My Life With Hashimotos

Hashimotos: An auto-immune disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid gland as if it were a foreign body, causing inflammation that results in an under-active thyroid known as hypothyroidism.

Getting pregnant for the first time was incredibly easy. Literally two weeks after Aaron and I decided that we were ready to start our family, we were pregnant. WOW! We were blessed and we knew it. I loved everything about being pregnant. I felt great. I continued to spend time in the gym. I was even one of those insane women, you know the kind, that felt sexy of all things, while I was pregnant. Pregnancy was a breeze…until my 30th week. I was still unable to feel Harper moving. My doctor kept reassuring me that it was my strong abdominal wall from working out that was preventing me from feeling all of her sweet little flutters. Call it Mommy’s Intuition, but before my 30 week appointment I called my doctor and requested that a non-stress test (NST) and a biophysical exam be performed at my next appointment. Always trust your gut, Mommies. It was discovered at that appointment that Harper was measuring small, was breach, and the amniotic fluid levels were frighteningly low. I was redirected immediately to a high risk pregnancy doctor for more testing and then released with orders of bi-weekly sonograms, increased fluid intake, haulting of all exercise, and hopes of making it to 34weeks. This is where my dream pregnancy took a turn…

It was during a sonogram with our high risk doctor just before 33weeks that I was admitted to the hospital on strict bed-rest to wait out the rest of the pregnancy. Harper was still measuring small and was still breach, and because I had almost no fluid, it would be near impossible for her to turn, so it was agreed that I would be having a cesarean. After 8 days on bed-rest and daily sonograms, it was time. It was no longer safe for Harper inside of me (tears as I type at the guilt and helplessness I felt for not being the safe-haven that my daughter deserved). That day, just 34 weeks into my pregnancy, Harper Reese Barnett was born, weighing 4lb9oz. She spent 3 weeks in the NICU…fighting…our Little Champion.

Because Aaron and I always knew that we wanted more babies and that we wanted them close in age, we immediately started asking questions. Why did this happen? Will it happen again? How can we be sure? My placenta was sent off for testing and 9 vials of blood were drawn before I was even released from the hospital. The conclusion? It was all a  fluke. There was nothing wrong with me. It shouldn’t happen again but we couldn’t be sure.

Fast-forward 9 months. Yes, we are cah-ra-zee! We loved being parents so much that just 9 months after that traumatizing ordeal we were ready to do it all again. And we assumed that because getting pregnant had been so easy for us before, we would be welcoming a second child in approximately 9 months. Not exactly. After 6 months of very actively trying to conceive our second baby, I learned that I was pregnant. Whew! What a relief. It was Aaron’s 30 birthday. Perfect timing, right?!? So I surprised him with the news and we hugged and kissed. We were so excited. And then we were devastated. Just three days later, I lost the baby. I felt so beaten down. So depressed. We mourned. We prayed. And then we started trying again.

Another 6 months passed before we would see that + sign again. We were hesitant, reluctant, and hopeful. During that time my doctor started to share my fears that maybe there was something wrong, something preventing us, me, from not only conceiving, but from carrying another baby. Testing revealed that there were in fact a couple of issues, 1) my progesterone levels were to low to carry a baby and 2) I had Hashimoto’s. I was started on progesterone and began seeing an Endocrinologist to control my Hashimoto’s. I met with him once a month for blood work and to readjust my medication levels to ensure that everything was just as it should be for the tiny angel I was now carrying. It was during one of my visits with my Endocrinologist that it was revealed to me that all of the issues that we had during my pregnancy with Harper, were directly related to my diagnosis. He reassured me that if we managed the disease, this pregnancy would end with me carrying my baby out of the hospital with me rather than preparing for another stay in the NICU. And he was correct.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s

  • fatigue
  • weight gain or difficulty loosing weight
  • cold intolerance
  • depression
  • dry, course hair
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • muscle cramps
  • increased cholesterol levels

Hashimoto’s is treated with monitored thyroid medication. But it is also highly recommended that a person suffering from the disease concentrate on a healthy diet and exercise. More than the minimal 30 minutes of moderate activity daily is encouraged for those of us with Hashimoto’s. I can attest that clean eating and a fairly intense workout regimen has almost eliminated all symptoms for me, most notably the resulting high cholesterol levels. In just a year I have decreased my cholesterol level from over 400 to just over 300 without medication (due to the fact that I have been either pregnant or nursing for the past two years).

Exercise is not about vanity. It’s not about fitting into skinny jeans. It’s about being healthy, disease control, and being around to watch my babies grow.

No Excuses.

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