Monday, January 10, 2011


My house is a disaster. My kids are being disobedient and disrespectful. And I feel too sick to do much about either.

I am crying in front of my kids....which I think is freaking them out. But really.....I'm just too sick to care today.

Friday, January 7, 2011

17 weeks, 5 days

Well, obviously I haven't been up to blogging much lately. And I'm really not still...even though I'm doing it. So here are a few quick updates:

- I spent the evening of December 10th in the ER with some pretty decent dehydration from a stomach bug I caught. I actually wrote up part of a big long post about it but then never got back to finishing it. Oh well.

- I was feeling pretty good for a few weeks and thought I was out of the woods regarding sickness. But then it came back. Thankfully, at a lesser grade of sickness. But...I'm still not feeling great.

- The holidays were nice. My parents came into town, so we were able to spend time with them as well as both of my husband's parents.

- I've been at church three times in the past three weeks! First times since October. It felt great to be back. However, it's kind of depressing to tell all the people who ask (and there are many) that I am still not feeling too hot. I appreciate that they care though.

- I'm back to work a tiny bit, at least returning client emails. I'm hoping to be BACK back very soon and taking sessions again.

- I'm very thankful for my iPhone which has helped me keep my sanity during all the hours I've spent on the couch over the past few months.

- We've been getting out of the house on occasion, which is nice for me as well as the kids. I know that I must be feeling somewhat better if I actually want to leave the house.

- I've been able to cook a little bit and do some light cleaning for a few weeks. If you stop by, you wouldn't notice, I'm sure, but I'm happy to be able to be taking back some of my responsibilities around here. My husband has been working his rear end off at home, so I am thankful to be helping out again around the house.

- We have had some very sweet friends bring us food and grocery shop for us, and that has been a HUGE blessing! We are so grateful for those who have sacrificed of their time for us.

- TMI: I had an epiphany this week and remembered an event that coincided with my LMP. So I have an official due date now! June 12th, for those who seem to thrive on due dates.

- I am FINALLY meeting with my midwife next week and I'm very excited. She comes highly recommended by several people. For those wondering WHY I haven't seen her until now....our insurance just switched companies on us and I didn't want to have to deal with that mess, so I wanted to wait until January to begin seeing her. Plus, what do you really do at appointments anyway besides get measured? Not much.

I'm tired of updating and I think I've covered most everything major for now. Who knows when I'll write again, but thanks to the two of you who read. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

13 weeks, 4 days

I took a shower today for the first time is *gulp* 6 days. It's disgusting, I know, but I can't seem to find the motivation to do it. I usually get sick while in the shower due to all the movement involved and typically have to hold back the vomit as I am getting out.

I've decided to start blogging short things more often since I have such a hard time sitting down to write a long post.

I have been so encouraged to know that this blog has been helpful to others already. I have received several emails and messages from women who had this but never knew what it was. Several other women have informed me that they too have experienced this, most with little to no consideration from others. It's sad, really. But I guess most people are just misinformed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So, what is it REALLY?

When I first found out I was pregnant I thought this blog would be a great idea. Not many people are aware of hyperemesis or what it is, so I thought this would be the perfect venue with which to inform people. Also, I found a few blogs on the topic when I was searching and I found them very encouraging. So...the more, the merrier! Right?

Soon after creating this blog though, I realized that blogging while sick is really difficult. I think about blogging here almost daily but obviously I haven't gotten around to it. The thought of it is daunting. But today I'm determined.

I want to be clear that the purpose of this blog is not to throw myself a pity party. It's not so people will feel sorry for me. I just want people to be informed. Informed that hyperemesis exists. Informed about what it actually is. And informed about how they can help those who have it.

I'd like to begin by sharing the true definition of hyperemesis. Wikipedia describes it this way:

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of morning sickness, with "unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids." Hyperemesis is considered a rare complication of pregnancy but, because nausea and vomiting during pregnancy exist on a continuum, there is often not a good diagnosis between common morning sickness and hyperemesis. Estimates of the percentage of pregnant women afflicted range from 0.3% to 2.0%.

The primary risk of hyperemesis is dehydration and severe malnutrition. Thankfully, I have had much less vomiting this time around than I have with previous pregnancies, so I am not worried about either of these right now.

On more than one occasion, I have made the mistake of telling people that I have a severe form of morning sickness. While this is technically true, it leads to all sorts of well-intentioned but completely unhelpful suggestions such as eating certain foods, sipping ginger tea, wearing Sea-bands, etc. Hyperemesis is not helped by any traditional morning sickness "remedies". (And even if it was, I'm pretty sure I'd have all those "remedies" down by now. This is my 5th pregnancy.)

At the beginning of this pregnancy, I was trying to find more information on this condition and came up with only one solid website: Help HER. While only finding one website was a little disappointing, I found the information there completely invaluable. You see, up until that point, through all my other pregnancies and the years I had experienced these symptoms, nobody ever acknowledged them. I never had a doctor or midwife tell me they were real. My friends and family didn't seem to understand the severity of my symptoms. And so I came to the only logical conclusion I could come to: there was something wrong with me. And by that I mean that the problem was my fault. I didn't know anyone who understood or tried to understand, so I assumed that I was indeed the problem. But when I came across the Help HER website, I was stunned. Every one of my symptoms - EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. - was listed. I sobbed with relief, knowing that I was actually not alone. There were other women who experienced these crazy symptoms.

The list of symptoms on the website is long and most likely incomplete, but I thought I would share the main symptoms I am experiencing this time around, based on that list:

Excessive Salivation. It makes me gag. I try to keep a mint or piece of hard candy in my mouth most of the time in an attempt to dilute it, but as soon as the candy is gone I'm back to square one. I know the candy is terrible for my teeth but it's the only partial solution I have to this symptom.

Extreme Fatigue. I can sleep for 12 hours every night, lie on the couch all morning, and still nap every afternoon. I feel lazy, but I'm honestly THAT TIRED.

Food Aversions. I think this is a given with pregnancy, but I have food aversions that are so strong that even the thought of certain foods makes me literally gag. And forget watching commercials or flipping through a magazine. I don't want to see it, whatever it is.

Hypersensitive Gag Reflex. I guess I've already mentioned gagging a few times, but here's one more punch. Even the slightest impact on my throat makes me gag, such as coughing, sneezing and sometimes even just talking. Brushing my teeth is also very difficult for me due to the reach of my toothbrush. I generally skip the back of my mouth so as to avoid as much gagging as possible. To sum up? Everything makes me gag.

Increased sense of smell. Ridiculously increased. As in, I smell things that my husband cannot even smell. For example, yesterday I was coming down the stairs and before I even reached the bottom, I could tell that the garage door was open. The garage reeks of gas to me even though my husband says it's psychological. But trust me. I can smell it. And it.....can you guess?.....yes, makes me gag.

Intolerance to motion/noise/light. They made it all nice and cohesive here, but these are probably my most noticeable symptoms. So, let me break it down for you:

Motion: Every movement makes me sick. Rolling over in bed, bending over, repositioning myself on the couch, walking, riding in the car, and any outside movement from others - whether I can feel it or just see it - makes me more nauseous. This is the reason I have completed nary a household task in over a month.

Noise: I've never really had a high tolerance for noise, and that intolerance is significantly exacerbated during pregnancy. I am happy that my husband likes to wrestle with the kids, but I usually have to leave the room. It's just too loud.

Light: You know when you've been lying in the dark for quite some time and then suddenly someone turns on the light without warning you? I feel that way a lot, even when it's not dark. Of the three of these intolerances though, this is definitely the least noticeable to me.

Secondary anxiety/depression. I rarely leave the house and never without a very good reason. I try to get out at least once or twice a week, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. The resulting isolation is depressing. I am so thankful for one dear friend who makes it a point to come and visit me every few weeks. And for a relative who recently dropped off some goodies for us. I don't know if my other friends and relatives don't understand how sick I am or if they just don't care. But either way, I'm thankful to have at least a few who swing by occasionally.


I think I'll leave it at that for now. It's awkward to ask for help, but to be honest....I could really use some. My husband is becoming exhausted and I think my kids may be growing weary of my inability to do much for/with them. If you would like to know how you can help, there's a quick general read here. Or if you want specifics, you're welcome to ask me how you can help.

Monday, November 1, 2010

the history

round 1

in 2004, when i got pregnant with my first child, i was sick immediately. so sick. i couldn't keep a single thing down. not a single meal. not a cracker. not a sip of water. i vomited everything up. for weeks and weeks, starting at just 4 weeks. my husband had recently started a new job so we had no insurance at the time. i assumed this was just morning sickness. and being one of the first of my friends to have gone through a pregnancy, i didn't really know any better or have anything to compare my sickness to.

people told me all the morning sickness "tricks". eat ginger cookies. take vitamin b6. eat small meals throughout the day. get out of bed slowly. NOTHING made a difference. i simply could not keep anything down. i don't know if i ever really weighed myself, but i know i lost at least 10-15 of my 135 pre-pregnancy pounds.

i slept on the bathroom floor. i didn't bathe for days at a time, sometimes a week or more. brushing my teeth literally made me gag, which made me vomit. i took a leave of absence at work because i was too weak to work. i spent my days on the couch in our small apartment, watching tv and trying to keep down anything that sounded appealing, but to no avail.

i'm pretty sure my husband and most of my family thought i was just a big fat wuss. since nobody they (or i) knew had ever been so sick, they seemed as if they just assumed that i was acting like i needed to be babied for no real reason. nobody ever really said anything, but you can read people. and i was definitely reading those signals. their disbelief in my true sickness made things worse. it was an emotionally stressful time on top of the fact that my body was taking a serious toll due to my lack of any sort of nutritional intake.

since i wasn't seeing a doctor at the time, nobody could diagnose me with anything. but looking back, i know i would have been hospitalized if i had been seeing someone. i was highly malnourished and completely non-functional. i couldn't cook. i couldn't shower. i couldn't attend functions. it's really a wonder nobody footed the bill for me to start seeing a doctor pre-insurance. i was SO sick.

literally, the morning i hit 13 weeks i woke up and felt better. and that was that. i never felt the same intense nausea and i never vomited during that pregnancy again. i assumed it had just been normal morning sickness since i knew morning sickness typically lasted through the first trimester and then diminished. by the time i got in to see a doctor i was 20 weeks along and by that point i was feeling better so i never really thought to bring up how sick i had been.

at the end of my pregnancy, i read the back of the What to Expect When You're Expecting book. you know, the part you're not supposed to read unless you have problems? that part. as i read i discovered a section on hyperemesis and immediately told my husband that was what i had had. but at that point, it didn't matter. i was getting ready to welcome my baby boy into the world.

round 2

when i discovered i was pregnant with my second child, i knew what was coming. i had read that people who suffer from hyperemesis during their first pregnancy often experience the same condition with subsequent pregnancies. and sure enough, it hit early as it had the first time. i was actually grateful that my son was still so young when i got pregnant (5 months) because he wasn't mobile. when i had to get up to vomit, he would just play on the floor. i didn't have to worry about him getting into anything because he wasn't crawling or walking. it was really a blessing.

things progressed as they had the first time around but i seemed to be able to handle it a little better emotionally since i knew what to expect. my nausea and vomiting lasted a few weeks longer than they had with my previous pregnancy but then cleared up around 15 weeks.

rounds 3 and 4

i honestly don't remember much about either of these pregnancies but i know i was just as sick as before and symptoms lasted until around 17-18 weeks. i remember the inability to take care of my other children and how foolish i felt asking for help. after all, these were my kids. why couldn't i take care of them?

it was depressing at times and i felt helpless. but what's a girl to do? i pressed on, eventually i felt better, and i proceeded to birth each of those children. and life moved on. until now.