Shannon starts off The Gluten Free Health Challenge with the post that resonated with so many readers. She entered the contest to become part of this challenge, and was chosen as one of three winners. The following is what she shared with us all.
Shannon will be posting her journal entries on the first 3 Saturdays of every month from now until December. During this time, she'll be receiving free health coaching from Georgianna Dolan-Reilly of Celtic Celiac and Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel.
I came across your blog this afternoon
while googling GF and Celiac. I saw the challenge and thought, what a
great way to begin this journey. Here's my story:
husband and I will be married four years this July. In October 2010, I
found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon. Several weeks later, I
miscarried on December 1, 2010. I thought my world had ended. There
couldn't possibly be any pain worse than this.
continued our journey to become parents. After my miscarriage and
D&C, I hadn't gotten my period. My OB/GYN gave me medicine to
jump-start it. I would get my period, then it wouldn't come back.
Finally, after several months of this, he also had me take Clomid to
help me get pregnant and it worked! My cycles were so irregular that I
had no idea when I was ovulating. We were so excited, yet terrified of
another miscarriage. I felt like I held my breath until the end of the
first trimester. Then, the day before Thanksgiving, I had my level 2
scan to make sure the baby was healthy. It was then that the tech
discovered that he did not have a diaphragm on his left side.
December 6, 2011, I went for my first appointment at Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia. We were there thirteen hours, and learned
about a possibly fatal birth defect that neither of us had heard of
before. My son had a left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia. He had a
50/50 chance of survival.
I was told to stay pregnant
and enjoy it. On April 6, 2012 at 9:07pm, I delivered a 9 pound 2 ounce,
21 1/2 inch baby boy, who we named Michael Thomas. Michael did not cry
upon being born; he wasn't able to. His intestines, stomach, and part of
his liver were all in his chest cavity due to the lack of diaphragm. He
was rushed to the NICU and I was brought down and hour or so later. I
knew it wasn't good because they brought me down right after my
At 4:03am, Michael left us to be with the angels in heaven.
I thought my miscarriage the previous year was the end of the world, I
was wrong. No pain can ever compare to that of losing a child.
months after losing Michael, my husband and I began to see a fertility
specialist since my menstrual cycle was never normal and we needed
someone to help us. I have taken fertility medications in pill form and
I've spent days injecting myself with hormones. Finally, after eight
months, on January 1, 2013, I had a positive pregnancy test. I was under
close supervision with my specialist, but despite the baby having a
strong heartbeat, my hormone levels kept dropping, and on February 6,
2013, I had another miscarriage. Sadly, it was nowhere as emotionally
painful as the first or losing my son.
At that point, I
began to become more vigilant with what I are and my exercise routines.
I lost about ten pounds in a two month period, and the day before what
would have been Michael's first birthday, I had a positive pregnancy
test. I thought it to be a blessing from God and my angel baby.
to being under constant supervision with the doctor, but to no avail.
About two weeks later, I miscarried again. It was at this point my
doctor sent me for a full genetics panel of blood. Eighteen vials later
we were hoping to get some results. This week I received a call from
them that in my bloodwork, the markers for Celiac were very high. I saw a
GI doctor yesterday, and upon reviewing my blood, he confirmed that
they were, indeed, quite high. He is performing an endoscopy on Monday
to confirm that I do have Celiac.
What I didn't know
what that there is a strong connection between Celiac and
miscarriage/infertility. Apparently even though I had never been
physically ill or had outward signs of a gluten issue, my intestines
were so damaged that my body couldn't absorb the nutrients and pass them
along to my fetus, hence the losses. So I am changing my diet not only
because I have to - and in the end, will feel much better and healthier -
I am doing it for the chance to be allowed to have a strong, healthy
child that I will get to hold in my arms more than once. A child that
cries and keeps me up all night. A child that I will have to wash
crayons off of the wall. A child who will need a cheering section at
their first little league/pop warner/cheerleading/dance event. A child
that will come home after his/her first date and be embarrassed to tell
me how the date went, but by looking at their face, I will know they had
experienced their first kiss. A child who will attend a prom. A child
who I will help plan and escort down the aisle at their wedding. A child
that will make me a grandmother. A child that will have to bury his/her
parents, and not a parent that has to bury my child again.
that's my story. No more, no less. Whether I am chosen for this
challenge, I will be making a lifestyle change to hopefully fix all of
this and be able to have all that I want and deserve.
Have a lovely day,