By Erika Lovegreen
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG): severe morning sickness that can cause inadequate nutrition. According to the American Journey of Perinatology less than two percent of pregnant women in America suffer from it.
LESS THAN TWO PERCENT OF WOMEN SUFFER FROM IT. Another unexpected unicorn life moment.
I thought I was dying.
I had morning sickness with my firstborn son. I would wake up and throw up almost every morning for about 18 weeks. I was dizzy. I was tired. And it wasn’t pretty. When I got pregnant with my second baby, when I became sick around the six week mark, I didn’t think a whole lot of it.
We took a quick vacation with family when the sickness first hit. After throwing up about five times one morning, I knew I was in for a long road. But, it wasn’t until the day after when I threw up nearly 30 times in a few hours, I wondered if what I had was normal.
That vacation turned into the weekend from hell. I threw up in a parking lot. I threw up in a bush. I threw up in a car. I threw up on myself. After a day or so of not being able to keep anything down, I became concerned.
My doctor encouraged me to take medicine. I was stubborn. I googled side effects and was terrified. I wept our entire drive home in between stops for food, then throwing up again, and trying to eat again. A six hour drive turned into 10.
Giving into the medicine
I was bedridden, dehydrated, and sick. Functioning at work seemed impossible and was on the verge of a hospital trip. I finally gave in to taking the prescription. It didn’t work. I was so tired that even though the vomiting subsided, I couldn’t even lift my head.
Try again. I was prescribed a second medicine. Medicine typically prescribed to chemo patients. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would need to resort to this for survival. I cried to everyone. I felt like my body was rejecting pregnancy. Would my attempt to take all these medicines hurt the baby?
My doctor finally convinced me that being dehydrated and emancipated would be worse for the baby than any possible side effect from the medicine. The medicine helped but I still continued to throw up no less than 5-10 times a day. I was thankful to be told about HG. At least I could put a name to this horrific nightmare of a condition.
What I didn’t know about HG (that I know now), is that medicine can help, but it will not solve it. There is also no cause. What the hell? This went on until about 30 weeks.
For anyone suffering from HG:
- Take care of yourself. If you are not well, your baby will not be well.
- Don’t over google the medicines. It’s a personal choice, but strongly consider the negative side effects of being so dehydrated you have to take multiple hospital trips.
- The medicines cause constipation. I will not get into this side effect other than to tell you, I did not know. You have enough going on, you DO NOT need this side effect to accompany it. I almost needed to go to the hospital over this. Ask your doctor about a safe laxative.
For anyone with a loved one suffering from HG:
- NEVER offer crackers or ginger ale. It just won’t work. Pushing the typical anti-nausea remedies will not help.
- Don’t tell them it’s normal when it’s not.
- Don’t compare her to Princess Kate who had it and has a whole team behind the scenes making sure she looks fabulous.
- Encourage them to take care of themselves by whatever means necessary that is reasonable and healthy for both mom and baby.
- Hold her hair, don’t make any faces or comments about appearance or accidents (such as when she pees on herself because she has vomited so hard- yes that happens).
- Make sure she does NOT become constipated from any of the medicines. You will thank me later.
The HER Foundation was a great resource for me.
When the baby came, it was all worth it. Your body is under construction, making a human. If you are blessed like me (sarcasm) to have been selected to be less than the two percent who get this condition, just know, you are not alone!
My baby boy was born beautiful, strong and healthy. I can cast away the medicine shamers I found on google and am at peace knowing that I did what was best for me and my baby.