The other side of pregnancy, hyperemesis gravidarum

Pregnancy, the most amazing thing a woman’s body goes through, a miracle, a blessing, a gift from God. Those are all things I would say are the general populations thoughts on when someone becomes pregnant. While I would never disagree with those descriptions when it comes to a baby, different words come to mind when I think about being pregnant.

We had trouble getting pregnant at first and when we found out we were pregnant with now our second daughter, we were ecstatic. I planned a surprise photoshoot and when the photographer promoted us to write something we love about the other person my sign read “We’re having a baby!” Everyone was crying and it was a happy day then about a week later the sickness began.
Hyperemesis gravidarum   (HG): “Rarely, morning sickness is so severe that it’s classified as hyperemesis gravidarum.Symptoms include severe nausea and feeling faint or dizzy when standing. It can also cause persistent vomiting, which can lead to dehydration.This condition can require hospitalization and treatment with IV fluids and anti-nausea medications.” Otherwise known as hell on earth.

I suffered from it during my first pregnancy with my son but was active duty Navy and to be honest no one really cared. The doctors barely diagnosed me after several emergency room visits and told me that pregnancy was hard on some people and that I had to deal with it. For ten long months I went to work everyday, went to the closest bathroom to throw up, brought a change of uniform and underwear for those daily incidents and pulled over about three times to and from work to throw up everything I had in me on the side of the highway. It was awful but bearable.

Then a couple years later I got pregnant with my daughter.  The sickness started about 8 weeks into my pregnancy and came on strong. Things were different this time, I was losing more weight than last time, couldn’t keep down any fluids or solids, was dry heaving the entire day with small breaks and overall felt like I was dying.

I saw several doctors and everyone told me “this is called morning sickness.” I couldn’t explain how I felt, I pleaded with them to help me and tried to convince them this is different, something is wrong. I could not find a doctor to hear me out, everyone thought I was being dramatic.

I found my third doctor, someone that was recommended for high risk and when I went they explained I was a little over nine weeks pregnant and sometimes woman get sick. She wouldn’t even listen to me, belittled me and made me feel like a whiney little girl. I broke down, cried, yelled and stormed out. I later got a letter releasing me as a patient.

Then I found a doctor about 30 minutes from out house that was highly recommended. She was new to the practice and I booked an appointment. By this time I couldn’t drive any longer, I was throwing up all over myself with every movement and without warning. I was already bitter and just assumed this would be another fail.

After reading my charts, talking to me, taking my blood pressure, watching me throw up several times just during our 30 minutes appointment and actually examining me she assured me, I was not crazy. I was losing too much weight, my entire face was broken blood vessels, my blood pressure was too low and I was dehydrated. She quickly realized I needed home care and a constant IV.

She ordered it immediately but with insurance and overall BS you have to deal with it took a three long weeks to set everything up.

You see, HG takes over. Its not just morning sickness. It affects every part of you, mentally, physically and emotionally. I woke up everyday waiting for the day to end, I couldn’t take care of my own child, I couldn’t pick him up, smell his breath, cook for him or even stand up long enough to care for anyone including myself.

For the first time in my life I was truly depressed and didn’t want to see another day. The sickness took over. For four months I had every bodily fluid all over me, had to get picked up by my husband off the bathroom floor, rushed to the hospital multiple times for losing consciousness and wished and prayed it would be over.

I couldn’t even think about the baby I was growing, I didn’t wonder about the gender, how I was going to decorate the nursey, what we needed to prepare, nothing. All I thought about was survival and how I am going to get through the day. All the things that define me I couldn’t do, I was excited, I was scared and angry.

My husband became my nurse, changing my IVs, distributing my meds, changing my dressings and setting timers for everything I needed to do to survive the day. My body was a disaster. Dozens of blown veins and bruised arms and feet from dehydration, hundreds of needle sticks trying to find a vein that would work always failing the first few times causing pain and overall disappointment.

My home nurse would come around every other day to check on me, I had weekly appointments that I dreaded because I had to be carried to the car and the motion mad things worse, if that’s even possible.

Everyone, including the doctors told me things should get better after my first trimester so I was counting down the days. Well, it didn’t, nothing changed and things were only getting worse. I needed a to be hospitalized for a few days to get “tanked up” and strong enough to carry this baby.

Once I arrived in the hospital it was determined a PICC line was the only way to go. I was hesitant but followed the doctors orders. It hurt, was always irritated, I was constantly nervous my son was going to rip it out and just losing more hope by the day.

After that hospital visit but labs weren’t looking good and organ faulire was the weekly fear so infusions began. I started going to facility and getting infusions a couple times a week to ensure I was staying healthy. I wanted this to be over.

Not often would you hear a woman who is happily  married, who has always watned a huge family and who has prayed for a child to consider ending a pregnancy but that is what was going through my head. I am embarrassed to even admit it but that is what HG is. It messes with your head, it makes you want to die, it makes you not want to be carrying a baby.

I didn’t smile for four months, I didn’t drink one thing for four months, I solely relied on my PICC line and IVs to keep me alive. I had things shoved in my veins, feet, stomach, butt and mouth. I wouldn’t wish this sickness on my worse enemy (and I’m pretty spiteful).

There is nothing happy or fun about this disease whether you are the person suffering or a loved one of someone suffering. Everyone suffers.

I imagined glowing. working out, doing prenatal yoga and binge eating on all my cravings. I cant help but see the woman who get to enjoy pregnancy and be completely jealous and honestly, angry.

When the ten months is over, I am blessed with two HEALTHY kids and would do it 1,000 more times (reluctantly) in order to make sure they were brought into this world that way.

 

 

 

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