Lifestyle Magazine

My Journey with Graves’ Disease: {Part 2} Postpartum & Year 1

By Sassysweetstyle @ChaniaB


In My Journey with Graves’ Disease {Part 1}, I discussed what it was like to be diagnosed with Graves’ Disease while pregnant & my daughter’s birth.

In Part 2 of the series, I will be discussing life postpartum & what it was like getting adjusted to a chronic illness while caring for an infant full-time.

I am not sure if it was the pure joy of being a mother for the first time or if a huge stress was lifted off of my body, but within days of giving birth, I felt like my old self again.  Even though I was overweight, pudgy, sore & sleep-deprived, I had my old energy & mental clarity back after 9 long months.  I was still taking my PTU, but it was a significantly decreased amount from where I started.

Even though I was feeling better, we had to watch my daughter like a hawk.  Since the Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins {TSI} antibodies are unique & cross the placenta, unlike the majority of the antibodies in its’ class, my daughter’s thyroid levels were off the charts.  We were instructed by her Pediatric Endocrinologist  to monitor her heart rate, her bowel habits for diarrhea, vomiting, irritability, goiter, poor weight gain & bulging eyes.  I had to take her to have thyroid panels drawn weekly.  While these were all symptoms that I could handle, especially since she was 9 lb. 4 oz., I was NOT prepared for the consequences of her being hyperthyroid.  Our Pediatric Endocrinologist informed us that we were looking at premature closing of the bones in the skull {which would result in brain surgery}, mental retardation, hyperactivity & slowed growth.  SHELL SHOCKED.  Where was this information when I was pregnant? I scoured the internet daily when I was pregnant looking for any & all information to mentally & emotionally prepare myself for what lay ahead of us & none of that information ever surfaced.

I did what any parent would do.  Asked as many questions as I could to know our treatment plan.  The Pediatric Endocrinologist said that K would have weekly thyroid panels drawn & if she was experiencing a single symptom, she would be treated with thyroid medication until her thyroid was under control & eventually would be weaned off just like an adult would be.  For the next 3 weeks our routine went like this:

  • Blood panels drawn.
  • 2 days later we would get a personal phone call from the Pediatric Endocrinologist {even on Saturdays} for a status check.
  • Report that K wasn’t experiencing any symptoms.
  • Answering multiple questions  from the bewildered Pediatric Endocrinologist & urging to call with symptoms.
  • No treatment ordered.
  • Repeat.

After 3 weeks, prayers were answered & we finally received a normal thyroid panel.  While we still had to always have in the back of our minds that her thyroid could be misbehaving, she was in the words of her pediatrician “a perfectly healthy, thriving newborn”. **HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.**

While my daughter was now healthy, I was not.  Before pregnancy, I was 5’2″ & fluctuated between 115-120 lbs.  If I ever felt myself not looking the way I wanted, I would just cut back on eating out & try better portion control because I hate exercise.  At delivery, I was 187 lbs. & very uncomfortable.


I didn’t eat everything in sight simply because I was pregnant.  I had ZERO energy during my entire pregnancy & was in bed most of the time & had the threat of a premature/failure to thrive infant. During my pregnancy I planned on breastfeeding until I was told that my thyroid medication would cross into my breast milk.  Since I wanted my child to be completely free of medication once she was born, {unless it was absolutely necessary} I opted not to breastfeed.  This left me to lose 65 lb. of baby weight all on my own.

I initially just tried to watch what I ate without any exercise because A. you’re not supposed to for 6 weeks & B. I wanted to spend every minute I could with my daughter. SLOWLY the weight started to come off. One of the few diseases where weight loss is a symptom & I couldn’t even enjoy the perk! You don’t know how many times I was tempted to to go off my thyroid medication, but didn’t, because I knew I had to be healthy for my daughter.

2 Months Post-Baby


4 Months Post-Baby


As you can imagine, not used to being that heavy, the only reason I even had these pictures were because they were documenting life events & I HAD to be in them. At this point, it was no longer acceptable for me to be wearing maternity clothes so I had to go clothes shopping. I didn’t want to go. I tried everything I could to try & squeeze into what was in my closet & nothing fit.  I headed to TJ Maxx to try & find some cheap, temporary clothes & had no idea what size to start with.  I had always worn JR sizes, so I started there but went up a few sizes.  Delusional me.  I couldn’t even get a size 13 past my calves.  So I begrudgingly headed to the women’s department.  I grabbed 6′s & 8′s to start & burst into tears in the dressing room when I couldn’t even button an 8.  I had become a size 10 & didn’t know when or if I would ever be back to my normal size.

About 6 months in, I had reached the dreaded weight loss plateau.  I had about 20 lb. left to lose & a ton of inches so I became determined.  I had a closet full of clothes that I refused to get rid of.  I began a strict 1200 calorie a day diet & ordered an elliptical that I used for 30 minutes a day 3 to 4 times a week.  I didn’t adopt a crazy gym routine because I couldn’t.  My husband works 13 hour days & after taking care of an infant all day by myself there wasn’t any energy left for working out, not to mention working out at 10 pm as a woman by yourself isn’t exactly the safest thing to do either.  Slowly but surely, I broke through the plateau & by October, 10 months postpartum, I was finally back to my pre-baby weight.  While my rib cage was expanded & my arms were meatier, I could finally wear my old clothes again!

10 Month Post-Baby


1 Year Post-Baby


At this point, I was also able to be completely taken off my thyroid medication & was told I was in remission. PRAISE THE LORD! It’s beyond amazing what your body can do in a year.  I was going to be able to start 2012 with a brand new bill of health, or so I thought.

In part 3 of the series, I will be discussing how my health changed again & my decision to have radiation therapy.

Do you or know someone who struggles with Graves’ Disease?

sparklesignature My Journey with Graves’ Disease: {Part 1} Diagnosis During Pregnancy

My Journey with Graves’ Disease: {Part 2} Postpartum & Year 1

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Paperblog Hot Topics