When I learned that I was pregnant a couple of months ago, I also found out that I was anemic. It's not a good thing when the person running your blood to check your hemoglobin levels says, "OH!", when the number comes up. I knew nothing about anemia except that it was bad. I thought that maybe I should cook more of my food in a cast iron skillet to add iron to my diet. What I didn't realize when she made her exclamation was that I had been anemic for a very long time, most likely years, other recently discovered health issues indicate, and that it was so low that it would be six to eight weeks of taking iron supplements and adding high iron foods to every meal before I would feel a change.
The miscarriage only made things worse. I miscarried for twelve days beyond the point when I had assumed that I had miscarried and told my family and friends that I had. Almost two weeks beyond the follow up appointment with my doctor to discuss it. It was an emotional and physical roller coaster, to say the least, waiting to see if I was still pregnant. Blood tests continued to show high hCG levels and low iron, but ultrasound showed that a miscarriage was most likely imminent.
Needless to say, after all that, I wasn't feeling any better. I guessed that I hadn't been able to improve my iron levels one bit. The symptoms of anemia? Fatigue, irritability, mood swings, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, restless leg syndrome, headaches, and the list goes on. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Me. Most of them. For years. I truly thought I was just getting old.
I would fall asleep if I was riding in a vehicle anywhere near 3 in the afternoon, and avoided driving at that time of day. I don't take naps at home, but my husband always teased me when he would see my head lolling around next to him as I rode in the passenger seat. "Yup! It's 3:00. Ingrid's sleepy time." I felt so old. I could drive all night to get us to Florida if I started out from home, but I would never be able to drive for long periods of time in the middle of the day. Add to this afternoon fatigue, nightly insomnia. I was just miserable. So unproductive, even thought I still kept trying to bulldoze through life.
My symptoms caused a lot of guilt. I just wanted to be better, so a lot of times I overdid it. I'd stay up all night to get a project done, rather than letting it go or pacing myself. That, of course, only compounded my symptoms. It never occurred to me that I was deficient in anything. I'm serious with my herb and mineral supplements. Green tea. Coconut oil. Spirulina. ACV. All the things that were supposed to give me energy, keep my immune system running at top speed, and keep cancers and heart disease away. I hadn't had my blood checked for over a decade. Such a simple fix.
Doing the GAPS diet and avoiding grains earlier this year didn't help, I'm sure. Now I enjoy all the grains, and just avoid white sugar and flour. I'm not very good at staying away from them completely, but I'm doing pretty good. I eat like I'm still pregnant and keep taking my prenatal vitamins along with my iron, as directed. I plan to be pregnant again as soon as my body will allow it, so these things are so necessary. I don't avoid any one food, and after years of omitting this or that it's wonderful. I've even started having that one cup of caffeinated coffee every day that nutritionists say is allowed, even though I quit caffeine years ago. That really helps take the edge off the sleepiness so I can get up very early and still be able to crash around ten at night.
But I really started feeling better last week. I sleep like a baby every single night, now, and straight through. I don't know what iron pills have to do with a sound sleep, but I'm getting it and it's fabulous. I finally have the energy that I've been craving and hardly anything can shake my good moods. I still get a little sad and angry about not being pregnant, but only for moments. The general good feeling is really nice and it's new and I'm only looking forward to feeling better. "I want to yell it from the rooftop..." I feel so good that I keep wondering if I should make an appointment to see if my iron levels are better. I'm really curious to know.