I know I have a lot of things I want to update here, but for right now I wanted to write about something on my heart. It's probably a post most will want to skip, so you've been warned of wordy rambling to follow.
I was laying in bed this morning thinking about my journey so far with my third pregnancy. It's something I want to share with someone who needs it. If I click under my blog stats I see how a lot of googlers make it to my blog. I get some funny searches leading to some of my funnier past posts, craft or project searches leading to some of my crafty posts, and then I get some genuine searches that lead some to some really heartfelt posts of mine. I was a desperate mother to be searching for something like this at one time, so if you're out there...this is heart, body, and mind felt, and this is for you!
This is a post about hyperemesis gravidarum, and I'm writing it more for someone out there to stumble upon.
When I was first diagnosed with Adeline's pregnancy, I googled and searched everything for anything I could find on it. This is a disorder that affects less than 1% of pregnancies and there is very, very little research on it at all, so most of my searches were just dead ends leading to pages stating symptoms but not solutions and saying there wasn't much research because of how little it effects most women and their pregnancies.Doctors, hospital staff, and google all let me down on there. I vomited from 6 weeks-40 weeks up until 2 hours before I had my baby. I had to be admitted into the hospital for dehydration which induced cramping and contractions around 11 weeks. My pregnancy was miserable from 6 weeks to about 20 weeks where I went from throwing up 5-10 times a day to just 2 or 3 times a day on a good day until birth. I lost 25lbs with this pregnancy. Nausea was with me every minute of every day the entire way. I think I fainted three times during this pregnancy, 2 of which I was alone for. Depression, which was something brand new to me and my body sunk in around 9 weeks and lingered around until 18 weeks. The moment I had my baby the nausea and grossness left my body. There wasn't much anyone could do for me or explain to me. It was what it was, so I dealt with it.
When we started talking about baby #2, I searched desperately for anything on the web, blogs, forums, medical information, anything on whether or not I'd be doomed to the same disorder in another pregnancy. The most I came across was the same advice from my doctors which was "every pregnancy is different" accompanied with a shoulder shrug. I had a lot of hope in that, but was immediately discouraged when a bout of that distinct pregnancy nausea clued me in on the fact that I was indeed pregnant again. Hyperemisis returned and it was vicious. from 5 weeks-21 weeks I was the sickest I'd ever been in my life. I vomited a minimum of 5 times a day and as much as 15 times a day. There were days at a time I could not even keep down water. I grew so weak that I couldn't even get myself off of the couch alone. My husband was working months at a time out of state, so I had to have my sister move in with me for a few weeks to help lift my toddler out of her crib in the morning and then to help me just function. My heart raced from moving, and I quickly lost about 45lbs. I was admitted into the hospital for fluids and to regain my strength. Depression and a deep sense of anger consumed me for weeks. I would vision myself breaking plates, screaming, and destroying my house. In reality there were times I didn't even have enough strength to open my mouth to talk. Philip came back home from Pennsylvania after being gone a month and a half, and when he walked through the door he looked at me laying on the couch and said, "You don't even look like you. I didn't know it was so bad, your legs don't even look like your legs. Oh God." Visitors came and never came back. I was miserable to be around. I was hurting, upset, and lonely. I lost all bladder control during vomiting, and eventually I had problems with vomiting blood from the stomach acids that ate away the lining of my esophagus. Around 20 weeks the throwing up eased off and I was up to just vomiting a few times a day until the night I had my baby, which much like my first made it all worth it.
Okay so if google led you here, to this post those two accounts are probably scary. Or maybe refreshingly relate-able? I remember just wanting to read that someone else out there was as sick as I was and they made it through it. If you're looking for tips, have questions, or want to know some of the things that worked for me (as in habits not products because I couldn't find one product to relieve anything) please, please email me at CourtneyKeb@hotmail.com put Hyperemesis gravidarum or something like that in the subject line so that if it goes to my junk mail I can make sure to grab you! I mean I wish I had a phone line for you to call so I could talk to you! I know how desperate I was for answers, empathy, relief, anything.Seriously though, email me and I'll be so happy to talk.
My husband was going to get a vasectomy during my second pregnancy. We didn't end up going through with it because in our hearts we knew we could possibly want more children, aaaand he was semi chicken. After Gideon, my second was born, Philip almost immediately kept telling me how he wanted another baby. I kind of wanted to punch him for that, but after months of him telling me so I started considering one day doing it again. I thought that day would be a lot further away, but I found out I was pregnant for my third in December. Panic set over me and wore out my google search engine that day! "Hyperemesis gravidarum in third pregnancy?" "Likelihood of hyperemesis in other pregnancies" "Hyperemesis reoccurring in multiple pregnancies" were just a few of the ways I tried to break it down in searching. The internet can be a great thing sometimes, but sometimes it can just be scary. I found a little more on the disorder when I researched it in December. There were two more medical university studies done since I had last checked which didn't have any conclusive results. Even more disappointing was a support forum I found on a parenting forum for women diagnosed with HG. I was stoked when I found the support forum but my heart sank so low when I began reading some of the women's stories. Most of the women had chosen to abort their baby after suffering with hyperemesis for a few weeks. Some women later on in their pregnancies when they felt as though they could not take it anymore, and a lot of women after just suffering for a could of weeks with it. I prayed so hard that day for those women. I prayed for the women who took a child's life away because they suddenly found theirs unbearable. I prayed for the women out there that chose to keep their baby and continued to suffer with hyperemesis. I prayed for strength for you, and strength for me. I know how hard it is. I'm actually going to be honest and say I know how it is to not want your baby anymore. It's a sick feeling. Literally, you feel wicked and twisted and selfish, but you feel done, exhausted, and resentful. Because when your body gets so physically deteriorated then your mind just jumps down there with it, and you think you cannot take another day.
But you can.
This pregnancy has been very different. We found out we were pregnant, and we prayed. We prayed so hard. We prayed/pray for a healthy baby to come at the end of this season. We pray for my strength and my faith and my body. We prayed and declared we would not claim this disorder this time. We thanked God for the children we have, and we thanked Him for finding us worthy of carrying another. We prayed in the Word, and we read His word especially during weak moments. Prayer is void without faith. I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins, and I believe He lives. He is my healer. Even through the rough days or nights I seek Him, and I know He is with me. We didn't tell a single family member or anyone we knew would have negative thoughts or comments. We told a few of our family in Christ, and they were so happy for us, more importantly they were happy to pray for us, with us, and over us. I felt so special and so unbelievably thankful and grateful God placed these people into our lives. Philip and I love ya'll, I felt their prayers, and I'm so blessed for that. Having such a close relationship with Jesus made and is making a world of difference in this pregnancy. He places people in your lives that lift you up, and when you find that hold on to them!
I have been sick this pregnancy, but it is no where near the levels that I've been sick before. I am 12 weeks pregnant, and I have not been admitted into the hospital. It's looking like I won't even need a reboot of fluids or extra care too! I throw up 1 or 2 times a day on my good days, and while yes sometimes I do have rough days where it's increased, I never go more than a day without keeping something down. I'm hydrated, I can walk by myself, and I can take care of the two precious gifts running around and creating extra chaos. I've only lost 15lbs this pregnancy, and my heart rate has been completely normal. Depression is so foreign to me. Although I do have my days where hormones are elevated and I cry at night because I miss Gracie or because I'm sad Philip has to work late evenings and weekends temporarily, but mostly my mind is clean. My mind is on Him, where it should be all the time. I even threw my kids a birthday party last weekend (yea, a big one with 67 people AND food!) At this point in my previous pregnancies I was either in the hospital, stranded on the bathroom floor, or unable to even walk alone. God has been so gracious to me, and he has taught me so much. I'm so grateful and my heart is so full. I feel blessed not cursed to be carrying this baby.
I feel like this third go round has brought a lot of trial and errors to tips and truths too. I have some tricks and stuff that I do to keep myself from getting sick or too sick. I started sharing some, but since I've already written a novel, I erased it and if you're interested in talking or just want some support or encouragement email me! I just felt like if someone, even just one person was like me and is frantically searching the internet for some hope with this sickness that I could offer you that. I have a lot of posts from summers of 2008 and 2010 about where my head was at when I was sick with my first two pregnancies. I don't know if that will offer you much encouragement, but maybe just more relief that you aren't dying and other women do go through this.
I have a really tender heart for women who want to be mothers but have struggles and difficulties getting there. I have friends and family we have prayed for with infertility or past infertility struggles, and my heart has ached for them so badly. Sometimes I think it's easier on my heart to turn to prayer for them when I feel like it's hard or difficult carrying a baby. I'm sure it hurts them to see women blessed with this gift and then just complaining about the process. Hyperemesis gravidarum is so hard, but at the end the ten months you get a baby. Eyes on the prize, I know it's hard to hear when you're hurting, but it will be so worth it.
I have been praying for you!