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

Monday, July 19, 2010

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...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm sorry you had to go through it! Only a fellow HG mom can understand the complete misery. :( I feel your pain. I love that you mentioned your hubby, because there's no way I could've gotten through it without someone as wonderful as my husband! I'm glad you're spreading awareness, because so many people don't understand that HG is truly a devestating disease! Good luck and thanks again!