“You are the closest I will ever come to magic.”
― Suzanne Finnamore
When I went to the GP for the first time after I found out I’m pregnant, she did some blood tests. The results showed that I might have a problem with my thyroid. So she referred me to an Endocrinologist, who ordered another round of complete blood work. They took so many blood samples, when they were done and they placed all the tubes with my blood on a holder, it looked like a Ferris wheel! I went to see the Endocrinologist on Tuesday to get the results.
She walked me through it and she was clear about the diagnosis: I have Graves’ Disease.
Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid gland resulting in an overproduction of the thyroid hormone, leading to Hyperthyroidism. If left untreated during pregnancy, among other complications, it can lead to miscarriage and heart failure for the mother, and premature birth or still birth of the baby. The problem with Graves’ Disease is that its symptoms can overlap with those of a pregnancy, or it might just seem like Hyperthyroidism. Luckily for me, my doctor caught it and has started me on a course of medication and regular blood tests to monitor the situation. You can read more on Graves’ Disease and its symptoms here. If you think you have any of the symptoms of Graves’ disease, speak to your doctor about doing a thyroid test.
When you are pregnant, the first thing that hits you is an overwhelming sense of love for another life, you want to do everything you can to protect that tiny being growing inside you. You realise how much you don’t know. You also realise that there is so much you cannot control, that letting go of those things doesn’t come easy. You swing between helplessness and hope that things will be fine. But the only thing you can do is stop worrying about all the things that can go wrong. Because when you hold onto those worries about what might happen, you miss enjoying the beauty of the present moment.
I had an appointment with my GP. I lay on the examination table and felt the cold ultrasound gel spread over my tummy. K stood beside me, poised with his mobile, to record the first sounds of our baby. As the doctor moved the fetal Doppler over my stomach, I silently coaxed my baby to announce its presence. We waited as the GP moved the device over my tummy, searching for the elusive heartbeat. Moments passed. We heard nothing. I felt the panic rising within. And then, there it was, the most strange and yet, wonderful sound I have ever heard, of a tiny heart beating, pumping rapidly, pulsing at its own rhythm.
I have heard heartbeats before, mine and others. But now, there was another attached to mine, and it sounded beautiful and mysterious, like a whale song. In that moment, everything else faded away. Everything else was insignificant. It didn’t matter that there could be complications because of my thyroid, that we needed to move house right in-between my pregnancy, that the icy pavements in Oslo were melting too slow for my comfort. I had heard my baby’s heartbeat. All I wanted to do was keep listening to that sound and cry with joy that, for the very first time, my baby had just said hello.