HG: You Are Not Alone

If you’ve ever suffered from a debilitating illness, you know it’s helpful to know you are not alone. When you suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), an illness that is only recently being noticed by anyone outside of those of us who have suffered through it, it’s very easy to feel completely isolated. When I became pregnant with Big Girl, I had never heard of HG or known anyone who had suffered through it. The first person I met who had it was my homecare nurse, who suffered for all nine months. (She told me of being on the delivery table and still vomitting.) Only about one in two hundred women will have HG, so it’s likely that you might never meet someone (in person – this doesn’t really count) who had it.

It is scary. It’s so scary that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to escape or avoid it. And sometimes those choices made can have repurcussions that last for the rest of your life. (I told my own story here – I warn you that it is long and not particularly pleasant.)

Ashli – blogress extraordinaire who keeps the S.I.C.L.E. Cell blog – has written a book to help spread awareness of HG. She doesn’t want anyone else to suffer as she did, especially if their doctors don’t know what’s wrong or how to treat it. (I thank God that I wasn’t told to abort. On top of being sick, I’d have been searching for a new OB on the fly. But other women aren’t so lucky.)

There are two things I’d like to highlight for you today that have to do with HG. First, I want you to know that Ashli’s website connected with her book Beyond Morning Sickness now has a forum. There, you can share your story with other women and gain needed support. Those can be found at this site. I cannot tell you how alone a woman with HG feels. And part of it is that too much stimulation of any senses is like being thrown under the bus. So you isolate yourself on purpose, just to cope. I remember when my high-risk OB took over from my usual OB; he put me in a small, dark room with the blinds drawn shut to keep out all light. My phone was shut off, and the nurses were all warned to not suddenly turn on the lights or burst into the room. It’s amazing to say this, but that dark little cave was a sanctuary for me. I wanted to stay there forever – or until I stopped being so sick. So this forum will provide needed help for women and their families. (Let me tell you, it’s no picnic for the husbands, either.)

Secondly, I wanted to let anyone else who has suffered HG know that USC is doing a genetic study to determine the cause for HG. (That’s right – no one knows what causes this!) It’s a simple study, the genetic sample is spit, and if you had HG, you only need to find a control person – someone who has been pregnant but not sick and is not related to you. I pray that they find a cure. HG is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. If you need information about this study, please go to this site, where Help HER has the information on how to get involved. They need 500 HG sufferers and 500 control subjects.

Now, for a quick story about me. I know that in my other post (linked above), I mentioned that I’d been to Confession about the tubal ligation. But I do have a really interesting story about that Confession and a subsequent one.

When I went to Confession about it, I told the priest and broke down. Big time. I’d been a parishioner for just a little while, and Father barely knew me. But he said something very nice. “Your children need you. Your husband needs you.” He absolved me.

But that guilt kept coming back. I felt a need to confess it again, and so I did. To a different priest. I cried again, saying that I knew I’d been forgiven, but I just couldn’t stop feeling guilty. And you know what this second priest told me? The one who was about as different from the first priest as you could be?

“God has forgiven you. Your children need you. Your husband needs you.”

I kid you not, he used the exact same words. Since then, I’ve only felt occasional pangs of guilt, but nothing like the terrible feelings that overwhelmed me in the past. Because I knew that the only way I could have gotten the exact same words from these two vastly different priests was if it was Christ Jesus Himself working through them. And that’s how I know it’s Jesus I’m confessing to.

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