Friday, April 5, 2013


Warning: 45% of this post is TMI, 45% of this post is venting. The remaining 10%...yeah, I don't even know what it is.


I'm a pretty independent person. I don't like to ask for help, and even when offered, I don't like to receive it. I've had to swallow my pride recently as I continue to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, and it continues to get worse.

However for me, having HG has become so much more than just "having HG", and the daily frustration, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness get stronger every minute. I feel like a failure.

Long before being pregnant, long before college, way back in high school, I was a very healthy person. The worst things that happened to me were the occasional sinus infection, and just getting too exhausted from being in too many extra-curricular activities. Until my sophomore year in college, I had only gone to the emergency room twice (once when I was seven because my eye got hit in a game at church, and once in high school for croup), and both times were only because it was too late to go to a doctors office.

The summer after my freshman year at Concordia University in Saint Paul, I went to Nicaragua for half of the summer. I had been there in January with a group from my school, and decided I wanted to come back and work with the amazing people there. Unfortunately, the trip did not go well. Right before I left, I was diagnosed with malaria. I had somehow contracted it on the January trip, and I had just started showing symptoms in July. I should have cancelled my trip, but I was stubborn, and insisted I was fine. I went anyway.

While there, I found it very hard to get much of anything done because of the parasites in my body, and debilitating effects of the medication I was on. I also felt that I was being attacked spiritually the entire time I was there, and that was terrifying enough on it's own. To make matters worse, I ended up contracting dengue fever, another tropical disease (this wasn't discovered until I came back to the United States). Then, just a few days before I was about to leave, I became violently ill with nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, etc. It turned out I had appendicitis, and had to have my appendix removed there with open surgery.

I really had to swallow my pride during that time. Linda and Lisa, two of the most amazing women I ever met who worked with the mission I was working with cared for me for over a week. They stayed by my bedside, helped me shower, go to the bathroom, held my IV bag on their heads when I needed to walk...

I can never express enough gratitude to them for how much they helped me. I would not have made it through the worst of the recovery without them.

In the hospital with my appendix!
When I got back home, it was never ending medical problems. My scar from the operation would ooze blood and green slime, I got multiple abscesses, I had chronic, unexplained pain in both my abdomen and pelvic cavity. I had fevers, migraines, vomiting blood, brown and orange urine, ovarian cysts...whatever it was, I probably had it. I had an upper endoscopy to check my stomach. I had a colonoscopy that found benign (thank goodness) polyps. My gallbladder failed and I had to have that removed as well.

This continued through my whole sophomore year, and into my junior year after I transferred to Concordia University Irvine. My pelvic pain was unbearable. I had large numbers of cysts on each ovary that would rupture, making me double over, I had gastrointestinal issues that made it impossible to eat, and chronic fatigue that would never let up.

After lots of visits and procedures (including three different kinds of birth control, another colonoscopy and a laparoscopic surgery in my pelvic cavity), my OBGYN told me that there wasn't much she could do. I would live with chronic pain for the rest of my life. I was signed up for pelvic physical therapy that might help a little, but I wasn't optimistic. One thing that she did mention, though, gave me hope.

She mentioned that some women, for whatever reason, while pregnant, get better. Their pelvic pain just goes away, and many times, it doesn't come back. However, because of having ovarian cysts (not to mention a tilted uterus, a still weakened  immune system, and so many other health problems), she reminded me that I would probably have a very difficult time conceiving.

The last shot of the depo-provera she had me on finally wore off in January, and I had my first cycle. I had very heavy bleeding, and horrible cramping (the depo had eased a little bit of the pain). I didn't expect anything to happen baby-wise. Depo can really mess with women's cycles. With that fact, and my supposed infertility issues, I didn't think conception would happen any time soon.

I found out I was pregnant with miracle baby on February 18th, my 22nd birthday. And lo and behold, two weeks later, all of my pelvic pain disappeared. The happiness didn't last long though.

I started showing signs of hyperemesis gravidarum at 6 weeks, 5 days. My doctor prescribed my Zofran, which stopped working a few days later, and I ended up in the hospital on IV fluids. Then I was prescribed Reglan and vitamin B6. A few days later that stopped working as well. My second hospital visit I spent over 12 hours laying in a bed. Two of those hours were spent trying to get an IV in me. It was so bad that eventually an anesthesiologist had to come and numb my hand. My veins were so small and shrunken from dehydration that the pain was unbearable. I was sent home with Promethazine suppositories (gross, right?), and Vistaril to take along with the B6 vitamin and Zofran. I try to stay away from the Reglan because it causes anxiety.

I had been doing so well with my combination of medicines. I was able to keep down meals, I was able to go to class again, I was still pelvic pain free. It was great, until Wednesday. My nausea was worse than usual. My medicines seemed to not be as effective, and I was exhausted. I had some applesauce and pasta that night, and it seemed to help my stomach.

The next morning (yesterday), however, was a different story. I couldn't keep down even a sip of water. There was nothing in my stomach, so I was throwing up bile all day. I threw up at least ten times. My throat was burning. My stomach was cramping. My mouth tasted horrible, but the mere thought of trying to brush my teeth made me gag. I was so dehydrated that I only went to the bathroom once that day, and my urine was brown.

Justin took me to the hospital last night, and I had another 12 hour stay, and another visit from the anesthesiologist to get my IV in. They gave me the usual IV fluids and nausea medicine, but this time, because I was so dehydrated, I got a banana bag full of vitamins as well.

It really didn't help.
Finally, after little progress, the doctor discharged me. I am on a liquid diet (luckily not just clear liquids...that would be torture), but I can't eat much anyway. I also have to be on home health care. A nurse is coming tomorrow with all the fun supplies so I can be hooked up to an IV 24-7. That will be fun to have at school. I'm pretty nervous about her being able to get the needle in me, too.

I am so frustrated with this. I was so happy when I found out I was pregnant. Not only did I have a little one on the way, but I was pain free for the first time since 2010. Then, when I found out I had HG, I was discouraged, but I was ready to fight...but I had no idea what it would do to me. I have lost ten pounds, my eyes have dark circles around them and look sunken in. My abdomen is a little bit distended. I am so weak I can barely walk. The mere thought of food usually makes me throw up. I can't do anything except lay down and try not to lose the sip of water I just drank.

And what's worse, is so many people don't understand what HG is. They think it's just regular old, run-of-the-mill morning sickness. It's NOT. If one more person tells me to put crackers on my nightstand and eat them before getting out of bed, I'm going to scream. Do you really think I haven't tried that yet? If that worked, do you really think I would be hospitalized? Then I have people tell me that I need to "get it under control for the baby's sake". Yes, because I'm totally throwing up bile on purpose. Yes, because I totally can control how my body reacts to the new hormones it's producing. HG is so bad that some women end up terminating their pregnancies because of it, usually because trying to carry to term will result in their death. This is not "throw up a couple of times and go on with your day".

I feel so isolated and alone. I feel angry because I thought that I was on the road to being healthy again. I feel guilty that I'm not strong enough to have a normal pregnancy. I feel worthless because I can't help my husband with housework,I feel like a failure because I can't go to class and rehearsals a lot of the time. I feel horrible because I can't "take care of my child", even when I know deep down that this isn't my fault.

I just feel helpless.


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