And by “you”- I mean Hyperemesis. In the wake of Amy Schumer giving birth to her son and being vocal about her Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I thought I would share my story of HG and bring awareness. Truthfully, for me, pregnancy was miserable from beginning to end. If you don’t know what HG is, it is a “severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that may necessitate hospitalization.” Here’s a fun fact, I was pregnant 5 times! I have three children earth-side and two that are heaven side that ended in miscarriage. I experienced this rare and dreaded HG pregnancy disorder that affects a total of 2% of all pregnant women for a total of 31 months or 2 years and 7 months total.
Here are the basics of Hyperemesis Gravidarum according to Americanpregnancy.org :
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
- Decrease in urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Secondary anxiety/depression
Let me start by saying that I love each one of my kids and, after the first round of Hyperemesis, I chose to get pregnant again because I wanted more kids. So, I did know what I was getting myself into after the first pregnancy and yes I would do it all over again to have my kids. However, it doesn’t make my story any less, and I believe people need to know that HG isn’t just morning sickness. There is no amount of ginger, pregnancy pops, or even medication that takes it away. You just have to endure it each time.
I’m about to get real and vulnerable. My mother and my sister both had easy pregnancies. My mom had 4 natural births for goodness sakes and always gushed about how much she loved being pregnant. My sister was mostly the same, a little morning sickness, but nothing major. So, when I started getting severely sick at 5-6 weeks pregnant and puking from the morning to the evening, and all times of the night, I knew that something wasn’t right. But, this was 9 years ago, and people weren’t really talking about this pregnancy disorder. And let me tell you, when you can compare your pregnancy sickness to the worst times you’ve had with the stomach flu, you know it’s a bad.
To be blunt, if I didn’t know I was pregnant, I would have thought I was dying. Period.
There was one morning at around ten weeks pregnant with my first baby that my husband was at work, and I was essentially sleeping in the bathroom next to the toilet. I remember a moment I will never forget. I was laying on the floor just weeping and praying that God would allow me to miscarry this baby because I didn’t think I could handle being pregnant for one more second. My throat was raw from puking. I was losing weight. Everything I smelled made me gag and horribly nauseous. I could hardly eat or drink anything. I had blood vessels broken in my eyes and all over my face from the sheer force of my puking. I had terrible migraines. I just wanted it to be over. And listen, I’m a tough human.
For someone who always dreamed of being a mother and was over-the-moon excited to finally become one, this was a rather dark moment.
My Dr. put me on all kinds of medicine like Zofran, and Prednisolone to which none of them took away the sickness. I was hospitalized for a week with my second child, lost 6 pounds within 24 hours from puking, and was as dehydrated as someone who had ran a triathlon according to our Dr.
I could hardly work, though I had to push myself too because we needed the money. But, anyone else who felt the way I did while at work would have left because it was like working with a stomach bug. But then it got so bad with my second pregnancy that I had to quit working. HG gets worse with each pregnancy.
I have to be honest, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt with having Hyperemesis and having a little 2-year-old at the same time. I remember laying on the couch most of my pregnancy with my second daughter and letting my first born be essentially raised by Yo-Gabba-Gabba…the worst kids television show of all flipping time. Then, I remember her holding my hair back and rubbing my back while I puked in the toilet every hour or so.
I’m sure that had to of been a little traumatizing for her. I don’t even like to think about it. Poor kid.
When I was pregnant with my final baby, my son, I clearly knew what to expect. So, we had everything in place. We knew that my mom would fly in to help if needed, or my husband’s mom would come over any time that we needed. We had dinners frozen and planned out. There was no coffee allowed in the house at all. We knew we would say “no” to more things than say “yes.” And, I essentially stopped this blog at that point because I could hardly manage by family or myself. I was extremely dependent on everyone. So, no cute pregnancy blog updates, or Instagram photos. There was none of that. I just couldn’t do it.
It was never an easy pregnancy and I never felt that pregnancy glow. Ever. I wouldn’t wish Hyperemesis Gravidarum on my worst enemy. You aren’t exempt from Hyperemesis no matter who you are. Kate Middleton had Hyperemesis, Kim Kardashian had Hyperemesis. And, I’m pretty sure my great grandmother had it; sometimes HG is genetic.
But, I am glad that it is being talked about more. Because, there are so many people who don’t understand this pregnancy disorder and they think we are weak, incapable, over-exaggerating, and being dramatic. But until you’ve felt like you’ve had the actual flu for 9 months at a time and can relate, you don’t understand. Morning sickness is not the same as HG. It just isn’t. It doesn’t go away, not even for a second until that baby leaves your uterus.
So, while I loved feeling my babies ninja kick me while puking my soul out every day, giving birth for me was always the most magical part of pregnancy. Not only did I get to meet this tiny human I endured months of “labor” for, but I got to eat a big-fat-juicy hamburger and not puke it up. Yay!
And, again, while it was horribly miserable, I would do it all over again to have my babes. They are everything to me.
Now that I’ve experience HG, I am hyper aware when other prego mommas are sick or have the same issue. Being sick while growing a human being is incredibly debilitating. So, If you know someone who has Hyperemesis, the best way to support them is to help them. Help clean their house, help do their grocery shopping, help feed their family. Just help like you would if anybody else was sick.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum Sucks. That’s all.