What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

"Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids."

Quoted from the HER Foundation Website

Friday, July 30, 2010

Four Years of Wedded Bliss

Four years ago I married my wonderful husband. At the time I didn't think that I could love him any more than I did then. Five homes, four cars, three confirmed pregnancies, two kids, and one college degree later I can honestly say than I love him more than I did on our wedding day.

We look so young! Not that we are all that old now, unless you consider 24 and 25 old. I do feel old now though, does that count? I still can't believe that it has been four years already!

Here we are today, the decrepit couple. I think Hubby actually DOES have a gray hair now...how's that for scary? Actually, now that I see the pictures in close proximity, we really haven't changed all that much. Our weight has changed (no comments on that please!) but maybe we still do look young. This may change if we have a third child. It may change with just the two we have now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

'Lovely' Little Creatures.

The other day I had the brilliant idea of cleaning out the playroom. It was a bit messy and I hadn't swept the floor in...well, let's just say awhile. OK, it's been a very long while but that's not the point. Back to my story. As I was sweeping out the room I found these lovely little creatures.

Thankfully they were long dead. Still gross and nasty but dead. Methinks I should clean out that playroom more often.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Three Little Blessings

For those who have or have had HG it's helpful to know that other women have gone through the same thing, to know that you are not alone. That is one of the goals for this blog - to share the stories of those women. I asked this mom if she would be willing to share her about her pregnancies. She agreed enthusiastically and sent me the following.

"So here is my story....I got pregnant with my first one while VERY sick with a Kidney Infection. I actually found out I was pregnant while hospitalized when I went septic from the infection. I was told that I should end the pregnancy because we would not survive. I did not. The first six months I could not eat, lost almost 25 lbs (which was a lot because I was skinny to start), and was in and out of the hospital. I thought the extreme nausea was due to my kidney issues. I had a break right around the seventh month and then was back in the hospital in my eighth month with Kidney Stones (due to severe dehydration). My GORGEOUS boy was born in May of 2004. We planned my second child because we thought since I was not sick it would be better. WRONG! I was sicker with this one with NO EXPLANATION AT ALL! It was like living a nightmare. I was in and out of consciousness and just sicker than I could ever describe for the first six months. I would black out upon standing and just weeped all day long. I lost 40 lbs with this one (I didn't start out as skinny). Again I had a break in the seventh month. I was then taken out of work around 9 months due to severe cramping and joint pain AGAIN due to severe dehydration. Just as I decided to stop having children, I was blessed with my third. I found out a few months before this pregnancy that I have a condition called Celiac Disease. It is an auto immune disorder that is triggered by eating gluten. So with this pregnancy I was Gluten Free and it was MUCH MUCH better!!! However, I was still pretty much unable to leave the house and vomited several times a day. If it was my first I would have said it was HORRIBLE but since I had the first two I was very thankful instead. With the third I was sick, with the first two.....I don't even know how I survived! Sadly I had to tie my tubes. I am pretty devastated about it because I come from a HUGE Irish Catholic family with lots of kids. But the damage to my kidneys, gallbladder, and overall deterioration of my body....I had to think of my kids. They need a mom! Plus I cannot have another year of vomiting and missing out on their little lives. HG is the WORST thing I EVER experienced but oddly enough it had the BIGGEST reward in the end!!!!!

I am sad that no one recognizes this condition. With the first two I thought there was something wrong with me. The whispers of the nurses at the hospital "She is fine, she just has morning sickness" or the threats from my employer "I was sick when pregnant too, this is not a valid excuse" I was so alone and so scared. I found support groups in between my second and third so I found support with my third. But I had to quit my job and become self employed because the outside world still won't see that this is a HORRIBLE condition and women need help!!!!!!! Thank you for doing your blog!!!!!!!! Getting the word out is so important!!!"

Baby Dedication

Yesterday Mac was dedicated to the Lord. In our church we don't baptize babies but we do dedicate them. It is more for the parents than it is for the child. Hubby and I promised before God and the congregation to do our best in raising Mac and teaching him how to live a godly life by example and by training him according to the Bible. My Mother-in-law and two of Hubby's siblings were able to be there with us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Introductions

I thought I would introduce my family. Their names have been changed to protect their privacy. For the boys I simply swapped their middle names for their first names. For Hubby, well one that shouldn't need an explanation :)

Hubby - also known as Honey, Dear, Sweet Pea (don't ever tell him I actually printed that one - he may not take it all that well...), and Sweetheart. He's my favorite guy in the whole world! He's a wonderful father to our boys and an awesome husband. He is also great when I'm pregnant. Not only does he care for me and empty my bucket but he also cleans, cooks, does laundry, washes the dishes, vacuums, pretty much everything. Except clean the bathroom, that he won't do. We have been married since 2006, friends since 1999. I love him more now than I did when I married him.

Hannah - also known as mom, Han, Little Han (by my dad), Sweetheart, and Honey. Hannah is my real name by the way. I like it better that way. Anyway, you already know a bit about me so I'll just move right along.

Tyler - also known as Ty, Bug, and Little Man. If I could sum him up in just one word it would be mayhem. Yup, mayhem. Or maybe tornado. Chaos? There are too many!! But that aside, he is the most loving little guy you could ever want. He loves to give big hugs and kisses. He already watches out for his little brother and loves to give him hugs and kisses and pats on the head. He is also very smart. A little TOO smart sometimes.

McCartney - also known as Mac, Uber, Goober, Uber my Goober, Ubery Goobery, and Mouse. Mouse because when he is in his brown carrier he looks just like a cute little mouse. One word that would describe Mac is joyful. He's my content child, for the most part. He has his moments of discontent. But overall he's a happy child. I love the way his face lights up with joy when he discovers something new. Like the fact that he can roll over to go get things he wants now. He is VERY pleased about that!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Bird Feeder

W loves birds. He is completely facinated with them. So I decided that W and I would make a bird feeder together. The idea seemed simple enough: get a milk/juice carton, punch a couple of holes into it, cut out a hole so the little birdy can eat, paint it, add some bird seed, and voila, bird feeder.

Step 1: Buy carton. Drink juice. This was a special treat as we do not drink much juice in this house. I think we have it once every two to three months. It was yummy.

Step 2: Cut out a bird size hole (I hope it is a bird size hole) and punch holes in the top, for the hook, and the bottom, for the perch.

Step 3: Paint. I bought washable paints for this project since I didn't want permanent paint stains on any clothing items or anything else that a little boy could 'accidentally' paint. To my surprise, W is actually a very neat painter. In fact, he's downright dainty. By the time the carton was painted I was messier than he was. Go figure.

Step 4: Prep for bird seed insertion. Bird seed, check. Painted carton, check. Expendable Spoon, check. Oh dear. I am beginning to capitalize words in Odd Places. I think I may be reading too much Winnie the Pooh...

Step 5: Take picture of squirmy 2 year old with his first real art project. Correction, TRY to take a picture of the squirmy 2 year old. He wouldn't look at the camera for some reason. I think he wanted to run his car up and down the railing of our porch instead.

B enjoying the outdoors. He watched his big brother filling the bird feeder and played happily with his toys. He is a content child.

Step 6: Have the 2 year old put the bird seed into carton. This is easier said than done. For awhile more bird seed was going on the porch than into the bird feeder. Maybe the car is throwing off his balance? Putting down the car is, of course, out of the question.

I am helping pour more bird seed into feeder. W is doing his own version of 'helping'. To be honest, he was far more interested in trying to bury his car than helping me. He would have had so much fun with that bird seed if I had let him.

Step 7: Place hook.

Step 8: Hang on the house. Finished! I must say, it was a little more work than I had anticipated but it was a lot of fun!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On Being Sick

I had always wondered how it would be with two young children if both Hubby and I were sick at the same time. Unfortunately I now know. Yesterday afternoon/evening both Hubby and I were running fevers of 101+ and could barely make it out of bed. W ran around the house oblivious to the fact that his parents were sick. I think he was enjoying his new found freedom and the fact that we gave him whatever he wanted for a change (this included several movies and a whole lot of cereal). B wasn't so pleased since I could barely hold him. He likes to be held. Nursing was also a challenge.

Thankfully today we are doing much better. Hubby was able to make it to work and I am able to continue potty training. By the way, potty training while sick is not a good idea. Just an FYI for the future.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Boy Underpants

Potty training is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. It is, so far, the most challenging part of parenting. Except maybe for labor. Yeah, it's definitely better than labor. Maybe.

It's that time of month again, the time when I grit my teeth, drag out the big boy underpants, and attempt to potty train my 2 year old. He's been in training since the end of March. Each time I start out strong, enthusiastically talking to W about going potty in the 'big boy potty chair', trying to get him excited about this new chapter in his life. He seems excited, sits for a few minutes, dances happily that he is wearing his underpants, then promptly gets up and used my floor as his little boy toilet. After a few times of this the enthusiasm dwindles. A day or two later I give up on the whole idea and drag out the diapers. Then a few weeks later I decide that having two kids in diapers is not my thing and we begin the process all over again. The idea of letting his college roommate train him is beginning to look very tantalizing. I'm sure he won't mind. What better way of getting to know one's roommate? It would be a good bonding experience.

Yesterday started out in the same way. Out came the big boy underpants, out came the potty chair, and with a heavy yet hopeful heart I started The Process. A couple hours into it, nothing. Not even a dribble. So I gave W a glass of milk and waited expectantly. W didn't disappoint. The Big Moment came and I rushed him to the bathroom. Once again he didn't make it. In the Battle of Potty Training, the score had reached Floor - umpteenth times to Potty Chair - 3 times. Thoughts of quitting a day early enter my head... then, another Big Moment! And this time there were THREE WHOLE DROPS IN THE POTTY CHAIR!!! We celebrated those three drops like peeing was going out of style. W received his promised cake and the offer of his favorite movie (which at this time is Disney's Cinderella). And then, Something Big Happened. I'm talking change-your-life, dance-for-joy-in-the-streets big. A true training success - and not just three drops. With that, my hope is restored and my determination renewed. For now anyway. That was yesterday, who knows what today may bring but for now the college roommate is off the hook.

The Beginning

(I am 7 months pregnant in this picture)

W's pregnancy was full of surprises. Hubby and I are both firstborn children and have younger siblings so we saw our mothers go through pregnancy and birth. Of course, there is nothing like experiencing it yourself! We had the basic knowledge of how things were 'supposed' to work - nothing could have prepared us for the unexpected road ahead. We had no idea that HG even existed until I was 10 weeks pregnant and let me tell you, I wish that we still didn't know. However, he has brought us so much joy that I would gladly do it all over again.

I wrote this when I was about 10 weeks pregnant with Mac, my second son.

My Battle With Pregnancy...Ahem, I Mean My Journey, By Me

The journey of being pregnant, the knowledge that a tiny life is growing inside you, that beautiful baby belly, the joy all pregnant women must feel...yeah, all this I thought before I became pregnant. I always that that I would love being pregnant since I loved the results. I have been crazy about babies almost since I was one myself and naturally thought that pregnancy was a beautiful time, a wonderful journey of growth and love. Like I said, I thought that before I had to go through it myself.

When I first became pregnant with my son I felt like jumping for joy. I wanted the whole world to know that I was growing a little life that my husband and I had created together. It was a joyful occasion. My dream of becoming a mother was coming true.

Because I had already had a miscarriage, I was very particular about how things were going to happen. I was going to eat very healthy, gain the proper amount of weight, exercise like I should and only indulge on occasion. I really wanted this pregnancy to be as healthy and as natural as possible.

Then it started: the gut wrenching, mind numbing, cross your eyes until you can't walk nausea. I had heard about morning sickness and had always feared it. However, I tried to look on the bright side. It only lasted about 12 weeks, right? Then the vomiting started and pretty soon I was throwing up everything that went inside me. Many people gave me their well meant advice, "Eat crackers", "Drink ginger ale", "Suck on peppermint", "Eat ginger", and ever popular "This too shall pass". I tried all those things and promptly threw them all back up.

The best advice anyone ever gave me was, "Eat what your body is craving". What my body was craving however was unhealthy and rather fattening. Pizza, chicken nuggets, and bread sticks were the most popular cravings I had. But they stayed down. If my body craved it, it didn't reject it as quickly as other foods. So much for a healthy pregnancy.

As the weeks passed and I began lose weight, the same weight that I had been trying to lose for months was now coming off of me rapidly. So I called my midwife to see what, if anything, I could do. I only was able to talk to the nurses who told me that what I was experiencing was "normal" and that "almost every woman goes though this". I believed them. After all, they would know better than I would.

Several days and a couple more pounds later I called again. I think I ended up calling four times before I was 10 weeks. They did start me on some medication. It started with vitamin B6, which never stayed down more than 2 minutes, then went on to phenergan suppositories, which made me so tired that all I did was work and sleep. Or sleep at work, it didn't matter. None of it worked. I was still extremely nauseated and throwing up constantly.

At 10 weeks everything changed. I became very dehydrated and ended up in the emergency room where I received some much needed IV fluids, a more powerful medication, and finally a diagnosis: Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I had no idea what that was but was so glad that somebody was finally listening to me and telling me that what I was going through was not normal. There was hope in the world.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG, is constant nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can last anywhere from 20 weeks to the end. The best way to describe it is that it is like having food poisoning for months. Now, I have never had food poisoning so I can't say if that is accurate. Considering my experience with HG, I have decided that I really don't want to ever have food poisoning and will hopefully never be able to tell you. The cruel thing about HG is that those women who are unfortunate enough to have it in their first pregnancy have a very high chance of getting it again. Life can be very unfair.

I was on the medication for several months, until I was about 26-27 weeks. At that point I was able to stop taking it constantly. I did have to deal with occasional nausea and vomiting right up until the end of my pregnancy but it was tolerable. Not pleasant, but tolerable.

On April 12, 2008 my misery finally came to an end. My beautiful, very healthy baby boy was born. When he was placed in my arms for the first time I breathed a sigh of relief. My battle with pregnancy was finally over. I had won and I had my prize at last. I was also pleasantly surprised at my son's weight. I had been expecting a small baby, considering that I had not gained much weight and that I hadn't been able to eat much throughout my pregnancy. He was a healthy, bouncy baby boy of 8 pounds 13 ounces.

Sounds like a good place to end the story, right? My husband and I with our newborn son ride off happily into the sunset, the perfect ending to a difficult story. Just like the movies. Only my story is not over quite yet. There is just one small thing, a very small thing...I'm told it's about the size of a plum right now...

Yes, I am expecting another baby. My husband and I really wanted our children close together in age and so we started trying a few months back. When our son was 13 months old, we found out that baby number 2 was on board. I thought that I was prepared for the nausea and the vomiting this time around. I had researched and planned, planned and organized. Funny thing is that you can never really prepare for an illness of unknown duration. It just kind of sneaks up on you and takes you over and there really isn't anything you can do about it.

As of July 8, 2009 I am 10 ½ weeks pregnant. I am on medication, but it is not working as well as I had hoped. With my first it worked quite well, with this one I am still on the couch unable to do much and still so sick that I want to cry every day. I am also losing weight. I am praying that this does not last as long as it did with my son, but I am trying to prepare myself for the worst, just in case. The worst being that I would be sick the entire pregnancy. Is it worth it you ask? Ask me again in 7 months [postpartum note here - totally worth it]. I know that it will be, but it's hard to think that far ahead.

Before ending I must say a quick word about my husband. I noticed that he was not a prominent figure in this journal and he should be. He is a great man, a prince among men. He was great with my first pregnancy and I think he's even better with this one. He washes dishes, cleans the house, sweeps and scrubs the floor, vacuums, does the grocery shopping, cooks when needed, takes care of our son, and takes care of me. On top of all that he works 50-60 hours per week. He does all this without complaining because he loves me, even though I know he doesn't really enjoy it. Oh yeah, and to top it all off, he's very good looking, not that it really matters but I thought it was worth saying. I love him more with each passing day.

Now I have come to the end. Not the perfect ending I will admit, but that will come. In a few short months I'll have another story to write, the birth of my second child. Through all of this I have come to realize that each day is a blessing whether good or bad, and that each child a precious miracle sent from God.

The End

I will hopefully get to Mac's pregnancy shortly! I have yet to write his down so it may be a little while...

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Peace and quiet. Relaxation. Rest. Sitting outdoors watching Ty play around his kiddy pool, Mac playing on a blanket in the shade with his rattle, listening to Hubby play his guitar, smelling the delicious aroma of chicken cooking on the grill. This is the life. I love Sundays. I love getting all dressed up in our Sunday best and going to church. I love relaxing in the afternoon and simply spending time together. Life slows down for a short time and I am content. Yes, my house is a mess, toys are strewn about in a haphazard manner, my two year old is running all over the place 'singing' at the top of his voice, my 5 month old is crying in Hubby's arms but I am happy. Nothing can ruin my Sunday. As long as I stay here on the couch and cover my eyes when I walk into the kitchen to get a tall glass of cold milk and a brownie. Or two. Or three. After all, there are more important things than a perfectly clean house.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Introduction

My very first blog post!!

I guess this is where I introduce myself and why on earth I decided to enter the great world of blogging. To begin, my name is Hannah. Very popular now, not so when my parents named me. They thought that they were giving me a 'unique' name. Haha. I don't mind though, I rather like my name.

I am an HG survivor. Actually, a two time survivor. By this point you are probably scratching your head and wondering what HG is and if it's catching. Don't worry, it's not. And all you males out there will never be able to get it. Lucky you. But I digress. HG is short for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is an extreme form of morning sickness. In a nutshell it means you have constant nausea and vomiting, sometimes throughout the entire pregnancy. Some have likened it to having food poisoning for nine months. Very few women get it but those do tend to get it every pregnancy. It means IVs, medication, and for some hospitalization. For me personally it only involves the first two - I have never been hospitalized. I have been able to go off of my medication around the beginning of the third trimester with both my pregnancies. I feel grateful for this and for the fact that, while I am completely miserable, I am not nearly as sick as some women I know.

I am married to the most wonderful man in the world. Our 4 year anniversary is coming up this month. He works hard so I can stay home with our two boys, who are 21 months apart. Being a mom is and always has been my dream 'job'. While I love being a mom and love having them so close together life can be a little busy. OK, very busy. But I still love it. Ty is 2 and Mac is 5 months (just a note here: my hardest pregnancy thus far has been Mac's. I was still nauseated and throwing up 3 months AFTER he was born. I have many food aversions still, for example I can no longer eat tater tots. Just an interesting tidbit for you).

I wanted to start this blog is to help other women in my situation, answer any questions regarding HG and how it has affected my family, to blog about my future pregnancies, and to let other people know about HG.

For more information on HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) please go to helpher.org.