I suffer from hyperemesis during my pregnancies, and before I go on I will explain what that is. So there is morning sickness and occasional nausea associated with pregnancy especially during the first trimester. Most women that I know might have a nauseated month or might not ever get sick at all. It is normal to feel nauseated during the first few months of pregnancies usually in the morning time. But some women, like me, experience something a bit more life altering. I first heard the term hyperemesis when I was laying in the hospital bed having my shriveled veins being pumped with fluids. But let me rewind before I go on.
The morning of the day I found out I was pregnant with my first baby was normal in that I woke up with a craving for pancakes. As I took the last delicious bite, it all came back up. Instant nausea had set in and after the worst was over and I picked myself off the bathroom floor, I washed out my mouth and then looked up into the mirror and smiled. I just knew I was pregnant. I took a test and I was. So that is what I thought was normal. Find out you are pregnant, throw up in the morning a few times and then go about being a glowy radiant baby bump bearing mommy to be. I had NO idea what was in store for me.
I began throwing up more and more, and in a month, the person i had been was barely there. I didn’t have a job at the time but if I had had one, I would have been forced to quit. I couldn’t hold anything down. I survived on graham crackers and blue Gatorade and I couldn’t even hold that down. Cameron would come home from work and I would be laying on the floor in our apartment, crying and weak. I kept bags by my bed because I became to weak to get up every 20 minutes to throw up. By month two I felt like I couldn’t even remember who I was anymore. I would scream and cry and wish to not be pregnant anymore. The nausea was not subsiding day by day and I couldn’t imagine living like that for much longer. I felt so guilty for my feelings, but overtime I threw up, for the 50th time in one day, and trying to cope with that yucky car sick nausea every second, I wished to not be pregnant anymore. I felt alone because no one that I knew had experienced what I was going through. I thought they just thought I was weak, whiny, or over exaggerating. I didn’t know I had a condition that was different then regular morning sickness.
So back to wear I started, laying in a hospital and getting the hydration my body so desperately needed. I heard my sister tell someone over the phone that I had hyperemesis. Here is the definition I found.
It is "a complication of pregnancy characterized by intractable nausea, vomiting, and dehydration and is estimated to affect 0.5–2.0% of pregnant women.Malnutrition and other serious complications, such as fluid or electrolyte imbalances, may result.Hyperemesis is considered a rare complication of pregnancy, but because nausea and vomiting during pregnancy exist on a spectrum, it is often difficult to distinguish this condition from the more common form of nausea and vomiting experienced during pregnancy known as morning sickness.”
"When hyperemesis gravidarum is severe or inadequately treated, it may result in the following:
- Loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy body weight
- Dehydration, causing ketosis, and constipation
- Nutritional disorders such as vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency, vitamin B6 deficiency or vitamin B12 deficiency
- Metabolic imbalances such as metabolic ketoacidosis or thyrotoxicosis
- Physical and emotional stress of pregnancy on the body
- Difficulty with activities of daily living"
The doctor gave me a better drug to help with my nausea, and after I was hydrated I was set on my way. Along with my new medicine I came up with a better system to manage my enausea. I kept graham crackers by the bed and ate a couple as soon as my eyes opened in the morning. (Cameron had to deal with a lot of crumbs in the sheets). I moved slowly and took my meds religiously, being careful to not let it get out of control again. I began only throwing up a few times a day, then maybe it would just be once a day. By the time I was starting to show, around 20 weeks, I was able to start living again. I still dealt with nausea and a case of throwing up everyday, but it subsided enough that I could actually start to be excited for my first pregnancy.
I was nervous to get pregnant with my second baby because I knew I would probably be very sick again, and it would be hard to take care of a toddler while throwing up every minute of the first three months. Eventually I did get pregnant with Elliot and as soon as the nausea hit I took my cocktail of pills to ease it. A few times I just couldn’t get it under control in time and I think I was only admitted to the hospital once for fluids. There were days when our parents would watch Cohen all day while I was in bed sick, and I started to feel guilty again for being pregnant and being unable to take care of my son the way I should.
Hyperemesis is kind of lonely because no one understands the despair that months and months of straight nausea can cause. I worried that if I complained that others would think “why is she complaining when she wanted to get pregnant so bad, she did this to herself haha) I know that mind sound crazy but its true. Nobody wants to whine to their loved ones for months and months about how they are nauseous, because it doesn’t sound as bad as it actually is. Its just so hard to explain. Thankfully, I had amazing support the second time around and everything worked out really great in the end. I was never so thankful or close by family in my life. If I ever got pregnant and we lived in another state, I would have to move back in/near family for help, its that extreme! I can’t get over how dismissive it sounds, nausea. But consistent, persistent, insisting, every second of the day for weeks and weeks nausea, or hyperemesis, terribly effects a person mentally and physically.
The war I have going on with myself is that half of my heart, wants to have another baby, already. The other half, does not. It wants to spend the spring and summer with my boys healthy and happy, energetic and attention giving. Soaking up every minute of with them, with these moments that I will never get back. It’s hard for others to understand because I spend my pregnancies so much more debilitated than others, and I can’t give my boys the attention and love, and time that is so important to me. I know I would be depressed if I missed out on precious moments for months of their lives because I was sick again. I will be ready to do that one day, but as for now I am not. If I could do it all, I would.
I feel selfish for wanting more babies, because of the neglect it will cause the two I already have. I become a burden on those I love, and feel ashamed that I need to ask for so much help, for a situation I put myself in! I also feel selfish for NOT wanting more babies, because my oldest boy is already wanting a sister and I know I am supposed to have more, I can feel it. Cameron feels hesitant because he knows how stressful pregnancies can be on me, because he is the one who has to hear about my sickness everyday, the one who has to take up the slack when I can’t do a thing. He also feels so helpless when I am so sick.
As women we suffer many different hardships that go along with something we want so badly, a baby. Some women struggle to get pregnant, and that alone is so hard. But then if they get pregnant they might suffer from preclampsia or postpartum depression and feel ashamed to talk about how it makes them feel, because they so desperately wanted the experience of having a baby. I guess I always felt weird about complaining about something I so desperately wanted, but not talking about it can make you feel very isolated. Trying to look like you have it together when you don’t can make you feel lonely.
It is true that when the baby came, in my case, I felt happy, better, free from my nausea prison. I could deal with c-section pains all day as long as I didn’t have to feel nauseated anymore. Soon in time, it’s clear that all the bad that you went through is worth it. It is worth it, its just more of a rocky journey for some of us.
So there you have it. I have two equally loud voices demanding two different things. “HAVE A BABY NOW!” and “YOU CAN NOT DEAL WITH BEING DEBILITATED RIGHT NOW, YOU HAVE TWO KIDS YOU CRAZY.”
And as for now I am listening to the latter.