Getting Healthy After Baby & Nursing

I’m excited to say that we are officially weaned! Lila has moved on from nursing for about a week and a half, and I can feel myself starting to go back to normal. I was sort of expecting to have some sadness around the end of nursing, but if I’m being honest, I mostly just felt relieved!

We have started talking about #2, but I told Luke that I want to make sure I am 100% healthy and ready to be pregnant again before we go there. I’d hate to think that baby #2 wouldn’t get the same healthy environment to grow in because #1 stripped me of all the good stuff!

So in an effort to understand exactly what was going on with my health, I recently went to see a Naturopath. I’m not a big fan of medicating, so the holistic, get-to-the-root of the problem approach of a naturopath appealed to me. I’m seeing Dr. Tara Finley here in Reno, and she’s awesome. I knew we’d click immediately when she told me she believed in a Paleo, Weston A Price, GAPS approach to nutrition – pretty much how we’ve been eating for five years.

With Dr. Finley’s help, we ran a series of tests:

  1. Nutrition profile: this looks at all my levels of vitamins and minerals to see what I may be deficient in
  2. Hormone profile: to see how my thyroid, estrogen and progesterone are all working
  3. Food sensitivity test: this shows how my blood reacts to 100+ different foods
  4. Cortisol test: using a saliva sample four times in one day this test showed how my cortisol levels were registering

It was somewhat expensive to get all these tests run, but …. wow …. the things I learned about my body were crazy.

First, I learned that I had a Candida overgrowth that was causing nasty headaches, exhaustion, crazy sugar cravings and a psoriasis outbreak (first time ever).  I registered at extremely allergic to yeast on the food sensitivity test and through some online research was able to put together that the antibiotics from my sinus surgery, coupled with the cortisol shot my ENT gave me resulted in the yeast in my gut to grow out of control. I immediately started treated that with a yeast killing protocol, diet and lots of good probiotics.

Second, I learned that my cortisol levels were off. I was starting the day with lower cortisol than I should (hence why I had trouble getting out of bed) and ending the day with elevated levels (hello insomnia!). Thankfully, this is a somewhat easy fix with special supplements morning and night for three months to get things back on track.

Third, I learned that I have a sensitivity to all dairy and eggs. I didn’t register as “allergic” to any of it, but elevated across the board. I am doing a 6 week no dairy/egg diet to allow my gut to heal. Then I will reintroduce the foods one by one to see how I feel. I am going to start with butter, because cooking with ghee is not cutting it!

Fourth, and probably most important, I learned that I have a gene mutation called MTHFR. I am heterozygous for a1298c and c677t. It’s super complicated, but basically my body is unable to methylate properly. Methylation is the process of converting key nutrients and minerals into their active form that your cells can use. So basically I have all these good nutrients floating around in my blood, but my cells are unable to process them so they can be put to work.

We figured out I had MTHFR after I showed up as deficient in B12 … despite eating a ton of meat. I was also deficient in folate, B6 and vitamin D. Dr. Finley suggested I get the MTHFR bloodwork done to confirm. I’m so glad I did and know for sure I have it because MTHFR can cause a lot of scary things like miscarriages, infertility, down syndrome, autism, depression, spina-bifida, irritable bowel syndrome, stroke, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome and more.

Apparently 40-60% of the population has an MTFHR mutation and don’t know it. If you have any issues listed in this link, get tested! It was easy bloodwork covered by my insurance.

Thankfully it appears somewhat easy to treat. I have to supplement with already methylated forms of folate and B12. I also have to avoid toxins (MTHFR makes is harder to release toxins) and try to sweat them out often through baths or saunas. I’m sure there’s SO much more I could be doing to help it, but we’re still just trying to figure it all out.

Any way, I know it sounds all doom and gloom like “ahhh look at all these things wrong with me!” But in reality, the tests also showed that I am very healthy all around and now that I can pinpoint and treat my issues, I’ll be able to feel confident going down the pregnancy rabbit hole again …. when we’re ready!

It’s been a really neat process to get a complete view of my health. After having a baby and nursing, it can feel like the life was literally sucked out of you. It was reassuring and eye-opening to learn exactly what is going on with my body. I feel like I’m on the road to feeling great.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 1.25.34 PM

4 thoughts on “Getting Healthy After Baby & Nursing

  1. Thanks Katie! I had heard the same thing about food sensitivity tests – that they can be unreliable. I read though that doing an exclusion diet for 6 weeks and then reintroducing and monitoring your reaction can be a good indicator. That’s what my Naturopath suggested too, so I decided to give it a go. I’m really hoping I don’t have a true dairy/egg reaction because I love those foods! Thanks again for your comment.

  2. Hey Liz! Read your blog from time to time. Anyway, I wanted to weigh in on something… I’m all for NDs and the holistic approach. Better to heal the body than to medicate the symptom…but be wary of food sensitivity testing. From what I understand, they are very unreliable.

    Here’s a decent article from Julie deardorff that might provide a little insight before you change your diet to exclude yeast and many other items per your ND’s recommendation: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-11/health/ct-met-food-intolerance-tests-20120411_1_food-intolerance-food-sensitivities-food-additives

    Either way, good luck on your path towards feeling well!

  3. Carissa how are you feeling? You at least have a leg up on most since you pay attention to your diet etc. I hope this pregnancy goes smoothly for you!

  4. Good for you!

    Let me just tell you, starting #2 at a physical and possible mental deficit is no bueno. I weaned Berkeley when I found out I was pregnant, so we nursed for 37 months. That’s a long time and I’m sure I’m paying the price physically for nursing her without addressing my own issues.

    This time, I’ll be wiser. Hopefully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>