I had all these ideas about how I was going to announce this pregnancy. Yes – I’m pregnant (9 weeks to be exact). Unfortunately, all those ideas went out the window when severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) hit. If you noticed my “social media silence” it’s because the last 3 weeks have been probably the worst in my entire life. Four ER visits, a week in the hospital, loss of 14 lbs in two weeks, countless IV bags, PICC line placement, and more. We were forced to reveal to our friends and family that I was pregnant weeks sooner than we wanted to and no exciting pregnancy announcement surprises that I had eagerly looked forward to.
The worst thing of all is … this was my rainbow baby. The baby that doctors at one time told me I couldn’t have. The baby I WANTED sooooo much. And then to have HG literally suck the joy out of me was beyond excruciating and even shameful. I want to share more about our journey to this pregnancy which was challenging in itself but I’m going to do that in a separate post as it’s a long one!
Today was a better day so I wanted to take some time to update all of you who follow my sTORI. My dear friend and photographer, Candace, snapped a few photos of me when she visited today. You want to see truth? This is the truth of HG on a GOOD day. No makeup, hair unwashed, lying in bed all day on an IV. But the purpose of me showing these is to educate others on what HG is and to maybe help others with HG know what their options are and that you are NOT alone.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is essentially severe morning sickness. Don’t let that fool you. What it actually means is it feels like you have the flu AND food poisoning ENDLESSLY. Unending vomiting, dehydration, body aches, breathlessness, excruciating heart burn, esophagus spasms, heart arrhythmia, weakness, it just doesn’t end. HG effects and estimated 1-2% of women and the cause isn’t exactly known. Many cases of HG end up in miscarriage or women terminating their very much wanted pregnancies to end their suffering.
I’d actually had HG with Luke but NOTHING like this. This was exponentially worse. After two weeks of being sick and 3 ER visits I woke up one morning confused and having a hard time breathing. I knew then that I had to finally give in and get checked in to the hospital.
Thank goodness I did. I was so dehydrated that my body was Ketonic (basically acidic) and all the electrolytes that your body needs (Potassium, Magnesium, etc) were totally depleted. I had Pancreatitis. I’d lost 10 lbs. in a week and was getting an average blood pressure of 80s/40s. Sometimes dipping in to the 70s. My body was literally eating it’s own fat to survive. The baby was doing great. The baby was taking everything and there was nothing left for me.
So the doctors hooked me up to endless IVs for 5 days full of all kinds of things my body was missing and began trying to figure out how I was going to make it through this pregnancy. Long story short we knew there was only one medication that worked – Zofran – and only via IV (the pills did nothing).
We tried for a Zofran pump which would have been the least invasive. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the insurance to cover it and it was going to cost us over $10,000 PER MONTH! So my doctor elected to put a PICC line in. As you can see it’s in my right arm (I would have preferred it in my left but my pacemaker is on that side so they couldn’t). It runs in through my arm, up the main artery and then in through my chest. The doctor also set up home healthcare for me so nurses come to my house to care and monitor me.
So my days right now pretty much consist of hooking up to my IV and giving myself my Zofran. I’m trying to also start working from bed. Doctor Daddy Russ is such a huge help and frequently does all my medical care not to mention washing my hair, getting me drinks and food, etc.
I’ll be honest – today was my first good day in a long time. I really really hope that I’m going to have lots more good days and pray that the HG might go away by my 2nd trimester.
In the meantime, I want to say a big thank you to some special people.
Daddy Russ: Thank you for being Doctor Daddy and juggling work, Luke, our household and having to care for me. Thank you for putting up with me on my dark days and letting me cry a lot. I’d have given up if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for reminding me what really matters. I love you.
My Family: Particularly my mom and stepfather who spent an entire week with me when Daddy Russ was out of town. I literally don’t know if I would have survived. My mom has taken off tons of work and really tried to nurse me through one of the worst weeks. To Pawpaw – thank you for taking care of Luke and helping out wherever you could.
My Friends: Thank you so much for all the flowers, get well cards, dinners and those who have visited me. You truly lifted my spirit when I was at rock bottom. Special thanks to all my San Antonio Blogger friends as well! All of your notes have meant so much to me!
My HG Angel, Jamie: Jamie was a stranger brought miraculously in to my life. She previously suffered HG with her pregnancies and has answered my endless questions, cried with me on the phone during my bad times, helped me pull myself together for my PICC line procedure and just offered such incredible support to me. I’ve never even met her in person but I’m incredibly grateful for her.
Fossil Creek Complete Emergency Care: After a TERRIBLE visit to a hospital ER I went to this urgent care center 3 times. I never waited and the doctors there not only provided me the best medical care they could but they also gave me compassion and spent much more time with me than any other doctor. On the day I woke up at my worst my mom called and they told her they’d be happy to take the responsibility of admitting me to the hospital. While waiting for the ambulance they ran tests so that when I arrived at the hospital, not only did I go straight in to my own room, but my hospital doctors knew exactly how to start treating me. I adored all their nurses and staff who did everything they could to make my family and I comfortable. I highly recommend this urgent care center.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to blog but I’ll try to keep my sTORIbook going when I can!
If you or someone else you know is suffering with HG please visit the HER Foundation (click here).
This is my sTORI being written as you read. – Love, Tori