Saturday, April 28, 2012

The ABCs of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, an unconventional picture book


As part of the first ever HG World Awareness Day (May 15, 2012), I am sharing my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in the only way I know how as a librarian - as an ABC picture book.  Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating, life threatening pregnancy illness that can cost a pregnant woman her life.  Although one of the symptoms of HG is nausea and vomiting, this is not morning sickness.  This is a nausea and vomiting so severe that women lose tremendous amounts of weight, their bodies shut down from dehydration, and babies don't make it.  Over the course of 3 pregnancies I have thrown up more than a 1,000 times, stared death in the face, and lost one precious baby.  This is my tale . . .


Announcement
 
After my first pregnancy, which would now be considered mild HG, the announcement that I was pregnant didn't come with presents and balloons.  It came with terror and fear.  It came with prayers and pleading.  Every day I lay there wondering if today would be my last day.  Sometimes I begged for it to be.  I have stood at the edge of a cliff and stared death in the face.  My toes hung over the edge.  Death came barrelling towards me like a train on the tracks, its single headlight cascading its circular light on my chest as I stood there paralyzed in fear.  For me, the announcement that I was pregnant could just as easily have been the announcement that I was dying.


Bathroom
 
Without the energy to walk, and because movement made the vomiting so much worse, I spent many a night sleeping on the bathroom floor.  It became both my sanctuary and my prison.


Charlotte Bronte
 
Charlotte Bronte is the author of Jane Eyre, which I love.  It is also believed that she died in her fourth month of her pregnancy from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  I never thought I would have something in common with an author I love.  I would prefer it be something besides a life threatening pregnancy condition.


Drugs
 
There is a long list of things you should not do during pregnancy and I broke one of the biggies: I took drugs.  Lots of them.  Dr. prescribed, life saving drugs.  I took the drugs that they give cancer patients to help fight nausea when they are undergoing chemo.  I tried a variety of drugs and then a variety of combination of drugs.  At their best, they simply knocked the edge off.  Often they failed entirely.


Esophagus
 
With HG, you will vomit so much the acid will erode your esophagus.  Every drop that comes back up burns all the more greatly as it comes back through your ravaged esophagus.  The doctor will look down your throat and see places where the skin has been burned away.  Your esophagus, like many parts of your body, will never be the same after HG.  Pregnancy only lasts 9 months, but HG damages you forever. 


Failure
 
Your kidneys start to fail.  Your liver starts to fail.  Your baby's heartbeat starts to fail.  And you know that you are a failure.  Your body has failed you; it can not do the one thing the world says you were designed to do - make a baby.


Grow Up
 
I will never forget the day I stood at the top of the stairs and began to pass out. It was the 3rd time this happened in my second pregnancy.  I looked down at the bottom of the stairs to see my amazing 3 year old child and I feared for her. What would happen to her if I was home alone with her when I died? Would she get out of the house? Would she be safe? Would she be scared? I began to try and teach her to dial 911 at the age of 3.  I wondered who she would grow up to be without a mother. 


Hunger
 
In our lives we will say to ourselves many times, "I am starving."  But I have truly starved.  I have vomited until there was nothing left to vomit but blood and bile and I have truly known what it means to be hungry.  I have been so hungry that my body began to do the only thing it could to survive - eat itself.


IV Hydration
 
You become so dehydrated your lips crack, your skin cracks, and you thirst in ways you never knew you could thirst.  In my third and final pregnancy, IVs were the only thing that kept me and my baby alive.  My husband set his alarm to get up in the middle of the night to change my IV bags.  I unhooked myself to go to work and then came home, parched and weary in both body and soul, to hook myself back up again.  IVs delivered the sweet nectar I needed to survive. 


Just . . .
 
Just eat crackers.  Just drink ginger ale.  Just wear sea bands.  Just suck on a pregnancy pop.  Just shut up already! Just love and support me.  Just trust me, I am doing everything I can.  HG is a medical condition with serious health ramifications for both the mother and child.  Each patient is different and responds to treatments differently.  If you are lucky, you find a drug combination and hydration routine that works for you and keep it at bay . . . but just barely.


Ketoacidosis
 
Ketoacidosis is a build of Ketones caused when your body chemistry goes wonky because you have HG.  It has big fancy medical definitions that I don't really understand.  I just know that it means that your body is shutting down.  I know because it was happening to me.  There are a lot of things that I don't understand in my medical records - "significant anion gap", numbers, abbreviations.  It was all just medical jargon for a truth that could not be escaped - my body was shutting down.  It could not support both of us so it was choosing to support neither of us. 


Life
 
You are trying to make a life, but it is taking yours.  Not figuratively, literally.  It is a race to the end to see who, if anyone, will make it through your pregnancy.  In the end, if you survive, you will never take life for granted again.  But in the process, you lose your life.  Your friends, your family . . . you will spend your life in a place of such stark aloneness that you could never imagine.


Maybe
 
I have been pregnant 3 times, but I have 2 living children.  HG has taught me that if you endure a hell on Earth, you get to have a baby - maybe.  There are higher incidences of second and third trimester loss in an HG pregnancy.  Once you get past the first trimester they say you are usually safe, but those odds change once you introduce Hyperemesis into the picture.  With my third child, the force of my vomiting was so severe that my placenta began to detach. At 19 weeks I went in to the ER on a Friday night and they told me they were sorry, my baby wasn't going to make it through the weekend because my placenta was completely detached.  They were wrong, but the fact that she is here is a miracle.


Nobody
 
Nobody understand HG unless they have lived through it.  My husband, my daughter, my friends - they have seen it, but they will never understand it.  Like any other life changing event, only those who have stood in your shoes can truly understand what it is like.


On the Line, Off the Line
 
At one point my doctor asked the home healthcare nurse to remove my IV line.  She came to my home, took one look at me and called him, "she won't make it if you remove the line."  Finally, in resignation, the doctor got on the phone with me and with a heavy sigh he said, "this is going to be a long, painful pregnancy."  He had no idea.  By taking away my iv, he would be taking away my life line. 


Parasite
 
Noun. 1. An organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.  It is a struggle every day with HG to remember that there is a baby inside of you trying to live.  Not just any baby, but YOUR baby.  This is the one thing you must keep reminding yourself.  In my 3rd pregnancy, I bought a baby blanket and laid with it every day to help remind me that I was fighting for the life of my baby, not simply feeding a parasite.  Many days it was too easy to forget. I had learned a horrible truth: Even in the 21st century, woman can still die from pregnancy.


Questions
 
Every time I see a pregnant woman walking around the mall, I am flabbergasted: She can walk?  She looks so . . . healthy?  When people tell me they are pregnant I don't think congratulations.  No, I think, I hope you don't die.  There are so many questions that come with HG: Why me? Will it be like this every time? Does it happen to everyone?  Am I going to die? Is my baby?  Will it happen again?  And now, as the mother of two little girls, will it happen to them?


Racing
 
With HG, you are racing against time.  It is a 9 month race to a very important finish line - your baby.  But every step you take closer you seem to see the finish line drawing farther away.  It's an illusion created by the depths of your despair, by the shattering of your undernourished mind, but the finish line seems so very far away . . . and you are sure you will never reach it.


Shower
 
"We waited until you were almost ready to deliver to give you a baby shower.  We weren't sure you were going to survive the pregnancy.  We thought there was no way the baby would."  That's what a co-worker once told me after my first pregnancy.  They had never seen anyone be pregnant like me before. They thought there was no way me or the baby would survive and they put off having a baby shower until the last possible moment.  And yet, that pregnancy was definitely the best out of my 3.


Tachycardia
 
BEATBEATBEATBEATBEATBEATBEAT "Your heart is beating too fast.  It is working too hard to keep you alive".  At one point I was hospitalized and my resting heart rate was over 200. Yet my blood pressure was down to around 60 over 40.  No one thought I would make it through that night in the hospital.  When that pregnancy ended, without a baby, I spent the next 7 months or so taking medication to help regulate my heartbeat. Beat, beat, beat . . . .  beat


Ultrasound
 
The ultrasound tech quickly reached up and turned off the sound as we heard the faint, slow, uncertain heartbeat of my second child.  Thump, thump . . . . thump.  "That's doesn't necessarily mean anything," she fearfully whispered.  But we both knew it did.  Three weeks later, 3 hospital stays later, we would learn that my body, which was barely keeping me alive, had failed to keep my baby alive.  10 weeks, 4 ER visits, multiple IVs and all we got to bring home from the hospital was an empty uterus and a broken heart.


Vomiting
 
In the midst of my second pregnancy, by far my worst, I vomited sometimes more than 30 or 40 times a day.  I vomited so much there was nothing left to vomit except bile and blood.  There ought to be a law, once you have survived HG you never have to throw up again.  Except I find that now I am more prone to it.  My stomach will never be the same. HG changes you forever - physically, emotionally and spiritually. It rocks you to the core.


Water
 
With parched lips and sagging skin you stare at the glass of water in your hand.  You want more than anything to drink it but you know it will not stay down.  It sits there, taunting you.  Like Alice down the rabbit hole a glass of water sits there with a note saying "drink me"; but, even though you know you must, you can not.  And when you do, oh . . . the cycle starts all over again.


X Marks the Spot
 
There is a before and an after.  There is who you were before HG; before you stared death in the face and learned what it means to lose a child.  The you before who faced the world head on.  And then there is the after. The you that stood at the edge of that cliff.  The you that has seen a darkness so dark you worried there would never be a ray of light again in your world.  The you that knows that women still die in pregnancy and that far too often, no baby comes.  X marks the spot where you change - where HG changes you forever.


Yellow
 
As your liver begins to fail, your skin turns yellow.  Yellow looks good on mustard, but not so much on the face of a pregnant woman.  Jaundice is what it is called.  It doesn't matter what name they give it, all you will remember is the yellow pallor of your skin and that slow, stark realization that your body is failing.


Zeal
 
Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  The term sits there, heavy but unspoken, in my medical records from my first pregnancy.  They were whispered lightly in my second pregnancy; a pamphlet sent in the mail from the hospital after a night spent being rehydrated, mutterings under the breath of a doctor in the ER.  Finally, in my third pregnancy, a doctor stood up and spoke them loudly and clearly.  With that knowledge came the realization that I could have had help.  It could have gone so differently for me if I only had known what questions to ask.  So today, I stand here with a zealous desire to shout at the top of my lungs: Hyperemesis Gravidarum! Know what it is and what it looks like. Sharing the truth of it may just help someone else.  I want my suffering to have meaning, my baby's lost life to touch a heart besides my own, so I say it with zeal: Hyperemsis Gravidarum is real. Know the signs. Get help.

For more information and support, contact the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) at http://www.helpher.org/.  They have a wide variety of information to help pregnant women and their families understand what is happening, what questions to help, find doctors, and more.  Current research indicates that because I have had HG, my two daughters are also likely to have HG. You can help fund research, participate in research yourself and help spread the word so that my daughters - so that all daughters - can have the medical help they need in the future should they find themselves suffering from HG in their pregnancies. HG World Awareness Day: May 15, 2013. Please share this information with everyone. Thank you.

96 comments:

  1. What a horrible torture. I'm sorry that anyone has to know what that experience is like.

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    1. Me too, which is why I appreciate your help spreading the word. HG can be better managed with early and aggressive care. It doesn't have to be torture. Thank you so much for your comment.

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    2. Anonymous6/23/2013

      Wow I just read your story and it brought me to tears... When i went through H.G i had no idea what was wrong, just that i felt like the life inside me was killing me.... My experience was traumatizing, at it was hard to say goodbye to the baby inside me. Thank you so much for writing this and putting it out there, you will touch many hearts and already have!!

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  2. I had no idea pregnancy could be such a horrible experience; and here I thought that gestational diabetes was bad. I'm so sorry you had to suffer.

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    1. Make no mistake, gestational diabetes is of course also quite bad. The key to a more successful HG pregnancy is early and aggressive pre-emptive treatment to prevent dehydration. Thank you so much for your reply and for spreading the word.

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  3. Michelle Waller4/28/2012

    "A" for awesome Karen! So touching and so true. Love you and all 3 of your beautiful HGlets.

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I love you and your HGlets, too!!!

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  4. What a profound post. Thank you for telling your story and helping others to understand.

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    1. Thank you so very much for your comment and your help spreading the word.

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  5. Anonymous4/28/2012

    Thanks for sharing your story. HG is awful no matter what, but much, much needless suffering could be avoided if doctors took aggressive steps early in pregnancy to halt the progression of dehydration and vomiting. Early, aggressive intervention let me have my children and keep my job. Too many women are denied that opportunity.

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    1. Yes, job loss and huge medical bills - that is a part of many HG stories. I was able to keep my job, although just barely. But we had huge medical expenses. So glad you had good treatment. That is a very important part of the puzzle and why I am "Zeal"ous about raising awareness.

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  6. What an informative, touching post. Thank you for sharing with us--I've only recently become aware of HG, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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    1. Christi, thank you for your kind words.

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  7. Wow, this was an incredibly powerful post. I had no idea a condition like that existed and I am grateful to you for bringing this to the light of day. To be pregnant already is a brave act, but to endure not one, not two, but three pregnancies knowing what it will do to you and your body makes you the bravest person I have ever met. Thank you for this post, and thank you for your story.

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    1. Since you are my photography hero (and my friend Sarah), this comment means a lot to me. Most of my friends didn't think I was brave when I tried again, they thought I was stupid and foolish. But I love my daugthers and can guarantee you that they were worth it.

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  9. This story brought me to tears. I too have had HG, and lost a child to it. This story really explains what HG is and what it does to you. I hope that your story will help people to understand that HG is a real disease and not just morning sickness. I cannot count the times I have been told to "just eat a few crackers". HG is a horrible horrible thing to have to endure, but that is the price many women, including myself, have to pay in order to have a family.
    God bless you and your family.

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  10. I too have had HG and have lost a child to it. Thank you for this, it explains the disease perfectly. Hopefully this story will help people to realize this is a real disorder and not just morning sickness, I cant count the times I have been told to just "eat a few crackers". I cannot begin to describe how horrible HG is, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
    God bless you and your family.
    -A

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    1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It breaks my heart every time.

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  11. I had no idea of this condition! What an amazing person you are to go through it three times & post about it. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. One of the reasons I want to raise awareness is that I know most people have never heard of it. I hadn't - until it happened to me. Information is power.

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  13. Thank you, Karen, so much for this, for myself and on behalf of Naomi too -- hopefully be the time she is ready to have a family, we will have a cure.

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    1. Thank you Cin for stopping by and know that I love you.

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  14. I should not be reading this while trying for No. 3... The one point that rocked me to the core on your list was "Water". I would've murdered for a glass of ice water so many times, but I knew where it would end up...

    In my second pregnancy though I would drink lots of water right before I knew I was going to throw up (I threw up regularly every 12-15 minutes), water doesn't hurt your throat when coming up.

    I'm sorry HG took you a child.

    I have been pregnant three times, but I have two children as well. My third pregnancy ended just weeks ago. But it wasn't because of HG, something went wrong in the beginning. Deep down I knew, because I was feeling ok. Only throwing up once or twice in the morning, the nausea manageable. And I told everyone that I thought something was wrong. And everyone would tell me - you've earned an easier pregnancy, enjoy it! But I know how a pregnancy feels like for me, and it turned out I was right.

    Nobody can understand this unless they've been through it. And when it hits you the first time, nobody who hasn't seen you while you have it will believe how bad it is.

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    1. Best wishes to you as you try for number three. May you escape HG this time.

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  15. Chrissy poo4/29/2012

    Karen, you truly are an amazing person..Thank you for being able to explain HG in a way that people who have not experienced it could understand...<3 <3 <3

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    1. I truly hope that I did.

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  16. Anonymous4/29/2012

    I am going through HG right now, and you put it so elloquently. It really is hard to descibe, and I think most of us try to keep an air of "positivity" because we are HAVE TO in order to stay alive. I have twins in my belly, so I am literally having double the HG this pregnancy. There will never be another pregnancy after going through this. I am lucky enough to have never lost a baby- yet. I am so sorry for what you went through.

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    1. May your twins be blessed. My heart aches for you.

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  17. Sarah M4/30/2012

    As someone who has suffered through HG, you have nailed exactly all the emotions, physical issues, just absolutely everything having to do with HG. I will definitely spread this to everyone I know so they can understand that it wasn't "just in my head," I was really hurting.

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  18. HG -- It wasn't until my daughter was experiencing this that I realized it had a name. I was lucky when I was pregnant. I felt as if I were dying but the medication helped. This was 40 years ago, and since then, I believe that med has been removed for some reason. My daughter was in and out of the hospital and had gestational diabetes in addition to HG. Her husband has had a vasectomy, and they are quite happy with their seven-year-old daughter. I had one pregnancy but seven children. Adoption is a great alternative way to build a family. Good luck to anyone suffering from HG.

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  19. Anonymous5/10/2012

    Thank you for writing this and letting everyone know the torture of Hyperemesis

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  20. Anonymous5/11/2012

    Wow. Thank-you for putting into words. The water part rings sooo true for me. It was the biggest torture. I was so incredibly thirty. I think my body became able to ignore the hunger, but the thirst never went away. I would sit in the bathtub hoping that water would go through my skin into my blood. I know I was crazy but sooo desperate. Thankfully I had a great doctor who took early action when I called at 5 weeks saying I could not stop vomiting. I really believe the key was to get the medications early and I did not have as hard of a time as it could have been, but I definitely was not a glowing pregnant woman.

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  21. Anonymous5/11/2012

    This brought me to tears. I am going through HG for the second time, this time with a much more severe case than the first. I didn't think it could get worse...WRONG! You put this into such vivid and strong words that truly relay what HG is. It is not bad morning sickness and it is NOT psychological, it is a LIFE threatening disease! Thank you for this!

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  22. Anonymous5/12/2012

    This is my third pregnancy with HG thankyou for shedding light on the condition you really hit the nail on the head as to all the emotions and experiences that are faced when sufferring from HG. Sorry for your loss.

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  23. Thank you for posting this and helping to spread hg awareness. It's tough for others to understand unless they've had hg, but this helps.

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  24. Anonymous5/14/2012

    this is an amazingly powerful story, so beautifully written. thanks. from an Aussie HG suvivor

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  25. I cried through this whole post! I cried because of your loss, and also because I too have experianced HG..twice. I just gave birth to my second daughter on April 18th 2012. I know I am INCREDIBLY blessed that both of my daughters were healthy when they were born, and as far as I can tell, I have not suffered any long term physical damage from it. Both of my cases lasted for 18 weeks. The second being far worse than the first. I had a picc line in my arm just to keep me alive! I commend your courage, and strength for going through it 3 times! Bless you for this post, and describing HG as well as you did!

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  26. Thank you for the candid, open post. This is exactly how my pregnancy was. I was told by my obgyn to "suck it up", and vomited so hard I had rice come out of my eye socket. The glass of water to the just wear sea bands. You nailed it. Unless you have experienced HG you can't imagine the Hell of it. I'm sorry for your loss, but grateful for your post.

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  27. Thanks for writing this. I appreciate it! So many of your points were so right on - especially the water. I would watch people take long drinks of water and insanely jealous. I have been through one pregnancy with HG and lost my son at 16 weeks pregnant. I don't think that I'll go through it again, so I'm always amazed to read the stories of people doing it multiple times.

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  28. I read this post as if I was writing it, word for word. I suffered for 26 weeks with HG. I had to go through 3 different PICC line placements where I had to give myself 2 liters of fluids daily. I had weekly doctor's visits, some of them ending in a transfer to the hospital for tachycardia.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with HG. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

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  29. Anonymous5/16/2012

    Thank you so much for opening your heart to us all and saying in words what is so difficult for me to explain. I am an HG survivor with two beautiful boys and I am about to embark on my third journey. They say that time heals all wounds but I am just as traumatised now than I was four years ago in my last pregnancy. I want to thank you for being so brave, for not feeling ashamed that you are not "glowing", for not being scared to admit that the life growing inside you was sucking yours away.
    I am wiser now and I know that in order to reach heaven, I will need to endure hell. And because of women like you, I feel all the more ready to battle hell head on. Thank you so much...

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  30. Stefanie5/16/2012

    I too suffered from HG. I am so sorry for your loss, and i thank you for sharing this story with us! Most people do not understand what we have endured, and most think we are just making it seem worse then it is! I only experienced this with my second daughter, and I had my tubes tied afterwards. For those of you who are suffering from HG currently, stay strong and know you have many survivors praying for you! xoxo

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  31. I have had HG twice and I'm very lucky to say I have two healthy children. But I too know how hard it is to go through. Every day you wonder if you can carry on for a bit longer. Every day you try to eat and drink. Every day to try not to move too much. Every day you wonder "why me?" and choke back the medication with difficulty. Nobody knows just how bad it is until they've suffered in the same way. I'll never forget meeting a fellow sufferer in hospital whilst being rehydrated, it was such a relief to speak to someone who knew what horrible torture HG was. Know that many of us can relate and think you are very brave for getting through it, your children are lucky to have such a strong mother.

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  32. I wish more doctors would read this kind of post. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I have an 11 month hg baby... And we were talking of trying again next year... But I am so scared. I had always wanted a big family, but I just don't know if I can do it again... All the risks are mind numbing. I had gotten to the point I thought I could do it with support of family, friends, and doctors... Till I found out my siblings don't support me having another, and I am not sure my doc plans to be aggressive. Knocked my fragile foundation to bits. Hg is horrible.

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  33. Hi, I am now suffering the second time from HG. My first pregnancy was much worse - but the second was bad also. Now at week 20 I feel ok, only vomitting in the morning and sometimes during the day. For both pregnancies I was hospitalised with dehydration, but week 16 was always a turning point when I started feeling "HUMAN" again. I have to admit when I was pregnant the second time and hospitalised at week 7 this year in February, I thought, why did I have to get pregnant again, why did I risk having this again? I knew it was going to last for two more months for sure. But now of course, feeling better and working again - I feel very happy when I feel the baby kick and proud. My first daughter, Ella, is very happy she is going to be a big sister-) She is almost five (we waited that long out of fear for another HG pregnancy). I will never try to get pregnant again, two times is enough, but of course at the end, it will be worth it having another little wonder in my arms-) Ladies who are going through the worst weeks, go to the hospital in time, do not wait a week when you cannot eat or drink. Go faster, after two days, it will help you get on your feet quicker as you will not go too deep when waiting longer. This helped me the second time. After each hospitalization I was able to eat - still feeling very sick, but able. This was not the case during the first pregnancy, then I waited too long to get a baxter/iv. It seemed the writer of the abc picture book suffered from it much longer and had to go through it even worse, so I can only say she is a very strong woman, I think we all are coping with this terrible condition.

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  34. Hi, I am now suffering the second time from HG. My first pregnancy was much worse - but the second was bad also. Now at week 20 I feel ok, only vomitting in the morning and sometimes during the day. For both pregnancies I was hospitalised with dehydration, but week 16 was always a turning point when I started feeling "HUMAN" again. I have to admit when I was pregnant the second time and hospitalised at week 7 this year in February, I thought, why did I have to get pregnant again, why did I risk having this again? I knew it was going to last for two more months for sure. But now of course, feeling better and working again - I feel very happy when I feel the baby kick and proud. My first daughter, Ella, is very happy she is going to be a big sister-) She is almost five (we waited that long out of fear for another HG pregnancy). I will never try to get pregnant again, two times is enough, but of course at the end, it will be worth it having another little wonder in my arms-) Ladies who are going through the worst weeks, go to the hospital in time, do not wait a week when you cannot eat or drink. Go faster, after two days, it will help you get on your feet quicker as you will not go too deep when waiting longer. This helped me the second time. After each hospitalization I was able to eat - still feeling very sick, but able. This was not the case during the first pregnancy, then I waited too long to get a baxter/iv. It seemed the writer of the abc picture book suffered from it much longer and had to go through it even worse, so I can only say she is a very strong woman, I think we all are coping with this terrible condition.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi, I am now suffering the second time from HG. My first pregnancy was much worse - but the second was bad also. Now at week 20 I feel ok, only vomitting in the morning and sometimes during the day. For both pregnancies I was hospitalised with dehydration, but week 16 was always a turning point when I started feeling "HUMAN" again. I have to admit when I was pregnant the second time and hospitalised at week 7 this year in February, I thought, why did I have to get pregnant again, why did I risk having this again? I knew it was going to last for two more months for sure. But now of course, feeling better and working again - I feel very happy when I feel the baby kick and proud. My first daughter, Ella, is very happy she is going to be a big sister-) She is almost five (we waited that long out of fear for another HG pregnancy). I will never try to get pregnant again, two times is enough, but of course at the end, it will be worth it having another little wonder in my arms-) Ladies who are going through the worst weeks, go to the hospital in time, do not wait a week when you cannot eat or drink. Go faster, after two days, it will help you get on your feet quicker as you will not go too deep when waiting longer. This helped me the second time. After each hospitalization I was able to eat - still feeling very sick, but able. This was not the case during the first pregnancy, then I waited too long to get a baxter/iv. It seemed the writer of the abc picture book suffered from it much longer and had to go through it even worse, so I can only say she is a very strong woman, I think we all are coping with this terrible condition.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello, I am Marijke from Belgium, I suffered from HG twice. I am now 20 weeks pregnant with my second child. The first pregnancy was much worse, but the second was also bad. Both times hospitalisation with dehydration and suffering from week 6 to 16. But for both times, week 16 I started to feel human again. Vomitting still happens, mostly in the morning, but I am coping now (the first time around vomitting lasted untill 9 months, but only mornings further ahead in the pregnancy). I even now have to eat frequently not to vomit - my stomach goes bad when it is empty so mornings and nights I still feel very bad. So from not eating or drinking to having to eat constantly - a big difference of course and gaining quickly all the weight I lost. We also waited and doubted very long to have a second child, my first daughter is almost five. And I do admit when being at the hospital this year in February at week 7, I thought, why did I do this again, why, I have already a child, why put myself through this again? I knew of course that this condition was going to last for several more weeks and I fellt terrible and helpless. But now of course as I am feeling better, I am actually proud of myself and very happy when I feel my little wonder kick against my belly-) My daughter Ella is so proud having a baby sister and feels like a big sister already. If I can give one advice to those suffering right now: do not wait a whole week or longer to go to the hospital, if you fail to eat or drink for 2 days, go to the hospital and get help via IV/baxter. It will help you get on your feet much quicker as you will not go too deep into dehydration. I did not do this the first time, I waited for a week and starting to eat did not go at all, even not after a week in the hosital. This made the second pregnancy more bearrable. The writer of the ABC book seemed to suffer much longer than I did and much worse. What a strong woman!! But of course we all are in my opinion, having coped with this condition !! Lot's of luck and courage to all of you out there!! I will give birth beginning of October so still 4 months to go!!

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  37. Sorry to have published 3 times the same thing and even one other version, but publishing did not work, so I tried again and again: result 4 publications-) Webmaster please delete the 3 previous ones, only keep the last one

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  38. Anonymous5/16/2012

    I am so glad you are bring awareness to this. I suffered from HG I have lost 4 babies. The last was more heart wrenching then the previous ones. It happened after I had one sucessful pregnancy. Holding my baby for the first time gives me hope that one day there will be a cure or at least more answers.....Thank you again. You are a strong woman to speak out about this and share your story.

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  39. I am so grateful that you shared your story. I am currently six months pregnant with my fourth child, and endured and somehow survived HG with all four pregnancies. It helps to much to know that there are others out there who have suffered like I did, and still somehow made it through. I am so sorry for the loss of your little one, and admire you so greatly for pressing through, and sharing your experience on a such a deep and honest level. You have inspired me to share my own story, and hope that perhaps it will encourage someone else currently suffering from HG. Thank you again for sharing your story. I wish you and your girls and husband all the best in your future.

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  40. jennifer5/17/2012

    RESPECT!!
    Can't find anything right to say.
    I cant image it either.
    I was the mild side. Not being to eat
    But when I didn't me and the toilet met less.
    The trouging up was a minium and visist to it was in the morning and no need rest of the day.

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  41. That was like reading my own story. I have 3 children, in their teens now, and suffered HG through 4 pregnancies. During 2 pregnancies I had a central line to enable TPN as nothing was passing my lips in the way of hydration or nutrition - my lung was punctured putting the first one in and during my second time I got pneumonia, a blood infection from the central line and pulmonary embolisms, so on top of the Zofran I was on a host of antibioctics and Heparin. They thought I might die, didn't know what the drugs would do to the baby but had no choice to administer them or I would have died. My children are all healthy and amazingly, so am I. I wish you, and all other women going through this, well and thank you for helping to make people aware of Hyperemesis. It was a totally unknown quantity when I first fell pregnant and I am heartened to see it being talked about now.

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  42. Anonymous5/18/2012

    I had hg with my first she is 3 years old now,it was in my first tirmester. I am so scared to get pregnant again!! I feel for you reading this was so sad!!

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  43. I had HG severely for 10 monts of pregnancy., 23 er visits, numerous pills and medicines to take that very rarely worked. I had "good days" but not many. One visit to the er was 51 hours of vomiting... At week 27 I wanted it over, but knew everything happens for a reason. Finally on week 38 , still sick thru the whole labor, I had a beautiful baby girl. For anyone to understand this "illness" is beyond describing with words. You must find the best doctors and or midwife (which thankfully I had both)... Don't just let the doctors say its pregnancy nauseau because it goes far beyond that....I'm grateful for my husband, friends and family that were with me for the whole experience, all other women who are going thru this, there is help...

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  44. Sherry6/01/2012

    I am 67 years old and had never heard of this illness until accidentally running across your post. I can remember stories of women enduring "horrible morning sickness that lasted all day and night" and this was probably HG. I was fortunate that I didn't suffer from this during my own pregnancies, but my heart goes out to all that do. I think this illness needs to be brought out into the open on a national level (where are the media when you need them?), which I think would put more pressure on the doctors to recognize this condition and begin treatment(s) earlier into pregnancy. I, too, am sorry for your loss and amazed at your courage. May God bless all of those with this debilitating illness. This is truly a story that needed to be told and you have done that with great candor.

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  45. Anonymous7/02/2012

    Thankyou for sharing your story. You are speaking for not only yourself but raising awareness for hg. I had hg with my last pregnancy and it felt like no one understood why I was so ill. At times, I felt like it would just be easier to die than continue. Unfortunately all 3 of my lil ones didn't make it...lost the first at 7wks, then the second one at 8.5wks and the last just over 9wks...i blame hg completely....when you are that sick...it feels like there's no way lil ones could survive that. I'm hopeful for the future but dread having hg ever again and fear what it may do to future pregnancies.

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  46. Anonymous7/20/2012

    this is terrifying to read after being diagnosed with hyperemesis. I'm so scared for both me and my baby. I know exactly what it feels like to not get enough water or enough food because I just can't keep the nausea at bay. I've been lucky enough to keep the vomiting down, but every time it happens I end up in the ER to get rehydrated. This is my first pregnancy and I'm in my 7th week and I've already been admitted to the hospital twice. I can barely walk around on my own, I'm constantly dizzy and in pain and sometimes all I want to do is sleep. Except I can't even sleep through the night most nights because of the nausea and pain. Every time I switch positions in my sleep, I wake up until I get comfortable enough to fall asleep again. I don't want my HG to get to the point where my body fails and I'm really scared that it will.

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  47. Thank you all for continuing to read this, share this, comment, and share your stories. Every day we raise awareness helps more women and babies. I am so sad to share this journey with you all, but know that you are not alone.

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  48. Anonymous9/03/2012

    This brought tears to my eyes. Having suffered it myself and having everyone but my midwife and husband tell me to "suck it up", I can relate to almost everything in this list. I count myself among the lucky that by the half way point in my pregnancy they found medication and routines that worked for me. It was still a fight to keep things down, and if I missed my meds by even 10 minutes, the whole cycle started over again - but I could finally feel some joy in my pregnancy. The first half was spent laying on the bathroom floor, half wishing for death.

    The joyful birth of my son let me heal and know it was all worth it - but I fear for my future children and myself if I have this with each pregnancy. The truth of HG is that it is hell on earth - Hell Fire burning in your stomach, throat, and sinus. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

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  49. Anonymous9/21/2012

    I am absolutely bawling my eyes out right now...i too suffered HG 3 rounds, 3 beautiful children and now no enamel in my teeth, still immediately nauseous when i encounter anything even remotely pregnancy related, still jaundiced, and not quite recovered even 14 months after delivery. We are still struggling with the financial toll, paying the hospital and Drs from the first in 2004, second in 2008, and final in 2011. My younger sister has chosen to adopt after what i went through. Amazing, but sometimes Im not really sure it happened sometimes, like it happened to someone i know or a movie i watched bits and pieces of...i honestly cant tell you anything that happened in mine or my childrens lives during each pregnancy extreme numbers and statistics yes but nothing else. I had to be heavily sedated, couldnt handle any smell even pleasant, i lay in the dark, blind no sense of time and unable to even talk on the phone without vomiting. So disconnected not just from the world, but myself also. Those photos were my world...the pillow, toilet, iv pump and picc line. I never missed a day of work before my pregnancies, and yet i somehow spent 9 months with each being cared for by CNA's i had trained myself only a few months before. I went from.. 155 to 102 pounds the first time, 145 to 114 the second, and 155 to 122 the third, yet most complications came with the second and third pregnancies yet oddly ended up with being the heavier babies. I will never understand why my body failed, but i believe the consequences are cumulative; and each pregnancy pushes a woman and her child closer to an invisible cliff. I pray for those of you suffering from HG, and who are putting your health at risk, and for your babies too. There are no words to console you, no magic wand to ease the suffering, and no amount of faith or prayer to change the betrayal you feel when your body turns on itself. There is only the that time on the clock for your next dose of zofran, and that date on calendar the dr feels you can make it to for the baby's sake but promises to not let you suffer past, the clicking of the once again empty IV. The only thing that matters is the slow steady babump-babump-babump-babump of two heartbeats

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  50. I read this fighting back tears-i lost. I have never read a better post about going through HG. My HG started in week 4 of my first (and only to date) pregnancy. 10 hospitalizations lasting up to 21 days at a time. I delivered at 37.5 weeks to a wonderful, healthy beautiful baby girl. I know in my heart I want to try again, my head shouts NO every time I think about it! Thank you! Thank you for sharing your story.

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  51. Anonymous9/27/2012

    I read this fighting back tears-I lost. My HG started at 4 weeks. I lost 36 lbs in the first 10 weeks of my pregnancy. I was hospitalized 10 times (for up to 21 days at a time), received IV hydration, TPN and countless medications to keep me alive. After the longest, hardest battle of my life I delivered @ 37.5 weeks. A beautiful, healthy and happy baby girl. It changes you, who you are and what you had hoped for (our idea of 4 or 5 children has quickly become "maybe 1 is enough. maybe"). My heart says try 1 more time, while my head shouts "NO!!". This is the best post about HG I've ever read! Thank you for sharing what is so hard to explain to people when they ask. You are right, if you haven't lived it, you just can't understand it!

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  52. Wow... I'm sitting here crying. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Thanks for sharing your story to help others.

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  53. Thank you for such a beautiful portrayal of HG. It's hard to call it beautiful, but being able to put it into words (or ABC's) is amazing! I just shared your link in a comment to The View. I sure hope they will gather correct information and share it publicly.

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  54. Thank you for such a beautiful portrayal of HG. It's hard to call it beautiful, but being able to put it into words (or ABC's) is amazing! I just shared your link in a comment to The View. I sure hope they will gather correct information and share it publicly.

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  55. Thank you for such a beautiful portrayal of HG. It's hard to call it beautiful, but being able to put it into words (or ABC's) is amazing! I just shared your link in a comment to The View. I sure hope they will gather correct information and share it publicly.

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  56. Thank you for putting a voice to all the we have been through.
    You are a wonderful spokesperson for us all.

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  57. I cried because it reminds me soo much of my story. I too know what it meens to stare death in the face. To wish you could die everyday only for it to take your baby instead. The moment when you realise the world you knew before will never be the same for you again.

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  58. Anonymous12/10/2012

    I'm crying too. I wish I could hug you. I lost a baby to HG and I've had 4 HG pregnancies (in my 4th right now). It never gets better. You always hope it will be different this time around, but it's not....when you cry and no tears come out because there's no water in your body....laying alone in a hospital......platitudes from your friends because they don't know what else to say....it's emptiness like no other. Thank you for these beautiful words. All of us who suffer appreciate you speaking out for us.

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  59. Thank you for sharing. Have had HG twice but sadly ended up terminating the 2nd pregnancy as I couldn't cope or get the required support. People still don't understand that it's not "Just morning sickness" and that no amount of ginger or sea bands will help.

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  60. Anonymous1/21/2013

    I, too, had to abort my unborn child at 8 weeks because my kidneys were going into failure. In 3 weeks I had lost a lot of weight and couldn't barely move without throwing up.

    I'm terrified to ever become pregnant again. I don't think I could do it unless I lived in the hospital for the entire 9 months.

    Our lives will never be the same after this....

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  61. Anonymous2/18/2013

    I want to thank you all for your comments and for sharing your stories with me. Like you, HG has cost me dearly. I wrote this post because I want to be an advocate and help raise awareness so that more women can find help and support. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing this post.
    Karen, Teen Librarian Toolbox

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  62. Anonymous3/04/2013

    I seriously cried as I read this. Remembering loosing my son at 19 weeks, looking at this little girl this 7 month old miracle in my arms, and thinking a year ago I welcomed the thought of another miscarriage and I had no idea the hell we would endure to get her here. Thank you for illustrating this. I to remember staring into the beautiful face of my 3 year-old daughter and praying I would watch her grow up. I am sharing this with many people in my life so hopefully they get a glimpse and perhaps they will understand that making a life for me could possibly take mine and deciding to not have any more isn't selfish, it is protecting the lives we have already created.

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  63. Thank you so much! this is just what i needed tonight. I am 31 weeks+2days. this is my 2nd pregnancy, but my first HG pregnancy and I am considered Mod HG. My first OB this pregnancy was horrible and told me IV fluids were a waste of my time....Quickly I found out that, THAT OB was a waste of mine! and I found a new one mighty quick to help me out. I am doing okay, not as much vomiting, but nausea 100% of the time. I am unable to escape it. 61 days....I got this....61 freaking days and then I hope to slowly be me again. (fingers crossed)
    I am going to share your blog on my blog, and I am also going to share it in my HG forum! Thank you for writing this!
    Joleen

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  64. Thank you so much! this is just what i needed tonight. I am 31 weeks+2days. this is my 2nd pregnancy, but my first HG pregnancy and I am considered Mod HG. My first OB this pregnancy was horrible and told me IV fluids were a waste of my time....Quickly I found out that, THAT OB was a waste of mine! and I found a new one mighty quick to help me out. I am doing okay, not as much vomiting, but nausea 100% of the time. I am unable to escape it. 61 days....I got this....61 freaking days and then I hope to slowly be me again. (fingers crossed)
    I am going to share your blog on my blog, and I am also going to share it in my HG forum! Thank you for writing this!
    Joleen

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  65. Anonymous3/31/2013

    Will be bookmarking this. I had HG while pregnant with my daughter. Funny how you can share a relationship with a stranger just from having this disease. Only we know.

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  66. Anonymous4/08/2013

    I have made everyone I know read this and I posted the link on facebook. This is my 3rd HG pregnancy. I have a 15 month old daughter, my 2nd pregnancy ended at 6 weeks (HG started at 3), and I am now 14 weeks with #3. I have lost over 30lbs so far, and I will be starting home health care within the next month. This post is the best way I have ever seen HG described. And its the easiest way to let people know how bad it gets and what's going on when you don't feel like answering questions! Thank you so much for writing this.

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  67. Every word is true. I had it all. Twice. Just finished writing my story in a book that will be launched in about 2 weeks, in time for HG awareness. I still have physical repercussions and probably always will. You're right- it changes you forever in every way. I have a boy and a girl- both miracle children since we were both told we wouldn't survive. God had other plans! Thanks for being a voice!

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  68. Oh Wow! Thanks so much for sharing. I never had an idea about Hyperemesis Gravidarum until this year. My daughter is 4. I was sick the whole pregnancy. Vomited more than I can remember, lost so much weigh I looked skeletal, spent a month in bed. Had to quit my job because I couldn't work. In the end I survived (it was not as bad as your pregnancy, not by a long shot), my daughter did too (early and underweight). So I am thankful, but scared (I really would like a second child).
    Thank you for this.

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  69. This is such a heartbreaking story, but I'm so glad that you and your two children are alive. I'm so sorry about the one that didn't make it. I've never heard of this disease (disorder?) before, and I truly hope they find proper treatment for other women. Thank you for sharing your incredible story.

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  70. wow this just put me though a lot of emotions & memories. After my 1st pregnancy I figured I survived that, and maybe if I have another I won't get that sick, and if nothing else, I know how bad it can be. I was never diagnose with HG. I lost my job because my midwives refused to take me off work for "morning sickness" and my 5 mos I started to lie and just tell them I felt fine, because they never seemed to believe me or care how sick I was.

    I found out about 5 yrs later from a friend that I had HG (because she had the same symptoms as me in her pregnancy, but she was getting IV treatments and taking medications and I was never told there were any options for me but crackers & ginger ale!

    When I finally got pregnant again 11 years later (I waited that long in fear of being so sick again, wanting my son to be old enough to care for himself if I got so sick again) and no, I didn't get as sick as my 1st pregnancy. I got sicker. I was treated like scum in the hospital, told to go home, it was normal. Told it's all in my head. Even suggested I abort since I "can't handle a little morning sickness" and the doctor refused to give me any medication to take home so after 1 bag of fluid I was sent back to hell.

    But I knew there were treatments so with my husbands help I saw multiple doctors. I was told I was not dropping keytones so I couldn't be admitted to the hospital. Told my skin was not saggy so I wasn't dehydrated enough, despite keeping down maybe 4oz of water of 3 days and no food. I felt like I was dying, I had no strength to even crawl to the toilet and my husband would have to carry me sometimes.

    Why do they make pregnant women go through this? Why don't they treat us if we say we need it? Why, when I was finally given a prescription that worked for me, did I have to fight my insurance company for EVERY SINGLE REFILL? Why would they only authorize a TEN DAY supply, stating it could resolve at any time, so I had to go through hours of phone calls, faxes, and going to the doctors & pharmacy every.single.week through my entire pregnancy just to get 30 more pills paid for???

    Thank you so much for sharing the truth about this terrible illness. My mother also suffered from this in all of her pregnancies. 2 live births and 8 losses.

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  71. Thank you so much for sharing, this is the best "short story" I have ever read in my life. No one knows unless they have truly experienced this, so all they do is sit back and judge you. Dealing with HG is the worst thing I have ever dealt with, but on top of that is losing a baby. It really does change you forever. You can't return to that normal happy person you were before. Even if your baby does survive; but some of us are not that lucky. It is so hard to even have a thought in your mind of a "happy pregnancy".. it is one thing to think, " I can get over being sick," but instead you are thinking will the baby make it and will I make it."? Thank you again for sharing your story and sharing HG awareness. <3

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  72. The "Failure" subject is what I am having the most trouble coping with.. I feel absolutely worthless. We lost our first baby almost 3 years ago, and my husband is completely terrified to try again. He doesn't want to see me go through the torment again, and then their are the risks of losing another baby or something possibly happening to me. I have always been open to adoption, but I feel so empty and worthless inside knowing I cannot do the one thing I am actually supposed to do. I feel like I have let my husband down and their is nothing I could do for him to ever make up for that...

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  73. Anonymous11/11/2013

    I am 8 weeks pregnant and going thru this right now. They started me on Zophran and it takes the edge off but I am still always ill. I cannot look at food, smell food, I cannot cook (which I used to cook every day), I absolutely cannot stand the sight or smell of any meat, and I cannot even do the dirty dishes! I am miserable. I have a doctors appointment in 2 weeks and I want to talk about getting the IV at home to see if that will help. Like you said, staring at that glass of water and wanting to drink it... yet knowing what cycle will start all over again. Horrible. I had all this when I was pregnant with my daughter and was hospitalized and after 9 months I had lost 30lbs. She was happy and healthy but for months afterward, I would still occasionally get sick. My husband is worried that this might be the pregnancy that kills me.

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  74. I have no words, except that this captures the feelings and emotions and HG so well. <3

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  75. Your blog described HG so well. I am in my 16th week now and is so happy that the 'nightmare' is over. To relive in it again is a straight no-no. Having experienced severe HG for both pregnancies and many hospital visits/stays, I've appreciate the life that is growing in me much more. There is a saying which goes like this, "Hardship & suffering first before you reaped and enjoy the fruits later."

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  76. Your blog described HG so well. I am in my 16th week now and is so happy that the 'nightmare' is over. To relive in it again is a straight no-no. Having experienced severe HG for both pregnancies and many hospital visits/stays, I've appreciate the life that is growing in me much more. There is a saying which goes like this, "Hardship & suffering first before you reaped and enjoy the fruits later."

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  77. I have had 3 HG pregnancies like you described above. It is complete torture, and each time I was in a very dark place where I wanted nothing more than to die because I didn't think I could bare it any longer. By God's graces, luck, or whatever, I began taking doTERRA's Lifelong Vitality Pack (LLV) at the beginning of 2012 and am still taking it (it is now the beginning of 2013) and I am 16 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. This pregnancy I am not suffering with HG, and LLV is the only difference. I am not a distributor and get no gain whatsoever from sharing this information, I just wish someone could have shared it with me earlier. I am not saying it will work for everyone, but it has for me, and although I have still been sick, I have only vomited 15 times total this pregnancy instead of 15+ times per day. People don't understand, and how could they really, unless they have suffered with HG or been the caretaker husband etc who had to witness a lot of it? I have people ask me if it was so bad, how could I do it again...and again...and again? My answer? I love my kids, and I love being a mother.

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  78. Thank you for this story. I am so sorry that you lost a child from HG. I also suffered from HG. My first pregnancy though horrible, was a cake walk compared to my second. Thank you for telling your story, and for putting it in such great detail that people can truly "understand" what you and so many others go through.

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  79. I know about HG because our niece had it. She was blessed to be able to carry her baby girl to full term. What totally astonishes me is the number of women who want children so badly that they are willing to go through this multiple times. That is the kind of love only a woman knows. My admiration for all of you who are helping get the word out about HG.

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  80. Anonymous5/18/2014

    I am nearing the end of my third pregnancy, my second HG one. My first pregnancy I was sick but it was manageable, I would say normal morning sickness. My second pregnancy I had un-diagnosed mild HG - I threw up every single day until 21 weeks, lost 10 kilos, was taking oral anti-nausea meds (I cant remember which ones now) but thought it was due to the stress of going through a separation at the time. I had never heard of HG, my midwife never mentioned it & and at the time I was not worried about future pregnancies as I thought I was never going to have any more kids! Fast forward six years and pregnancy number 3, by far the worst! 4 weeks I was already nauseous, 6 weeks the daily vomiting had started, 8 weeks I was vomiting multiple times a day & by 10 weeks constant vomiting as soon as I moved, vomiting blood & bile, eating was a nightmare - I couldnt walk to the toilet from the couch without throwing up, I felt so useless! Thanks to the amazing care of my midwife & doctor I was able to avoid being hospitalized, and had IV fluids at my doctors office. My doctor prescribed me Metoclopramide, which didnt stop the vomiting but greatly reduced the frequency - enough for me to stop losing weight. I believe that early intervention on behalf of my care providers was key & I feel lucky that I stopped throwing up at 21 weeks, yet they were the hardest 21 weeks of my life. I am now 34 weeks and have only gained 4 kilos (8lb) from my pre pregnancy weight, and that is all baby. This pregnancy has been so hard that I am not sure if I can do it again - I am blessed that I have only had a mild version of this awful disease and my heart goes out to those of you that have lived through hell on earth and lost babies on account of HG. Thankyou for spreading the word!

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