Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid Disease: Valerie’s Story [SUCCESS]

March 23, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Valerie. She is a 34-year-old Pinterest manager and strategist who enjoys hiking, biking, and trying new things with her family. About six months into trying to conceive, Valerie consulted her OB/GYN. He reluctantly ran several blood tests and told her everything came back normal. A year later and still not pregnant, Valerie and her husband went to a fertility clinic. Her TSH was high, so she was put on thyroid medication, but her other tests were normal. Her doctor recommended either IUI or IVF. But, she was not mentally ready for IVF and felt the success rate of IUI was too low. She consulted an endocrinologist, who ran additional testing and diagnosed her with Hashimoto’s and low Vitamin D. Shortly thereafter, they moved to a new state for her husband’s job. She stopped eating gluten, and while her stomach issues disappeared, her doctor suspected she either wasn’t ovulating or had a luteal phase defect. Join us to hear how Valerie changed fertility clinics, took a high dose of Femara to stimulate ovulation, and became pregnant with her daughter.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Valerie was an anxious perfectionist who planned EVERYTHING
  • How she and her husband met as seniors in high school; it was a bowling game dare that led to their first kiss—and the rest is history
  • As a couple, they complete and balance each other in many ways
  • How Valerie always wanted to be a mom, and this feeling intensified when they started trying to conceive
  • With a five-year plan for having kids, Valerie knew after a few months that something was wrong
  • She saw her Ob, who reluctantly ran tests and told her everything was fine, but several months went by with no pregnancy
  • After a year, they went to a fertility clinic who diagnosed Valerie with high TSH and prescribed medication
  • Their diagnosis was unexplained infertility, and the doctor said their only options were IUI or IVF
  • When Valerie’s husband took a job in another state, they moved, and Valerie saw an endocrinologist who diagnosed her with Hashimoto’s
  • With still no pregnancies after a few more months, Valerie gave up gluten; she was diagnosed with IBS a few years earlier and suspected celiac disease
  • Valerie’s stomach issues cleared up, and her pain went away; her Ob suspected PCOS and questioned her ovulation
  • At a new fertility clinic in the new state, her doctor suspected PCOS and prescribed Femara for ovulation, which was a less invasive approach than had ever been suggested before
  • Femara was the answer, Valerie became pregnant and gave birth to her daughter
  • Between the two fertility clinics, Valerie liked the second one better because she felt listened to and comfortable
  • By researching on her own, Valerie found that thyroid issues can significantly affect conception
  • The importance of knowing thyroid symptoms, like fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety
  • Valerie’s explanation of Hashimoto’s, which is a disease in which the body attacks the thyroid gland
  • What Valerie has learned about celiac disease and its effect on conception
  • How Valerie felt relieved and validated with the Hashimoto’s diagnosis
  • How Valerie felt sad and defeated when IUI and IVF were the only known options
  • A positive moment happened when Valerie found out that gluten was the source of her stomach problems
  • The joy in getting a positive pregnancy test and getting to make a big deal of telling her husband they were going to be parents
  • How Valerie balanced life and a long commute to the fertility clinic
  • How Valerie’s relationship with her husband grew closer as they learned to rely on each other more
  • In relationships with family and friends, almost no one in their family-and very few of their friends-even knew they were going to have a baby until she was born
  • Why Valerie never told her in-laws about the baby until she was born because Valerie was so put off by their constant questions about their family-building journey
  • How and why Valerie started a blog to share their journey
  • Valerie’s experience with preeclampsia and high blood pressure, even after her daughter’s birth
  • Valerie’s NICU experience when her daughter was born at 34 weeks weighing four pounds and having jaundice
  • How Valerie learned to advocate because research gave her the knowledge and courage
  • How infertility changed Valerie: “I’ve gotten more confident. I’m more self-aware of my body, and I’m able to talk about our journey now.”
  • Valerie’s advice to her past self: “Try not to go down that dark path. Be open-minded and formulate a plan. Move quicker to get answers and be a better friend.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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