After almost a year of marriage, I got a positive pregnancy test at the end of July 2018. My husband and I thanked God. We were excited to welcome this baby. Little did we know what I would go through. I wanted and planned a healthy and smooth pregnancy.
I started to feel nauseous at week 4. My sense of smell was sensitive. I thought it was only morning sickness like everyone talks about. I thought, wow is it too early to have morning sickness? I was questioning myself, is this really morning sickness? They say it is only in the morning, or sometimes in the evening. I was feeling nauseous 24 hours nonstop, and the sickness was getting worse everyday.
August 5th, we were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary out of town. We already planned and paid for it, and I insisted we go because our 1st anniversary should be special. But it was hard to make it special, and I did not enjoy the trip. All I felt was nauseous. We went out for lunch and dinner, and I ordered my favorite foods. Looking at them made me want to vomit, and I ate very little. I always enjoyed the atmosphere of breakfast at a hotel, but at that time, I ate nothing. I couldn’t even get up from the bed.
A week after the anniversary trip, I was taken to the Emergency Room and was hospitalized for a few days because I couldn’t keep anything down – even water. I was dehydrated and my body was shaking. The hospital treatment did not help me that much, and I kept vomiting in the hospital even though I had IV fluids and medication. Being in the hospital also made me very uncomfortable. It was disturbing to hear the nurses and people in the hospital saying that this is a common thing that pregnant women experience. I asked my doctor if I could go home and after they did some tests, he let me with some medicines. When I got home, I ran to the bathroom and kept vomiting until I couldn’t talk or breathe. I had to bang on the bathroom door so my husband would come and help me stand up. The vomiting and nausea were unbearable.
My doctor told me the diagnosis at the second trip to the hospital – I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). My doctor said the diagnosis without explaining more about it. I remembered the name and Googled it. I found an Indonesian webpage that explained what I was searching for, but I couldn’t find a forum or stories from Indonesian women on the Internet. Then, I found the HER Foundation website, and I learned more details about HG. I also met Lyle, a HER volunteer. He sent me Ashli Foshee McCall’s books to read. He and other HER volunteers supported through my HG pregnancy. They were all so sweet and thoughtful.
HG took away so much. I could not go to work; it was hard for me to take a shower without my husband’s help; I could not care for my husband; I could not care for myself. Besides not eating at all, I was very sensitive to lights, sounds, and motions. They made me very nauseous, and I could not move a lot and would stay in the same position for hours to avoid more nausea. I could only lay down and sleep and lose weight. My safe foods were ice cubes and salt.
My severe vomiting and nausea finally got better at week 20. I still vomited a few times after, but not as much as in the beginning of my pregnancy. There were even some good days that I did not vomit. I still had to be careful about what I ate. Severe heartburn and GERD continued until delivery at 38 weeks. I even vomited during my c-section but felt much better the next day after my beautiful baby girl was born. I was so happy to be free of HG after I gave birth.
HG changed everything in me. My recovery has taken time. I had serious dental damage, and I lost a lot of calcium in my body and was diagnosed with Osteopenia. There was a moment during HG that I told my husband that it is just better if I die. I will never forget I said that. My husband was trying to keep me sane so I did not end up killing myself. HG was violently killing me, mentally and physically. If not for the support I got from HER Foundation volunteers, my husband, and my mother, my baby girl and I might not be here today.
HG can be devastating and alienating. I know there are a lot of people who say what you experience with HG is common. They have no idea what you are going through. I would like to tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. As human beings, we also deserve to get the right treatment. The best thing you can do is seek support if you have HG. If there’s no one helping you in your family or neighborhood, you have us. The right treatment and support will definitely save your life and your baby’s. And that is all that matters.Petty Fathia, Co-Founder of HG Indonesia
HG Indonesia Begins
Eight months after giving birth, I met my Indonesian friend who is also an HG Survivor. After chatting about HG Awareness, we decided to build an HG community in Indonesia. You can visit our Instagram Page @hgawareness_id to see what we’re doing. We want to spread awareness and support Indonesian women with HG. We also have a Whatsapp Support Group. So if you are an Indonesian woman with HG and reading this story, message us on Instagram, and we will try to help you as much as we can.
HG is hyperemesis gravidarum: a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mom and baby.