Chelsea is a great friend and doula. I had the opportunity to be her doula with her most recent baby, and maybe her text-doula with her baby before that! She has dealt with a lot, and she had crippling HG. Today, May 15th, is HG Awareness Day -- so I felt it was only appropriate to hare her thoughts on this.
I've taken a few days to think about what I wanted to write for HG awareness Day. I would like everyone to take their time reading this and try not to judge. Hyperemesis Gravidium is described as extreme morning sickness. But there are things that the public doesn't see -- things that our families and friends don't even see.
I vomited anywhere from 5 times on a good day to 40 times on a bad day. I battled daily to figure out what was safe that day to eat or drink, to find out most of the time the answer to the question was nothing. Nothing was safe to eat or drink, and attempting to would land you back in the bathroom in a endless cycle of vomiting.
Now here's the part you don't see:
You don't see when we are sitting on the floor, considering termination of our pregnancies, because we can't stand the thought of being this sick any longer -- considering giving up much-wanted babies because we feel like we're causing our husbands and kids to suffer along with us.
You don't see us wishing for a miscarriage, to end the constant torment of feeling like we're dying. You don't see the days where we question living anymore at all.
You don't see the deep dark hole of depression that we sometimes sink in to because we are missing life everyday. We give up family events. Moments with our other kids. Being angry at our husbands because we feel so sick and they're trying to help but sometimes it makes things worse.
You don't see the countless medicine bottles, ER trips, and IV bags.
You don't see the countless times, crying alone on the floor, scared we are harming our unborn babies with the medications that don't stop the sickness, but just help keep us both alive.
My family had to see me so sick I wanted to die, more then once. They had to see me pale and withering away. They had to see me cry, day after day, because I just didn't feel good ever.
I've thrown up in more public bathrooms and parking lots than I care to count. I've had to buy new shirts while we were out because I threw up all over the one I was wearing.
Did you know that toilet water has a distinct smell? We do. We smell everything. Your perfume. Your lunch you ate. It all makes us sick.
The smell of my kids when they played outside made me extremely ill.
I took the highest dose of zofran a person is allowed to take. I had to rotate meds. I had to fight to not get a PICC line IV. At the end I battled to keep a feeding tube out of my nose and a hospital admission out of my family's life. I had to tell my doctor no, because I had nowhere for my kids to go for such a long period of time.
I've done 4 HG pregnancies, my first and my fourth being the hardest. My last one, I lost 45 pounds and was sick the entire pregnancy. I never made it back to pre-pregnancy weight with him.
So please. I beg you. The next time you see a woman clearly suffering from HG, take a second to consider what she's going through. Don't try to force ginger, crackers, and natural remedies down her throat. Just love her and try to understand that her life at that moment is hard. Try to pitch in and help. Bring a meal for the rest of her family. Bring her a good book or movie. Maybe some comfy pajamas. I can tell you for certain, she'll appreciate your efforts.
Chelsea is a doula and the mom of four. She recently relocated from Bakersfield, CA to Tulare, CA. She tried desperately to breastfeed her babies, but it was always a struggle for them to gain weight. Between her 3rd and 4th babies, she learned her children all had tongue ties, affecting their abilities to nurse well and get enough milk. She had her most recent baby's tongue treated, and things got amazing after that -- now she is a fierce advocate. When she's not helping other moms, or suffering from HG (with 4 babies in 4 years, that has been a lot of time!), she and her family love going to Disneyland.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)