MY STORY

I was 24 years old and a newlywed when my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family. Five months into our marriage and a pregnancy test later, it was confirmed. We were going to have our first baby!

With the welcomed news came every emotion possible... Fear, anxiety, excitement, worry, joy, amazement... My head was instantly full of scenarios and plans, but I could never have planned for what was coming.

After a few days of being pregnant, I made some phone calls to spread my happy news. As I sat on the couch with the phone in one hand and m&m's in the other, I made the announcement to several friends. The wows and congratulations ended and the question kept coming up... "How are you feeling?" I clearly remember thinking I felt GREAT, how could that suddenly change?! I must be one of those lucky pregnant women, I thought.

WELL, a few days later...
I barfed. Once.
The next day, twice.
The third day? 23 times!
It kept up, EVERY day after that. My husband and I kept a log of every time I would vomit, because we were shocked that a person could throw up as many times as I would! Some days I threw up over 50 times! Hyperemesis hit me hard and fast and, for me, continued the whole entire nine, very long- not so beautiful months.

During that first pregnancy, I threw up over 400 times, lost 38 pounds, had 4 Picc-lines, visited the ER regularly and had to quit my job. I went days without being able to eat or drink anything and I watched as my body transformed into something weak and terrifying. I felt alone, miserable and completely debilitated. I was unable to do ANYTHING except lay in bed, afraid and helpless. Does this sound too dramatic? It's not.

When my baby was finally born, he was two weeks late, but healthy and perfect. He weighed 6.1 pounds and it was amazing that, somehow, I was miraculously able to give him the nourishment that he needed to survive during those awful 9 months that I barely survived.

The experience was dreadful, but my husband and I wanted a bigger family and in our naiveness
decided to have ONE more child. We took the chance, hoping, that the second pregnancy would be better. Of course, it wasn't and ended up being just as much torture as the first.

It took a personal endurance I didn't know was possible.

That pregnancy finally ended this past November, 2009, when I gave birth to our second baby boy. I threw up SEVERAL hundred times, had a Picc line for over 6 months, lost 35 pounds, visited the ER 7 times and spent weeks admitted in the Hospital.

One doctor told me I would've been died in hours if I hadn't come in one particular day. I know he was right, because I literally felt like life was sucked out of me.

It's disturbing that I always had to present a huge case to "prove" to Doctors and sometimes friends, that I was actually sick...
At one point, I had the same ER doctor three times in a row and she was mad that I kept coming back, even though she'd need to give me IVs but I was too dehydrated for them to find veins, or she'd order blood tests and they'd end up admitting me for days because of mineral deficiencies. She kept saying morning sickness is "typical", "stay home where it's comfortable". Yes, morning sickness is typical, but this was NOT morning sickness. So, stay home?! Comfortable? Um, no to both.

I found that there is little compassion and little awareness out there when it comes to HG.

I've searched for answers, reasons or solutions. I tried products and remedies without results.

Although, my two little boys were definitely worth the health risks, the struggle to bring them into this world was almost unbearable. It took an enormous amount of endurance, prayers, suffering, tears and the support of amazing people to get me through it.

I am 27 years old now and terrified to ever get pregnant again. Our plan for a big family feels impossible. I am hoping to find answers, so maybe- just maybe- I could have another baby someday. If you have or are experiencing hyperemesis or know anything about it, I would love to hear your thoughts, remedies, research or about your own experience.

I want to hear YOUR story!

Leave me a link or comment here

WHAT HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDARUM IS TO ME...

Hyperemesis gravidarum is from the Greek hyper-, meaning excessive, and emesis, meaning vomiting, as well as the Latin gravida, meaning pregnant. Therefore, hyperemesis gravidarum literally translates to "excessive vomiting in pregnancy".

A very small percentage of pregnant woman suffer from this condition, less than 2%.

In my case, hyperemesis gravidarum was life threatening.
It caused severe dehydration, many nutritional deficiencies-especially levels of potassium-which lead to uncontrollable muscle cramping, weight loss of 23% of my body weight, high blood pressure, major dental problems, difficulty with normal daily activitys and physical and emotional STRESS!

It can also cause liver damage, subconjunctival hemorrhage(broken blood vessels in the eyes),
hallucinations and even death!

No one knows the true cause of HG. But some people think it's possibly related to hormone levels or hormone imbalances, genetic factors or immune system issues.

Unlike, normal morning sickness, hyperemesis is unrelenting, uncontrollable and likely to last the whole entire pregnancy and sometimes even after the baby is born.

For me, it began around week 6 and lasted up to the day my babies were born.

REMEDIES THAT I'VE TRIED...

Since no one has found the cause of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, there haven't been any proven cures....YET.

I had several Picc-lines that helped keep me hydrated, but I was always searching for a personal cure...

My husband spent a lot of money and several trips to our local drugstore, on my behalf, hoping to find something that would make a difference for my constant nausea and vomiting.

I did find a few things that helped lessen my misery... For instance, I found that Otter pops tasted good to throw up, shaved ice was easier to keep down than water and sometimes chewing a piece of gum could distract my gag reflexes, but these few things were hardly a cure. I would still throw up unimaginable amounts.

Now, I am definitely NOT a Doctor, but here are a few more things that I tried and my personal opinions and reactions to them...

WATER

Okay, I think I heard this solution anytime I had a problem. Just drink water. Sometimes there was even extra instruction, sip it slowly, don't drink it cold, keep it by your bed, add some extra electrolytes to it. Ok, ok, sure, drinking water will keep you hydrated which will solve many scary problems. Ya, I get that, but how do I keep that water down?!? That was the part everyone kept leaving out!

Drink water... I wish it was that easy! There were days I couldn't even think about water without throwing up and other days I was so thirsty that there wasn't enough water in the world.
I remember throwing up all night, every 2o minutes. In between throwing up I was dying of thirst and desperately seeking water. I finally fell asleep on the bathroom floor and when my husband woke up to check on me, he saw our wastebasket full of over 20 empty bottles of water that I had drunk and thrown up while he was asleep. Almost the whole case of water. It was a vicious cycle.

Yes. Water sounds like a great solution and yes, losing all your body's water weight in one night makes you excessively thirsty.

GINGER

A very sexy girl name... a pretty color... one of my favorite cookie flavors. But, a cure for Hyperemesis? Um, not so much. At least for me. Of course it doesn't help when you're pregnant and everything looks and smells horrible. I think ginger ale, ginger tea and ginger flavored candy actually all grossed me out enough to make me throw up on my own.

PREGGIE POPS

I didn't get to try these with my first pregnancy. I sent my husband around the city looking for them. Several different drugstores showed they carried them on their websites, but no one actually had them in stock. It's okay, I got some, from my sister, during my second pregnancy and they didn't work anyway.

I will say, this was the most fun of all the remedies out there! They had a delicious flavor that masked the horrible taste that vomiting leaves in your mouth. It would have been totally awesome If a lollipop could've made me feel better... When I'm healthy they usually do. :)

VITAMIN B-6 AND UNISOM

I was told by a few close friends that Unisom and B-6 helped them or someone they knew. Something about the combination of the two would help block the nausea...

My sweet husband bought sooo much of both. We really stocked up. In fact, we still have a lifetime supply of both over here, so if anyone would like some... :)Ya, it definitely didn't work. The Unisom didn't even help me sleep some of the sickness off.

ACCUPRESSURE BRACELETS

I wish that this one would've helped. I wished so much that I was terrified to take those darn bracelets off! I would stare at them every time I was leaning over the toilet seat and I would wonder if maybe they actually were working, maybe I would've thrown up MORE than 13 times that particular day if I wasn't wearing them?!?
It took over a week and over 60 barfs before my husband made me take the useless things off.

EAT A CRACKER...

I can not tell you how many times "eat a cracker" was given to me as advice. It used to make me soooo mad! Really? Do you think I'm stupid? Did they really think that eating a cracker, or two, or even twenty, would really stop me from throwing up those 30+ times a day? I wish it was that easy!

This advice was usually given to me by women who tried to sympathize with me, because they threw up, ONCE. :) Bless their hearts, but they obviously had no clue.

Trust me, I have eaten plenty of crackers in my lifetime. I love a good cracker, so I even humored the idea, BUT believe me, no cracker was going to cure this problem! I'm sorry ladies-- and I'm glad if, somehow, that worked for you, but Hyperemesis Gravidarium is not cured by eating a cracker.

DRUGS

I admit it. I happily resorted to drugs.

It took several prescriptions to find the right one.
Of course, It's kind of ridiculous to ask a nausea patient to swallow a pill. I threw most of these medicines right back out as soon as I took them, BUT they were all worth a try...

Reglan: This is a drug that is intended for short term use. It is usually given to patients with heartburn or to help people with nausea after they have surgery. Reglan didn't do anything for me. It was too weak.

Phenergan: From what I understand, this drug is great for relieving symptoms of allergies or preventing motion sickness. My Doctor told me it would also prevent nausea and vomiting while working as a sleeping aid. For me, phenergan made me feel loopy, twitchy, confused and uncomfortable. I took this one both as a pill and liquid through an I.V. It did make me tired, but every time I got close to falling asleep I would become jumpy. I felt like my feet were weighing me down and it was all I could think about. So weird. I felt extremely tried and extremely sleep deprived. I hate the way it made me feel...I definitely didn't feel good!

Suppositories: I had help with this one. :) Luckily, I didn't have to swallow the thing or worry about keeping it down, but unfortunately it didn't make any difference either.

Benadryl: I was given this prescription after a ER visit and it was given to me by a Doctor who obviously didn't understand the difference between morning sickness and hyperemesis. I thought he was a joke so I never even used it. It wasn't until a few weeks later, when I got a cold, that I had the prescription filled. To my surprise, I found it did help a little bit, especially at night. Sometimes, it helped me sleep enough through the night that I was able to skip my midnight barfs.

Zofran: This was the best drug that I have tried. It is a strong anti-nausea medicine usually given to chemotherapy patients. During my first pregnancy, It cost $75 a pill. I filled a prescripton of 10 and threw most of them up right away. On really bad days, my husband would beg me to take them, but I wouldn't because I didn't want to throw up $75 pills. Sometimes we got into arguments over it. When I realized that situation wasn't going to work, my Dr. gave me the prescription as a liquid, to give to myself, through a syringe, into my picc line. I could feel it take the edge off almost immediately and although I'd still throw up (always), it prevented alot of arguing.
During my second pregnancy, I took zofran as an ODT (oral disintegrating tablet). It wasn't as strong as through my picc line, but it still helped, at least enough that we willing spent over $300, out of our pocket, for less than a months prescription. It was worth every penny.

PICC LINE

This was my ULTIMATE remedy.
A Picc Line is a peripherally inserted central catheter, It is a form of intravenous access that can be used for a prolonged period of time. It can stay in your body for up to a year and it allows you to stay hydrated with IV fluids in your own home.

Between both pregnancies, I have had a total of five Picc lines. One got infected, a few were pulled out prematurely and one lasted the full length of a whole pregnancy.

I have spend a total of 14 months of my life with Picc lines in my arms, making it difficult to shower and sometimes sleep. I have formed a deep love/hate relationship with them.

I used both a gravity pole and an electric pump to receive IV fluids through my Picc lines. The pump was great, it was hidden in a special backpack, so I could leave the house (not that I ever felt well enough to leave the house). The gravity pole was equally effective as the pump, just not as noisy and slightly more confining.

A medical supply company delivered the supplies I needed to care for my Picc line, weekly. Some of the supplies included; bags of i.v. fluid, heparin, saline, syringes, alcohol pads, dressing kits, stat locks, mesh netting, bio patches, tegaderms, adhesive removers and i.v. tubing and extensions.

A Nursing Association sent a nurse to my home once a week for a quick health exam and to take care of my Picc line. They always checked for infections and made sure to clean my arms and change the dressings surrounding the site.













See video below of one of my picc lines being put in. ↓
video

Hugs and loves when your insides are coming out...

As miserable and disgusting as it is to talk about, I wanted to end by sharing a sweet story in spite of all this...


During my last pregnancy, I would just lay in bed all day or on the bathroom floor and when the time came, as it always did, I would rush to the toilet where I'd usually sit, Indian style, and lean in to throw up (sorry, if it's already too detailed...it'll get better...).


In the beginning, my 30 month old son, Ashton, would run in with me. He would sometimes get tangled up in my I.v. tubing, but he would pat my back and give me hugs from behind until I was done. It's a little awkward when your insides are coming out, but still so sweet and adorable. Then, as he became used to it, he got more involved and after a long hug from behind, he would "demand" several pieces of toilet paper to throw in along with me before the flush. After a week or two of that, he took it to the next level and started mimicking me. He would spit and gag right along with me into the porcelain bowl. Then pat my neck and grab the little t.p. pieces to throw in before the flush. As disturbing as it may sound, I really felt comforted knowing I wasn't alone in those horrible moments, and that my little boy loved me and was taking care of me the best he knew how. Then one day, while I was throwing up, my son was in bed with my husband and started making these gagging sounds. We both thought he was playing "throw up time" because I just did, but we quickly caught on that it was the real deal and daddy had to rush him to me at the toilet where he threw up all of the food he ate that day. :( It was the first time he had ever thrown up! It was so sad and broke my heart to watch.
But I knew just what to do... I hugged him from behind, and patted his neck and when he was done I gave him little pieces of toilet paper to throw in before I flushed. :(

We had both taught eachother just what to do.