My favorite doctor ever is my endocrinologist. She’s actually a physician’s assistant, but to me it’s pretty much the same thing. I think she’s the only doctor I really enjoy talking to and trust unreservedly – and it kind of makes sense, considering I’ve been seeing her for seven years and through two pregnancies. And when you’re pregnant with a thyroid condition, you really get to see your endocrinologist a lot! I am in there every 4-6 weeks through the whole pregnancy, as changing weight and hormones affect the dosage of thyroid hormone I need, so Marie and I have developed a fairly good doctor-patient relationship 🙂 She sees my lab results come in and knows who I am without having to look up the chart to remind herself; I see her and know that I’m going to get my questions answered and my concerns addressed in a friendly, competent way. (I am hoping to eventually find an ob that I trust in the same way!)
Yesterday I went in for my first appointment of this pregnancy with a host of concerns that I thought might be related to my thyroid condition: my increased fatigue (although it’s always difficult to tell how much is first trimester tiredness and how much is thyroid fatigue), my chills, my decreased appetite, and my increased moodiness and depression. They’re all part of the vaguely non-specific cloud of thyroid symptoms that could just as easily be caused by the pregnancy itself, or life stress, or something entirely random. I was hoping they were thyroid-related because then she could just increase my dosage and they would get better! But unfortunately my lab results looked great – they were even solidly within the much tighter range Marie likes to target during pregnancy, and at a place where I knew that I wouldn’t be having thyroid-related symptoms if I were not pregnant (after seven years of monitoring your TSH levels, you start to know where your body feels best, and that’s honestly pretty much where my labs were). Because she is an awesome doctor who considers her patient’s concerns as well as just the lab numbers, however, she did increase my dosage slightly in hopes that it will help; as it will need to increase anyway when I start gaining weight, there isn’t much risk of going too far and triggering hyperthyroidism, which has it’s own issues for me and the baby.
What it means for me practically, though, is that I’m going to have to get intentional about things like exercise, sleep, and spiritual quiet time, since I can’t blame my mood issues (which have always stabilized during pregnancy in the past) on low thyroid hormones. It’s not easy to work those things in when I’m exhausted and down, but it’s going to be important for my physical stamina later in pregnancy as well as my mental well-being now, so I need to come up with a routine and make it habitual. Sigh. It’s hard to get up and do something I don’t really want to do when I don’t even have the energy and willpower to do things I enjoy and want to do, like writing here or reading a good book, both of which have fallen off since the pregnancy hormones started wreaking havoc on me.
Have any of you dealt with this general fog and malaise during pregnancy? How do you cope with it best?