Living Through Pregnancy with HG by Crystal
The vast majority of us have experienced some level of morning sickness throughout our pregnancies, but what happens when it's more than that? What happens when your morning sickness is actually 'Hyperemesis Gravidarum' or 'HG'. The fabulous Crystal is here today on the blog to tell us a little bit about what it's like to suffer HG during pregnancy.
It’s not even living. It’s surviving this relentless sickness that, unless you have experienced you will never properly understand. And I truly hope you don’t understand to the full extent of how this “pregnancy complication” can make you feel. So alone and exhausted, yet so grateful and strong at the same time.
I find it so difficult to explain how I’ve felt majority of my pregnancies, because others just hear 'pregnancy' and 'spewing', and mentally move on. As though it has no significance to what you are about to tell them.
I’ve been lucky (un lucky) enough to have suffered HG through all 3 of my pregnancies, and let me tell you it doesn’t get any easier. You get good at smiling and saying you are coping 'ok' because you get so sick of the “Oh morning sickness only lasts 12 weeks, have you tried ginger beer? Some dry crackers before you get out of bed in the morning?”. I mean it when I say I have tried everything from ginger beer and dry crackers, to sickness wrist bands, hospital IV’s, flat lemonade, essential oils… The list goes on and I’ve tried it all. I’ve been medicated with prescribed medication in all of my pregnancies and while the medication can sometimes lessen the symptoms it has never taken them away.
Some of the diagnosed symptoms include;
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
- Decrease in urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Secondary anxiety/depression
My main goal with this blog post is to educate because like I said earlier, while I don’t think one can fully understand the severity of HG unless they've endured it, I hope that others can one day (soon) hopefully have some compassion.
Once I was having a conversation with another woman who has children of her own, and has clearly never experienced a pregnancy like I have. After asking how I was (at that point I was in the “death zone” around 16 weeks so was completely exhausted from all the vomiting which had been non stop since 7 weeks, I had burst little blood vessels in my eye, under my eye, in my nose and had torn my oesophagus slightly because I was spewing so much, I started to vomit up blood - this is what I mean when I say, it is relentless), I honestly (partially) answered, and said I am exhausted and that I really just needed a break from it all. She said to me, “You know my Dr once told me when I was pregnant, that pregnancy isn’t an illness. You just have to deal with it and know it’s not that bad”. I was thinking in my head, I so agree that pregnancy isn’t an illness, though you just have no idea. The saddest part is, most of the time it’s not worth the little energy you do have to argue or to try and make those around you understand it.
I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with my third baby, and from 7 weeks I endured Hyperemesis Gravidarum and all that it has to not-so-kindly offer. Three weeks ago (30 weeks) I stopped vomiting, in those 3 weeks I have been sick twice, prior to this I was sick anywhere from 8-15 times in any single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I am one of the lucky sufferers who has managed to be given a break toward the end. HG sometimes lasts right up until birth, and some women that I have spoken to have even had it after birth until their hormones have settled down.
Imagine having to go and do your GD (Gestational Diabetes) test while throwing up in your mouth, trying to do your best to complete the test because you’ve been medically advised by your OBGYN that it is best for you and your baby to do it. It’s mentally and physically tough. Pregnancy without HG can be mentally and physically tough, I am not trying to take that away from any expecting Mama, I just want to get awareness out there about how debilitating this pregnancy complication can be. I want those out there who may be close to, or surrounded by any expectant Mother suffering with HG to help, to try and understand as best you can and to offer support. Even when you may feel like - “Surely she cannot be that sick”, I assure you, she is that sick and she needs you. Sometimes just as an ear to hear her out and sometimes maybe to do a little bit more. Offer to drop over a home cooked meal for her family, or pop to the shop and pick up a couple of groceries for her, drop her other children at school. I despise asking for help, but I also despise spewing in my sons school jumper as I am taking him to school (YES! True story this actually happened to me at school drop off, TWICE). I had to send him to school without a jumper in his bag and then I felt guilty all day in case it got colder and he actually needed it. #allthemumfeels
It truly is incredible what the human body can endure and recover from, you will come out of an experience like this feeling mentally stronger, I promise you. If you are in the depths of HG right now, it will eventually get better. It may not be today, tomorrow or next week, but it will get better and the mental strength you will have gained will be worth it. They say you don’t know love until you’ve had a child of your own and I do believe that. I also believe that you don’t know the strength you have until you have to go through something so tough without an easy way out, you are un able to give up. Your medicinal options are limited because you are pregnant and you need to keep fighting through each and every day. There's a little human inside of you, the one who is making you feel like this. Yet, you do everything you can to nourish and protect the little life you are creating, the one you haven’t even met yet. That is STRENGTH. That is MOTHERS LOVE.
I wanted to finish by saying despite all I (and every other HG sufferer out there) have been through in my pregnancies, it is all worth it for that sweet little baby you get at the end. Despite how we have felt and what we have expressed during pregnancy. Approximately 2% of pregnancies will have these symptoms, while more common morning sickness can be experienced in anywhere from 50 – 90% of pregnancies. There’s a fair chance you won’t end up with HG, but if you, or someone around you does, it is important you feel supported and offer support whole heartedly. That is the number one best thing you can offer.
All my love and strength,
Crystal Squires (@crystal_squires)
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