The day after Christmas, two pink lines on a stick forever changed us. Our hearts soared and a jolt of excitement shot from head to toe! We couldn’t wait to expand our family with a baby. We got in touch with our families and brought them together at our home on New Year’s Eve to announce the great news! Everyone was elated and shared our excitement as we celebrated through the night.
Then on January 2nd I came down with a cold and the morning sickness hit me like a truck. I was okay with the nausea and random bouts of vomiting, as I knew it would come with being pregnant and go away in the second trimester like everyone had told me. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in the slightest.
I am not one to miss work just because I’m sick. I always try to power through any illness I might have and save vacation days for just that, vacation. I started to miss so much work because I wasn’t sleeping well, due to the nausea waking me up throughout the entire night. I could not keep down any food or drinks. I would even throw up crushed ice! That’s how I knew it was really severe. I would go days without moving from my bed or keeping anything down. I was in so much pain from the dehydration, I kept feeling like I was going to die. I know you are probably thinking dramatic, right? Well I am not.
Now in February, I was so pale with body pain, and powerful headaches made it nearly impossible to do anything. I was convinced by my husband and family members to go to the hospital after trying to push through the pain. We did not want to risk anything happening to our baby, so I went to the hospital and discovered I was severely dehydrated. I was then diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I had never heard of this until the doctor told us.
For those of you who have never heard of this before either, it is a condition where you have consistent vomiting during pregnancy. It can lead to additional issues like weight loss and dehydration. My doctor informed me it was rare and only 2% of women have been diagnosed during their pregnancy. I was treated for dehydration that day and was told the condition should go away after 13 weeks, and to combat the nausea, she gave me a prescription for Reglan.
The Reglan helped for about a week and a half before I was back to throwing up everything and feeling like I couldn’t get through my usual daily activities. I went to my OBGYN at the time and was given Unisom and B6 to help me sleep and take away the nausea. This medicine lasted less than the Reglan, and I was still throwing up consistently. It was starting to seem like nothing would help ease the condition.
Still unable to keep down any food and now having lost 20 pounds, I was so miserable and didn’t think I could go anymore. The headaches and body pains from throwing up so much were awful. Once again, my family had convinced me to go to the hospital again to be treated.
Off to the hospital for the second time. I was only 19 weeks pregnant and in so much pain! I felt envious of all the women who told me I would love being pregnant. I wanted the pregnancies they had and the glow I was told I would have in the second trimester. I was so worried about my baby getting the proper nutrients because I had not been able to keep food or water down for days. Fortunately, the doctor told us the baby can actually survive on less than 100 calories a day, and body fat can provide needed calories to the baby if necessary. The doctors treated me for dehydration once again. I advised the staff I was told that the Hyperemesis Gravidarum would be gone after weeks. They began to tell me that is usually true for some women, but there is a .5% chance you will have it your entire pregnancy. So not only did I fall into the 2% category of having HG, but also had the extremely rare situation of having to deal with it for 10 months. I felt like I should have gotten a lottery ticket by that point. I was given dissolvable Zofran for the days and a Promethazine suppository at night: two different medications that could not be thrown up.
Being prescribed these medicines was the greatest thing that could have happened. I still continued to throw up and have nausea, but not nearly as much as I was before. I was able to eat again, and after not being able to keep anything down, this was definitely the best part! Unfortunately, HG decided to follow me like a shadow and I was throwing up to the point that I delivered my sweet baby girl. I was in active labor and still had nurses bringing me bags to throw up into. Definitely not fun.
With all this being said and everything that I had been through, I had family saying they didn’t understand why I was still throwing up and I needed to control it. It was sad because they did not understand that this was sporadic and unpredictable, being a medical condition beyond my control. The doctors couldn’t even tell me what causes Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I was informed the reason could be different for every woman and is extremely rare. I was also told by family members that they were scared I wasn’t going to want anything to do with my baby because of the way I felt during pregnancy. This was all so disheartening to hear. I know I didn’t have a blissful pregnancy and was counting down the days for my baby girl to be here so I wouldn’t have to be in pain all the time, but all I wanted more than anything was to hold our little miracle in my arms.
I hope anyone going through a difficult pregnancy will read this and know its okay to feel the way you do, because you are not alone. This doesn’t mean you will love your baby any less because you are not enjoying your pregnancy. It isn’t always “glowing” for everyone. Sometimes it’s difficult and you may seem like giving up hope, but just remember that your body is unique in its own way. Find a support person to check in on you, whether it be your spouse/partner, family member, or a close friend. Having that person to talk to and listen means the world. Just know that there are others like you out there. I’ve been where you are now, and this will only make you stronger. You will get through! Hang in there and always keep in mind what is coming your way soon!