While my bank account is never happy on Amazon Prime Day, I am truly thankful for one purchase I made in 2017. I bought a 23andMe kit for the sole purpose of wanting to find out more about my ancestry. When I spoke with a friend about the saliva kit, she decided to purchase it as well because she wanted to find out if she had MTHFR. That 5 letter word had popped up a lot on social media. All I really knew about it was it’s link to miscarriages and tongue ties because that is what I kept seeing.
Six weeks after sending my saliva off, my results came back on my ancestry, which was fun to see but not that surprising. I was actually more interested in finding out if I had the MTHFR gene mutation so I researched how to process my raw data, did it and anxiously waited. And then…I found out I had MTHFR and the worst kind you could have. At first, I was really really upset. In fact, I cried because we were trying to get pregnant at the time and I feared miscarriages. But then, I started researching everything I could about this gene mutation and it was MIND BLOWING. Like lightbulb moment for me.
Our bodies need methylation, which is an important process that enables us to stay healthy. Those of us with a MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form. Both are forms of vitamin B9, required for numerous critical bodily functions. When the process of methylation is interrupted by the gene mutation, over-methylation or under-methylation can occur and many conditions can arise.
I have the C677T gene mutation and am homozygous which means both of my parents are carriers for the gene mutation. As many of you know, my Mom passed away of a non-smokers Lung Cancer. When doing my research, I found that lung cancer can be traced back to this gene mutation. WOW. She also had two miscarriages one of which was a twin loss and as it is widely known, miscarriages are a very common cause of this gene mutation. Like I said, finding out that I had MTHFR shed light on so many things.
Here are some of the conditions that can come from the gene mutation that I have or have had in my life:
-PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
-Chronic Nerve Pain
-Tachycardia (rapid heart beat)
And to think it took me 32 years to get tested for this genetic mutation. And honestly, had the 23andMe test not been $100 off on Prime Day, I probably wouldn’t have bought the kit. I would have never known all that I know now. Pretty crazy, right?!
Because MTHFR is genetic, there is a chance that Ollie might have it too. As a MTHFR-aware person, of course I had heard of tongue-ties. I am even in a FB group titled: Tongue Ties, Autism, MTHFR – what’s the connection? I never thought Ollie might have one though. Because you see, he was not the typical tongue tie case. He did not have difficulty latching. In fact, he latched on almost immediately after birth. He was gaining weight – in fact, he was climbing the growth chart at a solid rate, going from the 30th percentile to the 70th percentile in 5 weeks. In the back of my mind, those were the “tell tale signs” of tongue ties: difficulty latching and Poor weight gain. What I didn’t realize was, there are plenty of other symptoms which he did have: gas, gumming/chewing nipples, making clicking sounds while sucking, milk spilling out after feedings. There were also symptoms that I was having: discomfort while nursing, sleep deprivation and cracked nipples.
I am so thankful that one of my sweet mama friends asked me if I had him checked for ties after I was telling her some of the issues WE were having. I had a lactation consultant come to assess us (shoutout to Jenny Busbey of Lactation Room). She felt in Ollie’s mouth and said he had a strong tongue tie. She then watched us breastfeed and here is what she noted: he doesn’t latch. Because of my oversupply (which in this case is a blessing), milk basically pours into his mouth like a hose. This is why he was gaining weight so well but also why my nipples were so sore because he wasn’t in fact latching properly. In just 6 minutes (yes, this is a typical length feeding for us), Ollie drank 3oz of milk. After the feeding, milk came pouring back out of his mouth because he was taking in so much so quickly and couldn’t properly swallow because of his tongue not functioning properly. She said this is all common with tongue ties and felt that after the revision, I would definitely see an improvement with everything.
On Wednesday June 20th we saw an ENT to have Ollie’s tongue tie revised. While the procedure was super quick, it was the most heartbreaking thing to be in the room. Hearing him scream like that made my Mama heart hurt so badly. But…almost 4 weeks later, I can see a huge difference and know that in the long run, that day of pain was well worth it! He is latching so much better (almost pain free for me), spitting up way less, isn’t as gassy and fussy, his tongue is actually moving (he is making so many noises so I can now see it) and our sleep has improved (but of course Mama is hopeful for longer stretches eventually). I am so thankful that we had his tongue tie assessed and revised. I have a little mama guilt that it took 5 weeks to diagnose Ollie’s tongue tie and another week after to have it corrected. But I am grateful that he is thriving.
So friends, even if the 23andMe kit isn’t on sale today on Prime Day, I am writing this post to share what a blessing that purchase was one year ago. MTHFR is more common than we think – some estimate that as many as 40% of people have a MTHFR mutation. Unfortunately most don’t know about it because they haven’t been tested for it.