I wrote this at the beginning of the week when I was feeling overwhelmed by everything. Luckily, my new medication is helping tremendously and I feel much more optimistic now. I wasn’t sure if I would publish it, however, it is important for people to understand HG and how it affects pregnant women.
This morning, I went to the doctor for a check-up. While we were talking about my constant sickness, I said, “Doctor, I’m done with this pregnancy.” He laughed and jokingly said, “well, I’ll have to send you to a different clinic because I don’t handle patients who are done this early.” (Before you make any incendiary comments on his behaviour, this is how our patient/doctor relationship is: I say something sassy and he responds with sass. It’s pretty awesome.)
Once upon at time, before nausea and vomiting took over my life, I would have laughed with him and said something witty back. Instead, my eyes filled with tears as I explained that I am tired of constantly feeling sick because I really want to enjoy this pregnancy. He looked at me, compassionately, and said, “I bet. I can only imagine what it must be like. Hopefully this new medication will work and maybe in a couple weeks you’ll feel better.”
I hope so too.
My husband and I used to have a relationship in which we could, appropriately, make fun of each other. Now, I cry. A lot. I don’t get or appreciate his jokes and he feels frustrated that we can’t have fun anymore. I understand.
What has happened to me?
I’ll tell you: hyperemesis gravidarum. I would blame pregnancy as a whole, but when I’m feeling good my sass returns (100 fold).
Right now, all I can think about is when/if I can drink water again (because soda turns into a disgusting enemy when it’s all I can drink) or actually eat a decent meal. Pregnancy with HG is not the joyful, it’s a physical drag. It takes all the zing out of life because I can’t enjoy anything. Even with medication, things are awful.
HG Without Medicine
-Throw up every 10-30 minutes
-Lose 5+ pounds in one week
-Can’t move off the couch without beginning the vicious vomiting cycle and/or passing out
-Must avoid all smells (including my husband’s cooking, which means that he can’t cook anything unless I’m away from the house)
-Can’t go anywhere outside the house because I risk vomiting and passing out in public places
-Can’t hold my little babies or hug my husband
HG With Medicine (specifically Zofran)
-Throw up 1-3 times a day
-Still feel incredibly nauseated
-Maintain a steady weight
-Can eat and drink in small amounts as long as I lay down immediately after
-Still can’t stand up for very long as I risk passing out and vomiting (so I am still stuck in bed or on the couch)
-Have to suck on Lifesavers (properly named) to keep the nausea at bay
-Must take consistently every 6-8 hours or my condition declines rapidly
I understand why women who experience HG choose abortion because it’s more than feeling awful, it’s debilitating. From medications to hospital visits, it feels overwhelmingly horrible. There are moments, like I’ve mentioned, that I wish I weren’t pregnant and/or that I were dead. At least then the sickness would disappear!
I try to remember that it will end eventually and that I will have that nice pregnancy I always dreamed of.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from various women that they would have preferred the puking over gaining 50 lbs while pregnant. Not to disqualify what they are saying, but you don’t. You really don’t. Just imagine how awful you feel when sick (at your most sick) and extend that to 3-5 months. I would gladly gain 50 lbs over losing 5-15 because I can’t keep anything down. Anything that would make this pregnancy more normal would be amazing.
But, more than anything, I would like to feel happy again. I want the tears to stop constantly flowing as I lay miserably on the couch or bed unable to spend time with my family. I want to laugh and joke and return to my sarcastic self. I want to brush my teeth without puking!!
Surely this won’t last forever.
Most of you wonderful readers know my propensity of turning a trial into a possible research possibility; thus, it shouldn’t surprise you that I will be working hyperemesis gravidarum into my master’s thesis. I will work out the specifics over the next few months and am thrilled to start work on this project. (For current research look at the HelpHER website, a fantastic academic source for hypermesis gravidarum.)