October 11, 2017, was one of the best days of my life. I was driving home from work and our fertility doctor called me. “Congratulations, Maria! Your lab’s came back and you’re pregnant!”
I have never been so happy in my life. On October 25th, we had our first ultrasound. I told my doctor that I’d been feeling nauseous. I didn’t want medication and thought I’d just stick it out and this “morning sickness feeling” would pass.
That night, my husband drove us home from our ultrasound, and I vomited for the first time. I remember exactly where we were, on a main highway. I made him pull over, but I was too nervous to open the car door, so I vomited in his coffee cup. The smell of the coffee made me even more sick to the point where I couldn’t stop.
This was the first time I met Hyperemesis Gravidarum. The trigger just kept going until I felt like I was suffocating.
This is NOT Morning Sickness
From this day until the day prior to delivering Luigi, I’d have these episodes 8-10 times a day. The worst of my episodes occurred the week of Christmas, I was hospitalized because I was vomiting so violently that I was giving myself contractions.
After the longest night of our lives, we found out that our baby somehow survived. My doctor advised me to start taking Reglan “as needed,” to control my hyperemesis episodes from becoming threatening to our baby. I vomited every day until June 11th. My son was born on June 12th.
This pregnancy went undiagnosed. I was told I had “morning sickness.” I had a few friends who were pregnant and their morning sickness seemed like a few hours of nausea during the first three months of pregnancy.
After I had Luigi, I started researching severe morning sickness, what causes it, and why I had it throughout my whole pregnancy. While researching, I came across the term Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the HER Foundation. If you’re new here, HG is “a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease.”
I will forever be thankful for the hours the HER team works to spread awareness, educate doctors and other medical professionals, and help the women who suffer with countless resources and information on how to get the care they need.
While we were planning to get pregnant with Audriella, HER educated us on the steps we would need to take as soon as I felt HG symptoms. They also helped me set up my home IVs and encouraged me to talk to my doctor about more aggressive medication options.
Once we found out we were pregnant for the second time and Audriella’s embryo split into two, we wanted both babies so badly. Our fertility doctor said Baby B was measuring small and doubted she would make it to the following week, but she did, for 6 weeks, from 5-11. I can’t help but blame hyperemesis because right before we lost her, my HG was unbearable.
Multiple doctor appointments showing ketones in my urine, a hospital visit, a refusal to a hospital visit, bidaily infusions at Lu’s infectious disease doctor, the start of Zofran, and setting up a visiting nurse to infuse my iv at my house all happened before week 11.
When we lost Baby B, I felt she was in God’s hands and wasn’t meant for ours, here on earth. Somehow I am reading more and more stories of the brave women who have lost their babies (some even multiple babies) to HG.
When I went to the ER while I was pregnant with Audriella, my paperwork stated, “you have morning sickness.” This wasn’t because the doctor and nurses who treated me were inconsiderate; it’s because they weren’t educated properly. Loss of almost 20 lbs in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, ketones in urine, and dehydration that causes three attempts to insert an IV is not normal morning sickness, nor is it in my head. The HER Foundation’s breakthrough research shows “that the nausea and vomiting hormone GDF15 is the most likely cause of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).”
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for reading our story and for all of your support. HER is the reason behind our family having these two perfect little children. Donations made to HER are used for research, which has linked the gene GDF15 to HG, as well as maternal support, advocacy, and education programs.~Maria
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