On World Prematurity Day, we had to pleasure of talking with Candace Renee, Maxwell’s mom, TV Personality, Actress, and Host and star on Floribama Shore. We talked about her pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and Maxwell’s premature birth.
Below is a transcript of our interview that has been slightly modified as appropriate.
HER: When did HG start for you?
The sickness started at three weeks. I went to the doctor who prescribed pills, but I couldn’t hold pills down. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t shower. I couldn’t take my prenatals, and I wondered what happens if I can’t get my baby vitamins? I lost 20 lbs and weighed only 115 lbs by 18 weeks.
HER: How did you find the HER Foundation?
Candace: I found HER when scrolling through IG. Reading stories and information gave validation, support, and knowledge. It was comforting to find a community of people who were as sick as I was. HER’s support and knowledge really help when you’re a first time mom and you don’t understand why you’re so sick, when your experience does not align with the average pregnant woman.
HER: What treatment did you receive?
Candace: My doctor didn’t know what to do when the pills didn’t help, so she suggested more crackers, drink more juice….I don’t think she really knew how to help me. I don’t think she understood how sick I really was. It was the middle of COVID-19, and Los Angeles still had strict policies. A lot of my care was rushed.
I had no resources. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t walk down the stairs. I couldn’t do anything. I had no food in my stomach and couldn’t keep anything down. I was throwing up every hour. At the time I needed it the most, I had not treatment. I didn’t have IV fluids, couldn’t hold down my pills, and couldn’t take my prenatals.
Around 18 weeks, I could get up and walk. I was still sick, but I was throwing up less and less and holding food down and gaining weight back. I was able to start filming Floribama Shore. I ended up having to go to the hospital while filming because it was so bad. HG almost took me out: I had no idea what it was.
HER: Did you have any other complications?
No, just HG and gastritis. I did get COVID-19, too.
HER: Anything you wish you’d know about?
I do wish I could have had IVs and help earlier. It was unnecessary to be so sick and not be in the hospital. If I ever have another pregnancy, I know I have the HG thing going on. So I would have a plan for bedrest, running IV fluids, and nutrition.
HER: Tell us about Maxwell’s birth.
I went into labor during a Christmas event and was admitted to the hospital. The ran magnesium for 2-3 days to stop the contractions then stopped it. Then about 4 hours later, my contactions started back. My water broke, and they couldn’t stop labor. Then he was here. They put him in plastic bag, and rolled him to the NICU.
I couldn’t even process it. I didn’t know a baby could be born that early or what to expect. I was in shock.
HER: How did you cope?
Prayer and books. You can’t talk with your best friend who didn’t have the same experience. You can’t talk with your mother because she didn’t have the same experience. But so many other women have dealt with the same experiences. Family helped to deal with my depression and all of this.
Staying positive is hard. But modern technology is incredible. Modern medicine is there to do the job when our body fails us. There’s no better time than now to be grateful for all the advances in this world. Having access to the internet is what showed me that so many other women have dealt with this. Reading all the success stories helped.
HER: Is Maxwell getting any therapies?
He’s getting physical therapy, all the therapies to catch him up. I work with him a lot at home. We work on his legs, motor skills, speech a lot. He’s 10 months and caught up with other boys his age: he’s the weight he should be; his head is the size of average 10 month old boy. He’s meeting all his milestones
HER: What advice do you have for other parents facing the same struggles?
There are good days and there are bad days. You see days where your baby reaches all these milestones. Then there are days when they have setbacks. Weaning off the ventilator was especially tough. The ups and downs where they aren’t progressing, and you’re like, “when is my baby going to get out of here.”
- Participate in HG research.
- Become an advocate.
- Make a gift to the HER Foundation.
- Share your story and support other HG moms.
- Become a HER Foundation volunteer.
- Blog about HG and show support for HER.
- Share resources with local health professionals and hospitals.
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