I am currently 9 months pregnant and have been on quite the journey throughout my pregnancy. This picture isn’t pretty and shows just a small piece of what Hyperemesis Gravidarum really is. I have been on a blogging and social media hiatuses due to this horrible condition that affects less than 2% of women during pregnancy.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is persistent and severe vomiting and nausea leading to weight loss and dehydration during pregnancy. It is not morning sickness. It is morning sickness on steroids. Some of the signs and symptoms include: severe nausea and vomiting, food aversions, weight loss of 5% or more, dehydration, decrease in urination, headaches, confusion, fainting, extreme fatigue, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, anxiety and depression. The condition often leads to hospitalization and the need for home healthcare.
Before I even knew I was pregnant I was experiencing many of the symptoms listed above. My first clue was severe nausea. Imagine going on a spinny swirly ride all day, that is what nausea with Hyperemesis feels like. It is not just feeling a bit uncomfortable it is debilitating. Light, sound, movement, smells can all trigger a very intense feeling of nausea. Shortly after the nausea started the vomiting began. I started out vomiting about maybe 5 times a day but that quickly and rapidly increased. On my worst day I could vomit up to 30 times or more a day, I honestly would lose count. I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t move or I would vomit. I often vomited blood and broke blood vessels under my eyes. I would vomit until there was not an ounce left in my body and then I would dry heave until I couldn’t breathe. My lips and skin got so dry from dehydration that I was constantly peeling from head to toe. I ended up losing 15 pounds rapidly and looked like a skeletal version of my former self.
Smells were really trigger for me. I could smell anything cooking even boiling water from a room upstairs with the door shut. I could smell the wood in my table and the musk on my fiancé 24/7, both made me deathly ill. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t take care of my daughter. I was out of commission for months on end locked in my room with the lights out. I couldn’t watch tv or look at my phone as the motion, light and sound would trigger me. Even the thought or mention of food would leave me toilet bound.
Depression and Anxiety
As you can imagine being locked in a room for months alone experiencing these awful symptoms can really mess with your mind. I fell into a severe depression and had a lot of anxiety. I have never in my life experienced such a darkness as I did during this time. I often would wish I was dead or would have a miscarriage as it felt unbearable to take one more day. Then I would feel an immense amount of guilt for even thinking those thoughts. On top of that I experienced severe anxiety constantly worrying about miscarriage or death. I truly wondered every day if this pregnancy was going to kill me. It was very hard to pull myself out of these thoughts and I now have a new understanding of what severe depression really is. I will never take it lightly and I am very grateful that I have never experienced it before this journey.
Early on I first tried every natural treatment under the sun. Everyone says “try ginger, eat crackers, wear sea bands” but with Hyperemesis natural treatments simply do not work. My doctor began prescribing pharmaceutical grade medications for nausea and vomiting but still nothing worked. I was hospitalized multiple times and had to receive IV fluids and Zofran. Eventually I was placed on home healthcare. I was assigned a nurse, given continuous IV fluids and a Zofran pump that gave me a continuous dose of liquid Zofran all day. Each day I had to prick myself to allow the medication to flow into my body. Unfortunately, a side effect of the medication is large welts and irritation at the injection site. The picture above was taken on my first day of therapy by the end my thighs were left looking battered and bruised.
For me home healthcare wasn’t a magic therapy that instantly worked. Eventually with time and pairing other medication with my Zofran pump I was able to stop vomiting as much. After many months on home healthcare, many hospital visits and so many bills I was eventually able to come out of that dark room and be human again. I still struggle with nausea and food aversions but am very lucky that my vomiting has subsided, as some women with Hyperemesis vomit until the day they deliver.
I am now almost 37 weeks pregnant and will be having my little bundle of joy soon. I am oh so ready and can’t wait to meet him. I do have some lasting effects from my experience but overall I am happy, healthy and alive! If this experience taught me anything it taught me to be grateful. I will never take for granted my physical and mental health. I can’t imagine living with a chronic condition that left me bed ridden and sick day in and day out!
I am very excited for what 2019 has to offer and can’t wait to continue creating content for Feenin For Greens! Stay tuned!