HG Awareness Day 2015

In honor of HG Awareness Day, we had our first annual HG Survivors Meet Up. When I was pregnant with Katelynn and battling depression during my third trimester, Sarah (an HG survivor herself) visited me with her 9 month old son in tow. She listened to my story, empathized with me, offered encouragement and prayed the sweetest, most compassionate prayer. At that moment, I could feel the Lord’s presence during a time I felt very abandoned. It was wonderful to reconnect with her. Thank you Sarah for touching my life and the lives of so many others’!

HG Meet up 2015

Thanksgiving Reflections

Time to count my blessings as Thanksgiving is drawing near! Praise the Lord for sustaining me thus far! I’m thankful that the worst of the HG is over. I’m grateful that I haven’t vomited in about a month – this is the longest I’ve gone without throwing up since May! I am truly indebted to my husband and my parents and their faithful love and support throughout this ordeal. I’ve been blessed with my little chub-chub, Annelise who makes me smile and laugh through the nausea. I’m thankful for friends and their uplifting prayers. Thank the Lord for His protection over baby Katelynn thus far – that despite my initial 15 pound weight loss, Katelynn is alive and well!

I made it to 32 weeks…just a couple more months of HG!

Thanks for reading and know that I’m grateful for all of your support!

For Thanksgiving, we are planning to drive up north to the Bay Area to spend time with my in-laws. I’ve been bracing myself for this trip. Wish me luck that I won’t get car sick and throw up during the long drive! Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been receiving cards and letters from various Beyond Morning Sickness volunteers all over the country. I am so touched by their efforts to reach out to me, a complete stranger. They truly are like angels, lifting me up in their thoughts and prayers.

Beyond Morning Sickness

I’m 31 weeks and I’m just so tired…tired of the unending nausea. It seems to have gotten worse this week. I’ve been more constipated (maybe it’s a 3rd trimester thing?) which probably makes the nausea worse. I feel so gross.

I’m tired of being stuck at home and not being able to go out regularly. I’m tired of being dependent on everyone. I’m tired of the nerve pain in my leg and major pelvic pressure. I wanted to go see the acupuncturist today for the nerve pain but I was so nauseous…I decided not to go after all! That’s when I realized the nausea is worse than the pain. I’m tired of waiting for the baby to come. I’m tired of people not understanding HG fully. I’m tired of being a halfhearted mommy to my 15 month old. I’ve been feeling down all day today due to the nausea.

By the end of the day, the fatigue was taking its toll on me. I broke down and started crying…but I couldn’t wallow in self-pity for too long because Annelise brought me a book and asked me to read to her. I wondered if she noticed that mommy had been crying. She didn’t seem to notice thankfully. I read to her…in between broken sobs. And then she wanted me to read the book again. So I did, even though I just wanted to cry.

I decided to email Beyond Morning Sickness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women suffering from HG. Ashli Foshee McCall, the founder of this organization, wrote a book about her HG experience, “Beyond Morning Sickness”; she chronicles her horrific battle with HG which ended in termination of her pregnancy. The book also contains valuable information about hyperemesis as well as a comprehensive treatment plan for HG.

Someone from BMS emailed me back immediately and offered to send me a free copy of Ashli’s book as well as a children’s book about HG. He also said that one of their volunteers (someone who has survived HG) could offer support via email. I was so touched by the generosity of this organization. I emailed him back to thank him and this is the response I received (which brought tears to my eyes):

“Mimi, you are more than welcome!  Thank you for your wishes for Ashli.  And thank you for doing so much for your baby.  YOU are an example of what true generosity is.  It’s easy for me to ship out a few books — but the sacrifice you are making is simply astonishing.  You have endured the horrendous suffering that HG brings for another human being who you have never met, and who may not even have a name.  The few minutes and few dollars I spend for you are nothing compared to what you are doing for your family and your baby.

God bless you!

Lyle”

I was so touched by this email! It is nice to know that someone truly understands what I’m going through. I’m really looking forward to reading these books. If you or anyone is suffering from HG right now, please contact Beyond Morning Sickness!

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

According to website helpher.org, “HG is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the newborn(s).”

Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after Nausea that does not subside
Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down

Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Food aversions
  • Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
  • Decrease in urination
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity

It is important to distinguish normal morning sickness from hyperemesis. Many pregnant women experience normal morning sickness during their first trimester. The difference between morning sickness and HG is that women with morning sickness are still able to eat and go about daily functioning. Someone with HG has a lot of trouble eating and gaining weight and actually loses weight. An HG sufferer struggles with daily functioning – including going to work, taking care of the children, doing simple daily chores, even taking a shower.

Many women with HG end up in the ER due to dehydration and usually undergo long-term IV treatment to prevent dehydration and also to administer anti-nausea medication through the IV. The worst case scenario with HG is someone with symptoms so severe that the liver malfunctions and the pregnancy ends in a natural miscarriage or mom’s body is shutting down to the point where the doctor recommends termination of the pregnancy in order to save mom’s life.

I am so thankful that I am not one with HG symptoms so severe that it has threatened my baby’s life…I cannot imagine going through all the suffering of hyperemesis only to find out that the baby cannot make it. When I read stories of moms who have lost their babies due to HG, all I can do is cry and thank God that I have not had to go through that. The good news is that most HG pregnancies end up with healthy babies born full-term! It really is amazing how these babies are so resilient. It certainly brings a new image to mind when I think about “the miracle of life.”

Because hyperemesis is so rare (only 1-2% of pregnant women get HG), many people have never heard of it and do not understand this disorder properly. I hope this blog clears up common misconceptions about women with HG. Please share this information with the women in your lives – it can possibly save someone’s life!

Resources:

Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation, www.helpher.org (leading source of information for moms, family members, and medical professionals; contains medical studies and treatment options)

Baby Center’s online support group for hyperemesis suffers, http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a986645/hyperemesis_sufferers

Beyond Morning Sickness, http://beyondmorningsickness.com/ (offering books for moms and kids, forums, and phone mentoring support)

Ayden Rae Foundation, http://www.aydenraefoundation.org/ (HG advocacy and research organization)