Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Know You Have Hyperemesis When....

I recently participated in a conversation with some women I know who have had hyperemesis during pregnancy.  Here are some highlights.


Your care provider celebrates that you are throwing up only 3-4 times a week.

You're on hyperalimentation and your husband has to learn how to do sterile central line changes at home!

You walk out to get the mail and celebrate that you're getting some exercise. And then promptly go lie down. Or throw up.

The shadows outside are longer and your broccolli has headed and they were just baby plants the last time you saw them.

Your kid starts explaining to you that she has to have a lollipop or watch a movie "because that's what her body really needs right now."

Husband sets his plate of spaghetti down on the dresser while he empties you emesis basin, then promptly picks it back up to continue his meal, undaunted.

You apologize to your husband for waking him in the middle of the night getting sick (again), and he shrugs and says he can fall back to sleep easily.

You wake up one day saying you need bean dip and the family all says "She's healed!"

Your list of "nesting" accessories includes the installation of a nice, new commode... for pregnancy.

You take nine pills a day, and upon reviewing your medications, your care provider declares that you are getting by on very little meds.

The moment you find out that you're pregnant, you go into disaster planning mode, because you feel like you're in the path of a category five hurricane.

If you actually gain any pregnancy weight at all, there's high fives and congratulations all around.

Your husband is skilled at washing your hair while you are still in the bed!!

If you had the strength, you'd put the smack down on the next person that tells you to try crackers or ginger ale.

Your OB advises you (after the worst is past) to go home and eat potato chips and ice cream but don't tell the other patients!

You envy your friends with the flu, because you know that in a week or two, they'll feel normal again.

You stick your head in the freezer every ten minutes because heat makes you nauseated.

Your other baby thinks mommy can't walk anymore, because you can only crawl from the couch to the toilet and back.

You have a "safe list" and an "avoid at all cost" list of foods, based on how painfully or easily they come back up.

You start buying bottled water, because tap water tastes like soap.

Instead of seeing a baby bump, you can count your pulse by watching your belly button vibrate against your abdominal aorta with every heartbeat!

Your husband transports you from the bed to the couch by pulling you across the floor on a blanket.

Your insurance company refuses to let you have more than one zofran pill per day, so your husband calls them and threatens to admit you to the hospital for nine months unless they give you an unlimited supply.  And it works.

After you finally have the baby, you take a twenty thousand dollar hit on selling your house, just because you don't want to live anymore in the room where you spent nine months vomiting. It's totally worth it.

If any meals are cooked at home, its in a crockpot or the grill - both out on the porch.

You're on a first name basis with every food delivery guy in the city. But you've never tasted the food.

Your husband decides that his quiver is full after 3 because he has had enough, and he wasn't even the pregnant one!!

You have to start wearing maternity clothes when you're 5 weeks along because you can't have anything pressing at all on your stomach, even as much as normal pants or dresses.

It doesn't occur to you to wait until you've finished the first trimester to tell people that you're pregnant, because if you don't tell them, they're going to think you're dying.

A man that works with you tells you daily that you look "green." He only survives because you're too sick to walk across the room and smack him.

You've got "safe zones" where you can throw up at work, and you know where all of the exits are, so that you can get to the bathroom or a trash can in time.

Your in clinicals in nursing school at St. Joseph's and you have to leave extra early so you can stop on I-285 and vomit all the way and end up hospitalized by the end of the day...

When you finally make it to work (after about 20 weeks of pregnancy), your boss takes one look at you and tells you to go back home, because you're scaring all the men you work with.

The easiest part of your pregnancy is the labor and delivery...piece of cake.

Pregnant = Medical leave of absence

You wake up in the middle of the night to find your OB holding your hand...when you open your eyes he says, "WE are going to get through this."



and AMEN.


meghanp said...

I feel so much sympathy for anyone with that! SO grateful I didn't have it with Jo!! Not sure I would've been able to get the nerve to have another.

Athalia Jane said...

It is pretty hard to "try again" after battling HG. Not only is it daunting to face the logistics of "checking out of life" for 4-7 months, but there is a huge emotional and mental component of HG. It is lonely and depressing to spend days/weeks/months on end lying around feeling so sick. It is overwhelming to realize the burden it places on your spouse (and children). And it is demoralizing to have the battle that one faces physically, mentally and emotionally brushed aside by an uninformed community. Finding compassion amongst family and friends, a knowledgeable doctor/midwife who proactively and holistically manages her health, and receiving physical help like houswork, errands, meals makes it possible to embrace the hardship as a temporary challenge with a lifetime of relationship as the reward.

Kristen said...

Well said, Athalia. It's so isolating, and you almost feel guilty about all of the burden that you become to those around you. It feels weird to have people who know you say, "Oh, you're pregnant? That's great...ummm...I'm sorry..."

Kathy Whitworth said...

I appreciated the humor and truth of the post.