I had severe morning sickness, a.k.a. hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), with all my pregnancies. It was worse with each one; 12 weeks with my first son, 15 weeks with my daughter, and 40 weeks with my second son.
Labor was NOTHING after weeks and months of living torture. I couldn’t lift my head, read a book, or drink more then a teaspoon of water. I’d give birth any day if it meant avoiding the nausea and suffering I had being pregnant.
The first time, young and idealistic…
The 1st time I got pregnant, I was young and idealistic. We were building a house and being pregnant wasn’t going to stop me from hauling wood. One morning, maybe 3 weeks from conception, I was suddenly unable to get out of bed or off the toilet. I started sleeping by the toilet because I threw up non-stop. I thought I had morning sickness, so I didn’t ask for help. Don’t lots of moms feel queasy those first weeks? Don’t lots of moms throw up what feels like battery acid every 5 minutes around the clock or curl up on the bathroom floor? The answer is NO. In fact, morning sickness this severe only affects 0.5-2.0% of pregnant moms. I was one of those lucky ones. HG lasted 12 weeks on the dot.
More about hyperemesis gravidarum here.
The second time, goodbye baby girl…
The 2nd time I got pregnant without trying, or wanting to be for that matter. It just ‘sort of happened’. I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically. I was terrified of getting sick again. I hadn’t done my research on how not to avoid HG. I was a single mom working 65+ hour weeks and didn’t have time to lay in bed too nauseous to move or work. That’s exactly what happened. Again, I had it bad …. morning sickness x 100. I lost that baby at 15 weeks pregnancy, just 1 day after I stopped being sick. She was a girl, which dispelled the myth you only get sick with boys.
Miscarriage is common with HG because mom is malnourished, dehydrated, and has a worn down immune system. That’s what happened with my baby girl. I was excited to eat again and feel the normalcy of my pregnancy. I was excited to wake up the next day and start my life. If you’ve been sick like this, you know what an achievement it is to get through each day. All that hard work, day in and day out for 15 weeks to lose a baby. I really lost myself for a bit.
The third time, sick for the long haul…
The 3rd time I got pregnant, I knew I’d get sick, I didn’t care. After miscarrying my baby girl I needed to be pregnant again. I didn’t want to spend time building my immune system up or putting on weight in anticipation of losing it. I couldn’t bear the emptiness in my belly. I wanted an instant baby moving around inside of me. So, I jumped into getting pregnant. I was no spring chicken. I knew perfectly well how bad life would get for 3-4 months. What I wasn’t expecting was to be sick with HG up to the moment I pushed my baby boy into the world.
I can’t let myself get pregnant again. Being pregnant destroyed my health and stole chunks of my life. I wouldn’t wish severe morning sickness on my worst enemy nor a mild form, though I am more than envious of moms who only get nauseous. My dream of having four kids is out the window, but I have reached a place inside where I am grateful for the two that I have. They are enough and I worked hard to grow them 😉
I offer support by phone/email for women with severe, endless morning sickness. Please share this post. If you know a woman in the throes of severe morning sickness – HELP HER. By doing so, you can stop a condition which, left to itself, can require hospitalization. Dehydration and becoming malnourished can occur after only 1-2 days of persistent vomiting. Watch for this and notify doctor. There can be underlying physical causes for severe vomiting during pregnancy, but don’t think for a minute that her vomiting is psychically based.
Have hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel…
The best suggestion I have, no matter what form of morning sickness you get, is to implement preventative lifestyle or diet changes soon as you can. I wish I’d prepared myself for months, even years, before conceiving again. Who knows if it would have helped. Back then I didn’t have the gift of the internet and suffered alone. Nowadays there are Facebook groups and forums of women sharing their experience about what helps and commisserating together about feeling awful day after day after day. You can do this. If you can’t then seek out support.
My three lights at the end of a long, pitch dark tunnel…
Severe Morning Sickness…what to eat when you can’t
Morning Sickness x’s 100…meet hyperemesis gravidarum
Morning Sickness: 10 foods for all shades of grey
May all bellies be happy!