They said I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). All I knew of it was Princess Kate had it for all three of her pregnancies. Termination was discussed because basic activities of daily living, like a shower, had to be done with assistance as I could not stand unassisted. Compared to any stomach or gut issues suffered in my 20s, this was a whole other ballgame. Because of my hyperemesis gravidarum reality, I couldn’t sit in a car, whether 1km down the road or drive 30km to work, without vomiting like a Merlion. All our cars had to be stocked with emesis bags. Just. In. Case. I lost close to 10kgs of my body weight and barely put anything back on.
Despite this, I continued to persevere because I wanted to see you, and I badly wanted to see you through your Father’s eyes. I saw my friends around me who were happily enjoying their pregnancy journey, and I asked God “Why am I suffering through mine?”
For 271 days I suffered. Most days, it felt as if the end was near, and I say this with no exaggeration. Other days, I thought I was going to lose you first.
I had minimal food intake, and I pushed fluids hard because I didn’t want to end up in emergency again. I did not want to inconvenience anyone further than I had already felt I had. Still, I persevered. From all the vomiting, I actually eroded and broke a part of my tooth. I initially thought was just a filling that came out). Thanks to my dentist friend for fitting me to fix it, despite how distraught I was, and for giving me advice how to carry forth vomiting and maintaining dental health. Thank you.
HG Reality: Medication
Still, I persevered. I was on so many medications for HG and had an rolling automatic script of the drug cocktail. I knew my pharmacist by first name! Half the time, I worried about he drugs I had to take. But I forgot with each visit hearing your heartbeat and seeing you continue to grow as we prayed you would.
I stayed within the four walls of our master bedroom and took every precaution and medication I had to, so I could see you. So that ‘WE’ could see you. I lived 271 days in silence about you because I did not want to be pitied or judged if I lost you. I just wanted to see 10 fingers and 10 toes before sharing my joy about you. I had family and friends who thought it was their right to be disapproving of my choice not to tell them I was pregnant. Little did they know our anxiety, nor could they sympathize and understand our choices had nothing to do with them and everything to do with my mental health. Dealing with all that was happening, still, I persevered.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum Reality: Birth
Then on a beautiful sunny Chinese New Year afternoon, I took my last vomit of 271 days, and I evicted you. 1.5 hours later, all the suffering was all forgotten. Within hours, my body snapped back to the Amrita before the gruelling 271 days like a long-lost friend. I could eat (and I did). I could sit in a car. I could brush my teeth without gagging. I could eat sugary items. I could eat meat. The vomiting stopped, and I could do it all and be your number one. I conquered all to bring you into this world.
You have taught me that I am tougher than I thought and that I can do it all: manage household, work as a nurse, be a wife, be a good friend, and still be your caregiver after 39 weeks and 5 days of hell.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum Reality: Parenthood
Being your Mother has been a breeze, but none of it could have happened with ease without your father. He is just so AMAZING. I don’t know what I did to be blessed with someone as hands on and supportive as him, but I’m glad I am. I have to thank my mother-in-law for raising a saint of a man who has made my 271 days of hell and motherhood just that much easier. Thank you for choosing me as your wife and being my Arya Stark to conquer our Night King – I love you.
On my first Mother’s Day, I commemorated my suffering of 271 days by photographing you, my child, with 1/4 of the medications I had to take to function at barely 50%. I love you kid: your bright eyes, gummy smile, and nonsensical chatter. Thank you for making me a mother.
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