Hyperemesis Gravidarum awareness day was on 5/15/16……and guess who was too sick to even blog about it? Yep this girl. For those of you who don’t know what hyperemesis gravidarum (HG for short) is, it is severe and unrelenting nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. While many people compare HG to “severe morning sickness,” the reality is that it is so much more than that.
HG is characterized by the inability to consume an adequate amount of foods and liquids, resulting in a loss of 5%-10% or more of pre-pregnancy weight, dehydration, malnourishment, and nutrient imbalances. While women with morning sickness don’t feel well for a couple hours a day, women with HG suffer 24/7 with nausea and vomiting that just won’t stop. Additionally, HG lasts well beyond the 21st week of pregnancy, sometimes the entire 9 months, whereas morning sickness tends to disappear by the end of the first trimester.
The differences between HG and morning sickness are outlined below:
HG is not the norm in pregnancy. In fact, an estimated 1-3% of pregnancies are identified as an HG pregnancy. Of those, an additional 2% of pregnant women suffer from a rare form of HG in which the nausea and vomiting remain uncontrolled even through medical intervention. Treatment includes anti nausea medications either by mouth, suppository, or sub cutaneous injection, steroids, IV rehydration, and nutritional supplementation. There are some pregnancies in which the mother is so malnourished that the only medical intervention available is termination of the pregnancy. In fact, 1 in 3 HG pregnancies does not end with a live birth.
For those of you who followed along when I was pregnant with Luke, and have been following along with Baby L, I have been diagnosed for a second time with HG. With Luke, I attempted every single medication available to help control the nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, nothing helped and I spent hours every single day sitting in front of the toilet. I would puke around 100 times a day, couldn’t keep anything down, and wound up at the hospital 6 times for iv hydration.
With Baby L, I am experiencing a similar experience. I was throwing up before I got a positive pregnancy test (which was the give away that something was going on), and was given phenegran suppositories at my second beta blood draw. At my 7 week OB appointment, the doctor decided that our best course of action was the Zofran pump. The Zofran pump puts a low dose of zofran into my system 24 hours a day. I change out the catheter and medication daily.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without side effects. My stomach is covered in red welts, and nickel sized lumps under the skin…..that eventually bruise.
The Zofran pump isn’t fully working either. On a good day, I walk around feeling like I have the flu. On a semi-good day, I walk around feeling like I have food poisoning. On a bad day, I can’t stop throwing up and usually puke between 50 and 100 times in the day. Luke has gotten so used to mommy not feeling well that he doesn’t even notice anymore…..or he claps when I’m done.
So far I have lost 9 pounds in 3 weeks. At the 7 week mark, I was 122 pounds. I weighed myself the other day and I was 113 pounds. It’s no surprise, given the fact everything I attempt to eat or drink comes back up.
I basically lay around all day, while Ronny or my mom take care of Luke. My biggest triggers are motion (even the act of rolling over in bed can set me off), the smell of food (whether it is cooked or not), ingestion of anything , and getting hot. HG makes caring for Luke difficult on a good day, impossible on a bad day.
This whole experience has left me exhausted, depressed, lonely, and like I’m not a contributing member of our household. I rely on others for so much of mine and Luke’s day to day care that I don’t even feel human anymore. I am ashamed to admit that I have thought about aborting the pregnancy on more than one occasion, just so that I can feel well again. Things like showering or preparing a meal leave me exhausted to the point I need to take a nap.
At the end of the day, I know how worth it this all is. As long as I can keep myself and this little person in side of me healthy enough for delivery, none of this will matter in the long run.