What is Typical Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

I had a comment on my most recent post that really got me thinking about what hyperemesis gravidarum is like and what constitutes typical HG.

Here’s the comment from Janet at http://babymakesusfive.blogspot.com/:

“I am so happy for you! You are not letting your HG win this time!!

ps I must say that I am a bit jealous that I was not able to be as well as this.”

First of all, thanks so much for reading and commenting.  I so appreciate your well-wishes.  I also appreciate you being courageous enough to mention your feelings of jealousy at how quickly mine seems to be wrapping up.  I appreciate your honesty, and I very much appreciate and validate your feelings.

But you made me think:  Might my experience with HG this time around give people a skewed picture of what HG can be for women?  The last thing I want is for someone to read my blog and then turn around and tell one of my HG sisters, “Well, I read online that it should clear up by week 13.  So you should be fine by now.  Why aren’t you fine?”

So I wanted to take a moment and just remind my dear readers that every HG pregnancy is different.  Many women find that the HG begins to let up a bit around week 20.  For my first pregnancy, I didn’t start feeling better until week 16 or so.  Some suffer their entire pregnancies with HG.

I’m not sure why it eased up so quickly for me this time.  It was very, very intense when it was happening, but it eased up at around 12 weeks.  Part of this makes me wonder:  Did I have just morning sickness?  Was it really HG?  But then I remember the needles, and the 12 lbs gone in two weeks, and the needles, and the ER doctor crouching by my bedside softly tell me he was going to do his best to help me feel better but my nutrient levels in my blood were all screwed up and they might need to put me on TPN if they couldn’t get it under control and crying and telling him that I didn’t want to destroy my liver, and more needles, and the unsuccessful PICC lines, and my mom trudging upstairs constantly bringing me ice cubes and reminding me to suck on them so I wouldn’t have to get the line into my chest.  Yeah, the hyperemesis gravidarum was real.  Even as the memory fades, it was real.  For some reason, though, it was short this time around.

I feel almost normal now.  Maybe it’s because I’m on the Zofran pump and getting 39 mg of Zofran pushed into my body each day.  The other meds probably help, too.  I know I am not normal.  I can’t live my life in a normal way.  I tire too easily.  If I forget to eat, the nausea comes back.  I need help to do so many basic things: cooking, helping my daughter go potty and take a bath, getting food at the store, etc.

But comparatively, I do feel really good.  In that sense I am blessed.  I am so lucky, but it’s just that: luck.  There are so many of my HG sisters who are not so lucky.

To all of you who haven’t been so lucky, I send my love.  If my luck means you need to not read my blog for a while, that’s okay.  If it makes you feel sad and jealous, that’s okay, too.  Please allow yourself to feel your feelings.  I would never, ever want to cause harm to any of you.

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9 thoughts on “What is Typical Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

  1. I’m envious that you have medical support to help you feel so well. I’m on oral zofran [I’ll be 26w on Monday] and still feel sick to my stomach 99% of the time and don’t want to eat/drink/live. I’m thankful that the zofran means I’m not throwing up everything and more but wish that the nausea was controlled by it too.
    Keep on keeping on, you’re doing so well!!!

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  2. Very good post.

    Yes, you really do have HG, hence needing daily medication just to get by. Normal morning sickness goes away and the mom has no need for meds and they go on to live a normal life for the rest of the pregnancy. For us it’s “survival mode” as I like to call it. Needing to eat little things all.the.time. Not forgetting our meds, getting plently of rest, not getting too hot or too cold, avoiding those nasty smells (aka diapers) even food cooking. Not doing any of these things, could send us into a downward spiral.
    My first 2 pregnancies, the HG started to let up around 20 weeks, but I continued to be in “survival mode” to the end and even was throwing up a couple of times a week until the day they were born. For my last one, I did start to get better at the end of the 1T (like you), but could only manage to be up for an hour or 2 at a time before needing rest.

    So even though us HGers seem to get better and aren’t throwing our guts up everday, we are still fighting it. At one point I wondered if my “good days” were close, or equal to, normal morning sickness.

    I very much look forward to reading how you are doing. I think of you often as my due date was 10/4 of last year, so very close to your edd. I could not be happier for you and am thankful for the good medical help you got!!

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  3. -Sheepishly poking my head into the room- I was jealous too. In reading this, I had conflicting feelings of being thrilled for you and wondering, “Why not me?” However, and please take this in the positive way it’s intended- I am so glad that you WERE sick this time around, because I don’t think my heart could take it if you weren’t. Let me explain: Mine was so awful the first time around that we made the decision to never have another child biologically. I mourned all future pregnancies. I was devastated for a long time, and woke up so many nights crying because I found myself in a dream of a healthy, happy pregnancy. I kept asking myself, “What if the second time would be different??” I couldn’t get past this question in my mind. But watching you go through this made me feel empowered in my decision, and it gave me the validation I needed to move past the sadness (I haven’t had a happy pregnancy dream in months!), and realize that it most likely would NOT have been better. Seeing you go through this (and I’m honestly so glad for you that it’s shorter this time around…I really mean that with all my heart), it has caused me to reevaluate all of my decisions and come to the conclusion that to me, the risk wouldn’t be worth it.

    I really really hope this came out right, and doesn’t sound like, “I’m thrilled you suffered because it proves that I made the right choice!” Because that’s so far from what I mean. But your courage to do this again gave me the closure my heart needed so badly. So thank you.

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    1. Funny you should say that Kat. Your decision to stop having biological children has given ME the courage to stop after two. I’m not sure how or why, but it has helped me come to terms with things myself somehow.

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      1. I’m immensely glad to hear you say that. I was so worried what I’d said had come out wrong and left you feeling offended. I never would have thought that my decision empowered you in any way, but I’m so glad it did.

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  4. I don’t think it would be fair for anyone to judge one person’s experiences with anything as “typical”. Nor do I think it’s fair to beat yourself up because you’re doing so well. You’re doing well in comparison to how you were, but let’s face it, you’re still not a well woman. You’re functional, and compared to what you were before, you think you’re well.

    I still think of you every day, and I think that your experiences now can help serve as an illustration: There can be life after this. But life after this is different, and this is how. When that shift happens varies. Sometimes it never does. But to beat yourself up for that is silly and pointless, and besides, it could very well be that YOU shortened the worst of it by how proactive you were, and perhaps had you not done so, you’d still be in that hell.

    That’s a pretty important point for fellow HG sufferers to take away and take note of, just in case.

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  5. I am jealous that your daughter is on the potty! I think my son, believes its just something to throw toys into!

    I think it might be safe to also say that perhaps things were a little better because you knew what to expect and were as prepared as possible to advocate for yourself.
    I think that has got to help somehow. I think when HG comes on and blind sides you, its just harder to deal with, and learning about it, in the thick of it, is near impossible. Perhaps managing it from the get-go is part of it.
    Just my two cents- based on my experience. I think about how it gets out of control and its hard to reign back in. I only got relief my first pregnancy after the extended stay in the hospital-I think it was being better managed then. But who knows. A lot of conjecture…

    Glad you are doing better and back at work? Imagine that! Even if it is with a pump you have to explain.

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