December 14 I was 30.3 weeks pregnant with baby 3. I decided I better get some maternity photos done, just in case, because the clock is tickin. I had planned to take so many photos this pregnancy. I wanted to document it weekly, and all the cute maternity outfits I got. I thought I'd fill up my instagram feed with cute maternity pics and make a whole album just for this little one to print out. I thought our family would make fun and silly videos just lie we did with Clara when I was pregnant with her, but HG had its way with me, so the most of any documenting I did has been about HG.
Jack put up the backdrop in the living room for me. I got my nails done, and put on the dress I had bought for the Redwoods. We had planned to take a trip over the summer to the Redwoods, but it never could happen. Between HG and needing to have home health care.
So HG aside, after doing my hair, makeup, and nails, I was already tired, and knew being on my feet long wasn't going to happen. We snapped a few pics with the tripod and tier. Clara participated a bit better than I anticipated. When Jack and I tried to get shots of him and I together, she got a hold of a marker and decided to draw all over her legs, and I didn't edit it out. It's life with a 3 yo. Oh well.
Clara absolutely adores my belly. She hugs and kisses it every single day. She talks to the baby, and runs around saying how much she loves the baby in my belly. She gives my belly raspberries and squeezes it. She Likes to bring the baby dollies and toys. I can't wait to see her be a big sister. She's already such a sweet big sister.
William has been spending more time at his dad's place, so he isn't around much between school, after school activities, friends, and being at his dad's, and to boot, he really doesn't want to be in photos. He promised me one pic with him before the baby comes. He's changing so much, and at 15 he really asserts its own will. He grew up with my camera in his face and really just isn't a fan of being in pics anymore. It's hard to get decent pics of him. But there are moments he lets me. So hopefully soon I'll be able to get a picture of him and I together.
To see my documentation of Hyperemesis Gravidarum during this pregnancy, here.
To see all maternity pics through the years, To scroll through other blogs and be sure to click previous at the end of each page as you scroll, it's easy to miss the previous arrows:
See all Maternity pics here
See all pregnancy blogs here
Documenting LIfe with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Being a voice for HG on an International level.
Shower Prep with a PICC Line
My story of dealing with an OB I thought I could trust, and that at one time i held in high esteem, only to discover that her ego was bigger than her heart. She treated me as though I was just a lazy person that wanted to be sick, and that I just needed to try harder. She's the one that pulled my first PICC line out, and it only got worse from there. Eventually I was switched to another OB after she dropped me as a patient.
Here's some Facebook posts that I shared along the way:
October 3, 2019 ( I was so stressed between Sept 17 through this day about how I would get fluids. I started looking for other OBs that might be able to help me get fluids, because my OB wasn't going to help me with it at that point)
"I'm sooooo happy! I found another ob dr that will work as part of my care team and administer fluids and vitamins. I can get a Meyers cocktail. I can go 2x a week and not have to switch providers. She was so great to meet. We did hear a concerning arrhythmia in baby's heart though. So need to look into that. We finish the anatomy scan next week, so we'll have more answers then. I'm just so happy to start getting fluids regularly again. I can't wait to feel better and have vitamins. It's such a weight lifted. Plus not having to choose between providers is a huge anxiety laden decision I won't have to make."
This didn't last long though. The nurses at the functional medicine practice struggle a lot to get IVs started in me, and my veins would collapse and blow. Plus, they ended up only giving me 16 oz at my visit and it would take 3 hours to get 16oz of fluid. It wasn't helpful, so I just went back to Quick Care.
November 18, 2019 Facebook post:
"So long story short...
My previous OB went out of her way to sabotage my treatment, again!🤬
If you're following my updates you know I have a different OB now. She, my new ob, had my picc line put back in last Monday.
So my previous OB still being hell bent on things being her way or the highway decided to call and report my new ob to MFM today when she found out I had an appointment today. MFM promptly told my new ob that my picc has to come out. She's fighting them on it.
There's more drama than this. But that's the main thing that happened today. I asked my previous ob to give me a moment to chat with her and set things right, because I hate this drama, and tbh and blunt, she's being abusive. She of course refused to talk with me. Serious ego problems and immaturity on her part. I'm so pissed with her and so is my new OB.
That's the short of it though today.
To boot, I have bronchitis and a sinus infection on top of HG. My picc line has a lump that needs to get checked tomorrow and needs to be readjusted since it's "tickling " my heart potentially. Otherwise I think it's ok. I'm getting fluids at home regularly the last week, which is nice, so I'm praying that all is good with my picc.
Ffs, can it just be February already? And can the majority of drs that have a god complex please be made to take some emotional intelligence courses?"
*Nevermind the countdown at the beginning, I was voice recording at the same time as I've been working on content for a documentary.
Difference Between Pregnancies
My personal experience with 3 pregnancies. One is totally normal, and the other two surviving with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Nevermind the countdown at the beginning, I was voice recording at the same time as I've been working on content for a documentary.
Effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum on Kids
What will be the effects on my kids born from pregnancies fighting Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Medications for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Medications, side effects, and concerns with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
IV Bruising and PICC Line
This shows some of the major bruising I experienced after having so many IVs for weeks between PICC Lines. Then a couple close up shots of my PICC line and the damage to my skin that comes from having adhesives on to protects the PICC line.
Breastfeeding with a PICC Line
I had planned to fully wean my toddler by the time she turned 3. However, I was incredibly ill at the time she turned 3, and I didn't have it in me to commit to fully weaning, so I reduced her feeding to once a day, and many days she doesn't even nurse now. So many times I've been too sick for her to sit on my lap, to cuddle her, and to especially nurse her. She has been super sweet and gentle knowing mom doesn't feel well and is sick. Once in awhile she just absolutely needs mommy to hold her and nurse her. It's hard being so sick and feeling easily overstimulated, overwhelmed, so it becomes easy to be touched out and not want anyone touching me.
photos taken late Nov. 2019
IV Infusions at the Quick Care
A cell phone pic of me October 8, 2019 at the Quick Care getting fluids. I was working on crocheting a baby blanket to help pass the time and take my mind off being sick and sitting there for hours.
Last ER Trip for Fluids
September 27, 2019 was my last trip the ER for fluids. I had been on my first PICC line for 10 days, had lost about 9 lbs, was severely dehydrated, and constantly puking. After this my OB decided to get on board with allowing me to go to Quick Care for fluid 2x a week.
However it wouldn't be my last ER visit for the pregnancy.
Since then I ended up back there the night before Thanksgiving because my 2nd PICC line was bleeding a lot, aching, lumpy, and I needed to have an ultrasound. No clots found, but it proved to not be working well. It was causing problems with my heart, and was forcing itself out of my arm, so I needed a replacement PICC, a 3rd PICC line. I just don't have photos from that night. The 3rd PICC line went in Dec 6, after an X-Ray on December 5 showed that it was coming out of my arm too much. The catheter would totally jsut keep sliding out everytime I had a dressing change, and was constantly achy.
Here's the Facebook post I made though to go with the photo below:
Thanks for never turning down a sick pregnant woman that desperately needs fluids. Tonight there is a caring crew that gets it or at least is sensitive enough to understand what I need.
My dr keeps turning me down for fluids. I'm losing weight, not holding food or fluids down. Dr says try harder. Dr says I must be fine since my labs look normal.
Tell that to my raw throat, dry lips, hungry belly, thirst I can bever quench, and massive fatigue.
Tell my dentist I'm normal when he saw how bad my teeth are getting from puking up acid and bile.
Tell that to my nurses that have blown vein after vein because I'm dehydrated.
Tell that to my ER doc tonight that had to use ultrasound to find a good vein, because I'm too dry and blew the vein in my hand.
No one wants to be in the ER, but I'm so thankful we have decent insurance and ER won't turn me away. I'm thankful tonight that I get fluid.
I'm thankful tonight that I got to chat with a caring nurse about hg and share what I know with her because she doesn't quite know what it is and how it effects women with it.
Not all pregnancies are beautiful goddesses walking through flowery fields looking peaceful. Not all pregnancies are magical like social media wants women to buy into. Pregnancy is a lot of work even in a average, normal, healthy low risk pregnancy. With HG the reality is that it sucks. It's taboo to share the negative and difficult side of pregnancy, but taboo can kiss my ass. I won't sugarcoat this, and I also will fight through it till the end. At least there's an end in sight, aside from the trauma of it.
I will speak up about HG because it needs awareness. I never want pity. I want people to just understand that even though there's a small little percentage of us that fight this, we're fighting every day for ourselves and our babies.
December 6, 2019 Facebook post:
" On my way to the hospital for another picc line (3rd one). The 2nd one that's currently in since Nov 11th has been having problems, so have to go through another procedure. Totally sucks and the days after are so achy. It gives me lots of anxiety going through this. Fingers crossed all goes well this time. Gawwwd, not much longer to go in this pregnancy, but feeling like eternity at the moment."
Not Having a Good Time
October 18, 2019 Facebook post:
"Just spent 6hrs in the L and D triage for fluids. My veins are wrecked from all the IVs. Awesome nurses and dr though. It sucks goin through this, but it's really wonderful when nurses and drs are good at what they do, have fantastic bedside manner, and ate genuinely caring. A friend of mine tagged me in this while I was at the hospital (she didn't know I was there), and I couldn't help but laugh. Some days are hard, but you gotta have a sense of humor and lightness. At the end of all the hours trying to get IVs in, ready to go home, Clara got her finger stuck in a little metal hole on the back of the bed just as the nurse was taking out my iv. Couldn't get it out, but finally came loose with lubes. It's just crazy life sometimes. Shit happens, but we come out of it alive, hopefully with a good story, wisdom, and a sense of humor. Not all days are met with a sense of lightness amongst the chaos, some are just met with tears, but at the end of the day, for anyone goin through something tough, I hope you have a nice warm bed to crawl into and even better if you can crawl under the covers with someone you love. I know I'm looking forward to my bed tonight. Time to have soup and get cozy."
Another Trip to L and D
October 25, 2019 Facebook post:
"I made a hat this morning!😀 Photo outside the Meridian hospital. Clara had a hearing test that we need to get more clarification on if she's having trouble or not. Then it was off to iv fluids for me at another hospital from where we are now. So glad this munchkin is such great company for these hospital days."
An Article about HG and Its History
November 8, 2019 Facebook Post:
"Tearing up reading this as I sit in triage waiting for an IV. I've read so much on hg, trying to understand it, to find ways to help myself, and so thankful for the couple online support groups. I shared my story and post updates in hopes to bring awareness to the illness.
It's terribly sad and infuriating how women, including myself, have been mistreated, or in better terms, not treated just as equally. And sometimes it's just luck that you get a caring and knowledgeable midwife or OB and I've experienced both sides. It makes me even more thankful for the people that have been there for me, because I know what it's like to stand up for myself to people and providers in disbelief.
I really can't say it enough, this illness doesn't have enough information, support, and awareness. If you're having babies or know someone that is and they're suffering, you know now from knowing me, help them, support them, and advocate for them when they can't. If I can drill it in to a couple people even to spread awareness about hyperemesis gravidarum then that'd be fantastic. What a woman endures through a pregnancy with hg is utterly awful. I just want the suffering to stop for myself and those that have it. I want drs to understand it, and know how to help their patients, and I want all women with it to feel supported and cared for.
I wish I could have a magic wand to wave over all of us that have it, have had it, and will have it, and to wave over the medical and research field."
Article Title: My Extreme Form of Morning Sickness Was Terrible. Not Being Believed by My Doctors Was Worse.Hyperemesis gravidarum is dangerous, and treatable. Why does the medical community still ignore it?
Second PICC Line
Nov. 11, 2019 Facebook post:
"Picc line is in. My arm is achin , and tomorrow and Wednesday will be the worst of it, but within a week, if all goes like last time, not only will my arm be feeling better, but I'll be hydrated and feeling better overall. I'm scared to have a picc again, but so thankful too. Looking forward to not having to go to the hospital 2x a week and no more getting poked with numerous IVs. Back on home health care."
Clara's had a lot of fun playing with the Christmas train. her first Christmas she would sit in her bouncer and just watch it go around, but now she loves to sit in the middle of it and play.
Tonight, Clara went to see Santa at the Christmas show we go to every year at the fairgrounds. She wasn't too sure about seeing Satna. Last year there were a lot of tears, but this year she was hesitant and quiet. She really wanted to ask him for a "big Twilight." It's a My LIttle Pony that is really tall, robotic, talks, and moves its eyes. Santa did bring her the big Twilight and she couldn't be any happier. She's in love with it. She has asked for the big Twilight for months.
Finally out of 2nd trimester! Still dealing with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. That's a picc line in my arm. Can't wait to be done with pregnancy.
Comparison of Clara @27 weeks and baby 3 currently I got so big with Clara. HG has definitely kept me smaller this pregnancy. Overall with Clara I gained abut 60 lbs. By 27 weeks with baby 3 I gained only 12 lbs, and was only at 4lbs weight gain by week 25. My picc line ha helped a lot.
Outdoor shots and a coupe Halloween Boudoir
Nips blocked by spider overlays for the sensitive, not that it does much lol
To see all maternity pics through the last coupe pregnancies, here
For reference and comparison. I was already bigger at 18 weeks with Clara. At 18 weeks with Clara my HG had finally stopped. To9 read about Hyperemesis gravidarum, here
To catch up on all pregnancy blogs, here
To see all maternity pics from both pregnancies and scroll through, here
Pain to Art Photo Concept
Pain to Art Photo Concept
A bad dream the night before my PICC line was removed inspired me to take a haunting image of what it feels like to not have fluids with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, I had a dream during the one hour of sleep I got that night. It was the night before my PICC line was scheduled to come out. I was so depressed, so anxiety-ridden. I felt like I already had no control over my body, and now I had no say over what happens to it either. My doctor chose to remove my PICC line due to risk of liability and that I needed to try harder to get more fluids in on my own and to stop bypassing my gut.
Those of us with HG, Hyperemesis Gravidarum know that getting fluids down and keeping them down on our own is incredibly difficult, and very unlikely to happen once HG gets to a certain point. I have struggled with HG for two pregnancies. This one has been the worst by far. For 15 weeks of the 20 weeks of this pregnancy, I haven’t been able to stomach fluids and most food. Having a PICC line was a lifeline, it was hope, it helped me feel somewhat like myself again, and kept my body capable of being in the fight against HG.
10 days without my PICC line I was throwing up all the time again, not keeping a thing down, and had lost 7 bs. My doctor still refused fluids. I ended up in the ER last night getting fluids because of that. This isn’t about hating on my dr. I still like her and think that she’s a good doc in lots of other ways, and she’s a fantastic surgeon. However, I have felt so let down, so depressed, and so desperate for fluids. It’s hard when you want your dr on your side and feel unheard.
HG is not understood by many, including doctors. We’re 1-2% of the pregnant population. We fight through every day.
This photo, imitated as closely as I could to the vision from my dream that night, says so much to me. I cannot drink. I’m so very thirsty all the time. I’m continually doing what I can to fight nausea and urges to throw up. I don’t get say in how I can get fluids. I can’t control what is happening to my body. I’m totally out of control, it’s entirely out of my hands. I’m doing my best. I sip, I suck on ice cubes, and I just can’t quench the thirst or stop the vomiting. I could be surrounded by all the water and not be able to get to it, unable to get it down.
Catch up on all blogs about Hyperemesis Gravidarum
This blog has been a long time coming. I'm currently still in the midst of HG. I just haven't had the oomph to get into something that has been so difficult for me and is draining in every single way. However, I got a kick in the pants today to sit down and focus. I'd like to share a bit about my experience with HG, Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Unrelenting. Debilitating. Traumatic. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It occurs in only 1% of pregnancies, so the majority of the population and most doctors have no idea what it is or what to do about it. It can set in 2- 5 weeks after conception. What it isn't is morning sickness in a normal pregnancy. Worse and different than food poisoning. HG is incurable, often undertreated, overlooked, and stigmatized. No one knows what causes it, although there are theories.
It follows no pattern. There's no way to know who will get it. Although it often runs in families. You can be young, older, pregnant with either gender, healthy, unhealthy, thin, fat, any race, doesn't matter. HG doesn't discriminate. You can have a "normal" textbook pregnancy and the next one get HG. You can have it once in one pregnancy and not in other pregnancies, or you can get it again and again, sometimes worse than the previous HG pregnancy. It doesn't even follow a pattern day to day when you're battling it. Some days are ok, good even ( typically once you're on fluids and meds), or total hell. I'll say there are far more bad days than not, and even on a good day you're bound to be battling aversions or nausea or fatigue. This is HG.
You lose weight or don't gain weight, but some women still gain weight, even without eating and constantly puking. There aren't safe foods or drinks, it's a guessing game day to day. What you could eat one day you can't eat again. Smells are off. Nothing tastes the way it should. You either have too much saliva or not enough. Puking into the bathroom sink while brushing your teeth, unable to tolerate the brush in your mouth or the taste of toothpaste, mouthwash, or even the taste of your toothbrush. You lose control of your bodily functions while throwing up often peeing and crapping on yourself. Bloody noses from throwing up so hard. Passing out from throwing up so hard. Throwing up acid, bile, and blood because there's nothing else left to puke up. Cursing into the toilet between vomiting spells, crying, collapsing onto the cold bathroom floor. Social isolation. Exhaustion. Bed rest. Muscle loss. This is HG.
HG can cause severe dehydration, organ failure, ketosis, malnourishment, decay and loss of teeth, and metabolic imbalances, and some babies don't get enough water to survive in. Even in the past recent decades there were women dying from it, because they were told it's all in their heads. Still today, in 2019 we're still told it's all in our head by some providers. This is HG.
This is not morning sickness. This is not the "princess disease." Which by the way she's a duchess. Not sure what I'm referring to? Duchess Kate suffered with HG, and it made headlines. Comedian Amy Schumer suffered with HG. That made headlines. My heart goes out to both women and all women with this illness. It should make headlines and be talked about. But it isn't a trend or the popular thing to do or have. And it's always been around.
This is my third pregnancy and my second with HG. My first pregnancy was 16 years ago with my son and it was so easy ( pic of us in 2004). I had no idea how hard pregnancy could be. Sure I got tired, and had a little discomfort in my growing belly. I had a cesarean because he was transverse and wouldn't turn. I threw up all of 2, maybe 3x with him. Once after taking some vitamins before I knew I was pregnant. The second time after eating some food at Chicago Connection, and the third time because I had a cold and stomach bug in February that year. I didn't have HG. I didn't even get morning sickness. A twinge of nausea, and I mean a twinge in the first couple weeks after discovering I was pregnant. It was like, " aw, how cute. I feel a little nausea." I didn't even need a saltine. I worked 12 hour days on my feet as a server at the Olive Garden. I walked a couple miles to work and back most days. I went swimming a couple times a week.
Fast forward 12 years to 2015. My son now 12. Recently married to my long time partner of 9 years at that point. We immediately tried for a baby. Bam, pregnant with the first attempt. I was elated, over the moon. I had wanted that second pregnancy for 10 years. For 10 years I kept saying I know I have a little girl just waiting for me. I was in tears full of joy to learn I was pregnant. Within a week of finding out I was absolutely, terribly ill. However I had never heard of HG and assumed I was having morning sickness. Which by the way is so misleading in itself. Morning sickness happens at any time.
I knew before I got pregnant with my daughter that I didn't want another hospital experience if I could help it. I wanted to be with midwives and in my home or a birth center for my birthing time ( labor and delivery). I didn't want an OB or anything overly clinical. I wanted to have a natural, "normal" experience. I say "normal" because normal can be so subjective. I just knew I didn't want to give birth in a hospital again. I adored my midwives from the first meeting. They were kind, loving, experienced, and intelligent. I felt totally safe and trusting of them. I mentioned at my first appointment that I wasn't feeling well and was told to try Unisom and b6. I'll get to that in a bit in more detail. I gave it a shot and it helped to take the edge off a bit, but I was still really sick. I did keep down some food and fluids, so I never had to make a hospital trip. I was gaining weight. My midwife said it sounded like I had HG, and she explained briefly what it was. I looked it up and was filled with anxiety. The meds, the side effects, hospital visits. I didn't want anything to do with it. So I kept popping Unisom and B6, sleeping away the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy. Crying, puking, feeling weak. Staying dehydrated, and not digging further into what HG was because I was scared. At 18 weeks HG ws totally 100% gone. Boom, just like that I felt like crap all that time, then gone. I was so thankful. But that pregnancy wasn't done throwing me around yet. That's a story for another time. I do think though, looking back, knowing what I know now, that having HG and probably letting it slide too much and too scared to treat it further, that it worsened things that were to come.
These photos I took of myself were just a couple days prior to my daughter's birth. I was depressed, anxious, and out of patience, crying all the time from having such a difficult pregnancy. I just wanted it to be over.
My birth experience didn't go as I had hoped. I ended up transferred to an OB, luckily a really good one, and one week before I had my daughter she took me into her care, and I had yet another cesarean.
My husband and I had talked about wanting two children close in age. My son was so much older and i knew I didn't want our daughter to grow up as an only kid like my son. So there was talk, but after my pregnancy and having another c section, I was just filled with trauma, anxiety, and no desire to get pregnant again. I was scared. So I put it off. Knowing I really wanted to have one more child, feeling it deep down, feeling like I had one more girl waiting in the wings. I kept talking it over with my husband time to time, both of us wanting to, but I just couldn't give the go ahead. He was totally understanding. He took care of me with my pregnancy with our daughter, and saw what I went through. There was a lot of talk about adoption. I just couldn't get past the conflict in my heart about the trauma I faced with our daughter and the desire for another kid. I felt stupid for even thinking about going through another pregnancy. I felt selfish for wanting to have my own child and not adopt. In the same breath I loved the idea of adopting too.
May of this year came along, and at the last minute just before my ovulation phase started I said, " let's just do this. One time. One shot. If I get pregnant, I get pregnant. If not, we adopt." My husband chuckled a bit and siad, " ok babe, whatever you want to do." I told him this time if I get sick again I would do whatever it takes to survive HG and anything else thrown my way during pregnancy. I wasn't going to put my head in the sand. I wasn't going to let fear stop me from doing what I needed to do. I made peace with that. Knowing I may not have the experience I wanted for so long to just have a regular pregnancy, healthy, vaginal birth, with midwives, and in a home environment. That's ok. This time I wouldn't place any expectations. I gave myself grace and understanding, because if I didn't I knew it would devastate me.
Sure enough by 11 dpo I was nauseous.. I was nervous HG was starting. I had nausea building up for 4 days until I started bleeding. I bled for a week, unsure if I was miscarrying, and told that perhaps I might need to be ready to hear that. How the hell does anyone prepare to hear that? I don't know. It was breaking my heart that week, but then I got good news that my HCG levels kept going up. My blood tests were confirming it.
Pics from my two ER visits in one week in July this year.
Two days after getting that news HG kicked in hard and fast. Like an evil monster lurking and waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Just when I thought ok, I can be happy and move forward, boom, HG says, nuh uh, time to fight. HG came on harder, faster, and with more than my last pregnancy. This is when I learned real fast that HG has a spectrum.
June 30 I went in to the ER for my first round of fluids. I was shaken up. I couldn't stop puking. I was vomiting all day, and in the two hours before going to the hospital I threw up 18 times alone. 18 times in two hours. I had been puking for 14 days straight. I had aversions to everything. I couldn't handle any smells. I couldn't eat or drink. I could barely pee. I couldn't take it. This is where I had to remind myself of the peace I made to accept what comes and get help.
My husband drove me to the ER. Tears rolling down my cheeks. Anxiety setting in. This was how my pregnancy was going to go and I was overtaken with grief and sadness. I was hooked up to two bags of fluids and put on IV Zofran and Phenergan. Mom guilt set in. What happens to my baby? Still so little and developing, only a few weeks along. What will this medicine do?
With reassurance from nurses and doctors I took the meds. I wanted them. I desperately wanted anything to make it stop. But it's hell not knowing if this is the thing you do that fucks up your kid. And soon after the meds were given I started to feel better. I perked up. I wanted ice chips, and I felt hungry. Actual hunger pains. So they brought me saltines. Nothing was ever so good as those ice chips were though at that moment.
That one day I thought I could face getting out of the house for a drive to the mountains. Only to puke all over in gas stations along the way. My husband hooked me up to my IV in the car. It was great to just get out though. 8/3/19
To skip along and spare a long winded story. I had three more ER visits in the couple weeks following. Then I was put on a peripheral IV for about a week. My veins kept blowing because I was too dehydrated. It was taking 7-10 hours for one bag of fluid to empty into me. My doctor ordered a picc line to be put in.
To sum it up the last 18 weeks that I've been pregnant I have been severely sick for 14 of those weeks, since it started at about 4 weeks after ovulation, which I don't know, do the math, two weeks after conception? Doesn't' matter, long enough. For three months I could barely eat. There were weeks I went totally without eating. I still cannot get fluids down or keep them down. I still have aversions and problems with smells. I've dealt with cabin fever and isolation. Depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness. Some days I can barely get out of bed I'm so sick and so fatigued.
For the first 2.5 months I needed help with everything and could do nothing for anyone else. I couldn't get in a car without puking. I slept a ton. I still puke till I pee myself and my nose bleeds. I have side effects from the meds. I have major mom guilt. My teeth hurt and a couple are showing signs of decay so I am seeing my dentist next week, because my mouth and face is in pain from those teeth. I've puked up acid, bile, blood. My esophagus has been painfully raw. I've had times I couldn't talk, because it made the vomiting and nausea worse. I couldn't move because it made the vomiting and nausea worse, Just getting up to pee was too much.
I've bawled on the bathroom floor, reached out in support groups on Facebook, dealt with insensitive comments from people that don't understand it, I've lost weight, gained weight, not put weight on, gained back, lost again. I've been told I look like shit more than I can count. I've been told I don't look pregnant enough or even at all. I've been told I must be better because I wore makeup and "looked" better. I've dealt with much of what HG can hit a woman with, but I haven't been put on a feeding tube or hospitalized for which I'm grateful for.
As for the picc and fluids I'll get into that just below. Let's talk meds next.
One week's worth of meds, vitamins, and fluids.
The meds used to treat women with HG are used by chemo patients. Yes, read that again.
But first, here's how it goes.
Unisom and B6. That's the first go to. I haven't heard of a doc or midwife that doesn't advise this first. Insurance companies typically require it to be the first step before covering any other prescription meds. Especially if you are really in the early stages of pregnancy.
Then comes Phenergan, then Zofran, Benadryl, and Reglan. Diclegis, which is just a super outrageously expensive Unisom and b6 prescription version. Even with our insurance it was about $400 for one fill, so I declined. There was another one that I can' recall at the moment, it sounds like diamond something, not important right now. That one is essentially Dramamine. Antacids are prescribed too, because some like Zantac may help with nausea, and they help keep acid at bay.
Some women report having depression and suicidal thoughts being on Reglan. I passed on that. Phen made me so tired. It knocked my ass out cold. I couldn't stop sleeping. so that wasn't going to work with my 3 year old running around. Currently my doc is prescribing it rectally at night. We'll see how that goes as I haven't picked it up just yet from the pharmacy.
Zofran. This one has come with a lot of controversy over the years. In the end it's the one I've been on consistently, taking 4 dissolvable tabs in a day. I'm not even going to touch on the mess on the net about Zofran. Look it up if it strikes your curiosity.
Zofran side effects. Fuck. OMG. The migraines and severe constipation. I was impacted and constipated the first four weeks after starting it. I didn't have a bowel movement for 4 weeks straight. Nothing. Nada. Bet you wanted to know about my bowel habits. Well it comes with the territory of HG. It's referred to as having "Z poops" in the support groups among HG women. It causes massive constipation. Painful constipation. Constipation that leaves you crying on the toilet, sweating, bleeding, and texting your husband that you think you are going to die on the toilet while your toddler watches Frozen and he's at work. Put on a glove and lube a finger and dig shit out of your ass constipation, because nothing helps get it moving. Try taking Miralax and Milk of Magnesia with HG. Yeah that goes over really well, It comes right back up. At least for me. The only way I can have bowel movements now is to do enemas. I do two a week and cry every time for the last few months.
I still throw up with Zofran. But not near as much. It doesn't even scratch the surface of helping my debilitating nausea though. It's not really for nausea, but to basically tell my brain to stop puking and ends the signals coming through to puke. HG just says fine, instead of puking 40 plus times a day, we'll just puke a handful of times. Maybe 2, maybe 6, maybe 10 times, but it's less. I'll give it that.
I don't know the official count, but over the last 8 weeks I've had at least 168 doses of Zofran. I've been taking it since about week 6 or 7 of my pregnancy, so not sure how much exactly though.
HG Can Suck my PICC
A picc line is a thin, soft, long catheter that is inserted into a vein in your arm. It's about 18- 24 inches and goes up the arm and down toward the heart. but not into the heart. Mine was just removed this morning, Wednesday, Sept. 18. I had mine in for about 7 weeks.
It has been a lifeline to me. I felt almost like myself with it. It kept me hydrated. Hydration is key to helping battle HG. Dehydration is the Magneto to Charles Xavier, the archenemy to the woman suffering with HG.
It took a couple weeks, but with consistent fluids and vitamins via my PICC line I was getting some energy back, far less vomiting, and an appetite. Even the nausea was slightly less debilitating, though never gone. There's risks with a PICC line, clotting, infections, and it cannot get wet.
I took showers by keeping my Mighty Well PiCC cover on, just as I do all day, every day to protect it, then wrapping in cling wrap, then taping down a bread oer it with waterproof tape. I only took showers once a week, because it's a pain in the ass, and too risky to chance getting it wet. I had anxiety with every shower. The rest of the week I just used wet washcloths to wipe down. Let me tell you there's nothing like a shower when you feel like hell, and to wait it out once a week isn't great, but it is what it is. Of course HG at its worst I'd end up jsut puking in the shower, because I couldn't tolerate being in the shower. Luckily, that has happened less and less over time.
14 weeks, my bread bad and cling wrap method for showering with a picc line.
Anyways, my PICC line was a Godsend. I was nervous to get it. But once it was in it was so much better then having an IV in. Fluid flowed in well, and I got hydrated with a couple bags a day.
All in all over the course of about 8 weeks between my IV and PICC line I had
Still, getting the news caught me off guard, and I ended up bawling and having a serious amount of anxiety facing it coming out, because it really, truly feels like losing my only lifeline. The one things that gives me hope and helps me get through my days. It's like with HG you already don't have control over your body, and then when your doc says no more PICC line you also have no say over what happens to your body. It's a devastating place to be physically and emotionally.
I wasn't impressed with my doctor when she also mentioned that I just need to try harder to get fluids in, so my gut doesn't get lazy by bypassing it with the PICC line. I really like my dr. I do. I wouldn't change her to switch over to a different dr. She delivered my daughter and she was good to me then. But it hurt and felt demeaning to be told to try harder. I know she didn't mean any harm by saying it. But let's save that for the shit people say portion of this blog.
I'm thankful to my home health nurses. They took great care of me.
I just don't know what I'm going to do now. Back to the ER for fluids when I need them for starters. Back to getting sick a lot. Last Friday my dr wanted me off my hydration bags. I went three and half days without my fluid bags. I tried so hard to eat and drink, but threw up a bunch. I lost 5lbs, and couldn't hold anything in. So by Monday night I caved and hooked up to two bags. I felt better within a few hours and stopped throwing up. She still insisted it come out, so here I am today. Starting over without my PICC line.
Mental and Emotional Effects
There are some dark nights of the soul with HG. Personally I had days when I wished I had never decided to get pregnant again. I had ideas about abortion cross my mind, that I tried not to think about, but still it crossed my thoughts more than once and more than twice. It's something I'd never think about normally. I want this baby. I'm thankful to be able to have another child, but HG is a nightmare and it causes some thoughts to be dark. I hated myself for the times I even thought what if? Some women want abortions, some get them because of HG. I know I'm not alone in feeling this. Some women are downright angry as fuck because of an unplanned pregnancy resulting in HG again for them. It's something you'd never wish on anyone. I have no judgement towards any woman facing HG and what her thoughts and feelings are, because we're surviving in whatever way we can.
Depression, anger, and anxiety are very real side effects of HG. Not the cause of HG, but absolutely a byproduct of HG. This illness is traumatic, and a lot of women end up with PTSD from it and PPD.
We're in a population of 1% of women that get this illness. We have no idea why we got it or how. We suffer and the rest of the world doesn't get it, they don't understand it. More times than not our providers don't know what to do for us. Some providers treat women like crap. Some women don't have support. Some go through divorces during their HG pregnancy. It's a nightmare. I can't say it enough.
I started therapy a year before even considering getting pregnant again. I was so torn about it, so scared, and I'm continuing with therapy while I'm pregnant, because it helps to talk it out with someone.
I'm thankful for the support groups on Facebook that I've found this time around. It helps to be in a group of women that understand and know what you're going through.
This illness like many chronic illnesses can make a person lonely and isolated. I have had many days pass feeling this way. I hope all women going through this can find support through a spouse, family member, or friend.
Shit People Say
Get back to work.
This is normal.
Welcome to Motherhood, we all go through it.
It'll go away by the end of first trimester.
It's all in your head.
Stop complaining, you chose to be a mom.
Pick yourself up.
Good vibes only.
You're not eating the right foods.
You need to try this essential oil, vitamin, supplement, insert some MLM crap here.
Eat more carbs.
Eat more protein.
You're here in the ER for nausea and you're pregnant, um ok.
You don't look sick.
You look like shit.
You're gaining weight though
You look too small, are you sure baby is ok?
That medicine is going to cause your child birth defects!
I hope you aren't harming your baby by being sick.
Is this pregnancy really worth it?
Why'd you get pregnant again?
Are you sure you want to keep it?
You brought this on yourself.
Maybe it's because of your health problem, should you have gotten pregnant having that problem? ( insert autoimmune, fibromyalgia, or whatever here)
Let me tell you that all of this is bullshit.
None of it is helpful. It's blaming, demeaning, hurtful, and adds to the massive stress and guilt a woman with HG already has. America, increase your emotional IQ and get a clue.
Learn how to at least be sympathetic. This isn't the fault of the woman and it is a VERY REAL illness. This isn't normal. This isn't morning sickness. It's a debilitating and rare illness that strikes 1% of women. We're fighting it every single day. We're survivors and warriors. But we lose sight of that often in the midst of the day to day with this illness, so offer support or don't say anything at all if you can't follow the golden rule. Providers wake up. Take care of the women pleading for your help. Listen to them. Be kind, they may not have help or support anywhere else either.
This Doesn't Help
or anything else you want to suggest that might otherwise help a normal pregnancy with normal morning sickness
Listen to the woman with HG. Get her what she asks for. Exactly what she asks for. She is trying to listen to her body. Some days some things help, other days those things don't help at all. We aren't trying to be crazy or make the people around us crazy. We're trying to get through this the best we can. I don't care if she wants a Sourdough Jack three days in a row or can't eat for three days in a row. Just listen to what she needs and help her.
What Does Help?
Remember every woman is different. Every body, body, each body is different. HG is on a spectrum and can change day to day, pregnancy to pregnancy for each woman.
Be her advocate if she can't for herself. Far too many doctors don't understand HG and they don't listen to the women suffering with it.
Move on if you have a shitty dr.
Get hooked up to fluids if you need 'em. It's one the best things you can do to fight this illness.
It's okay to be angry. It's okay to grieve. It's okay to process how you need to through illness. Give yourself grace. This goes for the caretakers of women with HG too. Just don't take it out on each other. It's no one's fault.
Go here to learn more: http://www.hyperemesis.org/family/
My Husband and Kids
I love you. I love you guys so much. Thank you for being here for me through two pregnancies with HG. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on, for the hugs, for helping me through long nights, and hooking me up to bags of fluids, and trips to the ER. Thanks for bearing through my moments of anger.
To my son. I'm sorry you have seen me through this twice now. I;m sorry when you were younger you were so scared I would die. That even now you still ask if I could. You don't deserve that kind of concern. Thank you for being a help to me and helping me keep the house up. I hope that someday you will be a strong man for your partner should you ever need to be there for them in a time of illness. Thanks for being playful and using your sass for good when we razz each other. We have our tough moments now that you're a teen, but we have good ones too. You have stepped up at times that made me so proud of you.
To my 3 year old daughter. You are the very definition of your name. You are light in this family. You have wowed me with your instincts and nurturing. From the very first time I threw up with this current pregnancy you were on my heels, immediately rubbing my back as I leaned over the toilet, pulling my hair back. How'd you know to do that? Saying to me over and over, "I love you, otay mommy, you otay." I love how you bring me blankets, toys, and books. I love how you have been there to hold my hand when nurses came over to put in IVs, and you wouldn't leave my side. You have such a fierce strength inside of you. I'm so sorry you have seen mommy cry and be so sick. I wish I could make it all go away. I wish that you never saw this kind of struggle so young. I wish I could protect you and only show you joy. You're so little. But you're so smart, so silly, so loving. I'm the luckiest mommy in the world to have you by my side. I'm glad we can hang out and watch cartoons when daddy and brother are away at work and school. You make it worthwhile to fight this even more.
To my husband. We have some days that are so stressful. We've been through so much. But you have been there for me. When the chips are down, you have my back. You have never made me feel poorly and guilty for being sick or for the financial burden of my illness. I can't say there are a lot of women out there with men that step up. You and I butt heads, and that happens under stress, but damn I can't imagine going through this without you. Of course I wouldn't be this way without you either lol, just teasing. You have seen me at my worst, and somehow you still love me and still tell me I'm sexy as hell in your eyes when all I feel like is a gross lump these days. Love is blind I suppose. hahaha. I'm sorry for the days I've been pissy and rude and feeling like shit and can't pull my head out of my ass. I try really hard to not let all this get the better of me most days, but some days I lose that battle. We're halfway through this, and then we get our last baby in our arms and can move forward. I don't know what's to come with the rest of this pregnancy or if it will be anything like the last aside from the HG, but I know with you I will get through it. Thank you for being by my side. I love you.
If you want to watch a video that covers a lot of this here ya go. I cover a lot in the blog, but sometimes a video is the way to go. You'll get the gist by the video. Fair warning, I am emotional talking through the video.
We had a nice day trip up to Idaho City today. The day started off early in the morning and i went to the salon to have my hair demi colored, glossed, and washed. It always feels good to go in for a hair appointment. Especially these days when washing my hair isn't easy due to taking limited showers with my picc line in.
There was some land for sale in Idaho City that we wanted to look at. It was so tempting. It was a beautiful drive to the land, and there was a sweet, small ankle deep creek on the land. We've dreamed of land for 12 years. I hope someday we find something that fits us and something we can afford. Until then....
So went to Sasparilla's for ice cream, and then played in Mores Creek.
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