Letting Go of Annelise

One of the most painful aspects of this HG pregnancy has been surrendering my daughter. It was an odd process…to let go of my little baby who had been so attached to me. For five months (when Danny was in Virginia for training) last year, it was just Annelise and her mama. And then all of a sudden, when I got so ill with hyperemesis, we were forced to separate.

I was unwillingly pushed to surrender my precious Lisi. I had no choice. My body gave me no choice. I was bed ridden and on IV treatment for two months. I had absolutely no energy for anyone but myself. I was on survival mode. It took every ounce of energy just to breathe and live, manage the nausea, and get through each day.

So I relinquished her…to my husband who took care of her after work and on the weekends. And to my parents who took care of her during the day while Danny was at work. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have also been so wonderful with taking care of Annelise when they would visit us.

On the one hand, I was so relieved to have them take care of her – I knew I didn’t need to worry about her and I could focus on getting better. On the other hand, I was heart-broken that she no longer looked to mama. She looked to grandma, grandpa, or daddy to feed her, change her diaper, play with her, and hold her tight.

Some days, I couldn’t even look at her…I was just too exhausted to even acknowledge her presence. So that’s how two, long months passed, with our paths barely crossing. My parents and my husband became responsible for taking care of Annelise as well as me. They were overwhelmed with the dual responsibilities.

I had to grieve and mourn the loss of our relationship. HG killed our mother/daughter relationship. But the wonderfully amazing thing is how resilient Annelise has been throughout this agonizing ordeal. She adapted quite quickly to her new care-takers. And once I started getting better, when I could start eating again and had more energy, we began the process of rebuilding our relationship. I started to play with her and sing to her. I taught her “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” In fact, “twinkle” was her first sign. She loved that darn song. She would always sign “twinkle” for me to sing to her.

It’s been an excruciating journey to say the least. There are still days I feel as if I’m a half-hearted mommy to a very active toddler. Half-hearted because I’m still nauseous 24/7. I have battled feelings of guilt because I couldn’t be there for her when I was really sick. It’s heart-rending that I cannot fully be there for her even now. I find myself emotionally disconnected from her especially on my bad days. But I guess it’s something that an HG mama has to battle.

I’m letting go of Annelise in order to survive and in order to save her baby sister.

lisi sf

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My Rock – My Husband

Where do I even begin to describe how grateful I am for my husband? He has been the steadiest of rocks throughout this harrowing experience of HG for the second time. Danny used to be a Navy EOD officer so I guess that should tell you a little bit about his personality. Being a military man, he’s one of the toughest people I know.

I’ve heard ill-fated stories of husbands bailing on their wives who are battling hyperemesis – it was just too much for them to handle. One of the best qualities about Danny is his loyalty and dutifulness. He didn’t waver once in terms of his commitment to take care of me and Annelise during our tumultuous nightmare with HG.

When I was on daily IV treatment for two months at my parents’ house, he faithfully would go to work, swing by my parents’ to spend time with Annelise and to check up on me, and go back to our place in Culver City at night to take  care of our dog. On the weekends, he would take Annelise out to give my parents a break. Danny would administer the Zofran pump for me and change IV bags for me like a pro. I think some men would be squeamish about doing things like that but it never fazed my husband.

There were myriad times I broke down crying and countless times I wanted to give up, but Danny was there to reassure me and tell me that this was temporary, that it would end, and that we would have our little girl in the end. HG is so unpredictable and I felt so out of control but I took comfort in knowing that I could depend on my husband. Danny took on extra responsibilities that I couldn’t do because the nausea was so debilitating. There were days where the nausea would completely knock me out and I would have to ask Danny to watch Annelise the whole day. He ended up doing the bulk of the chores and cooking.

HG robbed us of a normal marriage. We went from being best friends, lovers, co-parents, and partners to simply a very sick patient and her devoted care-taker. Danny also became a single dad overnight. It’s funny because when Annelise was just 2 months old last September, Danny left for a five-month training out of state, so I essentially became a single mom for those five months. And now that he had just gotten back from his training, here we were with reversed roles with him the being sole care-taker of our daughter.

This December marks our 4th wedding anniversary. I’m sure Danny never imagined when we got married that he would have to deal with a wife suffering from HG twice! He has truly exemplified the marriage vows we hear so often but take so lightly  – “I take you to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” I’m so thankful for my fellow HG warrior. I would not have made it this far (34 weeks!) without him.

HG & the Holidays

We made it back to Los Angeles from the Bay Area yesterday! On Thanksgiving morning, I puked my breakfast. I wasn’t too shocked…but still kind of surprised since the last time I threw up was a month ago.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It was a grand, luxurious buffet! Unfortunately, after throwing up, my nausea was pretty bad so I couldn’t enjoy the food at all. It’s like the nausea masks the authentic taste of food.

The ride up and down the Bay Area was so difficult! Thankfully I didn’t throw up in the car but I was pretty nauseous during the whole drive and my pelvic pain and sciatic nerve pain definitely made the ride less than comfortable.

Then on Sunday, we were supposed to attend church service but when we got there, we found out they cancelled the service and instead the congregation was going to volunteer somewhere. At that point, I just wanted to go back to Danny’s grandmother’s home because I was on the verge of throwing up and the thought of volunteering does not sound pleasant when you’re nauseous!

I honestly thought that by Thanksgiving, I would be feeling a lot better but I guess the HG is still prevailing. I can’t believe how debilitating and long-lasting the HG’s been with this pregnancy.

The holidays can be pretty difficult for HGers. Thanksgiving and Christmas involve celebrations with a plethora of food and mingling with family and friends. It’s hard to enjoy those moments when you’re nauseous and/or vomiting. It’s frustrating to see everyone relishing their food when you can barely hold yours down. It’s also tough to socialize and engage in conversations with everyone when you’re nauseous. The nausea literally sucks the energy out of me; all my energy is spent on trying to keep a lid on the nausea. HG is a killjoy during the holidays.

It was wonderful to see my in-laws though. Thanks to my mom-in-law and sister-in-law, hubby and I got to see a movie (just the two of us) for the first time since February! And Annelise loved playing with her aunties, uncles and grandmas. These are the moments I am truly thankful for. And I can’t believe I survived two nightmare, 7 hour drives to and from the Bay Area!

The Palace Hotel, SF

A Mother’s Love

I made it to my 28th week of an HG pregnancy! Thank the Lord for sustaining me thus far.

One of my biggest supporters throughout this pregnancy has been my mom. I don’t think I appreciate her nearly as much as I should. Only a mother would do half the things she’s done for me to help me survive the hyperemesis.

I stayed at my parents’ home for two months from June to August while I underwent in-home IV treatment. We decided that it would be best for me to stay at my parents so that it would be easier for them to take care of me as well as my daughter since I was physically unable to take care of Annelise at the time.

My mom is a nurse by profession so that came in quite handy during the IV treatment. I felt quite safe at home knowing that my mom would know when the IV had gone south and would require a change. She administered Phenergan (anti-nausea medication) through the IV for me at night.

Because my nausea was so bad, I had a really hard time taking a shower (the motion of even standing up and washing my hair was enough to cause a puking episode). I also had no energy to take a shower regularly. So my mom took up the tedious chore of washing my hair once a week just so that I didn’t look like a complete barbarian. She endured my frustrated screams at her to hurry up because even the smell of shampoo would send me over the edge. She also faithfully administered glycerin suppositories when I was extremely constipated (gross, I know!). I don’t think anyone but a mom would be willing to do that!

One time I was taking a shower and I got extremely nauseous from the heat of the water and I vomited my entire lunch onto the tub. The shower drain started getting clogged…so I yelled for my mom to come help me. She scooped all the vomit out of the tub.

On top of all this, my mom (on her days off from work) took care of my daughter. It was quite a stressful time for all of us – it’s an understatement to say that my parents were drained after a long day of taking care of me as well as my active toddler!

All of these things were amazing for my mom to do but I think what I’m most thankful for is her simple, unconditional love. I had so much frustration and anger regarding my pregnancy – it inevitably would come out in emotional outbursts toward my mom. And yet she chose to stand by me despite my frequent, ugly temper tantrums…

A mother’s love knows no bounds, can lift you up in the darkest moments of life. A mother’s love is unique is its ways and can be the most persistent and constant of loves that we’ll ever experience. It is probably the most thankless job in the world but it can be a glorious gift for her children. 

Here I am at 28 weeks about to become a mom of two soon. I hope that I can, one day, show this kind of unwavering love to my little ones.