Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've Lost My Personality

I wrote this at the beginning of the week when I was feeling overwhelmed by everything. Luckily, my new medication is helping tremendously and I feel much more optimistic now. I wasn't sure if I would publish it, however, it is important for people to understand HG and how it affects pregnant women.

This morning, I went to the doctor for a check-up.  While we were talking about my constant sickness, I said, "Doctor, I'm done with this pregnancy."  He laughed and jokingly said, "well, I'll have to send you to a different clinic because I don't handle patients who are done this early."  (Before you make any incendiary comments on his behaviour, this is how  our patient/doctor relationship is:  I say something sassy and he responds with sass.  It's pretty awesome.)

Once upon at time, before nausea and vomiting took over my life, I would have laughed with him and said something witty back.  Instead, my eyes filled with tears as I explained that I am tired of constantly feeling sick because I really want to enjoy this pregnancy.  He looked at me, compassionately, and said, "I bet. I can only imagine what it must be like.  Hopefully this new medication will work and maybe in a couple weeks you'll feel better."

I hope so too.

My husband and I used to have a relationship in which we could, appropriately, make fun of each other.  Now, I cry. A lot. I don't get or appreciate his jokes and he feels frustrated that we can't have fun anymore.  I understand.

What has happened to me?

I'll tell you: hyperemesis gravidarum.  I would blame pregnancy as a whole, but when I'm feeling good my sass returns (100 fold).

Right now, all I can think about is when/if I can drink water again (because soda turns into a disgusting enemy when it's all I can drink) or actually eat a decent meal.  Pregnancy with HG is not the joyful, it's a physical drag.  It takes all the zing out of life because I can't enjoy anything.  Even with medication, things are awful.

HG Without Medicine
-Throw up every 10-30 minutes
-Lose 5+ pounds in one week
-Can't move off the couch without beginning the vicious vomiting cycle and/or passing out
-Must avoid all smells (including my husband's cooking, which means that he can't cook anything unless I'm away from the house)
-Can't go anywhere outside the house because I risk vomiting and passing out in public places
-Can't hold my little babies or hug my husband

HG With Medicine (specifically Zofran)
-Throw up 1-3 times a day
-Still feel incredibly nauseated
-Maintain a steady weight
-Can eat and drink in small amounts as long as I lay down immediately after
-Still can't stand up for very long as I risk passing out and vomiting (so I am still stuck in bed or on the couch)
-Have to suck on Lifesavers (properly named) to keep the nausea at bay
-Must take consistently every 6-8 hours or my condition declines rapidly

I understand why women who experience HG choose abortion because it's more than feeling awful, it's debilitating.  From medications to hospital visits, it feels overwhelmingly horrible.  There are moments, like I've mentioned, that I wish I weren't pregnant and/or that I were dead.  At least then the sickness would disappear!

I try to remember that it will end eventually and that I will have that nice pregnancy I always dreamed of.

I don't know how many times I've heard from various women that they would have preferred the puking over gaining 50 lbs while pregnant.  Not to disqualify what they are saying, but you don't.  You really don't.  Just imagine how awful you feel when sick (at your most sick) and extend that to 3-5 months.  I would gladly gain 50 lbs over losing 5-15 because I can't keep anything down.  Anything that would make this pregnancy more normal would be amazing.

But, more than anything, I would like to feel happy again.  I want the tears to stop constantly flowing as I lay miserably on the couch or bed unable to spend time with my family.  I want to laugh and joke and return to my sarcastic self.  I want to brush my teeth without puking!!

Surely this won't last forever.


Most of you wonderful readers know my propensity of turning a trial into a possible research possibility; thus, it shouldn't surprise you that I will be working hyperemesis gravidarum into my master's thesis.  I will work out the specifics over the next few months and am thrilled to start work on this project.  (For current research look at the HelpHER website, a fantastic academic source for hypermesis gravidarum.)


  1. Hugs. I'd send you a big box of Life Savers if I could.

  2. I'm glad the new medicine is helping. I'm shocked that people say they'd rather be so sick to gaining weight. First, it's cruel. And it's just one more way we look down at our bodies. Grrr.
    But mostly, I'm sending you all my best wishes - for the worst to pass over you quickly, for a healthy mama and baby, and for the comfort that comes with knowing that it's okay to hate this part of the experience. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't hate not being able to do or eat anything.

  3. Aw, Stacia, you ARE my Life Saver! :)

  4. I think that most women don't understand the severity of HG and think of my morning sickness as typical morning sickness. But, as you said, perhaps why they say that is because they feel guilty about how much weight they gained? I've always wanted to have one of those eat whatever you want whenever you want pregnancies and that is also silly. The grass is greener, right?

    I don't think women mean ill will when they say that, I do believe it comes out of connecting with people and a misunderstanding of how sick I (and other HG women) am. Once they learn that I puke ALL THE TIME they quickly change their mind. Ha!

    Thank you. I am sure it will end soon and I will look at all this with happiness because I survived.

  5. I think your idea to work HG into your thesis is genius! It has HUGE social implications for individuals and families. Plus, I believe that having a solid research study would help many other women with HG and their families simply by providing definitive information. I know you feel like shiz, but you are totally strong enough to keep moving forward.

  6. My first pregnancy (which we lost) and our firstborn's pregnancy were both debilitating. I also had those times where I cried and wished I were dead or not pregnant. And I slept as much as I could. I had so much shame over how "badly" I was handling pregnancy. I'm glad you published this.

  7. My pregnancies were not fun (for many reasons), and yes, I was one of those who gained 50 pounds, each time. But I wouldn't have traded places and cannot imagine how horrible it is to go through what you're going through.

    Sending hugs. (And withholding my usual recommendations for chicken soup.)

  8. Sending hugs and strength. As you said, the nausea won't last forever, but really, I hope you find relief sooner than later.

  9. I know nothing I say will make it better, but I'm praying for you and thinking of you!!!

  10. I'm hopeful that your sass returns soon. I can't even imagine what you're going through, but I think you're a trooper.

  11. I clearly remember sitting on the floor of my old apartment when I was in misery with "morning" sickness during my first pregnancy, my head laying on the bed, wondering how I'd be able to go on that way. And that was just run-of-the-mill pregnancy-related nausea, not HG. I can't imagine how you're getting through the days, let alone writing about it and resolving to research your condition in order to help other women. You are a marvel, my dear! xo

  12. I've never been pregnant but with my artificial food intolerance, I'm nauseated A LOT! Have you ever tried candied ginger? It doesn't work with everyone but it has been a HUGE help for me.

    I like your honesty, too. GOOD LUCK!

  13. You may be thinking you've lost your personality, but I only see a strong woman doing what she needs to do in order to make her dreams come true. Ben is a good man and I am sure he isn't taking it personally.

    Deep breath; big hug; cut both of you some slack. This, too, shall pass.

  14. I thought HG stood for "Hurling Galore." More understable to the lay person.
    I feel for all of you; my only comparable experience was 20-odd years of excruciating endometriosis, missing work for a week every month, and wanting to perform a hysterectomy on myself. (Didn't help that ther was no diagnosis--"It's in your head," or treatment "Here, try these birth control pills/ steroids/opiates. Lousy side effects to say the least.) So good for you to make inroads on women's health issues. I have a feeling many will benefit from your work on this problem.


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