I sit here after my son’s second birthday party with Cars cups, plates and wrapping paper all over my house. Looking over I can see pure joy in my half naked two year old sons eyes and I feel as though it is time to write his survival story down.
This is not necessarily a birth story – but the story of the 9 months prior. You see, with my 5 year old daughter (Charlotte “Charlee”) and Sebastian’s pregnancies were not the glowing, happy pregnancies that every woman wishes for. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for both pregnancies, and with Sebastian it was sever.
HG is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and can lead to many complications to mom, baby and our external relationships with others. The typical saltine crackers and sipping Ginger Ale is not a solution to this (go ahead and suggest this to an HG suffer – I dare ya! haahaa). It is a terrible, terrible disease that makes any pregnant woman affected with it in a debilitated state and can be life threatening.
In July, Chris went to his long-weekend bachelor party out of country and I was at home with Charlee, who had just turned two in April. We had been planning on getting pregnant soon and when he got home from four days away we ‘celebrated’ and three weeks late it was confirmed – we were going to be a family of four!
At first, I believed that I couldn’t be as miserable and sick with my second blessing as I was with my first. That it wouldn’t be fair if I did, so I didn’t expect anything terrible to occur. However by the end of August (approx 6 weeks gestation) I started to get the signs I had experienced with Charlee. It was slow at first, some pretty intense nausea throughout the day which didn’t lead to vomiting but was very uncomfortable. We had our “Buck n Doe” that week and I was able to celebrate and announce our pregnancy to our family and friends.
A week later it all changed – I couldn’t get out of bed, I was vomiting 30-40 times a day (yes! That is not a typo- THIRTY to FORTY times a day). I could not keep down any food or liquid so it was mostly dry heaving with some bile. I popped blood vessels in my face and eyes. I began to loose weight quickly and had chronic constipation.
I wanted this pregnancy – I welcomed it. I did not welcome HG. It was an uninvited friend to what should have been a 9 month long party! Our wedding was coming up on September 25 and I just could not do anything to prepare for it. I went on disability leave from my job and laid in bed all day and all night only getting up to puke – most of the time I just did it in a bucket beside my bed.
My poor sweet, lovable, and perceptive 2.5 year old was feeling negative affects of it as well. All she wanted to do was play with Mommy, but I couldn’t even get out of bed without my husband’s assistance. She was so strong – stronger than I was. She made me food and tea and would bring it up to me in bed, hoping it would help me. As soon as she was gone, I would have to reach beside my bed side table and put it in a garbage bag so at least she would think she was helping me. When she would come up and check on me – I would fake that I was feeling better, that we could play dollies if we could just play them while in my bed.
This continued on for 6 months before I was starting to feel human again. Sure, I had oral anti-nausea medications and I went to the hospital weekly to get hydrated. The doctors would discharge me because I had not thrown up in the last thirty minutes and I wouldn’t even be out of the hospital parking lot begging my husband to pull over because I refused to throw up in our car. Nothing worked. NOTHING. Nothing takes away the nausea, the pain and the loneliness. The worse is the depression. Depression while being pregnant is a terrible beast that I wish no one would ever have to go through.
My depression started the second week of September. I was so sad, I couldn’t be with Charlee, I couldn’t plan my wedding, money was tight and I didn’t deserve this – two pregnancies where I couldn’t move, let alone enjoy it? Even though I never went to the doctor and told them about my depression (I just wasn’t strong enough) I figured that if the HG would let up then the depression would magically go away.
That was a great plan, if HG would have gone away. I was alone every day. Chris would get up with Charlee, take her to daycare then go to work. He would pick her up from daycare. He would make dinner. He would bath her. He would put her to bed. The only thing I was able to give my precious blonde curly haired daughter was a story before bed (of course, laying in my bed). Sometimes I feel as though I should have been strong enough. That I could have done it if I tried a little harder. But I know that in actuality I was battling something my body couldn’t handle. I felt as if I was dead, I regretted getting pregnant and on several occasions considered terminating my pregnancy so Charlee could have her mommy back. I am so glad that I didn’t consider the latter too much.
April 2011 came and it was a joyous month, by then we knew we were having a boy and we were over the moon. Charlee turned 3 on April 1st and I had a huge party for her (also the first time I had seen many family and friends since our wedding in September). It is one of my best memories. She was thrilled, I was relatively healthy and my family was all together again. Sebastian’s due date finally came and nothing – 9 days later I was induced. It wasn’t the way I pictured my birthing experience, but when you have such a terrible pregnancy experience giving birth is the only way to get it to end. I only required the cervix cream to jump start my labor and 9 hours later at 6pm on April 20, 2011 my beautiful 10 pounds 5 ounces 21 inches long co-survivor arrived. He was perfect from his first breath and is still perfect to this breath.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum may have ruined my pregnancy for me but that little chunky baby was worth it all in the end. I survived HG. Sebastian survived HG. Charlee survived HG (twice!). Chris survived HG (twice). We did it together.
To all my fellow HG survivors and sufferers please remember that it will end soon enough. And you will get that amazing and shiny reward at the end. You can survive this!
With much love,
For more information on HG please visit – http://www.helpher.org/