On July 25, 2013 the books and vitamins I ordered off Amazon came in the mail. I ordered several “What to Expect” books, a Breast Feeding book and an Exercise while being pregnant book. Also, I ordered my gluten free, organic prenatal vitamins as well as a thermometer to keep track of my temperature to know exactly when I may be ovulating. We were “trying to get pregnant” for only a few days before that shipment came. I actually think my birthday, (July 21st), was the actual date of conception. We found out I was pregnant August 13, 2013 while I was at home, in Michigan, visiting family. And according to my LMC, I was already 4 weeks pregnant at the time. Therefore, that put us at being able to get pregnant on the first try, first shot, and first week.
The more this pregnancy progresses, the more grateful and thankful I’ve become. Along the way, I’ve read a ton of heartbreaking stories, blogs and articles of how so many couples try and try and try and never get as lucky. It seems more often than not, people are turning to IVF. And yet are still struggling to get pregnant. So where does this leave me or where does this leave us? Very, very thankful and blessed. My heart goes out to all of those struggling to get pregnant, simply because I was once told I may never be able to have children.
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in July of 2012. I was very sick at the time. After I was told to stay away from gluten and maintain a strict gluten-free diet/lifestyle, I quickly lost almost 15 lbs. This put me at an unhealthy 104 lbs. My lowest I’ve ever been in my life! I was eating, (don’t get me wrong) and exercising/weight training religiously. But it took quite some time to get all the nutrients and vitamins that I was supposed to be getting (which I have been deficient in, at this point, for quite some time). My GI doctor also diagnosed me with Barrett’s Esophagus (permanent pre-cancerous cells of the esophagus). Yikes! I know. I was told the news of both diagnoses’ after my endoscopy (where they put me under anesthesia and stuck a camera and scope down into my mouth and to my small intestine). Of course I didn’t feel a thing. Just the aftermath of the drugs they gave me. Two days later, the diagnosis’ came in. I freaked out, fell apart and the first thing that came to my mind was “can we still have children?” After meeting with my GI doctor (this time, a second time) to discuss the consequences of these diseases (that were left untreated for so long), he broke the news to me that getting pregnant may be very difficult to do. “Most people with celiac disease have to try an average of 6 years before getting pregnant successfully”. A lot of them have miscarriages, complications and genetic abnormalities. And the likelihood of my Barrett’s turning into cancer from the pregnancy induced GERD was a big issue for my doctor. He basically told me that we can try (if we want) but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. He was very vain, that man. He didn’t seem to have much emotion or empathy at all. Sitting in his office with Bobby, I looked around and saw colon diagrams on the wall as his broken-record-of-a-voice faded in the background telling me what I needed to do and not do. I already knew what I needed to do! Change my diet! We weren’t there to get the run down on the proper nutrition I needed at that time, we were past that at this point. We were there to get the OK that one day we may eventually be able to have children. After he muttered his words, he then referred me to get a DEXA bone scan. What? Osteoporosis usually comes hand-in-hand with celiac disease, but since I was so young, I highly doubted that I was at risk for such a thing (or so I thought). Wrong. I was .3% away from the actual osteoporosis diagnosis. In other words, I was diagnosed with osteopenia. Three diagnoses in less than a month. My mind was flooded with thoughts and my dire need to do my own research was overwhelming. I set out to complete my first goal: gain some healthy weight! As I worked on my diet, eliminated foods, cleaned out the kitchen, replaced pots and pans, dishes and utensils. Everything from the toaster to the strainer. Sponges had to be changed, cabinets had to be washed down and gluten containing items were no longer allowed in our kitchen. My wonderful and very supportive husband gave it all up (yes, even pizza), for me. We stopped going out to dinner (it was just too risky). But there was hope! For some odd reason, the gluten-free diet fad hit the social media. It was unfortunate for someone like me, who had the actual diagnosis (and wasn’t taken seriously) but it definitely helped bring attention to the seriousness of gluten and celiac disease. As months went on, I started seeing more and more of the products I’d purchase say: “Gluten-Free”, “Certified Gluten-Free” on their labels. This gave me hope.
In May, 2013 when I graduated college, I finally came home to Texas to be with my wonderful husband permanently. So many life changes happened so quickly. Graduation, moving out of Florida, moving to Texas, moving into a house, buying new cars, passing my NCLEX and becoming a nurse and finally getting pregnant. It’s not that we had to try a long time to get pregnant. It’s just that after I did my own research about my disease, I made it my number one goal and priority to be happy and healthy (in my most fit body ever), before we try. I didn’t want to risk the consequences. And I was already a healthy person to begin with. Before I got diagnosed I was already a gym rat and organic snob and nutrition fanatic. So getting diagnosed while I was already a very healthy person was a blessing in disguise. It made me a healthier person. It probably saved me from years being taken off my life.
“Every day, set your mind in the right direction. Find something to be grateful for.” – Joel Osteen
In July 2013, with a year under my belt and gaining almost 10lbs back, (and still working out every day), I felt good. I felt healthy. My anxiety let up, my face cleared up (when I wasn’t in school, that is), and my sleep was 100 times better. These are just a few of the things that improved in my life. Before my diagnosis I was living off 6 cups of coffee a day, Red Bulls and caffeine pills. For some odd reason, I thought that was normal.
So I as glance out my window beside me, I thank the good Lord above for blessing us with this baby in my belly. And for trusting us to be parents. I was so worried about becoming pregnant and we were lucky enough that it happened so quickly. There are so many people out there that don’t realize how much of a blessing it is to be pregnant, be chosen to be a parent and to be blessed with a healthy baby. It’s unfortunate, at times, to watch how some mothers speak and treat their children at places like the grocery store or malls. My words cannot possibly describe my excitement and joy I have inside my heart. I thank God, every single day I wake up, for this beautiful life we have and I am forever and always grateful. I will never let a day go by where I do not thank Him for all He’s blessed us with.
“Sometimes you are delayed where you are because God knows there’s a storm where you’re headed. Be grateful.” – Unknown