Monday, 24 June 2013

An Answer

I had my postpartum check up on Friday.  I was 8 1/2 weeks postpartum.

It felt so good to bring Theo there.  He had been there so many times in another form as I had weekly appointments and bio physicals... it didn't feel like his first time there.

I definitely felt different.  Looking at all the pregnant bellies, I felt way less threatened by the assumed safe arrival of all these little beings being carried around by their confident mothers.  I wasn't completely out of the woods with my emotional state.. but having Theodore with me, in my arms, alive - it did make me feel like I can play this pregnancy/having a baby game too.

My appointment was pretty quick... she didn't examine me "down there" as I had a really good delivery and didn't require any stitches.  I had been concerned about crazy amounts of cramping and spotting at 6-7 weeks PP.  A few days there was fresh looking blood... and I was sure I didn't heal properly, or that a piece of the placenta was still stuck up here (thank you google for letting me entertain that possibility), but at 8 and a half weeks, I wasn't spotting.  My OB told me that up until 10 weeks... spotting is still considered normal.  And the cramping, well, she feels safe in assuming it's all due to breastfeeding. 

She finished the appointment with asking me how my mind, heart and soul were feeling.  And that's where things got interesting.  I broke wide open with everything I've been feeling.  The on and off feelings of extreme agitation and frustration followed by slaps in the face of grief and GUILT.  The overwhelming feeling of defeat and at a loss in what to do with my loss.  I cried, and Daniel held and shushed Theo, and my OB listened. 

She assured me I was and am NORMAL.  Considering my history, she suspects everything to be a little more magnified.  She tried to convince me that these transient feelings don't have a lasting affect on Theo.  "He won't remember, he won't hold it against you".  I strongly believe that we as human beings are super absorbent in our emotional atmosphere starting at a very young age.  Coming from a somewhat of a "broken" household (parents separating when I was 5, but with things not working long before a single baby was born) with lots of yelling and fights (behind closed doors...), I can attest that even if you don't have vivid memories of how things were exactly - you still feel it.  It still hangs on to you, and then surfaces in other areas on your adulthood. 

But she said if I didn't feel like I was going to lose my mind some days... then she'd consider me NOT normal.

Anyway... she wanted me to see one of the grief counselors to rule out any postpartum depression. 

"As long as you're not having any thoughts of harm towards yourself, your baby or others, I don't think this is postpartum depression.  Well.. you're allowed to have appropriate thoughts of harm towards the baby and others, so don't worry..."  She's funny sometimes.  That's why I like her.

I had to get my thyroid tested too as it's been up and down since my pregnancy with Alexander.  I've been instructed to do so many different things by all the doctors that have cared for me.  I told my OB during my pregnancy with Theo that I wanted to get it looked at once and for all, and determine if I actually have hypothyroidism, or if it's just caused by pregnancies.  When I was pregnant with Alexander, by OB at the time told me I needed a low dose... and I think she retested and increased in in the beginning of my third trimester... or I could be wrong.  I do remember she tested it when I was 35ish weeks, and she told me to stop the medication cold turkey so my thyroid could get itself back to normal when I'm postpartum.  I've since learned that that was a very wrong thing to do, and I should have continued on the supplement as there's a huge demand on the thyroid in the third trimester.  My current OB has a background in endocrinology, and let me know that in most cases, if on thyroid meds during pregnancy, they should be INCREASED in the third trimester. 

Yet another factoid in my pregnancy with Alexander that could have been a contributor towards his death.  I'll never know.

My thyroid went a little hyperactive when I was postpartum after Alexander,.. but by the time 4-5 months rolled around, it was super low again, and it was probably the reason I miscarried the extremely short pregnancy I had in July '12.

So I voiced to my OB that I wanted to get this shit figured out, because I know it can MESS YOU UP if something is wrong and goes untreated.  She told me that she'd refer me off to a specialist after I delivered Theo, and that gave me a lot of peace of mind.

At the visit, I told her that I only had 3 tablets left of my current synthroid (which treats LOW thyroid - or hypothyroidism).  She was the one that instructed me to continue taking the same does I had taken BEFORE my pregnancy with THEO.  I told her that I wasn't on any meds before my first pregnancy... and when I called to book my postpartum back in early May... the receptionist told me that Dr. W instructions were to be on whatever it was I was taking before THIS pregnancy.  So I stopped the increased dose which was prescribed in my third trimester with Theo, and went back on the dose I was one while trying to conceive back in August '12.

I had blood work done, and my doctor put a "stat" on the results as she wanted to make sure if I needed to stay taking any dose of synthroid, she could write me a script.

I went off to see the counselor, and she was super nice and super supportive.  She too told me I sounded very normal, and a huge contributor of PPD is sleep deprivation.  I told her that if she asked anyone, they'd tell you I'm very passionate and at times over the top with my emotional approach.. but I'm not a loose cannon.  But lately, I feel like one!  I told her I don't feel myself at all, and that I was VERY surprised with how I was managing my temper and overall emotional state.  I told her I was getting to the point where even when I have the opportunity to sleep (LIKE RIGHT NOW AS THEO HAS BEEN NAPPING PERFECTLY FOR 2 HOURS =D!!), I cant.  I cant shut down.  I feel like I'm over the edge with catching up... that if I get my 4-6 broken hours at night,... then it's enough to keep me going without a nap during the day.  It's not healthy, mind you, and I don't feel good.  I USED to be able to nap a few weeks back and felt A LOT better when I was able to recharge during the day.  But ever since his sleeping during the day has been so random... I cant sleep.  I get anxious that he'll wake any second, and I can't get myself in that zone.  I'll feel my body get warm, and my mind start to let go.. and then POW, I lose it, and I'm awake.  And it's piling up, and I can feel REAL sleep deprivation setting in. 

She talked about making plans to have someone over a few times a week to help with me Theo.  Just to take him off my hands after a feed, and then I go upstairs and try to check out as long as possible.  She asked if Daniel was able to take an extra day off a week just until I catch up.  But I feel like it's a losing battle.  I expressed that the pressure to sleep is almost worse.  If I know someone is coming to help... and I DON'T sleep.. or Theo doesn't settle to the point where I cant hear him through the house... it's like we lost.  We all lost.  The helper loses, and I lose.  And then I feel worse. 

Anyway, we went back and forth on how to get me more rested more frequently... and I told her I'd work on a solution with Daniel's family as they're the closest in vicinity. 

She asked me to call her back and make an appointment in a month or so to touch base.  I really liked her... so I probably will.

After our session, I went back to my doctors receptionist and asked if my results were in.  She pulled up my file, and printed the results and told me she'd grab Dr. W in between patients and get her to review the results.

I sat in the jam packed waiting area and was so freaking thankful I was no longer pregnant and needed to be part of this mess of a long wait to see her and saw Maria snag Dr. W.  I saw her look at the print out.  I saw her look up for me in the sea of people.  I saw her march over, locking eyes with me.. and knew something was up.

"Ok, those 3 tablets you have ... flush them!  get right of them... don't dare take another pill.  Your thyroid is extremely high.  The normal range is 3-7.. and the highest acceptable is 12.  Yours is at 31!"

"31?!? what the hell?? is that why I have trouble falling asleep during the day when I'm so OVER TIRED??"

"I'm surprised you've slept at all!  This explains so much, especially the agitation and short temper."

And that's it folks.  Well, it's not IT it.. but it's a bit of it.  A big contributor.  I stopped cold turkey on Friday... it's going to take up to 2-4 weeks for the synthroid to completely leave my system, but I'm so looking forward to more normal feelings.  My doc told me to come back and retest in 2 weeks, and if my levels haven't shown signs of returning to normal.. she's going to send me off to a specialist.

This new found information has lifted a lot of the guilt, and I was breathing easier when I went home.  

And now here comes the part where I immediately felt completely ripped off in experiencing pure, unbridled joy upon the arrival of my rainbow baby because my hormones were truly fucked up to no fault of my own, and how my feelings of having a "do over" were coming back into play...

We'll see how I'm feeling in 2 weeks.


  1. I hope knowing what is wrong and that you are not going crazy! helps you start to feel better soon, and even more so as your hormones regulate.

    The idea of having someone else come over to help while I rested never really worked for me. I think it is a nice idea in theory, but I know I wouldn't be able to let go and actually rest. If it works though, that would be great, especially family that wants to spend time with Theo too!

  2. Omg. I'm glad you have an answer, but crap it would have been nice to get that figured out sooner. I hope you see and feel improvements soon. And I know what you mean about not being able to sleep if you think the baby is about to wake--it's the worst. I also get that having someone come over might not help that much. I guess it's worth a shot? Keep in mind that he will get easier and more predictable as the weeks go by! What feels like forever is only a phase. It's just so hard to remember that when you're in it.

  3. Glad you got something. Hope your update in two weeks is a happy one.

  4. I love your doctor.
    I had to have G leave the house. My MiL took her the 4.5 miles away to her house for a bit first thing in the morning. I could NOT rest in the beginning with her there. Toward the end of Sleep Deprivation I was taking 2 hour long cuddle naps in the morning which was her sleeping on my chest. They were awesome and I recommend them whenever possible. Screw the housework, emails, whatever. The first year is about survival.

  5. I just want to tell you that you are rocking this newborn mom business. M is only a few days younger than Theo and he has yet to master napping anywhere except on my body and even at night only sleeps...on my body. We sleep in a bloody chair! A chair! For nine weeks now. You are doing a great job, and this is not in any way to minimize your frustration (which is always justified because it is yours!) but just to say that from my perspective (for whatever it's worth), you are kicking ass.

    All that said, so glad you've got some answers and I hope that sorting out this thyroid business brings you some relief.