hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)


I was going to post pictures of our first day of the three we spent in the mountains but something else felt like it needed to be shared.

This morning, I woke up to the news that Kate Middleton was pregnant again. About an hour later, Jamie texted me, “Kate Middleton is having another baby. Parallel lives.”

I loved Princess Diana. I think that weird sort of love for her and her life was because she and I were so close in age. I always thought it was sort of “cool” to think about how similar we were and yet so very, very different. She was a Princess, for crying out loud! We continued our parallel lives with our weddings and babies (my two older girls). I was devastated when I learned of her death on Sunday, August 31, 1997. The girls and I were sitting in the little Lutheran Church in Jordan when it was announced. I remember the immediate sick feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach.  How could this be? I felt like I had lost a good friend.

Years later, the parallel lives continue with Jamie and Prince William. Married the same month/same year (April 2011), 1st baby within months of each other (2013) and now pregnancy #2 at the same time. Parallel lives.

Poor Kate! I feel so sorry for her – for anyone who is so sick with their pregnancy that it feels like it would be easier to die. I know.

I was about six weeks pregnant with Jamie when I found out we were going to be parents for the first time. I was working a full-time job as a secretary. I was thrilled. I had known all my life that all I really wanted to be when I grew up was a mom. When the nausea started, I figured it was to be expected – normal for pregnancy. But it got worse. I remember trying to drive to work without having to pull over and get sick. Sitting at my desk, puking in the waste basket and wanting nothing more than to just go home. And it lasted ALL. DAY. LONG!

I received all sorts of help from people who were used to morning sickness. “Crackers in the morning before you get up“. “Coke syrup from the pharmacy – it’ll help calm your stomach“. “Mind over matter”. “Just try not to think about it”. “Ginger tablets will help (ever throw up ginger?)” They all wanted to help but I don’t think they understood just how sick I was. There was no stopping this constant sick-to-my-stomach feeling. And smells were the worst! We lived across the street from McDonald’s. To this day, when I smell that greasy smell, it reminds me of being pregnant. It got so bad, I was waking up in the middle of the night to vomit.

My doctor finally decided he could see that I was sicker than just the normal morning sickness. He prescribed compazine. Unfortunately, this was doing nothing for the stomach.  And my tongue felt fat and it was causing me to talk weird. I don’t remember what was the final straw that landed me in the hospital but I was admitted for IV’s. I was dehydrated. And then, while my sister-in-law was there with me, I had an allergic reaction to the compazine. The fat feeling in my tongue was the beginning of what later turned into a severe allergy to the drug and caused uncontrollable, seizure type body movements. Thank goodness I was in the hospital! I remember my mom coming to the hospital and walking the halls with me. We walked to the nursery. I’m sure she was thinking that would help. At this point, I really didn’t even want to be pregnant. I just wanted to feel better again. I remained in the hospital for a week on IV’s and I took a 30 day leave from my job. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to do it. I couldn’t even brush my teeth because putting the toothbrush in my mouth caused me to vomit. It was about mid-point of my pregnancy that I finally started feeling like maybe I was going to live again. By this time, I had lost 10 pounds.

No one explained to my why I was suffering from HG. There was nothing to read about and there was no medicine that was going to help. It was the longest eight weeks of my life. It was not what I expected when I found out I was finally going to be a mommy!

Then I got pregnant with Jenna. I was sick again. All day long but it seemed like I had a better handle on it. I was able to keep working and got through it.

With each pregnancy, I dealt with HG. With Taylor, a nurse came to our home and I was hooked up to a mobile IV pump. The sound of the pump made me sick. Commercials with food sent me running to the toilet. Our neighbor was sick with cancer at the same time. We were both sick. I would take my portable IV and go sit on his front porch with him just to get out of the house. I knew I was eventually going to get better but he, unfortunately, was not. Sleep was the only thing that would provide me with temporary relief. I remember thinking how much I dreaded nighttime because that meant another day of being sick was what I had to look forward to. I slept on the sofa sleeper because any sort of movement was not good. Absolutely the worst thing I have ever been through. It was at that time I honestly believed it would be easier to die. I wanted to just feel good again. Unless you’ve been through this, you have no idea. And I still had people with good intentions telling me, “mind over matter”. I wish it would have been that easy. And remember, I had two other children that needed me.

Pregnancy #4 – sick again. This time, though, I was given Zofran to help with the nausea. It definitely helped but I was still sick all day and all night long. Again, the IV and pump came to the house. I couldn’t do what needed to be done for the other girls. So, mom came and helped for a week or so. Then, she had to leave and she had her mom, my grandma, come stay with us. Bless her heart. She had no idea what she was in for with a two year old running around, a very sick granddaughter and all that it took to keep a household running.

When Jamie found out she was pregnant, she thought something was wrong with her. She had just assumed that being really sick was normal. I’m so glad she didn’t have to go through that. And, I hope the other girls never have to go through it either! I don’t know how a body can throw up so many times throughout the day. I couldn’t even keep water down. How does a body continue to do what it’s doing – nurturing a baby?

HG has a website of their very own. How reassuring it must be for women going through this now to have that support! To know you’re not a freak of nature or that you haven’t failed the “mind over matter” challenge. There really is something wrong. The Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation website explains the difference between typical morning sickness and what I went through:

Morning Sickness Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)
You lose little if any weight. You lose 5-20 pounds or more. (> 5% of prepregnancy
Nausea and vomiting do not interfere with your ability
to eat or drink enough each day.
Nausea and vomiting cause you to eat very little and get dehydrated from vomiting if not treated.
You vomit infrequently and the nausea is episodic but not severe. It may cause discomfort and misery. You vomit often and may vomit bile or blood if not treated. Nausea is usually moderate to severe and constant.
Dietary and/or lifestyle changes are enough to help you feel better most of the time. You will probably require fluid hydration through a vein and/or medications to stop the vomiting.
You typically will improve gradually after the first trimester, but may be a little queasy at times during the remainder of your pregnancy. You usually feel somewhat better by mid-pregnancy, but you may continue to be nauseous and/or vomit until late pregnancy.
You will be able to work most days and care for your family. You will likely be unable to work for weeks or months, and may need help caring for yourself.

For most of you, you won’t know what this feels like and to that I say – you’re awfully lucky! Would I do it all over again if I would have known that my chances of going through HG with each pregnancy was high? I would! Thank goodness someone who is loved by the world as much as Kate Middleton is has put a face on this disease.  I feel so sorry for her. She WILL get through it but I certainly hope she has good support from family and friends to help her reach that point where she feels good again.

“The world’s most famous pregnancy brought overnight visibility to a little-known but serious prenatal complication, when Britain’s royal family announced the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospitalization for treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) – a debilitating and even life-threatening condition marked by severe, unrelenting vomiting and/or nausea that can lead to rapid weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration, with potentially dangerous health consequences for both newborn and mother.”  From the blog, “Dear Media: Kate Middleton Does Not Have “Morning Sickness

Did you have HG? Can you relate to how this wears you down?

Please pray for Kate and her pregnancy!

2 comments on “hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)

  1. mom says:

    Hi Tracy….Geeeee, Oh how I remember how sick you got…..and how strange..visiting with Gma last week she ask how Jamie was…she just remembered how sick you was, and she came to help you, she hoped Jamie was never that sick….I’m going out this afternoon, I got her three new long
    sleeve shirts for pj tops. we are having storms today..I did get my yard mowed last night after work…I only had the yard to finish back by the shed…and just when I was finishing..a down pour!!
    and when talking with Gma about your love of the travels..reminded her of the Gpa/Gma coming
    to Grand Island to settle Grand Island in1857 on the wagontrain….It’s in your blood she said!!!!!
    guess I’d better get going….be safe…tell Jim hi hugs and kissesXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOmom…

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