In May 2018, my husband and I finally received a positive pregnancy test result. We were thrilled and decided to wait until Mother’s Day to tell our parents. However, my husband went out of town, and I became incredibly ill soon after. After two days of vomiting, my heart rate was fast, and I was terrified. My husband called my mom to come over and check on me, and she quickly realized something was wrong.
I couldn’t wait until Mother’s Day to tell my mom, and I had to say to her then. In just four weeks, I made my first trip to the hospital and was there for three days. While I felt better when I came home, every doctor told me to wait until week 12 and that I would feel like a new person. Unfortunately, a few days later, I was back in the hospital.
Week 12 came, but I still didn’t feel well.
My mom helped me shower because I was too weak to do it myself. The doctors told me that I would feel better at week 20, but in the meantime, I was taking medication left and right, with no relief. Home health nurses came to my home when I wasn’t in the hospital, but they couldn’t start an IV because my veins were too dehydrated. So, back to the hospital I went.
By week 18, the doctor told me I would need a feeding tube because I had lost 30 pounds. I was scared and begged them not to put it in, and thankfully, they didn’t. After being discharged, I had two semi-normal weeks but still felt nauseous. My husband and I decided to have a gender reveal party, but my luck ran out that day. I didn’t eat, could barely stand, and was admitted to the hospital the next day for seven days.
Things didn’t get better after week 20.
We were told several times that our baby may not make it. The doctor even said that I was losing the baby and that the baby was very lethargic. It was a nightmare to hear those words over and over. My husband and I couldn’t get excited about having a baby because we didn’t know the outcome. We couldn’t get close to our baby and didn’t finish our nursery until a week before she arrived.
Why? Because we didn’t know if she would make it or if I would make it. My mom was a mess. My dad had to call 911 because he found me unresponsive at 30 weeks. I was staying with my parents so my husband could go to work.
At 36 weeks pregnant, my blood sugar was so low that I had a seizure and woke up to 20 doctors in my room. One of the doctors said, “We need to take her out. She needs to come out. We’ve run out of all options. You could die!”
It was terrifying.
I had a c-section, and let me tell you, I felt AMAZING! We returned to our room with our healthy baby girl, who weighed 4lbs 12oz, and I felt like I could run a marathon. The doctors were amazed that she was healthy and that I felt great. They thought I had other issues. When I got home, I threw out my trash can and bought a new couch; you can probably guess why.
Fast forward, my husband and I have decided not to go through the same experience again.
We agreed to pursue surrogacy. When we looked at my health insurance, we were pleased to find that we have excellent fertility coverage. However, our hopes of getting IVF paid for were dashed when it got denied. The reason? Because I am technically able to get pregnant. Even though I have a history of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) that can make my pregnancy incredibly difficult and put my health and the baby’s health at risk, my insurance company does not see HG as a condition preventing me from having a baby. Instead, they would rather pay for all the hospital stays, feeding tubes, and other medical interventions with HG. This is extremely disappointing, but we are still determined to pursue surrogacy. I want to use my experience to advocate for better recognition and coverage of HG by insurance companies.