I was going to write about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) because HG Awareness Day is coming up soon. But I can’t. I went to the HelpHER site and was so emotional reading about it that I just couldn’t bring myself to write about it again. The number of women who left memorial messages to babies they couldn’t carry to term (whether because of miscarriage or abortion) broke my heart.
“You were wanted.” “Mommy wasn’t strong enough.”
I just can’t take writing about it again. I have written in the past about my own horrific experiences with HG, though, and you can read them here, here, and here. I wrote about the need for proponents of NFP to have mercy on women who have chosen small families (because you don’t know what they’ve been through to have the precious few children they have) here. (That one went a bit viral thanks to Simcha Fisher.) And you can search my blog for HG to find other things I’ve said over the years. In my first piece, written more than a decade ago, I described my first few weeks of HG:
…My mother drove me to my doctor’s appointment, me with my bowl, and my doctor confirmed that I was, indeed, pregnant. His office made an appointment with the OB I’d picked for the following week, and the doctor told me to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and try eating crackers to ease the severe nausea. Water seemed to make me feel worse and I couldn’t keep any food down whatsoever, no matter how bland it might be. On February 13, as I lay in bed between vomiting spells, Hubby came home with a dozen long-stemmed red roses for me. “Happy Mother’s Day to the mother of my children,” read the card. I thanked him, smelled the roses, and as he went to put them in water, wretched again. The vomiting was around the clock by now; I was even waking up from sleep to throw up. On Saturday, we called the OB’s office and asked what to do. I met my OB that afternoon at the hospital, where they started IV treatment to rehydrate me. My ketones were dangerously high. Bag after bag of fluids were pumped into me. I was given one medication after another for the nausea, and nothing worked. (It did, however, give us a fun game to play when watching TV. Any time a doctor rattled off a prescription for nausea, I could call out, “Tried it! Didn’t work!”)
I was scheduled for an ultrasound to be sure everything was okay. They were also curious if I was pregnant with twins, since morning sickness can be worse pregnancies with multiples. While in the room for my ultrasound, I hung on for dear life to my bowl (those emesis bowls at the hospital weren’t big enough for me) and tried not to vomit as the smell of flowers nearly knocked me out. The smell was so strong that I wondered why on earth the nurse would wear so much perfume. I won’t get into too many details, but let’s just say that the procedure was not pleasant. The ice-cold gel on my stomach was the best part.
Now we knew that I was pregnant with one child, located properly. The doctors figured out that I had hyperemesis. I was put on hyperalimentaion because I was still unable to keep any food down or drink anything. Putting anything in my mouth made me sick. The hyperalimentation started blowing out my veins, so the doctors had a Groshung catheter central line put in for IV therapy. A cocktail of Reglin and Pepcid managed to keep my vomiting down to about a dozen times a day, and I was discharged with home nursing care. My nurse, also a Catholic, told me that she, too, had hyperemesis. She was sick through all nine months of her pregnancy with her older daughter. Threw up on the delivery table, she said. She was terrified of getting pregnant again, but when her daughter was six, she discovered she was expecting. This time, she said, no HG. She was also a secular Franciscan, and she would pray for me. …
The rest is here.
HER does research into the causes of HG and possible cures, and they started doing a 5K event as a fundraiser a couple of years before I started running. This year, the race is on May 20 in Chicago, and for my birthday, my children bought me an entry to run the race virtually. My T-shirt should be on the way soon, and I plan on running very early in the morning before my Dominican meeting and my younger daughter’s recital.
When I think about running that race – running for the mothers and the babies and for a cure for HG – I get really teary-eyed. This race means the world to me. I can’t wait to run it and then wear that T-shirt.