Monday, December 10, 2012

The ugliness of HG

There's a joke going on some of the support boards I've been frequenting for people like me who make frequent trips to the ER and are hearing "duchess" jokes. We had it first. If you're weak of stomach yourself, please save yourself from reading any further. If you want to know more about what this is, and I hope you do, please read on.

All joking aside, hypermesis gravidarum is not a joking matter. In fact, it's not the least bit funny, but if you don't find a way to laugh about it you'll go nuts. It affects as little as 2% of pregnancies and is different from morning sickness. In fact, "acute morning sickness" as it was first being called for Princess Kate could be considered an insult. In fact, we shouldn't joke about her at all, because she may be our saving grace for answers. Someone is bringing this to the forefront and even though this kind of diagnosis is a new thing to me, it's been going on a long time.

I'll admit, I'm not the worst. I'm considered mild. And I'll admit, I'm a complete wimp about it. I'm mild because I only throw up five or ten times a day while on treatment. Like many will tell you, it comes in waves of bad to worse. I'm on an up swing.

Lots of people have picc lines like cancer patients, and many swear by their Zofran pumps. So far, my saving grace has been phenergin suppositories and oral Zofran. You can ask my mother, one time when I had problems with internal hemroids, I had to use suppositories and I called her crying like a mad woman for having to put something the wrong direction in my butt hole. Yesterday, I could have cared less.

Like the IV version, they burn, but they're fast acting and within 10 minutes I'm knocked out and thanking God for not feeling like an instant puke is around the corner. Even though it's cheaper and my insurance is better about keeping me well stocked, I'd rather not take them. Phenergin leaves my skin feeling raw when anything touches it, sometimes even when there's nothing there. I get bad headaches from them and there is no functioning. And puke really isn't an accurate word. I never understood the need for an ugly word like vomit until now. But I have to say, I'll use them any day over enduring what I have the past four days, much less the past 10 or so weeks.

Unlike morning sickness, this can carry on well into pregnancy, so as I welcome my 2nd trimester, I have to say, I'm not as excited as some may feel. In fact, I'm still scared out of my mind to eat, even though I kept down chicken and rice and some crackers.

I hate it when people tell me they hope I can enjoy my pregnancy when I can't help but feel like my body is having such an adverse reaction to it. At the same time, I realize this is a joyful time for some, and I shouldn't take that from them. In fact, there are people much worse than me with HG, who do this two, three and four times, and because HG is different then morning sickness, their body does the same thing every time. I can't imagine doing this with a small child, much less more than one.

You can't take care of yourself and at first, you're humiliated. I never thought my husband would have to bathe me at 28 years old. He graciously even offered to shave my legs because he knows I feel dirty when I don't. When I was at my worst and couldn't make it to the toilet, he cleaned and mopped the floor...on 1 am. Did I mention he's a Pastor, like the pastor, the only one that shows up the next morning to preach and preside? You can add saint to that. Forget humiliation, the help from him is the most amazing Godsend I could ever ask for.

I'm giving your the graphic details, not so you feel sorry for me. I'll make it and so with my child and my marriage. I also don't deal with the intense guilt of having another bio child, because I never felt the need to biologically have a child in the first place, I just wanted to be a mom. I'm asking this so you help spread the word about this horrific condition in pregnancy of which I am only a mild sufferer. If you can help go to for more information. If you hear "duchess"jokes, please correct people. It's not funny, it's serious. She's not pampered (although I wouldn't mind the in house help rather than the hosptial or ER), she's seriously ill and carrying a royal bloodline. I mean, thank God I don't have to worry about that! There's no pressure from anyone for me to have another biological child!

I thank everyone for your prayers. They have definitely carried us through. Don't forget to pray for Stephen in all this. With no family anywhere near, a lot falls on his shoulders. God gives him a steadiness and compassion I will never understand, but am extremely grateful for. If you ever get that feeling when he talks or listens to you that he's really present with you, it's because he truly is and I'll never know how he pastor's and takes care of me. I only give thanks and praise to God whom it's due.

I also thank the people at church who have brought meals, gotten my Rx's refilled, filled in for me in the Christmas pageant and everything else I've had to let go, and otherwise prayed for us. It's certainly not been an easy time, but the people of Beautiful Savior and God's church abroad have rallied around us, and we thank you.

And so, as I close in on 36 hours of vomit free, I say, keep the prayers coming, encourage the mothers in your lives, and stand up to those who think it's just "morning sickness".

1 comment:

  1. Betsy,
    I did not realize this is your diagnosis. Extra prayers. I will say at first it is hard to have our husbands have to help us with certain things; but, it is a God-send that they are able to help. Gives a whole new meaning to "in sickness and in health" doesn't it? Where I have been trying to be supportive to him and his ministry (while finding my own), I now need him to be supportive of me (while doing his ministry/job).Not that he wasn't supportive before; but now I NEED him to help me.I will say we worked a lot of this out on internship when I had a stroke, now I need his help for at least the week or so until I can put weight on my foot. Heck of a time for a pastor's spouse to be laid up-uh. I, too, was helping with the Children's Christmas Program until last's hard to let go but sometimes that what we need to do.
    I pray for you daily and encourage you to continue to take care of yourself...get rest, eat (when you are able), follow doctors' orders, etc. What works for you and is best for you is also best for baby. Please send me your mailing address. Hugs and lots of prayer, Debbie Raymer