Getting “Crackered”

If you don’t have HG, you probably aren’t familiar with what getting “crackered” means. HG sufferers came up with this term to describe moments when non-HG sufferers offer (well-meaning, but insensitive) advice/suggestions regarding the pregnancy or to help reduce nausea. A common suggestion that people like to give is, “Try eating some crackers and you’ll feel better”. I guess getting “crackered” is inevitable since HG is such a rare, unknown disease. But it is frustrating nevertheless! Here is a list of times I got “crackered”:

1)      “Have you tried _________?”

If only there was an easy, magical cure for HG! Yes, I’ve tried ginger. I’ve also tried ginger ale, sea bands, Unisom, Vitamin B6, oral Zofran, oral Phenergan, oral Compazine, oral Reglan. I’ve tried everything under the sun and nothing has worked.

2)      “You’ll feel better after you eat something.”

I never feel better after I eat. I feel more nauseous after I eat. And during the worst of the HG, I threw up everything I ate.

3)      “Why don’t you try taking a walk outside? Maybe getting some fresh air and exercise will help you feel better.”

Any kind of motion/movement will make the nausea worse. Do you know anyone who wants to exercise when they’re nauseous?

4)      “You’ll forget all about it when the baby’s born.”

I still have traumatic memories from my first HG pregnancy and I know I’ll have long-term trauma with this pregnancy. HG is something that one never, ever forgets.

5)      “This is what moms have to go through…”

Many moms go through morning sickness. However, most moms do not go through hyperemesis. HG only occurs in 1-2% of pregnancies!

6)      “You look good…you don’t look sick at all!”

The reason I look good now is because of a lot of makeup and because you only see me when I feel good enough to go out in public. You don’t see me when I stay at home because the nausea’s so bad, when I’m vomiting into the toilet, when I’m in bed half the day. You didn’t see me when I was on IV treatment and when I had lost 15 pounds.

7)      “It’s easier now when you’re pregnant…Enjoy it now. Wait till the baby gets here…you won’t get any sleep!”

You think being nauseous 24/7 is easier than taking care of a baby? You clearly have not dealt with nausea on a long-term scale. I would much rather deal with sleepless nights with a newborn than the unrelenting HG nausea!

8)      “So you just suffer?” (the anatomy ultrasound doctor asked me this when I told her that anti-nausea medications don’t work for me so I haven’t been taking anything orally)

Yes, I just suffer. I choose to suffer because I’m that masochistic!

There are HG sufferers who have had friends or relatives doubt/minimize their symptoms and call them “lazy” because they are lying in bed due to the nausea/vomiting. It’s infuriating to think that people discredit HG as if it’s something fake or just “in your mind.” Fortunately, for the most part, my family and friends have been very supportive and understanding. But at times, I still feel paranoid that maybe people will think I’m exaggerating my symptoms. If you know someone suffering from HG, please refrain from “crackering” them. The best thing you can do is to simply offer a listening, non-judgmental ear. And please pray for them because HG is a spiritual battle as much as it is a physical one.

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Forbidden Fruit

It’s funny how we desire forbidden fruit. During my first and second trimesters, it was literally fruit and food that my body craved. My stomach rejected all the food I ate – everything would come back up. So you would think that I would be utterly disgusted by even the mere thought of food. And to a certain point, I was. I had vivid and traumatic memories of specific things I vomited – so I had many food aversions. I would get frustrated at my parents if they cooked something in the kitchen because the aroma of whatever was cooking would trigger nausea.

Yet somehow, paradoxically, my body still craved sustenance. It was like my body knew that I was starving and that I needed to eat. So even though the smell of food would make me nauseous and even though I had so many food phobias, I still had many fantasies about food. I religiously watched Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen and would dream about eating delectable meals one day. I would yelp various restaurants and scroll through pictures of food that people posted online. I became obsessed.

When I battled insomnia night after night due to the excessive nausea, guess what I did? I started making a list of restaurants that I wanted to visit when I got better. I saved the list on my phone. It’s so funny to look at it now. Half of these restaurants I have no interest in going to now because my appetite is still shot due to the nausea. There is this constant sour taste in my mouth from the nausea and my taste buds seem disappointed with even the most delicious treats.

Maybe after I deliver the baby and when the nausea is completely gone, I will start making my way around LA and check off each restaurant on my ultimate food list!

Even so…

I am 26 weeks pregnant with my second baby and I’m feeling trapped inside a prison I can’t get out of. I’m confined inside my own body which has forsaken me miserably again and again throughout this pregnancy.

Today I was looking forward to my friend’s bridal shower. I went shopping for her gift on Thursday. I wrapped it all up, got dressed, put on my makeup and was ready to walk out the door when an unexpected and sudden wave of nausea smacked me. BAM! I went to go lie down in bed and my husband asked me when I was leaving…I told him I wasn’t sure if I should go. I played various scenarios in my mind…if I were to go, I would probably feel miserable the whole time and what if I threw up during the bridal shower or passed out?

I decided not to go…which was a good thing because a minute later, I ran to the bathroom and threw up my breakfast. (Sigh) I cannot believe that at 26 weeks I am still vomiting and battling hyperemesis. The absolute unpredictability of the nausea and vomiting is one of the maddening things about hyperemesis during the later months of pregnancy.

I decided to publish this blog to:

1) Just vent on those days I feel absolutely hopeless,

2) To be a resource to any pregnant mamas who are going through the same thing (hang in there!),

3) To educate the public about Hyperemesis Gravidarum and to clear up common misconceptions about HG,

4) To praise God “even so.” One of my favorite hymns is “It Is Well With My Soul.” And one of the most profound lines of the hymn reads “Even so, it is well with my soul.” The “even so” is certainly hard to swallow – no, impossible to swallow…but it is well with my soul because Jesus is the one who will carry me through the darkest storms of life.