When my son turned 4 months old, life was getting exciting. He was starting to roll over, only waking up once at night and we were going to start introducing solid foods. He was and is my entire world. Our day to day life was busy with tummy time, nursing sessions, naps, Hey Bear and snuggles. Life was good for our baby boy.
I on the other hand started having some odd and random symptoms. When I first started nursing, I lost weight instantly. My mom said I looked skinny. I mean I lost 5 lbs in the first trimester, and gained 13 lbs until I gave birth. So in actuality I only gained 8 lbs since my pre pregnancy weight. Plus, my baby only weighed 7 lbs 11 oz when he was born. When I first weighed myself after birth, I lost 17 lbs.
On Mother’s Day, which was about 4 months postpartum; I started feeling symptoms. It got up to 75° – 80° that day. I was visiting my parents and we had all the windows on the porch open and I was freezing. I was in leggings, slippers, t-shirt, sweatshirt and I was still cold. I had legit chills almost like I was running a high fever. I checked my temp and was only at 99°. I had this symptom occasionally for the next two weeks.
Within a few days of Mother’s Day, I started feeling fatigue, nausea, leg cramps and a low milk supply. I decided to weigh myself around this time, as I occasionally did every few weeks and to my surprise, I gained 10 lbs in 3 weeks. What was going on? I was doing nothing different.
In mid May, I started having some major cramps. These cramps were just like contractions. The pain sometimes had me doubled over, and radiated from my pelvis to my spine. I was so confused. I knew this wasn’t normal. I took Tylenol to help relieve some of the pain and eventually it went away.
One night I woke up to these pains, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I was doubled over and crying. I was feeling chills again like I had a fever, but my temp was only around 99°. As the pain came in waves, I fought the urge to throw up.
I eventually decided to call my friend Alli and ask her advice. She thought it was possible I was starting my first period after birth or I had a kidney infection. I also called the on call nurse number to get some advice. The nurse on call also thought I had a kidney infection and needed to be seen. She suggested I either go to the ER in the middle of the night or call my OB first thing in the morning and ask to be seen. I picked the latter, snuggled my baby and tried to rest.
The following morning, I went to my parents house so they could watch my baby. I called my OB office and they were able to get me in. I had a pelvic exam/swab done, a pregnancy test and a pelvic ultrasound. Everything came back normal and the pregnancy test was negative. I was thankful they didn’t find anything seriously concerning on the ultrasound, but still frustrated as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling.
About a week later, I had my physical with my primary care doctor. My doctor did the basic exam, and listened as I shared my concerns about my strange symptoms I had been experiencing. She ordered a CBC , as well as spinal X-rays to see if what I was feeling could be related to my spine. After the appointment I got my blood drawn and waited for the results.
About a day later, I had some very shocking results. My thyroid numbers were off the charts. It was reading as very under active and affecting my quality of life. My doctor touched base with me after receiving the results and said I should be put on thyroid meds right away, to help my thyroid to work properly in hopes that I started feeling better.
After receiving these results, I did a little research on my own. I discovered something called Postpartum Thyroiditis, which sounded vastly similar to what I was going through. Basically, your thyroid is over active shortly after birth and within a few months postpartum it flips and becomes under active. This made a lot of sense. My thyroid seemed over active in the beginning of my postpartum journey because I was hungry all the time and lost weight. Around 4 months postpartum it became under active because I started gaining weight, experiencing major fatigue, muscle cramps, and my body was unable to regulate temperature.
This was all so fascinating to me because I seemed to have thyroid problems that were only related to pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I didn’t know I had thyroid problems. With my second pregnancy, I was on thyroid meds until I had my loss. For my third pregnancy, I was only on thyroid meds for the third trimester.
Thankfully, I am now 8 months postpartum on thyroid meds and doing well. My weight has stabilized, my milk supply is normal, no more muscle cramps, and I am only occasionally cold. Postpartum Thyroiditis is something I had never heard of before, but it is somewhat common to have thyroid issues after birth as your body adjusts to not being pregnant anymore. Who knew?