Wisconsin grown, Minnesota transplant.
I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to be married to the kindest man I have ever met. We’ve been married for 2.5 years now and have a super cute and chunky baby boy. I’ve been a nurse for 6.5 years, and presently work in OB. I am also in pursuit of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner – three semesters to go!
I am a lover of travel and fanatic of lakes. I spent a lot of my life (outside of work and sleep) in view of, or on lakes, because, why not?
Around 6 months postpartum, I was diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis and eventually Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. During pregnancy, I experienced preterm labor, and ended up making it pretty far, delivering at 36.4 weeks gestation. My baby was nearly 7lbs, so delivering a late-preterm infant at 7lbs was a pretty healthy size, though, he stayed in the NICU for 9 days after the delivery. I did not have my thyroid tested during pregnancy, nor do I have a family history of thyroid disorders. But, a year prior to my pregnancy my thyroid labs checked out ok.
It’s possible that my underlying thyroid issues contributed to my pregnancy complications, but who really knows?! I felt strange in the initial postpartum period, almost as if I was in a hyperthyroid state, but assumed that was normal as the body experiences so many changes and hormones tend to fluctuate. During that time, I had an oversupply of breastmilk (3-4x what my son was eating), drenching night sweats, mastitis, and rapid weight loss. Needless to say, I was beat, as most women are during that time. Most women want to lose weight after the baby comes, right? That wasn’t on my mind at all. I found that it drained my energy dry, and it was difficult to keep up with the overproduction. This is something I rarely talk about because I don’t feel it’s necessary to compare myself to what other women experience in the weight loss/gain & milk production categories. Those are sensitive topics and so individualized! I learned that the grass isn’t always greener, and I was desperate for my energy back.
After several months, there was a noticeable difference in my symptoms, which transitioned into even more significant fatigue (could hardly get up out of bed), and I felt cold into my bones along with persistent night sweats. I felt like I was moving in slow motion throughout life. For 6 months, I just assumed that survival mode was what the postpartum period was all about. I didn’t recognized that physically, I hit rock bottom. My Nurse Practitioner studies led me to believe that I had thyroiditis, but I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to be a hypochondriac. Finally I went to the doctor, and with a TSH result of 37 and TPO antibodies >6000, I was somewhat relieved to have a reason for how I was feeling. I felt the storm clouds clear up in my head, and I found sunshine in having clarity of what was going on in my body. Though I know that treatment for Hashimoto’s is limited, I am so invested in finding ways to try and improve my quality of life.
I’m still new to the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, and presently in process of figuring out a treatment plan.
Motherhood. It’s unpredictable, and tiring, yet so joyful. I reached a point where I felt like I was failing as a mother as I was too tired to hold my infant son at times. I felt that I was failing as a wife. My husband is a physician with an unusual schedule, and he’s often tired too. I wanted to be more supportive of his crazy schedule, yet I was stuck in bed, confused as to why I couldn’t get up and live my life as I normally would.
It made me frustrated. Frustrated that I wasn’t living fully. Frustrated that I had to cancel plans with friends or family, because I just wasn’t feeling well. Though, I didn’t have much to show for how I was feeling other than maybe looking a little sleepy, as a lot of people do. I found great frustration in the fact that I had changed so much after delivering my baby, wondering if I’ll ever be back to the same energy level I used to have.
Grad school – It has been hard to stay on top of my game with studying for tests and preparing for clinicals. I know that grad school is meant to be challenging, and I know that it’ll make me a stronger clinician to experience struggles. Sometimes I feel fuzzy and unwell to study, almost as if I’m hungover without having drank any booze. I would probably be a lot better student without Hashimoto’s & being a new mom, but, there’s no going back – life doesn’t stop.
Having a positive mindset. It has taken me awhile to get my head out of the gutter and into a positive place, but since I have reached acceptance after my diagnosis, I’ve been a lot more optimistic about the future.
Hot yoga – I used to do hot yoga all the time before pregnancy, and have struggled to find the time and the energy to resume. Finally, the past two weeks, I’ve set aside the time to do yoga again, and it feels amazing. I don’t do it for the exercise, I do it for the relaxation and peace of mind. Everyone has a purpose for why they do things, and for me, it’s a spiritual thing.
Hot baths – 1x a day with Epsom salt
Selenium/Magnesium/Zinc/Vitamin D – I like to think that taking extra supplements have been helping, but my energy still fluctuates. Overall – I am better than I was two months ago. There’s limited research on the benefits of taking extra supplements for Hashimoto’s, though I think it’s worth a try!
Sleep. I’m sure most people aren’t fully satisfied with their sleep habits. I find it hard to go to sleep, and stay asleep. Then, I’m tired all day long. Trying to find a balance with motherhood and my marriage, while also listening to my body and managing my health.
Self care. I’m continuing to try and make self-care a priority, as everyone should. Though, it can be hard to prioritize, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner. After feeling so low the last six months, I am desperate for my self-care time and have found it an essential part of my well-being.
While I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve been stuck in survival mode. I have been merely existing. Usually, I am all about living my life in the moment and embracing fear and change. This quote is a reminder to me to continue living wildly and beautifully – life is too short to simply exist.
Find Amanda | @coco_manda