Home > Baby, congenital hypothyroidism, parenting, raising abbey > abbey’s thyroid: official diagnosis

abbey’s thyroid: official diagnosis

I will start with the fancy diagnosis:

Abbey has a sublingual thyroid and her official condition is congenital hypothyroidism.

. . . . . . .

Here is ‘simple’ version.

The thyroid is a vital gland that works in conjunction with the brain to stimulate physical and mental growth and development.

Initially, the thyroid and brain develop together.

Eventually, having matured, the thyroid moves down to its final, healthy location down behind the hollow spot low on the front of your neck.

Healthy maturation and correct location are intimately connected when it comes to assessing the development of the thyroid gland.

On Abbey, her thyroid developed with the brain and descended, but it did not arrive in the proper location.  Instead, it is ‘sublingual’ or ‘under tongue’, which means that it is located higher up the throat near the base of her tongue.

While she does have some functionality from the thyroid gland, the blood tests we have taken indicate that it is not working the way that a fully developed (and properly located) thyroid gland should.

What’s the big deal?

Our doctor: “There is nothing more important than the thyroid in the healthy development of the brain – in the first three years of life, especially”

The risk?

Our doctor: “Improperly functioning thyroids are the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the world.”

Don’t freak out.

Yes, Abbey’s thyroid does not function to its full capacity (this is clinically known as ‘congenital hypothyroidism’, hence the diagnosis above).

Yes, this is a very serious condition.

But, Abbey is going to be fine.  Not just fine – excellent and wonderful.

Because the problem was caught early on, we will be supplementing her thyroid with synthetic thyroid hormones.

If Abbey receives her daily supplement of medication, her brain will continue to develop properly, with no complications, no delays, no worries, no problems.  She will develop to her full potential mentally and physically.

Our doctor: “I had a patient, diagnosed at the same age as Abbey, who took her medication daily, recently graduated as valedictorian of her high school class, and is currently enrolled at M.I.T” – not bad.

The gravey: One of our nurses today has congenital hypothyroidism, was a really awesome girl, and employed at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital as a nuclear technician – not bad at al.

(More on the radioactivity and nuclear scan tomorrow, if you are interested)

. . . . . . .

Follow up points:

How is Abbey?

Exhausted, asleep, hungry, with 4 more needle sticks in her sweet little arms – but she is going to be fine.

How are Lee and Beth?

Exhausted, sleepy, emotionally drained, physically drained, extremely thankful to our gracious God who ordained Abbey be born in this place, in this time, when congenital hypothyroidism is on the radar and mandated, by State Law, as a standard test for newborns in Tennessee.

We are frazzled, to be sure, but it is good to know exactly what is going on with Abbey and what exactly we need to do to ensure that she grows up mentally and physically healthy.

It is going to be a tough thing, at times, with the monthly blood tests and pediatric endocrinologist visits in Memphis.  It will be hard as Abbey starts to realize what is happening and look at her Daddy and Mama with a “please help me” in her eyes.

Praise God that he gives good gifts to his children, and we thank him profusely for the good gift that he has given us in our sweet little Abigail Ruth.

. . . . . . .

Serious stuff, I know, so here are some photos to look at and unwind:





Here is our exhausted little girl at the end of a long, long, long day at the hospital.

. . . . . . .

Tomorrow, a photo/video tour of our day at the Childrens Hospital, complete with an explanation of why abbey cannot hang out around small children or pregnant women for the next 24 hours.

  1. mamak
    March 4, 2009 at 8:36 am

    She grows more beautiful each day.

    Thank you, Lord, that you are indeed Lord and that you look down with mercy on all you have created. Thank you for your abounding mercy to our sweet Abigail Ruth. Thank you for the wisdom you have given doctors. I ask that You continue to bless this family with your peaceful, calming, healing, life-giving presence. I ask this in the Holy Name of Jesus. Amen.

  2. Ben and Julie Dockery
    March 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Lee and Beth,

    We love you and sweet Abbey. We will be committed to pray for you and Abbey for rest and peace and health. I am so thankful for early detection and the ability to treat her. I know the already lack of sleep with the round the clock feedings makes you exhausted add to that all the poking and prodding of dr’s I know you all are resting in the Lord for your strength–may he continue to sustain you. Can’t wait for Abby to meet Abbey!
    B & J

  3. Kelly N
    March 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the updates! We are praying earnestly for you guys! Can’t wait to see sweet little Abbey!
    Love you guys!

  4. April 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I found your site searching for information about congenital hypothyroidism. My granddaughter Katelyn also have CH and takes a pill each day and routine blood tests. She is almost 5 months old and is meeting all her milestones right on schedule. Abbey is a beautiful little girl and I have enjoyed visiting your blog.

    Another thing we have in common my niece was a student a Union University and survived the tornado last year.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. April 15, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I noticed that this is not the first time at all that you mention the topic. Why have you chosen it again?

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