Late last October, Mark and I found out we were expecting and it was probably one of the greatest days of our shared life. Better than buying our house, almost as beautiful as our wedding…it was just amazing. As overused as that word was, it fits.
For the next two weeks, we floated in a cloud of happiness…then my first brush with morning sickness hit -- I spent the next twelve hours sitting in front of the toilet in the master bathroom, vomiting until I saw bile. By that night, I couldn’t stand because of the pain in my sides from heaving. My body was weak, I was dizzy and eating was out of the question. Every smell set me off and I would vomit, again.
Mark helped me to bed, leaving a cup of water on the nightstand with a few crackers. We both assumed it was the effects of a first-time pregnancy. Maybe my body just didn’t know how to handle the rush of new hormones. We went to bed that night sure it would pass. Everyone has a little morning sickness, right?
Three days later, we were making our first ER visit. I couldn’t stand under my own power. I’d reached the point when vomiting that I was seeing blood and eating was out of the question. I was unable to even drink water at that point. My body wouldn’t hold it down. The doctor’s diagnosed me as ‘severely dehydrated and malnourished’. I was rushed to a room, fitted with an IV and given three bags of fluids and anti-nausea meds. That night was the first night since I’d first gotten pregnant that I slept all the way through the night without waking up to be sick. I later found out it was because I had been sedated. It was the only way to get my body to calm down.
I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant. I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds since day one, spent countless hours laying in bed missing days of work and evenings with friends, and we’ve made a total of ten emergency hospital visits since that first one. All for the same reason.
I’d initially lost count, of the days we spent in the hospital. Everything blurred into fitful naps, constant vomiting, midnight car rides and hospital waiting rooms. I’m always there for dehydration; every three to four days, entirely incapacitated. It took a glance at the mounting hospital bills to calculate exactly how often I’d been there. It’s taxing and now there’s an entire wing of amazing nurses at Texas Children’s Hospital that know us by name. And I finally know the name for what I have: Hyperemesis Gravidarum
I’m going to copy this from the above website because there’s really no better way to describe this; Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. If severe and/or inadequately treated, it is typically associated with loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight, dehydration, and production of ketones, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic imbalances and difficulty with daily activities. Not to mention possible premature labor and a total feeling of helplessness.
Sounds fun, right?
It took stumbling on a random Facebook post for me to realize that I wasn’t alone in all of this. I laid in my bed, fighting off another bout of nausea, reading through all of the comments and trying not to cry with joy.
Despite insistence from my OBGYN, I’d somehow thought I was the only woman who’s body was spending her pregnancy rebelling against itself. There were actually other women spending nights sleeping next to their toilets and making friends with everyone at their local ERs. I felt vindicated.
Last weekend, after being released from the hospital yet again, I was scrolling through Instagram and found posts of even more women experiencing the same thing. I reached out to a few and we traded tips and names of our medicines like kids with Pokemon cards. It’s odd to say it was refreshing but misery loves company, right?
Since then, I’ve talked to my doctor and we’ve shuffled my current prescriptions around to hopefully finally curb this. We’re also in talks to possibly get a home health nurse that will visit us every few days, timed to when my body usually gives out, that can run all the usual blood tests and administer floods that I go to the ER for. The ease of having someone that can meet me in my bedroom before things get to their worse would be invaluable!
And through all of this, our baby, our beautiful, much loved, highly anticipated, sweet little soul is thriving. Honestly, that’s what gets me through on those roughest nights.
When I’m dry heaving, crouched on the floor, ready to just pass out from pain, I visualize our ultrasound pics and that sweet little face and I feel like I can go one more hour. And if I can make one more hour, I can do one more day. After all, I’m 25 weeks. I’m almost there. Lord knows I’m gonna love my child from here to eternity when they get here, but a lot of it will be because I’ve been put through the wringer and I’m glad it’s over!
I’ve included links above about HG but another great resource that has helped me a lot is here. I’ve also downloaded an amazing app that has helped me track my meds, sick days and get a handle on my symptoms. I hope no one else ever needs either, but HG affects so many women that that is just wishful thinking. And it’s better to stay informed. It makes coping with Hypermesis Gravidarum much easier.
Karra Wade is a lifestyle blogger, boutique owner and content creator living in Texas with her husband and two dogs.
In 2015, she started Feather + Arrow to promote her work and share bits of personal life. It has slowly grown into a place where she can not only share musings about her day but also discuss fashion tips, lifestyle inspiration and peeks into her shop.