I was born into a family that did not get morning sickness. Not even kidding. All the women I am related to have had easy pregnancies. They were those women who glowed and enjoyed all trimesters.
So naturally, I expected sheer bliss, glowing skin, and funny cravings. I had never even heard of hyperemesis gravidarum, until I had it.
During my pregnancy with my daughter, I was really sick. Most days I could barely get out of bed. Other days, I couldn’t get up without falling over. I was vomiting so much, and my nausea was severe and never ending.
I was working as a nanny at the time, and was barely able to function at my job because I was so sick and dehydrated. Most food repulsed me, and I had a hard time keeping things down. As you can imagine, feeling this sick all the time made it hard to be positive and enjoy being pregnant.
I survived the first trimester with the help of herbs and medication. I assumed the second trimester would immediately be better, but it took more time.
Finally, things started getting better. I was able to actually enjoy being pregnant. I still had to be careful, and some days were harder than others. Then, as I neared the end of my pregnancy, nausea arose once again.
I had quit my job, as I knew I could go into labor any day. I spent most of my last pregnant days exhausted and nauseous in bed. It wasn’t normal morning sickness, but I still had no idea what was really going on. Sometimes I wondered if I was just being a baby about things, but most days I knew it wasn’t normal.
At last, my baby was born! I was in bliss, so in love and so happy. I was feeling good physically, until one night (a few weeks postpartum), when I woke up to vomit. I felt pregnant again. The nausea and vomiting continued happening a few times a week for the next seven months. SEVEN MONTHS!
It was devastating. Even though I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I was still getting sick. It was really hard, and I was already dealing with so much postpartum, that I could barely even focus on why I was still feeling so sick at night.
An amazing thing, that I am sure many other mothers out there can relate to, is how quickly we can forget any of the tough parts about being pregnant. When our daughter turned one, I was so ready to get pregnant again.
I mostly remembered all the good parts of being pregnant and how amazing the birth was, even though none of it had happened that long ago. I wanted our children to be close in age, something I didn’t have with my siblings
So, my husband and I decided to get pregnant again, and I honestly was naïve enough to believe that it would be a healthy and smooth pregnancy. I remember even telling myself that it would be different this time because I had a toddler to care for.
What was I thinking? I seriously thought that my body would be like, “Oh you have another child to take care of, we will just go ahead and have the world's easiest pregnancy then, no problem!”
Even as I write that now, I can’t help but laugh at myself.
It didn’t take long at all in this pregnancy before I was sick enough that I couldn’t care for myself or my daughter. I was five weeks along when I started living out my days next to the toilet.
My dehydration was severe. I couldn’t eat anything, and anytime I drank water I would throw it back up. I was pale, my eyes were sunken in, and I was incredibly weak. I was losing weight, which was very concerning because I already started out under-weight for my height.
It was scary, and some nights I felt so awful, I was afraid if I fell asleep I wouldn’t wake up. I had never felt so terrible before, and I used all the energy I had to cry over being pregnant.
I felt guilty for getting pregnant again when my daughter still needed me so much. I felt like a horrible mother every day, and I wished so badly I could take it back. That made me feel even worse. But it’s true.
I was not able to be the mother I had been, the mother that I wanted to be, or the mother I felt my daughter deserved.
I tried all the remedies and herbs, but nothing helped. This was when my midwife diagnosed me with Hyperemesis. I read into HG and realized that I gone through it in my first pregnancy too, undiagnosed. After I was put on medication, I was still very nauseous, but the vomiting slowed down. That was good, because although being nauseous 24/7 is the worst, at least I was able to start keeping some stuff down.
I don’t normally take medication for anything, but at that point there isn’t another option if I wanted to avoid being hospitalized with an IV hooked to my arm all day.
I am now into my third trimester, and am still sick. Luckily I have some easier days, and I am definitely not as sick as I was in the beginning. HG can get a lot worse in some women, and in comparison to some of them, I have had it easy. Still, knowing you have no choice but to keep fighting is hard.
Especially when you have 40 or more weeks of struggling to survive.
Something I never knew is that when you have HG, it can become worse with each subsequent pregnancy, so it’s no wonder I have struggled so much this time around. It’s why we have also made the choice to be done having children, something so many people don’t understand.
It’s hard to understand HG unless you have suffered through it yourself, but one thing I wish people could grasp is that it isn’t just bad morning sickness. It’s scary, it can become life-threatening in some. It is severe and persistent.
It’s something I would never wish upon anyone, and something I cannot wait to never experience again. Which completely breaks my heart, because pregnancy is such a wonderful and beautiful thing. It’s certainly not fair to not be able to enjoy each moment of it