This was rather hard for me to write. In fact I had a mini-meltdown with my husband because of this. I didn't realize over these past 11 months how hard I've had to work to not be bitter. 8 years is a long time. I could have gone so far and done so much. True-fully, the only thing that keeps me from bitterness, is knowing that the path I've taken is how I met my husband. I love him. And I'll love being parents with him. I'll love growing old with him. I love him now. So I don't regret - much. But some... yes! Hells yes! 8 years of my life lived in an exhaustion so deep that brushing my teeth was a task that could wear me out? 8 years because NO doctor would LISTEN when I insisted something was wrong? I do resent that. Yes. It does color my thoughts. How could it not?
I read a lot - maybe even an excessive - amount of articles and studies on everything related to pregnancy, birth and all that comes along with baby.
I study and I take notes. I am by no means an "expert" - whatever that is in women's health care. But I am passionately pursuing knowledge.
The short story is... I don't trust doctors. This shocks a lot of people. I have my reasons, however, and those reasons are the long story, they are the why. The what that drives me to know as much as I can of all options I will have, both good and bad, before I even get pregnant.
When I was 18 and in the middle of my first semester of college I went to the doctor with an achy body and excessive tiredness and mild fever. Instead of testing me for things like Mono, the doctor decided after 5 minutes that I had the beginning signs of MS. I was sent to the hospital to get an x-ray of my back.
I would like you to know that I now have photographic evidence that I have no excuse for slouching.
A week later I returned to the doctor's office, I was beginning to have trouble breathing. Turns out I did have Mono. A raging case of it. They gave me steroids and warned me to not attend any classes or work for a week because the steroids would kill my immune system and I would get very sick.
They then scolded me, telling me that if had come in any later that day I would have had to go to the ER and get a tube down my throat to help me breathe because it was swelling shut. Why hadn't I come in sooner?
Being the open-minded person I am, I don't want you to think that that one experience colored my view of doctors.
That would be the next EIGHT years of doctors' visits that did that.
I never recovered from that excessive tiredness. In fact, it just got worse. And worse. And worse. By the time I was 23 I had seen many doctors. None of them could discover anything wrong.
Perhaps because they ALL did the same three tests and nothing more. Thyroid, Anemia, and Mono. Sometimes the Mono would show green. Of course, they would tell me, you are having a relapse.
I knew something else was wrong. I couldn't walk three blocks without being so exhausted I needed to take at least an hours' nap. This wasn't just "relapses" of Mono. This was something else. But all doctors refused to do any other tests. They were unnecessary in their Ph.D'd opinions.
I had always been severely skeptical of Alternative medicine. I even viewed any vitamin other than a multi-vitamin with suspicion. Science is good. Science saves lives.
I hit a breaking point after a doctor, in refusing to do any other tests or blood work (and I had very good insurance) told me that it was obvious from my symptoms that I wasn't sick. I was depressed. I needed mental healthcare.
This was infuriating - as much as I had the energy to be infuriated. I was beginning to learn that I knew my body best. I had good instincts. I could trust myself. I wasn't crazy, there was something wrong with me. It would just 3 more years to fully find out. (and I am not referring to depression when I say crazy, depression is a real, serious, disease. It is a battle I hope to never have to fight.).
I went to my mom, I told her every little detail. I asked her to take me to Oklahoma. I wanted to go see my grandparent's "vitamin guy". A tiny little shop in a tiny little shopping mall called "Mawmaw's and Pawpaws". My grandmother made me an appointment so I could sit down and talk to this guy.
It was wonderful. He listened. He looked at my pupils. He asked a series of questions, the answers to which were everything I had spilled out to my Mom. She was there with me, nodding along.
I had Adrenal Fatigue.
He gave three types of pills, one, that was mainly hops, would help me sleep and quiet my mind (I have insomnia) and then a liquid multi-vitamins (eewww dirty prune juice would taste better) and Adrenal Support.
Within two weeks I felt so much better. I felt human again. It was huge.
Problem is? Adrenal Fatigue isn't recognized by a large percentage of doctors. Heck, when I Googled it after the vitamin guy suggested that was the issue - I was hugely in the realm of there-is-no-way-this-is-going-to-work. But it did.
Two months after this diagnosis (that yes, was denied by doctors). I met the man who was to become my husband. *cue the awwws*
Two months after that we had our first date. He lived in Colorado. I lived in New Mexico. After our second date I knew I'd be moving to Colorado. Two months later I did. (this is relevant, I promise.)
I have to tell you something about my husband. When I met him, there could be weeks at a time in which he could not remember drinking water. Not due to alcohol, he doesn't drink. No, because he would drink up to TWO GALLONS of Diet Pepsi a day. He lived off of gas station cheese pizza, plain cheeseburgers and an occasional Chipolte burrito (steak, cheese, rice).
I have no idea how he didn't end up with scurvy.
In horror, I began to cook him meals (he worked nights so dinner was his breakfast) he likes Italian food and biscuits and cornbread. So I thought, hey! I'll ease him to eating home-cooked and healthier meals. I'll make what he loves and slowly introduce something new.
By the time we became engaged, a year after we began dating, I felt as exhausted as I had before the discovery of Adrenal Fatigue. Nothing was helping. I had to quit my job and rely on my fiance for rent.
Three months later I moved back to New Mexico. I moved in with my parents. We were planning on making our home there anyway, and the wedding was taking place in my parent's backyard. I needed to find a job so that the soon-to-be Hubster could start college. My mom is a SAHM, she did all the cooking and after three months of living there it was wedding time and I felt good. (yay! wedding!)
Two months after our wedding, two months of living with Hubster and cooking for him I was completely done up. He took a full time job even though he was taking 18 credits and I quit. It was miserable.
After resting for a couple of months I felt a little better. Just enough better that when my husband decided on a different school, in a different town, I went and got a job and found us a house there while he finished up his current semester. A month and half later I was struggling. Again, the crushing weight of useless exhaustion was riding my shoulders.
One week before Christmas my Mom was diagnosed with Celiac. We had never heard of it before. She was told it could be hereditary. I started a Gluten-free diet right then and there. It took a few weeks, but I began to see and feel dramatic changes.
I did still end up quitting the job I held. Working 12+ hours a day in a negative environment doesn't exactly speed healing. Now, eleven months later, eleven months healthier, I can't believe how far I've come and how badly off I was. How much I was used to life sucking. It was the norm.
I'm going to end this here for now. This was the light version. The emotions I have tangled up in all of this, is more than I can handle fully writing about now.
But really, there is a very big part of me that wishes I could just go have a baby in the middle of a field at mid night under the stars and not have to involve doctors AT ALL. (this won't happen my husband would have a heart-attack) But I will not be having a baby in a hospital. Only if there are massive complications. I cannot emphasis enough how much Celiac has affected my life or how much doctors refusing, flat out refusing, to test me for more, has colored a lot of my world. People go through much much worse, so I don't mean to complain.
But my husband and myself will be in charge of our children's births. Period.