In HER Words: Thank you, Yasemin, for sharing your Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) journey.
My husband and I have struggled through four pregnancies in the past five years. My first pregnancy was unplanned but welcomed as my husband and I were overcome with the joy of a positive pregnancy test. Even in the early weeks, I had been quite nauseous and was vomiting before I even went to my first OB appointment. The vomiting is what had actually prompted me to take the test. At my first appointment, I walked in filled with excitement and left with the heartbreak of a nonviable pregnancy.
A few months, later I was pregnant again and throwing up heavily again. The second OB appointment came and again the same heartbreak of my first pregnancy. This was very difficult to process and sent me into a depression. I gained an excessive amount of weight. I was a mess emotionally, and I dropped the idea of having kids for nearly two years.
My husband and I decided that we wanted to try once again, but time passed and negative tests made us weary. As soon as we stopped actively trying, I had missed period and awful vomiting. I was afraid of what was to come at our first appointment. This time, it was a viable pregnancy, but I still felt like I was walking on eggshells waiting for what I thought would be another inevitable loss. The weeks went by, and I was still pregnant, thankfully. I noticed my sickness becoming worse and worse. I lost so much weight and could not eat anything, even crackers and gatorade made me ill. I knew something was not right and told my OB who brushed it off as normal morning sickness. I continued on without any medicine or advice thinking it was normal.
By 15 weeks, the vomiting had me bedridden. I dropped out of college because I could not make it to classes and was down 25 pounds. I also had a traumatic late night ER visit due to what had been a subchorionic hemorrhage. I spoke to my OB at my next appointment. Again, she brushed off all this information, saying I could afford to lose weight with being fat, that my baby and I would be fine. It didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know better and kept attending the practice. It wasn’t until 20 weeks that they finally gave into my pleas and spoke briefly on the possibility that I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), but nothing in depth. They gave me a trial of Bonjesta, but it didn’t help. By my next appointment, the illness had begun to improve tremendously. I did not have sickness for the rest of my pregnancy and had precipitous labor, giving birth at 41 weeks to my daughter.
Skipping forward 10 months, I began throwing up again. I didn’t even need to take a pregnancy test to know I was pregnant again…during a pandemic to make it more exciting. By my first appointment, I was miserable and had already lost 10 lbs. I asked for medicine, and to their credit, they agreed. But my doctor continued to act like it was just normal morning sickness and to not worry about my weight loss. I went through many different prescriptions, ER trips for dehydration, and a nutritionist during my first trimester, but this time, the HG was more aggressive than ever before. I couldn’t care for myself or my toddler. I felt hopeless and would cry everyday. I was scared to lose my baby. I felt like a failure as a mother and was at one point even scared that I was going to die. The pandemic made it worse with stress because my husband was laid off. On the bright side, he was home to help the best he could.
I had also been using resources from the HER Foundation and supplementing with thiamin, vitamin B1. I asked for IV therapy outside of the ER due to my fears of contracting COVID and the difficulty of constantly going to the ER when I have a toddler. I was denied by my OB saying that I was not urgent enough despite my severe dehydration and rapid weight loss. This was my breaking point, now almost 30 pounds down, and I left that practice in hopes of finding better care.
I finally found a midwife to take me on at 24 weeks, and she was unbelievably supportive and took my HG seriously. She made sure I was taking all my supplements and medications, got IV therapy when I needed it, and that I was improving. I finally was not throwing up and was gaining weight. My baby was growing beautifully. Since all these issues had been resolved, my midwife and I felt comfortable moving forward with a planned homebirth.
I gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 39 weeks. I had PROM but labor still went smoothly. I have never felt more accomplished as a woman than giving a birth at home after beating HG for a second time. We do not know what the future holds for our family, if we will try again or not. The whole idea of another HG pregnancy is daunting, and we know that it will most likely be even worse. All we know is that we are unbelievably blessed to have two children who were born full term and healthy with minimal complications despite HG.