Back in December, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum. This is basically "morning" sickness that is beyond control. I truly use the term "morning" VERY loosely. Every second of every day is truly more accurate. I am going to share my story, but I am going to include this link that is an amazing resource. If you think you may suffer from this in your own pregnancy, or you have a friend or a loved one who may be suffering ( or you are just curious), I urge you to check this out:
I also really want to be sensitive to any readers are are still TTTC. Many of you know that my journey to pregnancy was not an easy one, and as it turns out, my pregnancy has followed suit. I am going to share some really honest thoughts here about my pregnancy, and for those of you still struggling, despite the fact that you know I struggled, too- this may be hard for you to read. I know when I was in the trenches, under NO circumstances did I want to hear anyone complaining about her pregnancy. I would never want to cause any of you any additional pain and sadness....
So, here goes...
At about 6 and a half weeks, the queasiness really set in. Now, during this time, I was still in limbo as my u/s showed "something" , but given my history, no one was ready to call this a viable pregnancy yet. The only thing that was encouraging me was the fact that I felt like crap (I have to laugh, in hindsight... If I knew what was to come... I would have thought that I felt great.) At 7w 5d, I had a bleeding scare- it was a Sunday, I called the RE, and he said to come in the next day. At 7w6d, I got out of bed, sad about what I thought was ahead ( an u/s to confirm yet another m/c) and I made my way to the shower. Somewhere between the bedroom and bathroom, I felt like a truck had hit me. No sooner did I get to the bathroom, did I start throwing up- uncontrollably. I had to wake up R to help me to get ready to go to work. I was going in for a half day before my u/s. The short version of this is that I started throwing up that day... and NEVER stopped.
I made it through 4 days of work that week, and wound up having to take Friday off and Monday of the following week. While attempting to go to work, I threw up before work, on the way to work ( yes, I drove with a plastic bag on my lap), at work ( as a teacher, this was awful as mid-sentence, I would simply have to run out of the room). While at home, it honestly got to the point that it was just easier to curl up on the bathroom floor than to go back to bed. I knew it was usually a matter of a 15-30 minute time span before I would be back again anyway. Nothing helped, crackers, sea bands, ginger, ginger-ale, preggie pops, you name it, I tried it. I wound up missing Thanksgiving, and my OB put me on Zofran, an anti nausea drug. At first, the Zofran helped in the sense that I was not throwing up as much. The constant nausea was still there, but I was throwing up less. I was still trying to tell myself "at least you are pregnant, this is awful right now, but at least you are pregnant". I even went as far as to prop my tiny little u/s picture on the back to the toilet to remind myself that this was all worth it.
After about a week and a half, the Zofran started to lose its effectiveness and I was pretty much back to constantly throwing up, missing work, and feeling ( and this is not even me being dramatic) like I was going to die.
On December 14th, I went to work, but got so violently ill, I had to leave. I went home and for the next 24 hours, I literally threw up every 15 minutes. I could not even keep sips of gingerale down. By about 1:00 the next day, after such violent illness that I was pretty sure I had pulled some muscles in my side from retching, I called R at work and told him to come home- that I needed to get to the hospital. We called my OB, she said to get to the ER immediately, and off we went.
2 bags of anti-nausea meds , 4 bags of IV fluids ,and about 4 hours later... I was still no better off. I remember looking down at myself while laying there thinking how awful I looked. My skin was sallow with no elasticity and I was skin and bones- thanks to all of this I had officially lost 15 pounds. I remember starting to cry and feeling like I was never going to stop. They had me try to drink some gingerale, and when I still could not keep that down, they admitted me. At 12 weeks, I was already going to spend a night on the L&D floor.
They hydrated the heck out of me all night and the next day when my Dr. came to see me, I was officially diagnosed with Hyperemesis. She explained to me that there were things we could try to try to get me some relief and to keep me from constantly dehydrating. So, what wound up happening is I was put on a Zofran pump, that constantly pumped me full of anti-nausea meds. It was like a fanny pack I wore that either went into my leg or belly ( I had to change the infusion site each night- thanks to infertility, at least we were already used to sticking me with needles) and I spent the next 10 days on IV therapy at home- yes, I had an authentic IV pole in my bedroom.
Beyond not being able to eat or drink, oh and the constant puking, HG has some other fun side effects. I could not even really watch TV. The flashing of the lights on the TV would instantly induce nausea. To this day, I still have have to watch TV with all of the lights on or the contrast of darkness and flashing lights will have me running to the bathroom. I could barely get on the computer for more than a few minutes ( same concept) and I could not read. I laid in bed in a dark cocoon of misery. I missed Christmas, I missed everything, I was missing out on a pregnancy that I worked my ass off to achieve.
So, allow me to describe my emotions during this time. I felt robbed, I felt cheated, I felt guilty that I was harming my baby-I was downright depressed. For days on end, I would lay in bed, stare at the celling and think the unthinkable- that I wished I had never gotten pregnant. Yes, I will admit it- a woman who it took 3 1/2 years to conceive , countless procedures, and pure and genuine heartbreak- I wished that I had never gotten pregnant. I felt so guilty as I had not eaten, taken a pre-natal vitamin, done anything that I knew my baby needed me to do- I felt like a big fat failure. I simply cannot describe to you what it feels like to have such debilitating illness- to not be able to get out of bed- to constantly live in a state of nausea and vomiting, to have n0 contact with the outside world- during the holidays- after all I have been through- these were the absolute darkest days of my life. And I would spend my days beating myself up for feeling that way when I finally had the little miracle that I had prayed so hard for.
So... I went back to work in January after break- me and my big pump. I struggled through each day and fell into bed at about 6:00 each night. I still could barely eat- but I was doing it. Somewhere around 19 weeks, the weaned me off the pump and started me on oral anti-nausea meds again, and we hoped for the best.
So, now I have almost completed my 26th week, and while I have to say that I am in a MUCH better place than I was in December and January, this is all still very hard. I still get sick, I still have a very limited diet- I have about 5 things that I can eat and about 2 things I can drink that I can usually keep down. I have started to gain a little of my weight back and I finally look pregnant- but I still get sick. I still have days where I feel like I have been run over by a train, I can't ever make plans because I truly never know how I am going to feel when I get out of bed each day. I do have more good days- but make no mistake- a good day means that I did not puke- the constant nausea is always present. I am limited in my wardrobe, anything around my neck- instant sickness. Anything tight at the top of my ribcage ( this makes wearing a bra a challenge)- instant nausea. Anything tight on my belly- instant nausea. I now have terrible acid reflux- so when I do vomit, it is like vomiting fire. Unfortunately, this is going to be my fate until the day I deliver. And some days- I still get really pissed. I hear of women who loved being pregnant, who look great, who glow, who got that 2nd trimester burst of energy, who got to go on babymoons - and I feel angry and robbed. Getting pregnant was so damn ridiculously hard- I can't help but feel I should have been given a free pass on this. I know that some of this probably makes me seem so awful- but I am just being honest. I really do urge you to check out the above site as it will truly give you some insight into what it is like living with this condition.
But, despite all this... the little embryo that could... has grown into my beautiful little boy. And despite how hard this all has been... just typing those words... "my little boy", is enough to bring tears to my eyes. He is doing okay. He is measuring on track and all appears to be well- despite the fact that I feel like I have been the worst mother so far. But, he reassures me with his little pokes and his little kicks. So, as I crawl into bed each night, exhausted from just getting through the day, I love to lay there and feel him squirm around. He reminds me that all of this will have been worth it, and come June... my life will finally be complete.