciate prayers very much. The doctor brought up the fact that we need to see a reproductive endocrinologist (which is often expensive) so we have lots of things to think on and to decide. Of course, we have been trying for almost 5 years so we knew we probably needed to see an RE, but when a doctor tells you that in the context of it being your only hope it's tough to hear. The frustrating thing is that we have had most of the fertility tests done and the only thing that's been an issue is my autoimmune disease. When you have a specialist tell you that isn't the problem (which isn't what my doctor or my research tells me) and you can't fix it even if it were it feels like you've hit a brick wall! I found this and it made me laugh so I thought I would share, but it's also so true!

Where do you go when the specialist says there's nothing to do? I find that's when it's time for me to start reading and learning and figuring out what I can do to make myself better. I know some may not agree with that statement, and they believe a doctor is the final say, but I don't believe that. I know God is in control of my situation and my body. I also know He's given me the desire and love of research and learning and I'm going to use those to my advantage! I think anybody who's ever been in a situation where what a doctor is telling you just isn't working for you, or what you believe to be true, understands where I'm at. You can go to 10 different doctors and get 10 different answers on the same subject! One of the books I've read about Hashimoto's talks about finding out what caused your body to begin attacking itself in the first place. It can be several things, food allergies, (think gluten, dairy, and other things) an infection, and nutritional deficiencies. There's a list of several things I just can't remember them all now. There are many tests you can have done to check for infections, parasites, food allergies, and other things. I am hoping I can begin to get tested for each of these things. If I can figure out what's causing my body to attack my thyroid maybe I can eliminate it and reduce my antibodies. Hopefully if I can figure it out for myself I can help others who may have the same issues that I've had.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back on the Wagon....

So I had officially fallen off the gluten free bandwagon for quite some time. Why? Because gluten is in everything! I can't really eat anywhere but at home unless I know for sure what I'm eating doesn't have any gluten and that's tough to do if you aren't the one cooking it. I felt soooo much better while I was off of it though so it was really just common sense that I needed to avoid it. I got busy and just never got back to it until last week. I had been doing a lot of reading about autoimmune diseases and infertility and gluten. Everywhere I looked for resources to help with my Hashimoto's kept saying avoid gluten (dairy too, but I love cheese, so one thing at a time.) There is very little that I have control over with Hashimoto's and infertility, but the one thing I can control is what I eat. I decided I can't really be upset that I'm not getting better (or pregnant) if I'm not doing everything that I need to do to make it happen. I would love to share my gluten free recipes to help those who are also trying to avoid gluten! Here is my dinner meal plan for this week:

Monday: No Crust Pizza Bites

Tuesday: Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Wednesday: Ranch Chicken and Potato Casserole

Thursday: Cilantro Lime Shrimp with rice

Friday: Mini Taco Bites with refried beans

We tried the pizza bites tonight, my husband really liked them. I thought they were alright, but not my favorite. I'm hopeful the other recipes will be really good!

I'm trying to focus on changing my diet and a few other things while we are waiting on my endocrinologist appointment. At least it helps me feel like I'm working on something since it will be about 6 months of waiting to see the endocrinologist to find out if there is anything else we need to address with my thyroid. I hadn't taken the LDN for about a month because I wasn't sure it was doing much for me as far as helping me feel better. About 2 or 3 weeks of not taking it and I realized it had been helping more than I thought, so I'm back on it now. Another thing I have been taking is something that was recommended to me by a doctor called Wobenzyme N. It is said to help with infertility and to reduce thyroid antibodies. Here is information on how it helps the thyroid and Here is information on it and infertility.

I was talking with a friend the other day who also hasn't been able to get pregnant and we were both saying how we often "think" we are fine with not having kids, we have worked through it and accepted it and are just deciding to enjoy life. And that's true 90% of the tine, but then something comes up (pregnancy announcements, babies born, whatever it may be) and you realize that you aren't 100% fine with it like you thought. It's hard because it really is a rollercoaster of emotions. Sometimes a pregnancy announcement doesn't bother me one bit, other times it does. I have had a harder time lately mainly because I've talked with people who have the same issues as me and have been trying longer than us and they still aren't pregnant. It was a dose of reality for me. I felt like maybe I just needed to accept it and let the whole thing go. I went to my husband with my pity party speech, "so and so never had kids, we might just need to accept we won't" and so on. Well God picked the perfect man for me, after 4 1/2 years he is still so positive and optimistist about all of this. And the thing is, he means it. I'm so thankful for his positive reassurance during times like that. He of course told me he understood why I was saying that, but he could still choose to believe God will give us kids. Love that man.

He got me to thinking though (like normal) that having kids of our own is something I'm also not ready to give up on either. It's something I'm willing to keep fighting for, so that's what I'll do. I've been doing lots of reading about ways to help my immune system which seems to be the main cause of my infertility. The biggest thing that has been proven to help is diet, and also some supplements (one being Wobenzyme.) I would appreciate your prayers that I will be able to stick with it. I am praying that these changes will help me to have lowered thyroid antibodies at my next labs so please pray with me on this too. I know we serve a God who performs miracles and I am praying He will heal my body, but I also know I have to do my part. I choose to keep believing God will give us children.

Hebrews 11:11
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's a Waiting Game

I haven't updated lately mainly because I haven't had anything good to update with! It's been a rough month or so with trying to get everything straightened out.

About a month or so ago I was having pretty bad hyperthyroid symptoms so I had my doctor run labs on me. I was really hopeful it was the LDN I was taking lowering my thyroid antibodies meaning I needed less thyroid medicine. I got my results back and both of my antibodies were higher than they've ever been....sigh. So the hyperthyroid symptoms were just from my body attacking my thyroid and probably my low tsh. I was pretty down about it, but I had been waiting for my endocrinologist appointment for a few months and it was getting close. I figured I would just try to focus on that. I will admit I had read reviews on the doctor I was suppose to see and I was nervous. From what I read I didn't think he would do much for me. After waiting three months for appointment I knew if I showed up and he did nothing I would probably start crying in his office. I felt like there was no other choice but to take this next step so I just tried to prepare myself.

God always takes care of things though because last week my doctor's office called me and said they wanted to cancel my appointment with that endocrinologist. They had other patients go to him and they weren't impressed. My first thought was relief because I was already dreading going to him and what my doctor's office said just confirmed what I was feeling. My next thought, frustration. Not at my doctor by any means, but I had waited about 2 1/2 months already with nothing to do to help myself in the meantime and I'm a fixer, so that is hard for me. I dint do well sitting and waiting and I knew it would probably take another 2 or 3 months to get an appointment with a different doctor. But I reminded myself the wait would be worth it for a decent endocrinologist. So the nurse I was talking with about a new endocrinologist recommended one and I said I was fine with that. I have to give my doctor and her staff tons of thanks and credit because they ended up calling me back that same day saying someone had come in and complained about the second endocrinologist they suggested so they didn't feel I should go to him either. They called several offices and did a lot to make sure I found a good one. We went through several different doctors, but today I finally got an appointment with one that was recommended to me by someone we know. So I go August 6th to see the endocrinologist now. Its tough to have to wait about 6 months to even know what the next step will be, but I know it's better this way. I know some of you may think 6 months is no big deal, but we are coming up on 4 1/2 years of no pregnancy so waiting that much longer feels like forever. We would appreciate your prayers in this!

I have such mixed feelings about the whole thing. I talk to several people who have Hashimoto's and they say you can most definitely get pregnant with elevated antibodies, as long as your free t's (thyroid hormones) are optimal. Mine have been for a few months and since my hormones have finally started to straighten out, but still no pregnancy. Then my mind wants to kick into worry-mode, "maybe there's something else we are missing?" It's hard not to think that thought, but if there is I don't know what it would be anyways, so I can't do much about it! So we just kinda go with the laid back approach. After this many years is there any other way to be about it but laid back? Nope. We have discussed fostering and even adoption. Bobby is all for adoption, but we would prefer to adopt an infant and that just doesn't happen without great expense. So we have discussed foster/adoption through a program called The C.A.L.L. We went to their information class a few months ago and we were very impressed. Its a Christian organization and I would highly recommend checking out their website if you're at all interested in foster/adoption.We would also appreciate prayers for wisdom on what to do with all that we have going on and what will be coming up in the next few months!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Good, The Bad...

So I have been on my new medicine LDN for a little over a month now, not too long at all. I had labs drawn last week to see if it was making any improvements on my antibody levels. Before I took the labs I had talked with people who have Hashimoto's and take LDN, they told me not to expect any changes the first month, especially since I was on such a low dose. They said it would take probably 2-3 months to see any difference on my labs. Every month that I have been checked my antibodies have always gone up, so I figured if it went up again this month it wasn't a big deal, I just have to give the medicine time to work. I will say I can tell it's working because I haven't been as tired, or forgetful. I didn't take it for several days in a row right before my labs because I ran out and I could feel the difference when I wasn't on it. So overall, I'm impressed with it so far.

I got my labs back today and my Tpo antibodies actually did decrease this month!! They didn't cut in half or anything, but seeing as they were going up each month, it's a small victory to me. Especially since I was told to expect zero results. The downside is my thyroglobulin antibodies did increase this month (boooo!) but I hadn't taken my LDN for about four days when I had labs drawn, and like I said,  I had just been on it for a month at a low dose, so I'm not discouraged at all about that. I do have an appointment with an endocrinologist in June, but I hope the LDN has shown more results by that point.

I took 1.5 mg last month, the goal dose is 4.5 mg. I went up to 3 mg for this next month (started it last Monday) and I want to see where I'm at after being on that dose for  a few more weeks, then increase to the 4.5 mg. I have seen improvement in symptoms going  up to 3 mg and I hope it just gets better! So the good results, one of my antibodies decreased, but one went up too...I don't count that as "bad" but I guess you could. I think seeing results of any kind so quickly is all the positive news I need after months of bad news!

I think it's really amazing to see God use a struggle you have to help others. It happens to me often  and it's what encourages me to keep going. To not give in, to always find another way. I think if I can help others get through the same struggles I've had then it's worth all the pain. Over the past several weeks I have had a few people contact me because they were recently diagnosed with thyroid issues. I am a reader/researcher by nature and I want to learn anything and everything I can about things that interest me. Over the past few months I have been reading books, websites, and talking to people about thyroid issues. I've learned a lot and I think it's so humbling to be able to use a difficulty in your own life to get others the help they need. Many of them struggle with infertility, what an amazing thought to know God used me to help someone accomplish their dreams of having a family. He wants to use all of us for something. To help others in some way, it may not be the same way as I can help someone, but that's why we each have our own unique story. As long as we have the right attitude and we look for those opportunities I believe God will always use us!

I heard this verse Sunday in church and it's one of my favorites. It went right along with what I've been focusing on lately too.

Jude 22 "And of some having compassion, making a difference."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Infertility Etiquette (Part Three)

Well I really had plans to write this last part a lot sooner, but life happens. It actually worked out well anyways since this week is National Infertility Awareness week. What better time to let everyone know what you CAN do for those with infertility than now!

I saw something about the different "stages" of infertility and what these people need at each stage. I loved it so I have to share!

Stage 1- The Infertility Newbie- They are the optimist, they don't need a lot of support in their journey at this time. They believe the problem is temporary and will get resolved soon. They don’t feel broken, different, or an outcast. 

Stage 2- Long Term Infertile- They are very tricky and must be handled with great caution. This person feels alienated from society and carries great pain and angst in their souls. They might not show it all the time, but there is a very sensitive, raw spot in their souls that is easily bruised. 

Stage 3- Old Timers- They have been doing this so long it just becomes part of who they are. These infertiles have gone through the great angst and intense pain of the ‘dark years’ and have come out realizing that while infertility sucks, it is not all consuming. And instead of crying, they laugh. Because infertility is actually a comedy of errors, sometimes.

I can honestly say this is so accurate! I am to that "stage 3" of it all, but I still remember that raw, wounded feeling about halfway through and the naive feeling of the first year or so that we were trying. That middle stage is the hardest. If  you've been there you know exactly what I'm talking about, no explanation needed. If you haven't I say count yourself blessed. My friend just had a baby the other day (and he's perfect, by the way!) and it got me thinking..what if I could've never gone through any of this, just had kids right away, any time I wanted to? Would I want that? I know it may sound crazy, but I honestly decided that no, I wouldn't change any of it. I really do mean that.  I have grown so much and learned so much more compassion than I would have had otherwise.  I have learned how my smallest action, or passing comment can hurt others unintentionally. Plus, I believe we aren't as likely to take things for granted that we have to struggle and fight for. It's good when something comes easy, but when it's tough, that's where the real blessings are. With that said, here's what I say you can do for those friends/loved ones going through infertility.

1. Educate yourself. And not so you can suggest the latest fertility tips to them (ha!) Find out what infertility issues they are having and read up on them. This will help you to be able to show genuine interest and ask relevant questions. I'm not saying you have to spend days studying, but many of my friends have learned the basics of my thyroid and other fertility issues. They can ask questions about my levels and not be bored by my response because they have taken the time to learn what all of the "terms" mean. The fact that they think enough of me to learn about it means a lot to me. 

2. Let them know you care. Send cards, tell them you are praying for them, whatever it is that you can think of. My friend got me a picture frame with an ultrasound picture of her baby, the frame said "believe" on it. She wrote a note to me about how she couldn't wait until the day I replace it with my own child's ultrasound picture. Another friend knew I was having a bad day and brought me a card and my favorite drink. Those things made my day. It doesn't have to be anything big, just let them know you are thinking of them and praying. Most importantly, be positive! 

3. Remember them on holidays. This includes Mother's Day and Father's Day, but really it's any holiday. Holidays are always centered around family and it can be a painful reminder to couple about the children they don't have. Also, baby showers/births can be very tough for women to attend. Let them know you are thinking of them during these times. 

4. Provide Support. Be positive and supportive about their decisions. Refrain from being critical, you never know what you would do in their situation! Offer to drive them to doctor's appointments if they need it, ask if you can help out with anything, tell them you are there to listen anytime they need to talk. I was wanting to have a pity-party for myself the other day and I felt guilty for it, I messaged my friend and told her I was having a rough day. I told her I was feeling sorry for myself but I knew I shouldn't. You know, she told me that I have the right to struggle and feel bad and I need to work through it. She told me that she would have a pity-party with me and she would bring the chips and dip to the party. I laughed (which helped my mood) and I had a good cry and vented to her. It lasted maybe 10 minutes and it was over. I felt better and I had a new perspective. To me, that's the best support a person can get! 

5. Validate. When they do talk to you about their struggles, or negative emotions validate that what they are going through is serious. Don't brush it aside, or give some vague reassurance. Let them know you understand why they are having a hard time and that it must not be easy. If you brush off their feelings they most likely won't confide in you anymore. Even if you haven't gone through infertility and you can't empathize at least validate their situation. Also, "keep the faith" when they can't. If they are struggling with doubt and fear, that is your time to be bold and believing. They need to know someone is in their corner rooting for them, believing they will have children of their own.

6. Ask. Above all else, ask what they need. Every woman is different and they don't all need the same thing. Get with them privately and let them know you really want to be there for them, but you need help knowing what they need you to do. They will gladly tell you!