Lydia’s Story

My Sheehan’s story: Lydia Cottiers Medford, NY 56 years old. I gave birth to my one and only child in 1981. I was 22 years old. My water started leaking in the middle of the night and I went to the hospital. By morning I had not started dialating so I was give Pitocin to induce labor. Somewhere along the way, I don’t remember when, I was given an epidural, I think it was right before I started pushing. Of course I didn’t feel anything and my daughter was born. I knew I had stitches but I didn’t know how many. Nothing was said to me at all about how badly I tore or how many stitches I had. That night, I tried getting out of bed to walk to the nursery because in Lamaze class, that’s what we were told to do. I was able to get out of bed, with great pain and shuffle to the hallway. A nurse stopped me and asked what I was doing out of bed. I told her I was going to walk to the nursery and she said, “oh no, you can’t get out of bed.” That was my first clue anything had gone wrong. I went home, tried to breast feed. Milk never really came in sufficiently. Eventually had to switch to formula because my baby was starving. Doctors said, “some people can’t breastfeed.” 3 months later, was supposed to go back to work. Went to my company doctor to try to get my medical leave extended. He looked at my records and told me I could stay out an additional 6 months because the records indicated a “traumatic birth” and that I was “severely lacerated” and received over 300 stitches. I had an episiotomy plus I tore internally straight through to my rectum. This was never even mentioned to me in the hospital. Cut ahead 3 years. I was 25 and overweight (I had never been overweight before) in spite of constantly dieting and exercising. We decided to try for another baby and I was not able to get pregnant. After about a year started going to doctors to find out why I wasn’t able to get pregnant. My Prolactin was elevated and I was still producing milk from my nipples. I was given Parlodel and had very bad side effects from it. Also another drug to promote ovulation. The side effects were so bad that I would stay on for about 3 months and go off. That’s basically how it went for the next 5 years, never able to get pregnant, getting heavier and heavier and my cholesterol and triglicerides were elevated. At age 30 I started missing my periods, always thinking I was pregnant, I was constantly buying pregnancy kits. Eventually, by age 32 I stopped menstruating all together. Still had elevated Prolactin, still producing breast milk. One doctor told me at age 33 that I was in early menopause. When I disagreed with him he told me “you haven’t menstruated in over a year. That’s the definition of menopause.” After about 10 years of not menstruating, I began taking Dostinex, which I handled much better than Parlodel, and eventually by age 40, I started menstruating again. But I still was never able to get pregnant. By age 55 I started going into menopause and that’s where I am now. I have never actually been diagnosed with Sheehan’s syndrome. The doctors were always doing MRIs looking for a Prolactinoma tumor, which was never detected. One doctor did find Empty Sella and a flattened pituitary gland, which he said was probably a result of the traumatic birth and blood loss. I am now 56, have a 33 year old daughter. I am 75 lbs overweight, have elevated cholesterol and triglicerides. I am not on any medications with the exception of injected growth hormones prescribed by an endocrinologist. Other than that, I’m in pretty good health because I stay away from doctors as much as possible. Recently I was diagnosed with a Rectocile as a result of the botched up stitching job they did at childbirth which is great. I haven’t decided what, if anything, I’m going to do about that. I would love to find an answer to my weight and cholesterol issues. Other than that, I’m OK>

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