Monday, January 16, 2012

The Five Senses of Pregnancy-Induced Sickness

Women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (hg) vary in the intensity with which they feel it and how it afflicts their body.  Therefore, I am going to explain how it affects me.


When it comes to sound, loud noises generally increase my nausea.  Along with that, certain sounds (that I can only identify when I hear it) induce vomiting.  This goes for specific songs.  For example, when pregnant with Emily, Ben would listen to Tears for Fears.  After a week or so of playing their songs constantly, I could no longer listen to them without waves of nausea hitting me.  With this pregnancy, the intro to Arrested Development, a show I have come to adore, does the same thing.  Clearly, it doesn't matter whether I enjoy something or not; sounds are not pleasant to my ears.


Cartoons, bright colors, and even snow leaves me feeling horribly ill.  As with hearing, there are certain shows that, when watching, will cause nausea: football, Arrested Development, and most of the kids' shows.


I'm a cuddly person.  I adore holding my kids and snuggling with my husband.  When pregnant, this is not the case.  Do not hug, touch, or even come near me as I might run to the bathroom.


Most pregnant women experience a slight increase in their nasal awareness.  For me, this change is extreme.  Take the smell of my husband.  I adore Ben.  But, right now, I like him more when he is sitting across the room from me.  I can't explain what it is about his scent that has me puking into my bowl, but it does and I find it extremely aggravating.


Food is tricky.  There are times when I crave things like spaghetti.  However, when I eat it, it's like I've been poisoned.  This makes eating more than a chore, it becomes painful and frustrating.  Around 6 weeks, all I wanted were wraps made at our local grocery store.  After 3-4 days, I couldn't stand the smell of them.  The same goes for fries and milk shakes.  For about a week, those were like manna to my tummy. I guess that since I've thrown it up more than I can count, I'd rather go hungry than force myself to choke it down.  In some ways, it feels unfair that I wake to my stomach grumbling and my mouth dry because anything I eat and/or drink comes up like 10 minutes later.   But, that's how it is.

Naturally, when people find out the extremity of my pregnancy-induced sickness, they offer all sorts of remedies: ginger, Zofran, chicken noodle soup, etc.  These things work great when nausea is not associated with hg.  But, for me, they make things worse by increasing nausea and/or vomiting or have side affects that leave me suffering from other ails.

In one website that attempts to inform the public of what hg is, they encourage people to think of their worst bout of the stomach flu or, if they had it, food poisoning.  Consider how it would feel if you had it 24/7, 7 days a week. That's how it is for me and other women who have hg.  And, depending on how this pregnancy goes, I could suffer through it the whole time. It didn't end until I was 30 weeks along with Emily and I can only guess how things will go with this pregnancy.

As frustrating as the constant vomiting and nausea are, I do feel glad that I am pregnant again and that this pregnancy is going so well.  (A strange thing to say considering the sickness, but that indicates a viable pregnancy in my case.)  All I ask is that I am allowed to complain when things become overwhelming.


  1. I have experienced much of the same, though I've been fortunate the the severity of it usually ends by week 20. When I had my molar pregnancy this last fall, anything about the Wizard of Oz made me want to vomit and sometimes I even did.

  2. I truly believe that hg is one of those things that you cannot begin to understand unless you've experienced it. And yet I wouldn't wish hg on anyone, friend or for. Hg is one of the most difficult experiences I've had to endure. But the third time it almost broke me. I have my sister and mother to thank for getting me through the worst of three difficult pregnancies. If writing here helps you, go for it. We are here! Be as well as you can! Of course it's worth it in the end, but it's a long, hard road!

  3. Complain all you want, friend. I had food poisoning twice when I was pregnant with Nora. Coming out both ends. Had to go to the ER cause I was contracting early. Worst couple of days ever. I couldn't imagine it being like that all the time. I wanted to die. You eat whatever you can and do whatever you can to stay on top.

  4. Ohh man I remember those days! The sucky thing is even after pregnancy songs that made me sick then make me nauseaus still! It's so weird. The frustrating thing about hg is that unless you have had to suffer from yourself you don't understand the severity of it. I love you sister and I hope you won't have to be so sick your entire pregnancy.

  5. Ugh. I don't know if I have hg. I was sick throughout the entirety of my first pregnancy. Even after, when it was winter again, wearing the same coats would make me feel slightly nauseous. Bleh. 2nd pregnancy, I felt less sick after the doctor put me on progesterone because I kept having weird bleeding. But then I got migraines. If I could choose between the two, I wouldn't choose either. :) But at least migraines I could sleep off.

    Anyway, I hope eating becomes more appealing to you soon! Also that you find your favorite meal of the week every week/2days - always a frustrating search.

  6. Complain away - I'm here for you!

  7. You are so brave! I would only have one child if I had such severe nausea. I turn into a little ball of whimpering, trembling mess when I get nauseous. Complain away.

  8. Complain away, Amber. (We're delighted to hear it - it means things are going well!)

    Sending hugs, and no suggestions for foodstuffs.

  9. Complain away.
    I suffered through a 24 hour stomach flu that made me question my sanity with regards to getting pregnant. My mom must have had hg... she vomited every day (and all the time) while pregnant of me for the entire nine months, up to and including while in labor.

  10. I can't imagine being that sick. Like others, I've had early pregnancy sickness but not anything related to smell or some of these other senses you mentioned. That must not go over very well, having that type of reaction to your husband! Hopefully that one will go away! But still, even with all this and havimg lived with so many of your pregnancy losses with you, I am so happy you are pregnant!

  11. Complain! Complain! It's music to my ears! I love hearing that the pregnancy is so vital! Sorry to be cheering on behalf of your awful feeling tummy. I'm just so thrilled you are sooooo pregnant!!!

  12. [...] still pregnant, I feel my heart jumping for joy.  I would join in if I weren’t laid up with HG.  And if I weren’t struggling with [...]

  13. I echo the others. Complain to your heart's content. xoxo

  14. [...] weren’t enough, once a pregnancy sticks, I must contend with 24/7 HG.  Not only do I throw up constantly, but movements, sounds, smells, colors, and sensations (like feeling my pants against my tummy) add [...]


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