A Journey From Hope to Healing
Hashimoto’s disease, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune thyroid disorder in which the immune system mistakes the thyroid gland for a pathogen. The immune system normally reacts when it detects bacteria, toxins, or viruses. But with autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s, the immune system becomes dysregulated and causes an autoimmune reaction, attacking the body’s own glands, organs, and tissues. In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, the body’s immune system launches an attack and seeks to destroy thyroid cells. Damage from that attack makes it hard for the gland to produce enough thyroid hormone. Low thyroid hormone levels can make a woman’s periods irregular, which in turn can make it harder to get pregnant.
Growing up, Chelsea never had regular periods. She always thought this was just because she was a very active teenager and young adult. Menstrual dysfunction can occur when the amount of energy used exceeds the amount of energy taken in through nutrition. Excessive exercise, overtraining, stress, dieting and weight loss can lead to changes in normal hormone levels resulting in menstrual dysfunction. Doctors never seemed to be concerned with Chelsea’s menstrual irregularity at any of her checkups as it was always just attributed to her active lifestyle.
When Chelsea got married in 2015, she and her husband started trying to get pregnant right away. However, they both knew that it might be more difficult to have children because of Chelsea’s menstrual irregularity. They were still hopeful. In 2017, after struggling to get pregnant for almost two years, Chelsea’s doctor finally did some extensive testing. Tests showed that Chelsea had Hashimoto’s disease. Since her thyroid was still somewhat functioning, doctors had missed the diagnosis over the years.
Miraculously, Chelsea and her husband found out that they were expecting later that spring. Because Chelsea had Hashimoto’s disease, she was referred to a specialist for a level-2 ultrasound in July at week 19. She was so excited to see her baby in the ultrasound. Her hope was to announce both the pregnancy and the gender at the same time on social media immediately after the appointment. When the tech began the ultrasound, Chelesea saw a round area on the screen. She asked if what she was seeing was the baby’s head. Her heart sank when the tech told her that it was the chest. She immediately knew what was missing… a beating heart. Chelsea delivered her beautiful, stillborn baby girl at the hospital two days later. They named her Hope.
A year after Hope’s birth, Chelsea still hadn’t gotten pregnant again, so they started searching for more definitive answers. After more testing, Chelsea was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) or Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR). Doctors told her that it was highly unlikely that she would conceive again. However, as she sat in the doctor’s office receiving this devastating news, all she could think of was, “You are not God.” And so, she prayed. Oh, did she pray.
Chelsea also began seeking out alternative therapies and treatments. She started seeing an acupuncturist, changed her diet, and came to Sara’s Garden for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Chelsea knew about HBOT because her sister, who had also been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) due to Lyme Disease, had also come to Sara’s Garden. Just like Chelsea, Taylor had also been told by multiple reproductive specialists that she could never have children. She is now the mother of three, with one on the way! (Read Taylor’s story)
Because Chelsea lived in Florida, she spread out her HBOT treatments at Sara’s Garden throughout the next year. In September of 2019, when Chelsea completed her HBOT treatments, she went to see one last reproductive specialist. Just as before, he told her that she would never have children of her own because of the POF and that it was a miracle she had even gotten pregnant with Hope in the first place. If they wanted to have kids, Chelsea and her husband were told that their only option would be through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) using an egg donor. They declined as they did not feel that it was what God had for them.
Two months later, on November 3rd, 2019, Chelsea held a positive pregnancy test in her hand! She can only attribute that miracle to God. He brought Chelsea healing from the grief of losing her daughter, and He brought her physical healing that allowed her to conceive.
“When I arrived at Sara’s Garden for my first treatment and saw that their mission is “Hope, Help, Healing”, I knew that I was in the right place. I needed healing in more than just my body, and God provided that to me. He used Sara’s Garden, a grief counseling group at my church, my acupuncturist, and the countless prayers of family, friends, and even strangers to bring me healing. It is only because of Him that I was able to give birth to a perfectly healthy, 8 lb. 12 oz., baby boy on July 8 of 2020.”
No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.