Tag Archives: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Pathetic

Friends, I can eat again!  And, more than that, I actually like eating!!!! I am also free to move about.  Except, well, things have changed.

Take a few nights ago.  A good friend had us over for pizza and afterwards we played a few games on the Wii.  After watching my husband battle it out with my friend’s husband, I decided to give tennis a try.  Just one match; easy as eating pie (a favorite pastime of mine).

The next day, I couldn’t move my arm.  Seriously, who gets sore from playing the Wii? Or from walking down the street?  And, who huffs and puffs when they walk up two stairs?  Holy Moses, what has happened to my fit body?

Ah, I didn’t move for 10 weeks.  I guess I lost more than weight, I lost all my muscle tone.

Luckily, I can build that up, along with my old personality.  It feels great to smile, laugh and joke with my husband again.  Not to mention spending time with my kids.  I have missed them tremendously!

Now that my previous self is returning, I think I’ll go run a marathon!  Or watch one on TV while eating apple pie and ice cream.  Hey, I’ve got a hungry, growing baby to consider.

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Starting the Second Trimester Right With an ER Visit

I feel pretty competent when it comes to advocating for my own health. I will stand up for what I think is right and argue when I disagree.  Yet, with this pregnancy, I have been far too tired and sick to argue and have allowed my physician to take the lead.  Not a good idea.

Despite taking anti-emetic medication (anti-nausea/vomiting) regularly every 6 hours, I have still only consumed around 1000 calories a day, on a good day, for this whole pregnancy.  I cannot take prenatal vitamins, anti-depressant/anxiety medications, or anything else except my Zofran.  I constantly feel malnourished, fatigued, and without energy.  But I felt that because my doctor indicated that I was maintaining my weight, I was not nearly as sick as I originally thought.  Wrong.  Regardless of my weight gain/loss (or keeping a steady weight), I was still throwing up 2-5 times a day, on medication, which is not healthy.

Last week, I started down a very sick road.  I thought maybe it was something I ate or maybe I hadn’t taken my medication regularly enough.  None of these was the case.  My body was reacting to the beta hCG levels and sending messages, through the brain, telling my body to kick up the nausea and vomiting.  So I went 5 days of keeping maybe 1 cup of liquid down and thinking, “well, it’s not that bad because….” and coming up with various reasons, all silly, why I shouldn’t go to the ER or call my doctor.  It took my husband coming into the room and saying “you look like you are on your deathbed” for me to finally agree to an ER visit.

The doctor there quickly ordered 2 bags of fluids and assured me they would help me in whatever way they could.  After a quick ultrasound, in which we saw our cute baby who is looking less like a monster every day (and more like a bird), the doctor came in and talked with me.  He said, “come in whenever you need to be topped off with liquids. You are clearly sick and regardless of your weight loss/gain, we need to keep you healthy and on the right track.”  It made me feel 1 million times better in my decision.

With the doctor’s supportive comments, I feel more comfortable in defending my original assertion that regular IV treatment for my HG was, and is, the best course.  So, unless I feel significantly better in the next day or so, I am planning on making weekly trips to the ER* and making improvements to my current condition.  I feel silly that I needed a doctor’s blessing to make this decision, but I guess that even the most assertive women question themselves and get tired of fighting some times.

*I am really missing UT these days.  The town I lived in had infusion services and I only needed my doctor to call in a prescription for me.  I was lucky that my doctor there was very well versed in HG and didn’t argue with me when I requested it.  Unfortunately, in this small town, there is no infusion services building so I have to go to the ER for fluids.  Blech.

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I've Lost My Personality

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.)

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Post-Vacation Stress

I am thrilled to start work again tomorrow.  I really like my job and have quite a few exciting tasks to accomplish within the next month.

I am, however, worried about one thing: how will I handle my pregnancy-induced sickness while at work?

(I do not like the term morning sickness.  It does not adequately describe my–and many a woman’s–plight during these long months, with illness that lasts from sun-up until sun-up, 7 days a week.  Thus, I use the term pregnancy-induced sickness, a better description in my opinion.)

I worked/went to school when pregnant with both Andrew and Emily; I am not unaware of the difficulties.  However, going to school is significantly different from working a traditional 40 hr/week job.  At least in between (and during) classes I could run to the bathroom for my puke-fest.  And with my many visits to the ER, I could realistically sleep a bit the next day before resuming homework.  With my job, however, I am in an office/classroom and have little flexibility with my hours.

At the same time, I really REALLY like my job.  I wouldn’t be working there if I didn’t.  I am passionate about Head Start and its initiative.  I have seen the good it does in our community, and many other communities, and find my personal and career goals intersecting with my compassionate nature to produce a positive work experience.

Yet my trepidation is valid.  What if my dizziness turns into fainting spells?  What if I must start IV therapy?  Naturally, the only way to know is by trying and I have no desire to quit.  I figure I can push through this just like I did with my schooling.  What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right?  And, besides, there are families and children that need my skills and empathy.  So, hyperemesis gravidarum be damned, I will continue working.

Now would it be unprofessional to bring my puke bowl? We do have only one staff bathroom and one never knows when sickness might hit.

Have any of you mothers worked through pregnancy-induced sickness?  If you did, how did you make it work? (Working includes staying home with your kids. As it always should.)

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