Ginger, Try That: My Hyperemesis Gravidarum Story
Morning sickness. It is a telltale sign that a woman is pregnant. It is supposed to disappear at the end of the first trimester. What happens when it does not go away? Should a woman be worried? Do they need to seek medical attention? Is it not normal?
In 2012, I was pregnant with my first-born and could not wait for the morning sickness to end. My gynecologist (I will call him Dr. D) told me it would subside after 14 weeks. Week 16, I still had morning sickness. I am in my second trimester, why do I still feel horrible every single day?
I vomited in the morning. I vomited in the afternoon. I vomited in the evening. I vomited after every meal. I vomited at work. I vomited while driving. I vomited at home. I vomited at least 5 times a day. This can't be normal!
After a Google search, a long word that I could barely pronounce popped up on my screen. Hyper-e-me-sis gra-vi-da-rum. Let me keep it short and simply call it HG. It is a severe type of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It occurs in less than 2% of pregnancies! It takes regular morning sickness and amplifies it by 100!
At my next prenatal visit, I told Dr. D that I must have HG. He did not think I had HG, he told me to take some ginger to help with the morning sickness. And, if it did not help by my next appointment, he would prescribe Zofran.
That evening, I turned on my computer and logged onto BabyCenter. This was my go-to website for my pregnancy questions. I found a group called ‘Hyperemesis Sufferers” for pregnant women who had HG. I needed the support from other women who felt my pain and struggle. Finally, I did not feel alone! The group had over 5,000 members. For several hours, I read and read many posts in the group for suggestions.
There were posts about the many symptoms:
· Constant nausea
· Loss of appetite
· Vomiting more than 3 to 4 times a day
· Becoming dehydrated
· Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
· Losing at least 5 percent of your body weight
There were posts about the recommended medications or solutions:
· Vitamin B6
· Sea bands
· Ginger candy, tea, root, capsules, biscuits
There were posts about women having to go to a hospital because of dehydration. Once in the hospital, women had to have an IV to restore hydration, vitamins and nutrients.
I had a huge dilemma. I HATED GINGER. I tried ginger candy and the root of ginger, did not work! I also tried B6, Unisom and sea bands. Nothing worked. At my next prenatal visit, I asked Dr. D to prescribe me Zofran or Diclegis. He wrote me a prescription and told me the major side effect was drowsiness. I was nervous but decided this was my only option at this point for some sanity.
For the next two weeks, I had vomiting and extreme drowsiness. To make matters worse, it affected my day at work. I would walk away from my cubicle to go to the restroom. I would put down a toilet seat cover and take a 10-15 minute nap. I needed this daily nap to survive 8-hours of work!
I stopped taking the medication. I made the decision that I would suffer through the rest of my pregnancy with HG. I continued to vomit several times a day. I had “vomit bags” in my car to use whenever the urge was there. In my mind, as long as I do not need to be hospitalized then I will handle this. I started to lose weight. Drastic weight. My doctor did not seem concerned at all because the baby was healthy. I stopped telling him any of my HG symptoms.
HG affected me physically and mentally. Physically, I lost about 20-25 pounds during my pregnancy. There were days that I only vomited twice and it was a triumph. Other days, I vomited five times and barely had energy. Mentally, I was so tired of feeling nauseated and vomiting -- I counted down the day until I gave birth. My husband told me he could not wait for the baby to be here so he did not have to see me suffer anymore.
What is even crazier than having HG during your first pregnancy? Having HG with EVERY PREGNANCY! I have had four children and had HG with each pregnancy. Not only that, but it gets worst with each one. After this last pregnancy, I realized that I am a SUPERWOMAN to handle nine months of hell to give life!