Hyper.... what's it called???
Kate Middleton. Lovely, lovely Kate Middleton, I feel ya girl... I feel you.
I've recently read several articles and blog posts about Hyperemesis Gravidarum written in light of the news that Kate Middleton is carrying another royal baby and suffering from HG for a second time. While I hate to think of women suffering, it was very therapeutic to read about the pregnancy woes of others that I so intimately shared six years ago.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a pregnancy complication characterized by extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting (all day, every day- it does not diminish after 12 weeks) requiring hospitalization. The result is dehydration, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance, severe weight loss and the inability to gain necessary pregnancy weight. It's often accompanied by serious depression.
I was diagnosed with HG when I was pregnant with Macson. I knew women often experienced nausea during their first trimester so I wasn't surprised when at 8 weeks I began feeling a little queasy. What I didn't realize was that severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is actually dangerous for mother and baby. Infants born to mothers who suffer from HG are more likely to have a plethora of problems including low birth weight. They are also at increased risk for pre-term labor. (My pre-term labor was stopped at 31 weeks and 35 weeks.)
Somehow my mother was alerted to my condition as I lay, 8 weeks pregnant, on the bathroom floor dry heaving, my stomach empty of even the acid that left my throat burning endlessly for nine months and the enamel on my teeth wearing thin, and asked... "Well has she kept ANYTHING down?"
"No fluids? No nothing?"
"She needs to go to the right hospital now."
When I reached the hospital, I was so dehydrated that the veins in my shriveled hands and arms had collapsed. Starting my IV was an adventure. In addition to fluids, I needed to take HORSE PILLS the size of my hand to balance my electrolytes. (Okay, not THAT big, but sodium and potassium pills are quite large.) For weeks, I took the supplements and worked with my doctor to come up with a good anti-nausea medication cocktail. NO to Phinergan. Double NO to Reglan after I began to have severe physiological complications. (ALWAYS read the side effect list! I didn't that time... Oops.) We finally settled on Zofran, which they explained was the last frontier between me and a several week (or month)-long hospital stay to keep my sickness under control. Somehow the Zofran worked well enough to allow me to be at home on bed rest. So I took A LOT of Zofran. I had to take it around the clock, setting my alarm for the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning so that I wouldn't let my dosage lapse and be violently awakened from my sleep to vomit. Of course, this was only to manage the symptoms as I was still hospitalized repeatedly for severe hydration due to vomiting. I lost track of how many times...
I couldn't function. I lost eight pounds almost instantly.
I couldn't work. On my last day, I had thrown up 11 times. It wasn't even noon yet.
I couldn't drive, pulling over to throw up or even throw up out of the cracked car door while the car was still in motion. (Total miracle I didn't die.)
Halfway through my second trimester I was able to get up a little more and though I would still throw up consitently throughout the day, I could occasionally eat and leave my house.
By the day Macson was born, I had gained a total of 12 pounds, 7 pounds of which was baby. ^^
Though I swore to myself I would never again become pregnant, as you may know, I DID become pregnant again last March and miraculously endured a much easier pregnancy. While I was still very sick until the end of my second trimester and unable to leave my bed for the peak of my all-day sickness, I had an almost normal experience. I gained 24 pounds, 7 lbs. and 11oz. of baby. Zofran was my saving grace again but I could sleep through the night without having to take another dose.
I am so grateful for the gift of being able to easily become and stay pregnant, but it really is one of the hardest things I've ever done. The good news is that every pregnancy is different. A horrific first pregnancy does not mean that another traumatizing pregnancy is imminent (except for Kate Middleton, in this case *insert sad face*).
Also, please don't ever tell a woman suffering from HG to try ginger or a peppermint candy or any other regular remedy for nausea. It really just makes us want to slap you in the face. LOL! Just kidding! Mostly. ;)
Would love to hear of your difficult (or awesome!) pregnancy experiences. Comment below, lovies!