My Battle With Infertility, Miscarriages and Celiac

I remember growing up hearing people say after they ate, “Oh, I feel so sick, I ate way too much.”  I remember thinking that what I was going through was completely normal. I would have never guessed I had a disease that could have been easily treated.

It was usually after Sunday dinners that I would retire upstairs and be sick for the rest of the night.  The stomach pains became so intense, my mom took me in to the doctor to find a resolution. I was prescribed some pills but they didn’t help and I got tired of trying to figure out what was wrong with me, so I just decided to live with it and move on. It wasn’t unbearable, I would just get sick after meals (usually dinner) and everything would go straight through me.  I didn’t realize the danger of retaining any of the nutrients I was eating. It wasn’t until I served a LDS mission that something had to be done.

When Would I Be Able to Fix My Pain?

When someone serves a LDS mission, they don’t have much say in what they eat for meals.  People are nice enough to feed the missionaries, so we would just be grateful for any food we could get.  People would feed us appetizers, main courses and dessert, so there was always plenty of food. Because I was getting so sick after each of these meals, my companion (the girl I was serving with) and I would have to go home after dinner because I was so sick.

Once I heard a speaker relate how sometimes when we go through hard times, it brings us closer to the Savior because we are having a glimpse of what He went through. I emailed my parents about my pain and told them what I felt about coming closer to the Savior.  My dad responded with, “That is nice, but you shouldn’t be going through this pain.” Without my knowledge, he contacted my mission president (a man who is over a certain number of missionaries in a specific area) to let him know something was wrong.

The next day, we had interviews with our mission president to see how the work was moving along.  My companion and I arrived early, but my mission president met with us last. I thought that was kind of strange, but didn’t mind. It was finally my turn and the first question he asked was, “Tell me about your pain, Sister Cannon.” I instantly started crying. How did he know what I was going through? I had no idea my dad had called him. I also was so tired of dealing with the pain that I was so happy to talk to someone about it and do something about it.

After a little chat, he decided to send me to talk to someone to see if it was from depression. It wasn’t, and I felt frustrated because I felt like I was wasting time. I got to call a doctor, but he told me to cut pretty much everything out and slowly introduce them back in, but being on a mission, I couldn’t do that. So, I tried to cut out foods with dairy which helped a little bit. I had a companion that also had some natural remedies that helped.

My Friend Suggested Celiac Disease

When I got home from my mission, I continued excluding dairy but decided to figure out what was causing me to have low energy.  I didn’t mind not eating dairy because as long as I could eat my mom’s homemade bread, I was happy. I was talking to a friend and she mentioned it could be gluten that was making me so sick.  She had a friend that had Celiac Disease which is an autoimmune disease.

When a person with Celiac eats gluten, the protein interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food by damaging a part of the small intestine called villi. Damaged villi make it nearly impossible for the body to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, leading to malnourishment and a host of other problems including some cancers, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, infertility and the onset of other autoimmune diseases.  I thought there was no way that could be a possibility.  No way! Bread was my life, but I had a spiritual impression that she was right.  So I called a GI doctor for an appointment. I went in, got a blood test and it came back inconclusive.  So we set up an appointment for an endoscopy to see what my insides looked like.

I decided when I went in for the endoscopy, it would be great to have Celiac Disease because all of my questions would be answered.  As I slowly woke up after the procedure, there was a nurse wheeling me to the recovery room.  He said, “Yep, you definitely have Celiac Disease.”  Tears came.  I wasn’t even fully awake and I felt like it was a lot to take in. My mom came in and comforted me. It was so good to know, but I knew a lot was going to change.

Finding My Husband and Our First Baby

After coming home from my mission, the transition was hard.  I still don’t know why, because I had a job, a boyfriend, I was going to school and life was great.  But I felt kind of numb. It was a lot of change in a short amount of time. My mom talked to me one day and mentioned that I didn’t seem happy.  I began to cry because I knew it was true.  After talking with a doctor I went on some anti-depressant medication which helped immensely.

I was married to the most wonderful man and we decided we wanted to have a child. We began to try and it took a while to get pregnant which was hard for me. We finally were able to get pregnant and we had our first baby boy in 2015.  He has made us incredibly happy. It was time to try again for our second child, so we began the process in July of 2016. I found out on Christmas day of 2016 that I was pregnant.  It was our best Christmas as a family. We were so happy! It had taken a little bit to get pregnant, so I was beyond excited. I also thought that nothing would go wrong, because once I was pregnant with our first, everything was smooth and nothing went wrong.

Infertility and Miscarriage

On New Year’s Eve, our family went swimming, and while we were there, I found out I was going to have a miscarriage.  I was distraught, and I literally couldn’t stop crying all day.  I thought I would go through something like this. My husband was very comforting and helped me through it.  I also felt so much comfort as I prayed and talked with my Heavenly Father. The gospel of Jesus Christ has always done that for me. I always feel comfort through the Spirit and I know Heavenly Father loves me.

It took 5 weeks for the miscarriage to finalize.  It was hard for me to wait for so long and be reminded every day that I was still losing this baby.  During this time, it helped me understand and gain sympathy for others who have gone through this same thing.  So many people reached out to me letting me know how they dealt with this trial. It showed me what Jesus’ teachings are all about, “mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”

During this time, I decided to go off of my anti-depressants.  They were causing some side effects that were not great and I felt like it was time to stop taking them.  I slowly went off of them with the help of my doctor. It was a challenge at first, but then everything was well.  The side effects went away and I felt much better. Little did I know, God needed me to go off of them for a reason I wasn’t aware of at the time.

After a while, we tried to get pregnant again and we finally succeeded.  While I was pregnant, I had a strong impression that we needed to adopt. I thought this was strange since I was pregnant.  Although, I knew without a doubt that this was what we were supposed to do. I brought it up to my husband and we had many discussions about it.  We prayed and decided it was what we needed to do. So I began to research adoption.

Meanwhile, it was time to go to the doctor to see our growing baby.  I was very hopeful that the baby was healthy and well! I figured I already had a miscarriage, and gone through that trial, so all would be well with this pregnancy.  We went to the doctor for my first appointment at 8.5 weeks and my doctor began the ultrasound. He didn’t say anything for a while and I knew something was wrong. The beautiful, familiar sound of a heartbeat wasn’t there.

I began to cry. My husband, being the optimistic person he is, kept saying everything was going to be ok. I was mad! I knew it wasn’t going to be fine. My doctor said he couldn’t find a heartbeat, but he was hoping for us. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening again. Why was my body not cooperating?

Considering how long my last miscarriage took to end, I decided to have a DNC.  This was great for me, because it was a quick procedure and I wasn’t constantly reminded that my baby wasn’t going to make it.  Since I had gone through this before, I knew what to expect, so it was easier for me to go through. Heavenly Father had a plan for me and that everything was going to work out.

Heavenly Father Sent Answers to My Prayers

I was able to focus all of my attention on getting adoption papers ready at this time.  I learned a ton about adoption and it is not as easy as I thought. I also learned that if you are on anti-depressants, you can’t adopt.  It was interesting to see the promptings I received to go off of my medication so this could all work out. I love seeing how the Lord blesses our lives without us knowing it.

At this time, we had a new neighbor move in down the street.  Since I was in the Relief Society Presidency (women’s organization in our church), we would go visit the new people who moved in our neighborhood.  It just so happened that no one could go with me when our new neighbor was available, so I went alone.

The visit went great, and while I was there, she told me about her children.  She said there was a bigger age gap between her first 2 and her last 2 kids. I asked if she liked the gap, and she said she had 2 miscarriages between her 2nd and 3rd child. She said she had no idea why until her friend told her that it was probably because she wasn’t producing enough progesterone.  The same thing had happened to her friend. Once she began to take progesterone supplements, she was able to stay pregnant and she had 2 more kids. I was amazed to see how Heavenly Father orchestrated this visit, so that I was able to openly talk with someone I had never met before. She was able to tell me about her life which could potentially solve one of my biggest worries.  I was once again blessed to see Heavenly Father’s love for me.

I left her house and I felt strongly that this was something I needed to try. So, after a couple of months, I got pregnant and talked with my doctor who gave me progesterone. I took it the second I got pregnant and was supposed to take it up to 15 weeks. I went in to my first doctor’s appointment and the baby was great!  The progesterone had worked! I was excited, but still a little nervous since I had also had 2 miscarriages before. Luckily, the good news continued, and the baby continued to grow and it has been a healthy, great pregnancy. I have 8 weeks left until this sweet miracle baby is born. And I have seen Heavenly Father’s hand in my life every step of the way.

The adoption process continues and we will hopefully be able to have a baby in a year or so.  We have seen so many tender mercies through this process and we know that Heavenly Father is involved in our process of growing our family.  Through all of these experiences, my knowledge that I am a child of God has grown stronger and stronger, and I am so grateful for that.