We did it! My daughter, Dakota Aoibhinn, and I survived Hyperemesis Gravidarum. She is a thriving, smiley, giggly four month old, and we couldn’t be more in love with her.
My husband and I had always wanted a big family, but the thought of surviving another HG pregnancy sends waves of nausea through my body and triggers the PTSD. For now, we are soaking up these sweet newborn days with our daughter and so thankful to be a family again now that Dakota and I have returned to Ireland.
My HG pregnancy was truly life-altering. I remember receiving my HG diagnosis in week 5 of my pregnancy, while under a thick cloud of the most intense nausea I had ever experienced. I did a quick Google search, read about the disease, and every website mentioned that HG “can last the entire pregnancy.” I sobbed. I scrolled through what seemed like the endless “weeks to go” on my pregnancy app and cried to my husband that I’d never make it to the end. I couldn’t fathom feeling the way I felt for the next 35 weeks, let alone another 35 hours. I lived day to day but really hour by hour. I was rapidly losing weight. My entire body was sick and in pain. I had to dissociate from my body during moments when the nausea got really bad and all I could do was focus on trying to swallow my own saliva. The rest of those 9 months, I laid lethargic with nausea, migraines, and total body aches; motionless in a bed or on a sofa and praying for the next day to come, to be one day closer to being done with this horrific disease, an ocean away from my husband to receive the care I needed.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was hospitalized several times for pregnancy related gallstones and gallbladder infections. The pain didn’t end with delivery. At three week postpartum, I had a triple surgery: the removal of my gallbladder and appendix, and an umbilical hernia repair. Putting a freshly postpartum body under that much distress during a triple abdominal surgery was truly a painful task. I had to recover from this and continue to take care of my new baby. To say it was rough is an understatement.
I’m a few months out from birth and surgery, and I’m still recovering. I’m not allowed to ingest more than 10g of fat per day as my digestive system has to get used to not having a gallbladder to break down fats in my body. My digestive system is a mess, and I’m still in a lot of post surgical pain. I have to cook every meal (mainly vegetables and starches) because everything processed is cooked with oils and fats. Trying to fuel my body in this way is hard, but I’m doing it with the help and support of my husband.
Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum is my second greatest accomplishment in life. Becoming a mother is by far my first. But neither would have been possible without finding the HER Foundation algorithm which led to proactive, aggressive treatment to ensure that my daughter and I made it safely to delivery day.