Saturday, May 5, 2012

Life's Bilest Moments, HG poetry

As we draw closer to May 15th of this year, we draw closer to the first ever World Awareness Day for Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  HG is a debilitating, life threatening pregnancy illness.  I have struggled with it in three pregnancies, with only two living children to show for it.  My second pregnancy was by far my most horrific experience; in a little over a week I lost 30 pounds and my body began to shut down from the excessive vomiting.  My baby, Casey Lee, did not survive; at around 10 weeks we found out that she had died around 6 and a half weeks.  During the months following my experience I turned to an old friend to express my physical and emotional pain, poetry.  This is my HG poetry.


An Open Letter to HG

Life a thief in the night
You stole my joy, my dreams
I was fine before I met you
Stumbling, perhaps, as is often the case with life
But you knocked my feet out from under me, stole my breath
and broke my heart

Who I was before, a memory
Who I am now, a nightmare

Tragedy is the stuff of great fiction
Yet this has somehow become real
The torture and torment bleeding off the page of make believe
Into the landscape of my reality
My feet no longer touch the ground, for I am flat on my back
and my eyes can no longer produce tears

Who I am now, a nightmare
Who I am becoming, a new creature

As the beat of time marches on
There is a soft touch of healing, a gentle hope of repair
But there are places that no balm can soothe
And the tape sometimes does not hold the pieces together
The jagged edges become smoother, but the pieces don't fit the same

Who I am now, a new creature
Who I am becoming, a mystery

What HG Has Done to Me

You don't know me now
Warm smiles
Dream
Raucous laughter
Energy
Passion
Drive
That was all before

Before the flood of vomit came pouring out of me
Ripping out my soul, my mind
Taking with it the sure knowledge
of who I am
and what I am capable of

All that is left is the memory
of dark rooms and dark places
in the corners of my mind
that I did not know existed
and fear may rise again

There is no joy in creating life for me . . .
Just the endless torment of days spent hoping, to no avail, that I could eat, or drink, or at least sleep until it was over

At the end of each day there is no hope
Just the prospects of another day with this new person
Merely a shadow of my former self
for a part of me died with you
and now there is no reward


An Inconvenient Grief

There was a crib in a room
waiting for you
I would peek in with awe
wondering

In that crib was a pillow
with Winnie the Pooh
I bought it before I knew I was pregnant
but somehow, I must have known . . .

That was all before the terror came
the terror of knowing
you were slowly dying,
your heartbeat fading
there was a moment when I knew
but the sickness would not fade
and we were so afraid
that you may be suffering, too
for how could my body
which could not sustain itself
be a haven for you?

Sometimes in all the pain.
moments when I could not rise off the floor
bile and blood flowing
because there was no food left to purge,
it was hard to remember
the possibility of joy . . .
the finish line was far
and my body couldn't break the tape

My body now your tomb
My heart slowly breaking
My mind unable to comprehend

There was a crib in a room
now it sits in an attic
sometimes I look in and
tears stain my cheeks
I am startled by the bed
that fills the space
I hold the pillow
adorned with Winnie the Pooh
and weep the melancholy sorrow
of a mother
who mourns a child
she never got to hold

Your Fading Heartbeat

From the very first moment
every sign seemed to say
something was wrong
there was a panic
that is worse than not knowing
for I heard it that day
in the slow beat, beat, stop, beat
of your heartbeat
that you were slipping slowly away
and that day, I began to mourn
as I mourn still
always
for I do not get to hold you
when I look at your sister's face
I wonder
the wonder of the mother with a broken heart
what you would look like
how it would feel to hold you
what tinkling sound your laugh would make
but instead the only sound I have
is the slow beat, beat, stop, beat
of your heartbeat
the pounding drum of dirge
that mocks my longing
and haunts my dreams
so when I join you in heaven
I want to hear you sing
so that your song
can replace
the slow beat, beat, stop, beat
of your heartbeat
that rings still in my ears, in my head, and my heart
sing now in glory
make a new sound
and let me hear it in the wind

Drowning in My Tears

I am drowning in a sea of tears
Trying to hold my head above the water
You bore the burden of my sins,
Can you bear the burden of my sorrow?
Do you sob as my body writhes in emotional pain?
Cup my tears into your hands,
Drink them in
May your angels wings brush my cheeks
And dry my tears
I do not want to be on this path
wandering in this sea of desperation
My empty arms ache with longing
Shattered heart, do you have the pieces
to put me back together again?
What has happened to the piece named Casey?
Is she near, can she hear
as we cry out for her

Becoming

Before you were
you were
becoming
a part of me
flesh of my flesh
desire of my heart
even if I did not yet know it

Before you were
you were
becoming
a part of family
a child of mine
a sibling
a love
a wish
a dream

Before you were
you were
becoming
a gift
to expand my heart
to teach me about
love
and fighting for the right
to be called
mother

Before you were
you were
becoming
a vessel of grace
for though you did not make it here
your story lives
to tell
others
so that their becoming
may become
a dream come true

Before you were
you were
becoming
and always will be
loved
valued
cherished
missed
longed for
for your angel wings
are becoming
your message of hope
your gift of grace
the instrument on which your song is played

The Wonder of Your Little Hands

This morning I woke to the touch
of a hand brushing my cheek
and I thought of the little fingers
that would never wrap mine
of the little toes that would never be
piggies
of the silent claps that echo
in the hollow spaces in my heart
where a picture of your face should be
instead there is only a thought
of the wonder of your little hands
that I can never hold
or touch
or feel
or kiss
may God take your little hands
and hold them safe and sound
until the day I see you
and place my hand in yours
and complete the chain that is
your family


My poetry collection is called Life's Bilest Moments because with HG, you vomit so much you will not be able to keep anything down and, eventually, there will be nothing left but blood and bile coming up.  Your skin and lips will crack from the dehydration.  You either take up residency on your bathroom floor or name a bucket by your bed your new best friend.  You will lack energy, joy . . . hope.  Hope only comes for those who can identify the symptoms and can demand the appropriate care to keep HG from spiralling out of control.  1 out of every 1,000 pregnant women of all ages will suffer some form of HG.  HG is no respecter of age, race, or culture.  The only thing we seem to know for sure right now about HG is that there is a genetic predisposition; because I have had HG, it is more likely that my daughters will have HG.  I am fighting to raising awareness and research for my daughters - for all of our daughters.

For more information about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, please visit the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) at www.helpher.org.  There they have basic information for women, family and friends as well as resources to help find doctors and more.  They also have support forums for women to share their stories.  You can learn more about my personal story by reading The ABCs of HG, an unconventional picture book.  Early and aggressive treatment can help make HG so much more bearable, so please take a moment to learn the signs.  One day you may see a woman in your life suffering from HG and you will know how to help her.  With the knowledge, finally, in my third pregnancy that I had HG, my husband and I knew what questions to ask and were able to seek out a doctor who had more experience handling an HG pregnancy.  Because of that knowledge, our second child is here.  Thank you (and sorry for the bad poetry).

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/07/2013

    This so heartwrenching! I am so sorry for Your loss! May God bless You and bring You peace! My Daughter is going through Her second pregnancy with HG and I am so scared for Her and feel so utterly helpless!This is just so wrong! I am supposed to be able to help My child and make things better but there is nothing I can do! We all had high hopes that it would be better this time! We were misinformed!

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