I don’t know how to tell you about Hyperemesis Gravidarum

by Jessica Martin-WeberHG awareness 2014

Today is Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day and I don’t know what to say.  I don’t know how to tell you why this matters to me or what HG is like.  Though I’m used to being able to express myself fairly well in written word, for some reason I just can’t find the words.  The truth is, I just don’t know how.  There’s too much and it is still so hard to talk about.

I don’t know how to explain the way HG robs everything wonderful, everything beautiful from pregnancy.

I don’t know how to tell you that though I wanted every one of my babies, I never wanted to be pregnant.

There are no words to describe the guilt I felt and grief I sometimes still have over hating pregnancy.

I don’t know if I can even begin to explain how much I wanted to “just eat” but every time I ate my insides would turn inside out and punish me for hours until there wasn’t even bile left.

Or the courage it takes to admit I wanted to end my pregnancies or my life.

And I don’t know how to tell you that sometimes it was hard to hear about or see happily, glowing pregnant women.

Because I know, I KNOW that even with that I am one of the lucky ones.  I got to have my babies.

I don’t know how to tell you that being told I was lucky I got to be skinny while pregnant or how good I looked made me crumble that people couldn’t see how I was dying, physically and emotionally, on the inside.

I don’t know where to start on the toll HG takes on my family, my husband and my children have suffered under this burned more than I can say.

I don’t know how to explain what it’s like to vomit so much you can’t breathe.

I don’t know how to share with you how the force of vomiting and dry heaving out of control leaves you spent and dizzy and gasping for air.

I don’t know what words to use to paint the picture of never ending nausea and vomiting.

I don’t know the way to make you understand why I stopped counting how many vomiting sessions I had in a day once I reached 24 even if it was only noon.

And I really don’t know how to spell out what that looks like every day all day for 40 weeks.

Because I know, I do KNOW that it could have been so much worse.  I got to have my babies.

I don’t know if it will make sense that I couldn’t eat anything, no matter how hard I tried, not even crackers or ginger or anything else.

I don’t think you’ll want to hear how much I wanted to take said crackers, ginger, or anything else and shove them where the sun don’t shine to the next person attempting to be helpful that suggested I “just” try that.

I don’t know if I can handle sharing how my nurses would try to find a viable vein in my dehydrated body and still fail after a dozen attempts.

I don’t know how to tell you that nobody doubted me having absolutely no control over the HG as much as I did.

I don’t know if I can make it clear how much I felt like a failure every day, every time I vomited, every time I heaved.

I don’t know if blame even touches the contempt I felt for myself when my babies weren’t growing well.

Words fail me when I try to explain the confusion, depression, and physical bleakness that comes with dehydration.  I was almost always dehydrated.

And I don’t know when I’ll stop crying when I confess that I was always afraid of how this was hurting my growing baby.

Because I know, I KNOW so well that in the end it was all ok.  I get to hold my babies.

I don’t know if I can deal with your questions as to why I would continue having babies if my pregnancies were so terrible.

I don’t know why you would want to hear about how I got down to 83 pounds at 5 months pregnant, my skin yellow, my organs failing, and how as much as I wanted to just eat, I couldn’t.

I don’t know if I can keep it together to recount the things people, health care providers, said to me as I fought to get well.

I don’t know what stories to tell, like how my toddlers would pretend to throw up, that I christened every place I visited in my town, or how I would do my job in between vomiting- if I could not pass out long enough.

I don’t know if it will make any sense that I have a love/hate relationship with my PICC scar, a bittersweet reminder of what it took to survive growing my babies.

I don’t know how to describe the taste of bile and then blood on my tongue for weeks at a time.

The gratitude I feel for those that believed me, fought for me, and took risks for me defies adequate expression, I know they save me.

Because I know, trust me, oh how I KNOW that this agony ended well.  I get to hold my babies.

I don’t know the vocabulary required to detail what the caustic stomach juices did to my throat and my teeth and my spirit.

I don’t know how to tell you the fear I still hold that being on the maximum dose of Zofran and the drug cocktail that was poured directly into my veins harmed my babies.

I don’t know if I can voice the even greater fear that organ failure and ketosis was harming them more than the drugs ever could.

I don’t know how to narrate the experience of trying to decide if I should save the life of the mother of my existing children or hope to live through my body shutting down to try to keep growing their little sister.

Or the anxiety I have that my daughters will face the same fate when they begin to have children of their own.

Because I know, please know that I KNOW how blessed I am to even have my children.

But I know this, more people need to be aware of HG, to help with research, and to help support those families impacted by HG.  I know this.   To learn more about HG please go to helpher.org.

 

Share

Comments

  1. As a fellow HG sufferer, this has me in tears. You were pregnant with Sugarbaby while I was pregnant with my daughter. Some of what you shared at the time helped me get some help. I remember emailing you about eating healthy and your response to eat and drink whatever I could relieved a bit of the guilt I felt as I tried almost anything.

    I fear what it did to my then two year old son…shortly after my daughter was born he was diagnosed with a severe speech delay. The guilt and responsibility I felt for the months when I couldn’t speak without vomiting nearly crushed me.

    Thank you again for sharing what I know to be painful. It still helps to know I’m not alone.

  2. Heather H. says:

    Thank you so much Jessica. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you 1,000 times over. As a fellow HG survivor, I know first hand how hard it is to tell your HG pregnancy stories. But I also know that at least for me, reading your story helps me process my own just a little bit more, get closer to healing the broken emotions that come with the broken HG body, but don’t go away after baby is born. So for that I say thank you. Thank you for laying yourself bare so that others may heal, be educated, or understand. Thank you.

  3. Ashley Barrett says:

    I didn’t have it as bad-I didn’t lose as much weight as you did but I did have heart issues because of my hyperemesis and the medications that wouldn’t let me puke at all. I would dry heave to the point I couldn’t breathe and ended up really dehydrated. It really took so much time away from my other children. I felt so so bad that the iPad became their babysitter because them even touching me was a trigger :(. My 3 kids are worth it to go through it each time I just feel so guilty and wish something I would have done would have prevented it though I know I couldn’t prevent it. I HATE when doctors tell me oh if you did x, y, or z you wouldn’t be in this situation (did that, that, and that!) or “just MAKE yourself eat and drink” when I couldn’t even hold water down or swallow :(. Big big hugs! No one fully understands unless they’ve been through it.

  4. Samantha Sehr says:

    You said it so well. 3 pregnancies, each with worsening HG, and we have to be done having children. I felt all the things you said. Mine thankfully let up some around the 20 week mark, but I had other complications- pulmonary embolism and dealing with blood thinning shots. I don’t know if anyone can understand fully what you wrote unless they’ve been through it themselves. Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you.

Speak Your Mind

*

What is 6 + 10 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)