I consider myself lucky. I think my Hyperemesis Gravidarum is pretty mild by comparison. I’ll describe something of my experiences and perhaps, by understanding what mild HG is like and the fact that I feel lucky, I will help highlight the plight of the women who have it so much worse than me…
I consider myself a toughie. I come from tough stock. I’m the one who goes to work sick and just gets on with it. I’m the one is always being reprimanded by friends and doctors for not taking a break, pushing myself too hard. Pills are for wimps, I just cope with pain because I’m me and that’s how determined I am. I can take it, I say, I’m tough.
Not so tough now though. Not so tough after six, seven, eight days of throwing up almost everything I’m brave enough to try to eat. Not so tough after two, three, four weeks of vomiting four or five times a day. No. Now, I can’t walk without help. My wasted legs just wobble like a newborn lamb and my pounding dehydrated head throws the room in all directions. Where is the floor again? Lucky I’m too dehydrated to need the loo more than once a day because the 15 foot walk is long and arduous and even with support I manage to fall or pass out on the way on several occasions.
But it’s just morning sickness, right? Women work through that all the time. They push themselves. Can’t you push yourself? Can I push myself today? Today, my head won’t lift off the pillow and the room is fading in and out. I’m not really sure if I’m conscious or not. There is only so long we can function with constant vomiting. The pills the hospital gave me don’t work. I need something stronger before this thing beats me completely.
My friend calls the GP who asks to speak to me – I’m slurring my words a lot. Talking is SO difficult now. I tell the GP I’d like metoclopramide as I’ve had hyperemesis for four weeks and I’m still vomiting several times a day. “We don’t like to prescribe in pregnancy” she says sternly, “What makes you think you still need medicine? Are you struggling at work at times?”. Pause – a medical professional knows I’ve barely held fluids in for a period of four weeks and she thinks I am working? This is what we are up against. “I don’t work anymore. I am bed bound. I haven’t been able to walk for a few weeks now” I mutter. “Why’s that?” she replies, mystified. Pause – do I need to say anything? I don’t think so.
HG week five: on the new drug and things are looking up. I see myself in a mirror. At ten weeks of pregnancy, with five weeks of vomiting tucked under my belt, my face is a grey white shade I have never seen before. I look like a doctored photograph of myself. My lips, frighteningly, are a brighter white, paler than my face. My eyes are filled with blood – each vomit is so violent, I rupture little vessels in my eyes and now the whites look like pools of red in patches. All in all, I look like I’ve been in intensive make up for a horror film. Well, it’s effective: I’m spooked.
“Please get up” urges my anxious mother, “Just try”. I argue all morning and all afternoon. I just don’t feel able. I think it’s a bad idea. I just need to lie still and not be sick. Three pm I can’t take any more pressure and I’ve only been sick once, so I try. She takes me downstairs to the garden and gives me a lolly so I can hold down some fluid. I throw it up. She gives me some food. I throw it up. Then again. The fourth time is so violent I start throwing up blood, rupture vessels in my nose and pee myself. I lie in my own urine on the toilet floor with blood in the bowl and decide I’ve reached the lowest point of my life. I lie there crying, too weak to shout for help, till someone finds me and helps me out. I turn to my mother – are you satisfied now? Is this what you wanted? My mum’s crying – it’s so hard on all of us. It’s so unfair.
I’m now 14 weeks and on my third anti-emetic – the daddy of anti-emetics this time. In the last four weeks, I have improved beyond recognition. I still vomit, but no more than two or three times on a bad day. I can walk around unaided and have ventured out of the house. Only once, but it felt good. I’m up to phone calls and a little light work on my laptop. I still feel constant nausea but I can live with that, just about, though I do wish it would stop.
Like many HG women, I still cannot tolerate many different foods and rarely feel able to drink. Facing a glass of water is like looking at a glass of green toxic goop you’ve just been told to drink. I don’t think so!! I live on instant noodles as these seem to stay down plus they bring the bonus gift of hidden fluid with them. Recently, I’ve hankered after some variety. I’m a bit of a foodie when not pregnant, so this bizarre diet is quite a paradigm shift for me. Last night I tried to eat something new, but it didn’t stay in. Hey ho. Hard to complain when I can walk around unaided and eat and generally function a little. I’m still not strong enough for the office, but that’s a hurdle for another day.in touch. I welcome any subject and if required I am happy to post anonymous.