Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RAI + Pregnancy = ?? (Part 1)

*This post is my opinion, based off the medical advice I was given as well as research/calculations Phil and I did.  I'm not a doctor and definitely think it is best to follow doctor's orders especially when it comes to cancer treatments and making babies.

When we first found out I had thyroid cancer, we had been trying to have a baby for about a year.  We were about to start working with a fertility clinic to figure out why were weren't able to get pregnant and move towards having a baby, but I felt like I really needed to get this pesky neck nodule thing all figured out first.  So for more than just the obvious reason of not wanting cancer, we were really hoping the nodules would come back as benign.

But they didn't.

So we started down the road towards cancer treatments and my doctor told me, clear as day, that there was no way I could get pregnant within a year of having radioactive iodine ablation done.  I'm pretty sure she even said, "I'm not kidding, Natalie.  If you get pregnant, you will have to have an abortion."  It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but I knew it was something I needed to do.

Feeling sad that it wouldn't be until 2014 that we had a baby, we went forward with the RAI but we were kind of curious as to why we had to wait so long to have a baby.  So we did what any normal couple would do and consulted the internet.

Site after site after site said you only needed to wait 6 months post RAI to get pregnant, and even then nobody really knew how radioactive iodine would affect a fetus.  All they knew was that if a fetus was exposed to radioactive iodine when the baby's thyroid was developing, obviously that would be bad.  But that was it.  Phil and I decided we would definitely wait the minimum 6 months, but we would discuss in October how we wanted to move forward.  We knew that the fertility clinic would not work with us until we had a letter from our doctor saying there was a green light for baby-makin'.

During this time, I switched doctors.  And my new endocrinologist echoed the research Phil and I had done saying we only needed to wait 6 months.  That was great news to Phil and I.  It was July when I made that switch and that was already 3 months into the 6 months. October would be here before we knew it!

But because I had no thyroid, my doctor had given me specific instructions that I needed to call him right away when I found out I was pregnant.  I would need to have my thyroid levels checked every 4 weeks for the duration of the pregnancy to make sure the baby and I were getting enough, since you tend to need more thyroid hormones when you are pregnant.  He sent us on our way with the reminder that we couldn't get pregnant until October.

2 months later at the beginning of September, I found out I was pregnant.


I was SO EXCITED and terribly dreading having to call my endocrinologist.  I knew he would not be happy.

And he was not.

I had to leave him a message and he called me back, leaving me a voicemail to call his after hours number.  That's usually not a good sign.

I called him back.  He congratulated me and proceeded to tell me how I really wasn't supposed to get pregnant and he's not sure what exactly that means for the baby because he's never had someone get pregnant before the 6 months were past and then he asked me if I was planning to proceed with the pregnancy.

Of course I was.  But what were the possible side effects of the RAI on my baby?

He didn't know.  But his doubt about whether or not the baby would have any long lasting effects from the RAI freaked Phil and I out.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. . . what a journey. Praying you and the health of your baby. Found you via Casey


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