Pre-Pregnancy Parade of Doctors Continues…

Ugh.

In the last 6.5 months, I have seen five doctors in five different specialties to find out everything I can about my health and try to find my “link” to CHI. I thought I was a perfectly healthy woman prior to losing Ava. There has to be a reason my body just up and decided to attack the pregnancy. There has to be a reason why my immune system went haywire and ruined my life.

To recap: I saw my OBGYN to go over the placental pathology report and he referred me to the maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doctor and a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to guide recommendations for any subsequent pregnancy. Our consultations with the MFM and RE led to a recommendation that I see a rheumatologist to rule out an underlying autoimmune disorder, and a cardiologist to ensure that it wasn’t an underlying heart condition that somehow led to my placenta giving out. I had a complete autoimmune workup and it found nothing. I had a heart echo and was pronounced the cardiologist’s “youngest and healthy patient.” He actually noted how my blood pressure was on the low side. I think the last time I went in to the cardiologist it was recorded as 102/58.

Confession: I have anxiety, particularly surrounding any social settings or interactions. I have always had “white coat syndrome” as well because I get worked up going to the doctor, thinking that they will find something wrong and I’m going to die because I thought it was normal and didn’t go in sooner. I know, it’s ridiculous. Well, after losing Ava, this anxiety around doctors’ visits is intensified. I know that my history will be discussed, and I hate crying in front of others. Ava’s stillbirth is the reason for these doctors’ visits, yet several nurses haven’t taken the time to read my chart in advance. I had one nurse ask me how old my baby was now. Aside from feeling anxious about discussing my loss, I fear finding out something is severely wrong with me and I will never be able to have a living baby. Facing the recurrence risk of CHI is difficult enough, I’m scared of what adding anything on top of that will do to my chances of having a living baby. So long story short, I was impressed with myself to control my anxiety enough to not have higher blood pressure. Deep, belly breathing really does work!

Fast forward to the point of this post. The RE ordered additional labs that the rheumatologist wouldn’t have covered such as a glucose test and thyroid function. I received the results this week.

My TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) level was super low, which means we have finally found something wrong. I have now been referred to an endocrinologist to further assess because it appears I have hyperthyroidism. I, personally, am convinced that this is something that has arose postpartum. It’s fairly common to develop hyperthyroidism in the first postpartum year. I feel this is the case for me, mainly, because I tried to lose some weight last spring before getting pregnant and I wasn’t very successful. I had steadily gained weight since college, little by little. Hyperthyroidism typically involves an increase in metabolism, thus leading to unintentional weight loss, no matter what you eat. Since December, I have been trying to lose weight with the goal of losing 20 pounds by June, and I did it! I was proud of myself for accomplishing this feat – I ate stupid little Healthy Choice meals for lunches and felt hungry constantly. I said no to cake in the work kitchen multiple times, and with my lack of will power, that was a big deal! …And now I’m being told that my weight loss was due to my hyperthyroidism, not the fact I have pushed myself physically and ran four 5K races, all except the first, under 30 minutes.

So, instead of trying again this month like planned, I am waiting for yet another doctor’s appointment with yet another specialist. Let’s just say my anxiety is in full gear with the prospect of meeting another new doctor, with the knowledge that something really is wrong aside from the CHI. Perhaps, I should be glad that I may have found my “link” to CHI?

I did some research and while thyroid issues with CHI aren’t uncommon, they are usually hypothyroidism, not hyper. So, again, I’m not sure that it can be my “link” to why CHI is occurring, and that leads me back to it’s a postpartum thing. Oh, and can I just say, half the symptoms can also be explained by postpartum or grief? So how am I to know what is what?

Cherry on top of this turn of events? My labs also revealed that I have “slight ovarian dysfunction.” Slight? What ever that means! So will I even be able to get pregnant again?

Like I said, Ugh.

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