Thursday, August 13, 2009

Conception: Intermission

So, we went to the endocrinologist and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism). It means that at some point I probably got an autoimmune disease that attacked my thyroid and left it unable to do its job. There is no way of knowing when this occurred, but after hearing the symptoms (difficulty losing weight, thinning hair, exhaustion, dry skin – incidentally almost all the symptoms of PCOS as well) Brian thinks it was sometime after I met him. I was put on synthroid (synthetic thyroid medication) and we had to wait a few months to see if the level of synthroid I was on was enough to even me out before we could start trying to get pregnant again.

As an aside, I can now say that I see that the miscarriage was necessary. I had complained to other physicians about weight gain, dry hair, etc and no one thought of hypothyroidism. I was told if I lost weight all of the other issues would be taken care of. Thankfully, my OB saw differently and we were able to identify this problem. I can honestly say that the day the synthroid kicked in, I felt like a whole new person. Until then I didn’t even realize how sick I was.

Since at this point in the story Brian and I were on a conception intermission, I thought I would use this post for some short musings that were going through my mind around this time period.


(Sorry mom, but the potty mouth is necessary for this – I swear)

When my friend was having a difficult time getting pregnant, she started to read a lot of blogs about women who were in the same situation. We would talk about these blogs and there are two things from them that made an impression on me. The first is the concept of “ass-vice” which I’ll talk about in a minute and the other is PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise… this will become important in a later post).

Ass-vice is a noun – is it the well-meaning but useless advice given to women who admit to any difficulty of getting pregnant typically from women who have children (and conceived them by falling down).

It’s when people say things like:

“Just relax and it will happen.”
“It will happen when you least expect it.”
“I know that things will work out for the best for you.”
“The same thing happened to my friend/sister/mom/dog-sitter’s hair stylist…”

I realize that most of the people who read blogs about women who have difficulty getting pregnant are themselves women who have difficulty getting pregnant so I wanted to bring this to the attention of the fall-down pregnant women. Your ass-vice may be well meaning, but it doesn’t help… and in most cases just results in suppressed anger.

Because, relaxing wasn’t going to fix my thyroid, you don’t know how any of this will work out, you are not an oracle, and no matter the similarities between what is happening to me and to your friend/sister/mom/dog-sitter’s hair stylist it is not the same. My situation is mine… it is only happening to me at that moment and I don’t care what you think of it.

So, if a woman is brave enough to share with you that getting pregnant isn’t coming “naturally” to her, think of ass-vice before you answer. I’ve thought about this for a long time and I honestly believe the only appropriate thing to say is something along the lines of, “Wow, that sounds difficult.” Because, it is difficult and it was probably difficult for that person to share with you as well.

The Betrayal of My Body

I’m sure, that somewhere out there, there is a woman who is completely at peace with her body and maybe, just maybe she is reading this blog. But, I can tell you that she is not writing this blog.

There have been times where I’ve been at peace but something interrupts it. Maybe it’s a shopping spree where I want to spend a lot of money but can only find one thing in my size, or a shop window in Beverly Hills that proclaims plus size clothing for sizes 8 – 14, or it could be that my body is incapable of doing the most natural of things – get pregnant.

I honestly believe that my conception journey was made all the more difficult because it was just one more time when my body betrayed me. I can pinpoint the very first betrayal – the growth of my breasts. I’m not saying that overnight I turned into Dolly Parton or anything, but one day I didn’t have breasts and then everyone noticed that the next day I did. I was never a girly-girl but I was never a full-on tomboy either. I was able to exist in between both worlds, until the lumps showed up. They identified me as different from boys and boys noticed. In fact, one afternoon, sitting on the swing in our front porch two male friends made some jokes and a grab (in a total pubescent manner). And that was when I knew this body wasn’t going to be easy.

Even now, that I’m pregnant, I don’t think my reaction to my body at the time was irrational. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t function like everyone else’s and why it took medical intervention for me to get pregnant (and I still don’t). There were times when I hated my body, just really really hated it. I think if I had been able to be kinder to my body, this journey would have been less painful for me (and I’m sure for Brian). These strong emotions are just one reason why ass-vice is taken so badly by people for whom getting pregnant isn’t “easy.”

On a happier note, I can tell you that right now, at 37 weeks pregnant I have never felt more comfortable with my body and I only hope I can continue that feeling.


My final musing is about Murphy’s Law.

I hate medication. If I’m taking an Advil you can be sure that it’s because my headache is so bad I can’t see or it’s because my back is in spasm (although I have something stronger for that). So, what happens? I get diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and find out I will be on drugs every day for the rest of my life. You see, my thyroid can no longer function without assistance – the damage is irreversible.

So, to end on some clichés: “never say never,” “be careful what you wish for,” and “God has a bizarre sense of humor.”

1 comment:

  1. I concur. that the baby's do you feel about your body? I have found that I feel less annoyed by it, and more forgiving of it. A little. Ass-vice: "Remember, it took 9 months to put it on, it will take 9 months to remove it." Ok, it's been 12...and well...not working. :)