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My Story: How I Survived Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Today is Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day, a day to remember, a day to share, a day to be grateful, and a day to spread awareness. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is an absolutely horrible condition that I had for 8 months during my pregnancy with my own HG (Harper Grace). I’m sharing this very personal story with you to spread awareness and to encourage mamas to GET HELP.

It’s estimated that about 2% of pregnant women get this mysterious condition, but it’s unclear how and why.

I had a mild case compared to many, and I still was bedridden for months.

I didn’t set foot inside my office for close to 6 months and was forced to trust my {amazing} team to handle what needed to be done.

I didn’t see Ava & Anya (then 8 years old) for weeks on end because I couldn’t leave our bedroom.

I couldn’t muster up the energy or strength to do much of anything, leaving Blaine to care for our home, the twins and to live his life unsupported and alone for weeks on end.

I lost touch with friends and family and got many many “Are you mad at me?” messages, and eventually not many at all.

Some days I would throw up just a little, some days up to 10 times and some days not at all.

I canceled meetings and appearances on the day of after trying my absolute best to get out of the door before running to bathroom to get sick (and sometimes not making it).

I got sick in public restrooms, trash bins, my shopping bag and even in my car.

A good day: We announced our pregnancy at 22 weeks, just to play it safe, and loved being able to share in this memory with Ava & Anya.

 

Every day I was extremely nauseous, and every day my body panged with hunger and extreme fatigue. Zofran was introduced into my life when I was 18 weeks pregnant, and I was constantly bombarded with messages asking me “If I had a Zofran baby born with birth defects.” I had extreme guilt taking even 4 mg of Zofran, though it was the only thing to offer relief, even just temporarily. Each morning I would lay on the floor in our bathroom, literally in tears holding the pill because I was so terrified of what I could be doing to our baby …. It caused extreme guilt and anxiety.

When I would venture out into the world, either no one would realize I was pregnant (until about 30 weeks) or if they did, they would comment on how “tiny” I was and how I must not be as far along as I said I was, feeding into the severe guilt I had for not being as big as I “should” be.

I fell into a horrible depression and wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone. I would sit in what is now Harper’s nursery and just sob, holding her future tiny dresses and toys, reminding myself that this remarkable angel growing inside me was the reason to persevere and the reason to keep going.

3 weeks before I had Harper, my symptoms lightened up dramatically, and I was able to sleep, eat meals and function like a normal human being. Instead of throwing up 5-6 days a week, it dropped down to just 1-2 days a week, and I was SO overjoyed. I was able to gain strength, which helped me to have a truly beautiful labor and delivery via water birth at the Charleston Birth Place.

And sure enough, as soon as little Harper Grace was outside of my body, my nausea was gone. Harper weighed 7 lbs, 5 oz and was absolutely, 100% healthy. It was like a miracle … and I truly felt like a million bucks the day after.

When you hit rock bottom, and I really believe I did, it puts a whole new perspective on life. I’ve had a wonderful post partum experience with enjoying motherhood and my new focus in life, and I have to thank Hyperemesis Gravidarum, as odd as that may sound. I am SO grateful for my health every single day, and I have since placed such a high priority in taking care of myself to do my very best to live a happy and healthy life.

Even though I am in great health today 4 years after having had Harper, I am still suffering from side effects from HG. I am on a very strict diet and nutritional schedule to try and heal my body from the absolutely devastating effects HG left me with. I have pretty severe PSD when it comes to vomiting … AND my experience has without a doubt shaped our family decision to not have any more children. 

I share my story with you not because I’m looking for sympathy, but because I want other women to know the difference between HG and morning sickness and to GET HELP. My original OBGYN kept telling me what it was normal for me to have morning sickness, even though my weight went from 127 lbs to 112 lbs (while 12 weeks pregnant). They ignored my cries for help, and it’s so scary to think where we would be had the Birth Place not stepped in to give me compassionate care.

PLEASE know the symptoms and talk to your doctor. If they don’t know much about HG, find one who does or send them to www.helpHER.org.

Ashley T
Ashley T

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