Friday, October 30, 2015

Hyperemesis and a Baby

I never intended to let the blog get this far behind.  I always kept in it my mind that once I started feeling better and things started to return to normal I'd quickly catch things back up.  Unfortunately it took a lot longer than I anticipated to start feeling better, and I'm not sure things are quite back to normal even now.  Once I was ready to start again I was honestly a bit overwhelmed by how much time had lapsed, and how much I needed to catch up on...but tonight as I sat down to do just that I was shocked at how little there was to really share.  I know that it felt to me as though I've missed most of this year, especially the Spring, but I didn't realize how true that really was until now.

You see, in February we were given the wonderful news that we were expecting our third baby.  We couldn't have been happier as it was something we had been waiting for much longer than many people knew.  We were thrilled and I was feeling great and really looking forward to the months to come.  But it wasn't long before I was definitely not feeling well anymore.  I knew it the instant it hit - Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG.

I had unfortunately had a previous experience with it during my second pregnancy so it was easy for me to recognize what was happening, and what I thought was to come.  This prior knowledge foolishly made me think that I would be able to stay ahead of it and hopefully miss some of the miserableness that I had to endure the first time around...I was wrong.  This isn't simply a case of morning sickness, not even a case of "severe morning sickness" as I've often seen it described.  I experienced morning sickness with my first pregnancy, and I knew all the tips and tricks to combat it.  None of those things work when you're faced with HG. HG is a life altering and debilitating experience that I wouldn't wish on even my worst enemy, and can lead to some serious health complications for baby and mama.

This time my HG came ready to fight and I didn't stand a chance.  Within 2 weeks I had already lost more than 25 pounds and was unable to eat anything or even keep down water or ice chips.  Multiple ER visits, IV fluids, and even my first ICU experience did very little to improve my condition.  I was too weak to walk far or even stand on my own for more than a moment.  Which, as a stay at home mama to two young girls, made life very difficult indeed.  My girls were amazingly understanding (as much as they could be at their ages) but it was so hard on them to not have their mama like they were used to.  Thankfully my husband is amazing and did everything he could to maintain a sense of normalcy for us all.  He had no choice but to step up and take over all of my responsibilities on top of everything he normally had to do.  It wasn't an easy time for any of us to say the very least.

It was near the end of the first trimester that I found myself back at the ER, again.  At this point I hadn't eaten a single bite of anything in more than 2 weeks and could tell things were headed downhill very quickly.  We were feeling hopeless and were praying for a miracle.  It was that night that I met my current midwife, though sometimes I still refer to her as my guardian angel and I'm certain she was sent to save me that night.  She walked up to us that night and simply said "I know what you're going through and I know how to fix it." and I know that in that instant I must have looked at her like she was insane because the idea of anyone being able to fix what I was going through (much less in the week she said she could do it in) was unbelievable.  Of course at that point we had nothing left to lose so we agreed to her plan and I was readmitted to the hospital.

To be perfectly honest I'm not sure what even went on during those first two days.  I know I was on a constant stream of anti-nausea meds, IV fluids, vitamins, medicines and having my blood work done multiple times a day.  What I do know is that by day 3 I was able to sip on soup and juice and it was glorious.  Each day I improved a bit more, and by the end of the week I was even able to eat bits of actual food.  I was astonished.  I was sent home at the end of that week with anti-nausea medication and a new confidence that I might actually survive this experience after all.  Each day I felt a bit better and by the time I was full into the second trimester I was even able to carefully wean myself off the nausea meds.

As terrible as this sounds, I was actually pretty lucky.  Many women have to fight this battle throughout their entire pregnancy and end up with much more serious complications in the end.  I am beyond thankful to have found a medical professional that not only knew of HG, but had experience managing it, that was truly a blessing.  I urge everyone to educate themselves about Hyperemesis Gravidarum so that if the need arises you can be an advocate for a woman in your life.  It can make all the difference in the world for her.  I had never even heard of HG before my first experience with it and didn't have anyone who had to advocate for me.  This second time around I was able to do a fair bit of fighting for myself, but even that is hard when you're feeling so miserable.

Thankfully I am happy to report that since then everything has gone well for both myself and the baby and we are now in the final days of (not so patiently) waiting for our third daughter to arrive.

Baby Sister 2