What No One Told You About HG
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Sleeping on the bathroom floor, within arms reach of the toilet. Normally you wouldn’t be able to stand the feeling of your skin pressed against the cold floor. Your eyes stare intently on the corner behind the toilet, there is some dust and debris that you missed while cleaning, hold it in.
There are 7.5 squares of tile in between you and the wall. The sink is dripping slowly, and the air has a moldy odor that’s just lingering, you have to hold this in.
You can hear your family at the dinner table, eating take out again because you can’t cook right now. You took 2 bites of some chicken, it’s the first thing you’ve had all day, you need to keep it down.
You can feel the pressure building in the back of your throat.. please, not again. It’s too late, here it comes.
If you’re reading this, you probably have HG so you know what I’m about to say. On the off chance that you have no idea what HG is, it’s short for Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Hyperemesis gravidarum means “excessive vomiting during pregnancy”. ”Oh but vomiting during pregnancy is normal, get over it!”
No, just no.
This is the type of vomiting that doesn’t stop, it never lets up, it never gives you a break. It doesn’t care that you have other kids to take care of. It knows no weekends or holidays. It couldn’t care less that you’ve already missed 3 days of work this week. It doesn’t go away after the first trimester, it lingers for most women until the day they give birth. And then as if by some sort of miracle it’s just gone.
HG is usually diagnosed after a woman loses at least 10% of her total body weight, but many of us lose much more than that. I personally lost about 26% within about 20 weeks of carrying my last child.
Most doctors are very stingy when it comes to caring for an HG mom for some reason. It isn’t as well known yet and so they usually assume we are over reacting, seeking attention, or just clinically depressed. Many women will express concerns about their amount of vomiting and get blown off or offered some generic Zofran, which doesn’t even touch the symptoms.
The best thing you can do if you feel like you aren’t being taken seriously is to call around to local OBGYN’s and ask them if they specialize in HG. If they act like they aren’t sure, cross them off and go to the next one.
There ARE good, competent providers out there you just have to hold out until you can find one, in the meantime, you can get IV fluids via the ER or Urgent Care Centers.
No one told us that we wouldn’t enjoy being pregnant. We wouldn’t look down at our growing belly with unhindered happiness. While most ladies are chowing down on pickles and hot sauce we are lucky to wet our tongue with a little water without triggering another episode.
People who have never experienced HG will never understand the way you feel. It’s not their fault, they just have nothing to compare it to. Even the worst stomach bug they’ve ever had likely only lasted a few days.
It’s when you are knocked down day after day, night after night, with the inability to care for yourself, your other kids, your spouse, your house, your job, your pets, etc, that your mental strength is diminished. You feel worthless…hopeless…lifeless.
Thoughts creep in that are scary, “Would it be easier if I wasn’t pregnant?” “Would it be better if I wasn’t here at all? I’m such a burden on my family.”
No one wants to talk about the hard shit, but I think that just compounds the loneliness you already feel.
Just always remember you aren’t alone. HG is sadly becoming much more common for reasons still unknown. Chances are someone you know went through the same thing, so being open about your struggles might bring you some unexpected support.
No one told us that the emotional roller coaster isn’t the only thing you have to worry about...
Your teeth will suffer. Not only are they getting covered in acid several times a day, but it’s also really difficult to even brush afterward without having your gag reflex set off. In a normal pregnancy, the woman’s teeth may become weaker just from the baby pulling nutrients from the mother's body, but this is just magnified when you can’t replace those vitamins and minerals with a prenatal vitamin because it makes you sick.
If you notice that you are throwing up fresh blood, that can be really scary the first few times. Thankfully it isn’t a serious problem, it’s just your torn esophagus from the repeated force of vomiting (insert eye roll). There is nothing you can do to fix it other than stop puking.
Constipation may hit when your body starts to be dehydrated from no liquids, and you may go days without output just from the sheer lack of input.
Your skin may start to flake, fingernails split, hair lacks shine, (not that you’d notice, it’s in a permanent messy bun to keep the vomit off of it). These are just some of the more common repercussions.
One of the things that helped me get through was THIS GROUP on Facebook with other moms who were going through the exact same thing. It was best for me to just remove myself from the mainstream mom groups to avoid all of the food pictures, and happy sentiments from carefree ladies, enjoying their pregnancy. I was happy for them, but it made me feel guilty and jealous, two feelings which I didn’t want or need at the time.
I’ve survived HG twice now, and I have two beautiful little girls. They were both perfectly healthy at birth, with no complications. I have learned a lot throughout this journey, and in my next blog post I’ll be going over tips and survival strategies for HG moms, so keep an eye out!