Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Weeks Seven and Eight: Hyperemesis Gravidarum
...and what weeks they have been! I have never felt so sick in my life. I'd rather undergo the emergency appendectomy I had in Nicaragua while serving there as a missionary twenty times over than deal with any more morning sickness.
However, after a visit to the hospital last week, and another one yesterday for severe dehydration and non-stop vomiting, I found out that just plain old run-of-the-mill morning sickness wasn't the culprit causing my misery. It's actually a very severe condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, "a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance". http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/hyperemesisgravidarum.html) It's like morning sickness on steriods, and it is terrifying. There's nothing worse than throwing up even the smallest sip of water and losing multiple pounds each day when there's a little baby trying to grow big and strong inside of you!
Yesterday, I was in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital for over twelve hours for treatment. I was given what seemed like a million different kinds of drugs, and two liters of IV fluids. Nothing worked. I asked to be sent home before they could admit me, with a combination of two drugs that take the edge off, promethazine and vistaril (a drug I used to take for anxiety). These drugs help make the nausea a little more bearable and I haven't thrown up since coming home last night, but I still don't feel close to even 100% better. 10% would be pushing it.
I do get a little frustrated some times, because hyperemesis gravidarum (we'll call it HG from here on out) is not widely known about or understood. It has gotten some spotlight since Kate Middleton was diagnosed with it and spent some time in the hospital getting treatment, but overall, it's fairly unheard of. Most people see me running to the bathroom or gagging and say "Eat some crackers, drink some ginger ale." I promise you, if that helped, I'd be doing it constantly. Unfortunately, it doesn't help, and some people just don't understand that HG doesn't go away magically with a few saltines and a nap. The eight pounds I've lost will vouch for that.
If you have HG, or would like to learn more about HG, it's symptoms, how common it is, and how you can help, please visit http://www.helpher.org/, the website for the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation. It's great learning resource, and has helped me tremendously as I battle the "morning sickness from hell".
Ellie (and Baby P)