Faith & Fertility {My Story with Graves Disease}

The story begins in May 2009. I found out I had Grave’s disease. Generally not a life-threatening illness but it does have crappy symptoms and also makes getting pregnant more difficult. The specialist was recommending I take radioactive iodine to zap my thyroid and stop it from overacting. 
Two things though –  one, the treatment would make me radioactive so I couldn’t be around kids for a while and couldn’t try to conceive for a good year at least. Two, we had been trying to conceive for a while already. This was some weighty news  – I told the specialist I would have to think about it, to his dismay I should add. 
Just Married! Now lets make some babies!
When God REALLY Answers Your Questions
When I got back from the trip to see the endocrinologist my husband and I were having lots of talks about how to proceed. I really didn’t want to do the radioactive iodine.
When I got back to work my friend and co-worker cornered me in the photocopy room and said “Shawna! I have to tell you something great! God has given me a message for you, He said your thyroid will be healed and you will have healthy beautiful babies and you won’t need medical intervention”. This friend had no idea about my diagnosis or my recent visit to the doctor. So, me, sobbing against the paper shredder knew what I would decide.  I wouldn’t seek the radioactive therapy 

Crash Course in Faith 101
How do you believe this news? How do you believe the messenger? How do you believe something when test results say another? How do you explain to your non-Christian husband that you are opting out of treatment cause ‘God will heal you’?

I would love to drop the ‘you just do’ bomb, but really – you don’t. You should, but I didn’t. It took conversations with wonderful women, letters to God, prayers, questions, pouring my uncertainty out to him, and then eventually I found myself claiming this out loud in my own voice, claiming it as truth. There is power in our words.

OK God, Whenever You Are Ready I’m Ready

Of course, when God promises you healing, he doesn’t do all the work for you. I had to do my part – which came in the form of dealing with personal issues and seeing a Christian counselor for hurts and pains I had never faced before. It was terrifying, eye-opening, life-changing, brutal, painful, and ultimately healing and freeing.  I know it is a path I am still on and let’s just say Isaiah 54 is my jam!

I also believe a huge part is not only emotional healing but taking responsibility for your body. Changing your lifestyle, diet, providing your body the nutrition it needs. This plays a role too, a role we are responsible to take. 

Then Why Am I Not Pregnant Yet?

Yet, I still wasn’t getting pregnant. So many questions went through my mind. Should I go on natural supplements for my thyroid? Am I doing all I can do on my end? Maybe God means for us to have children through adoption? What does HIS plan look like? What does HIS timeline look like?


The day I found out I was pregnant!
Then one night a friend told me she was pregnant. I cracked, cried, wrote a sad song about wanting a baby. I felt like I would be waiting forever for this baby.  Meanwhile, my husband and I made the decision to move from our great community and jobs and two weeks later I found out I was pregnant – that was the following June.  
My thyroid levels had reduced to a normal level and I got knocked up! Yay! The only treatment I followed during pregnancy was a regime from my naturopath (who, by the way, discovered the Grave’s disease within the first 30 minutes of the first appt!) and three weeks of thyroid hormone reducer to protect the fetus at the end of the pregnancy.
Levi was born in February. A healthy beautiful boy who lights up a room, giggles when he sneezes and smiles at everyone. 
The day we met Levi
Right before I delivered Levi my thyroid switched from hyper to hypo (which is apparently common in pregnancy).   Yet, I found myself pregnant again 7 months later.  And then again a couple years after that. Three kids in three and a half years. 

Am I Healed?
You may think that because my thyroid has flipped that I am not or won’t be healed. Yet, I believe healing doesn’t happen on our timeline, on our terms, or by our definition – I am taking a hormone pill every day to keep it ‘normal’ – maybe that is my healing, time will tell. But one thing is true forever, God keeps His promises, and we have to take ownership of our role and let God carry it out in His way and in His time.


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