Hypermesis Gravidarum (HG) is a fancy medical term for "pregnant lady can not stop throwing up!" Apparently it is a pretty rare condition, only 2% of pregnant women experience it so I guess I am one of the lucky ones. Ha Ha. I understand this blog is going to be mostly boring to the outside world but I figured I could at least document my experience for my children to read someday since research shows that HG can be hereditary. So read at your own risk. :)
Not much is know about HG in fact most doctors don't understand it and or even dismiss it as common morning sickness but it is anything but common morning sickness. If you have had morning sickness that other people can relate to and give you tips on how to manage than you don't have HG because if you have HG you will know that eating a few crackers or small frequent meals does not help at all and can even make the problem worse. I am at the point now that if one more person tells me to eat a few crackers before I get out of bed in the morning I can no longer give you a smile and thank you for your advice because you obviously don't understand my condition. I can not even take a sip of water without throwing it up so why would a few crackers do the trick? I have been researching this diseases over the last few days and have found a few articles of women who have either taken their own lives or chosen to have an abortion just to stop the torment. I know this sounds extreme but having been there myself understand their pain. Its a horrible, helpless feeling that has left me fearing death myself and of my unborn child and worse part is that nobody understands what you are going through or how to help.
I first found out that I had Hypermesis Gravidarum when I got pregnant with my first child (Peyton) I found out I was pregnant because I started throwing up and I thought it was the stomach flu but after a week of no relief I finally took a pregnancy test and found out that I was indeed pregnant. Now this pregnancy was not planned (as you will soon find out that this is the case with all of our pregnancies) So we were not prepared and had no medical insurance. Little did we know what was in store for us in the months ahead. After weeks of throwing up 5 to 6 times a day, loosing about 10 pounds and my pee turning black (sorry to be so graphic) I finally had no choice but to go to the ER for IVs. That trip cost us $1000.00 but they prescribed a nausea medication for me called Compazine that we were hopeful would give me some relief. After a few days on the medication I started experiencing a very strange feeling in my throat. At first I just thought I needed to throw up but as the hours passed I realized that I was having trouble catching my breath and soon after that it got so bad that I could barely talk or breath but I motioned to Brandon that we needed to go to the ER. I was in fact having an allergic reaction to the medication and that was one of the scariest nights of our lives. I have never seen my husband look so scared and helpless and I saw my life flash before my eyes. After a few shots of benadryl in the ER I was stable and we left that night with another $1000.00 bill but one that possibly saved my life. After months or tortures paper work we finally qualified for medi-cal that helped with the rest of the pregnancy bills and by 4 months pregnant I was starting to feel human again. And on Feb. 8th 2007 a healthy, beautiful, perfect baby girl was born.
Much like woman forget labor pains soon after birth well I forgot what HG was like and a year and half after Peyton was born we began talking about having another baby, which just talking about having a baby between my husband and I apparently means that in a few weeks we are pregnant. We were excited to have another little one on the way and I actually felt good for the first month. I was hopeful maybe HG wouldn't happen to me again but as soon as I got comfortable it hit! One morning I will never forget after spending the night with my girlfriends and planning on spending a nice summer day laying by the pool. A very familiar feeling hit me and I began relentlessly throwing up. This time was different because I had a toddler to take care of that I could not even get out of bed for. I remember having to stay at my moms house so she could take care of us and crying to her that I wished I would have never gotten pregnant again because at that moment I would rather have died than to have gone through HG again. A few trips to the ER later I finally got a doctor who knew what to do with me and prescribed me a medication called Zofran (used primarily for cancer patients going through cemo) The medication helped control the vomiting although I still felt horrible, my amazing family and friends came together and made sure someone was always with me to take care of Peyton and I until I felt better and by the third or fourth month I was able to function again like a normal pregnant person, and on January 13th, 2009 another beautiful healthy baby girl was born (Amber).
On Father's Day of this year we happily yet reluctantly told our families that we were expecting again. I say reluctantly because although we really want this child to complete our family we knew what was instore for our family in the months ahead. I have to say, yet again this pregnancy was a surprise. Without getting to specific, lets just say that some form of protection was being used, but God had other plans. It was hard to be overly excited about the news because all I could think of was what my family was about to go through. All our summer plans that we were so looking forward to flashed before my eyes as I realized it was very likely that I would not be able to attend them. I was sad for my young children who wouldn't understand why their mommy was so sick and for my poor husband who I have seen go through this twice before, I know how hard it is on him having to work full time and come home to a sick wife and have to take care of the kids and all the household responsibilities. Sure enough about a week after announcing our pregnancy I began to get very sick. I knew to call in for Zofran first thing and they were able to get it to me quickly and that seemed to help for a few weeks. But, last weekend everything turned from bad to worse. The Zofran stopped working and I went over 36 hours without being able to keep down any food our water. I began feeling numbness in my arms and legs and painful, splitting headaches. After two trips to the ER in two days the hospital decided to admit me to see if they could get my HG under control. I remember saying a quick prayer that God would give the doctors wisdom and somebody would know something new to try. The afternoon of my first day in the hospital I met the doctor on call and loved her immediately. She told me that during her residency in San Fransico she had been put on a case study for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and using steroids to control the nausea. She told me they had great success with the trial and often found that within three days the women were feeling much better. There was never any harm to the babies reported. I know steroids in a pregnant lady sounds scary but when you are as sick as I am you fear for your baby anyway so I felt like I had no other option but to try it and who knows maybe this was the answer to my prayer. I have been home from the hospital now for three days and I have to say I feel much better. I am hopeful that this is working. I still find it hard to do much more then lay around and I have to take everything really slow so not to stir up the nausea but the vomiting seems to be under control. YAY!
So that is my Hypermesis Gravidarum story thus far. To my children I want to say you are beyond worth it. I would not take back a second of this sickness if it meant you could not be in this world. I know you were each meant to be here for very specific purposes and I am so proud to be your mom. Always remember during hardships that you might face that you, in Christ, have the strength to overcome! Our God is a God of wisdom and compassion and nothing gives Him greater joy than to overcome. And lastly, take the help! Through all of this I have become ever grateful for my supportive family and friends who have gone out of their way to help. You will find blessings in their love so remember in return to be a blessing.
I love you all dearly. Love always. Mom.