I have had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) five times and have two beautiful little boys. The first HG pregnancy was the hardest, most confusing time of my life. A week after I got the positive pregnancy test, the sickness started. At first it was manageable, but every single day I woke up even worse than the last until I was throwing up 20+ times a day. Every time I tried to eat or drink, my body would reject it. I lost my job, my income. I was bleeding vaginally and throwing up blood.
Everyone seemed to laugh and tell me “that’s morning sickness for you, you’ll manage” when I tried to tell them how sick I was. I didn’t understand how people could still work and hide their pregnancy when they were all like this 24/7 like they were telling me. Why was I so weak? I couldn’t handle normal morning sickness? I always thought I was one of the strong ones, but I was a mess.
I spent days in bed crying, which only made the excess saliva that I couldn’t swallow build up even more. I avoided showering because the heat and standing up made the sickness worse, not to mention the dizziness and blackness that came with it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone because their smell would set me off, as well as loud noises, being too hot, or too cold.
My husband broke down crying when I was around 9 weeks pregnant because he thought I was going to die and felt so helpless (I’m 5′ 10″ and was down to 42kgs). My lips were cracked and bleeding; my hair was in dreadlocks from not brushing/washing it.
He carried me to the car and made me go to the hospital. I was in such a state of depression at this point that I didn’t want to leave my bed and bucket. The nurses were anything but helpful. One gave me a 15 minute lecture about anorexia and the damage it would do to my unborn baby. When I tried to tell her, she looked me in the eye with so much pity and told me, “I know Anorexia when I see it.”
When they figured out how dehydrated I was, they hooked me up to fluids, injected me with drugs, and gave another lecture about, and I quote, “dealing with the morning sickness, like every one else” and forcing myself to eat and drink. I didn’t understand: I wanted to eat; I wanted to drink more than anything; I still remember that thirst. I did want to survive. All I seemed to think about was water. I tried and tried but almost every time my body rejected the fluid I drank instantly.
I remember looking at a dirty rain puddle when I was walking into the hospital for fluids, and every instinct was telling me to drink it, so much so that I found myself on my hands and knees moving towards it before I knew what I was doing. My husband pulled me up thinking I was about to pass out. Needless to say, our baby didn’t make it earth side. Neither did the next one, but after lots of my own research, I learned about HG and the medications that helped. I found a safe food or in my case drink- frozen coke, which I could sometimes keep down with the help of medication, and I finally gave birth to a beautiful healthy little boy. We lost another little girl the following years, but then gave birth to another healthy boy a few years later in my last pregnancy.Awareness of HG within the medical industry in my country town in Australia had improved greatly by my 5th pregnancy, and it was my easiest pregnancy thanks to that. People understood, gave me meds without lectures or making me feel guilty, and they sent me straight in for fluids every few days, which helped a great deal. I’ll still always have friends and family members giving little digs like, “I couldn’t just give up work like you. I had to push through my morning sickness” or “we can’t all be lucky enough to walk out of the hospital in a size 6 like you.” I guess the only people who will truly understand will be the other women who have really suffered through it. And the husbands who were by their sides.
I am HER! You are HER! We are HER!
Believe in HER!
Together, we are changing
the future for the next generation!
What is HG? HG is hyperemesis gravidarum: a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that causes chronic malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mom/baby.