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When it’s Not Just Morning Sickness

Second Time’s a Charm?

You would think that by the time you are ready for a second baby, pregnancy, labor, and delivery would be like riding a bike (a very uncomfortable bike).  Since you’ve done this whole show before, you know what to expect, and nothing can catch you off-guard, Right?! WRONG! SO VERY WRONG. 

About a week after I found out I was pregnant with baby number two, the nausea that was already plaguing me day and night steadily increased to a debilitating strength. Not knowing any better I thought it was regular “morning sickness. “Speaking of – why do they call it Morning Sickness if it LAST ALL DAY LONG?! Anyway, I was neck deep in Hypermesis Gravardium (HG) and hadn’t the slightest clue. I had never heard of HG, nor had anyone (including family and friends) ever said they had it. Unfortunately, my physician never warned me of the possibility for HG, so I suffered in silence for many weeks. It wasn’t until my first doctor’s appointment where I explained how terrible I felt that I got a diagnosis.

HG, Now What is That?

For those who don’t know what HG is, it’s a disease women get while pregnant that causes severe morning sickness aka vomiting and nausea.  It is SEVERE, like having a hangover combined with a stomach bug AND food poisoning. The thought and smell of food, perfume, your own scent, and pretty much anything and EVERYTHING causes you to feel instantly queasy. Severe, inside splitting vomiting follows the nausea. Food and water, the essential things you need to grow human life, become your arch nemesis. You constantly feel like dying.

Most people only know about HG from its famous sufferers like Amy Schumer and Princess Kate Middleton. This disease steals away all of the joy during a very special time in your life. When you find out you’re pregnant, the first thing most moms think is, “Now I get to eat for two!”  You fantasize about getting to chow down on all kinds of wonderful things without judgment or guilt, unless you suffer from HG. HG is that bitch that shows up to your party uninvited and ruins it by getting drunk and barfing on the food, cake, and guests.

Have you ever thrown up so hard or so much that you’ve peed yourself? How about thrown up bile, and then blood because you’ve caused small tears in your esophagus from all the vomiting. It’s a great party trick I tell ya! If peeing yourself and vomiting blood weren’t enough, in strolls anxiety and depression. A & D are like the best friends you had in High School who call you fat behind your back and sleep with your boyfriend.

HG and Me

To make matters worse, the medical field tends to label and mistreat women with this illness. When the vomiting started I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me, or that it even had a name. Doctors and nurses acted as if this disease was something I could control. I promise you, IT IS NOT.  These caregivers constantly played mind games while I helplessly sat malnourished and unable to take care of my first child, my household, or myself.

Additionally, the treatment for HG involves getting hooked up to an IV almost daily due to severe dehydration.  Now you are sitting there sick, tired, attached to an IV bag while judgmental assholes keep giving unsolicited advice. “Have you tried ginger?” “Keep crackers by your bedside and before you get up just snack on them.” “Eat constantly! Little snacks around the clock instead of meals!” “You should buy the nausea pops! They worked for me!” “Have you tried Sea Bands? My friend used them when she had nausea and swore by them!” “Drink lots of water!” And my absolute favorite, “You don’t have HG, it doesn’t last past (XYZ) weeks” {insert eye roll and serious anger}. Seriously? Why hadn’t I thought of those things?! If you have ever experienced HG then you’d know no one would ever purposefully choose to be that sick while trying to grow another human being inside of them. I mean, while you are pregnant you go through so much mentally, physically, and emotionally; to throw in medical professionals whose help you need to get through this nightmare mistreating you? It sucks.

During this time, I was so weak, tired, malnourished, and dehydrated. Sometimes I would have to crawl on my hands and knees from my bed to the toilet or living room all while still having an active three-year-old little boy depending on me. Due to the judgment and mistreatment from professionals in the medical field, I would wait until I was severely dehydrated before forcing myself to go to Urgent Care or ER for fluids. I would even switch up where I went for treatment each week so I would not have to be subjected to the same staff.

Talk it Out

This disease needs more exposure, and not just from celebrities. HG sufferers need support and guidance from the medical field so they do not suffer in silence. I could barely take care of myself let alone my three-year- old. Imagine having to cook food for a toddler, and make sure he is eating while constantly running to throw up. The worst part was the fear and terror on my sons face when I was sick in front of him. This disease not only traumatized me, it did a number on my son.

I am truly grateful for my OBGYN who diagnosed me with HG, and never once made me feel crazy. Secondly, I wouldn’t have made it (like so many women I got to know virtually) if it weren’t for this awesome Facebook support group for mothers suffering from HG. They really are such an amazing group of women who rallied and supported me during the worst possible time in my life.

Hello? One Order of Resources Please

I bet you’re thinking, “There has to be something. Resources? Support? Medication? SOMETHING RIGHT?!”  I can tell you, there isn’t research being done on how to stop or cure HG. Hell, they don’t even know what causes it! Take a moment to think, did you know about HG before becoming pregnant? How about before Amy Schumer announced she had it? I know for damn sure, no one ever talked about it in front or around me. Lots of medical professionals don’t believe in it and mistreat women dealing with it.

The icing on the garbage cake is getting medication to help you through your pregnancy. You are sharing blood and nutrients with an embryo. Everything you put into your body affects your baby including medication with side effects. Most HG medications currently on the market are controversial, so it’s literally trial and error in an attempt to find something that makes you feel better without hurting your baby. Zofran is one of the bigger known HG medications and it may cause, “Possible birth defects.” I refused Zofran and chose a medicine with less side effects called Promethazine. It took a while for the medication to build up in my system since I kept throwing it up.  Side effects for HG medicine includes severe acid reflux and unmentionable constipation (I needed laxatives because no amount of fiber helped. Motherhood truly is beautiful).

In the End…

During this time in my life I was detached from friends and family. People would ask me how I was feeling, and because I felt so miserable I couldn’t even muster the energy to lie and fake a smile. I would say, ‘I am barely surviving.’ I was constantly expected to smile when strangers noticed my growing belly, but truthfully I was resentful towards my innocent baby for the entire pregnancy. Anxiety and depression plagued me as I worried that my resentment would prevent me from becoming attached to my new baby.

I am happy to say, I made it through my ordeal due to the wonderful support of my family (my mom and fiancé) and the online support group. I did eventually develop a bond with my son, but it wasn’t instant. Hypermesis Gravardium almost killed my child and me, so it took time for me to heal physically and emotionally. Now he is almost one-years-old and I love him more than I ever believed I would or could. My baby is totally and entirely worth it.  The disease is long behind me, and I can say I am stronger and wiser because of it.

Author: Lauren Diaz

Lauren is mom to two happy healthy boys, and the Director of Development for Sixx Cool Moms.

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