Hyperemesis gravidarum is…
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is lying in a puddle of your urine and vomit on the bathroom floor and yelling for your husband to come help you as you’re fading in and out.
HG is your breaking into pieces as he comes into the bathroom to help you and your little girl comes running in and emits a scream no mom ever wants to hear from her child. The sheer look of terror etched on her precious face. She doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her mommy.
HG is your husband taking on the role of caregiver. He has to help bathe you, brush your hair, and feed you.
HG is your daughter reaching for her daddy or grandma or grandpa instead of you because she’s not familiar with your comfort or hugs anymore.
HG is not being able to simply get out of bed or a chair on your own.
HG is weakness. Unbelievable weakness. Even talking takes too much energy.
HG is guilt. Overwhelming, heartbreaking guilt. Guilt because you’re not able to be the mom, wife, friend, church leader, business owner, etc., that you were before. Guilt because you can’t do bedtime, or deadlines, or responsibilities. You can barely survive.
You miss birthdays. You miss anniversaries. You miss holidays. You can’t keep up. Guilt because you don’t always have the energy and presence of mind to return texts or phone calls. Guilt because you feel guilty. Guilt because “at least you’re pregnant.” Guilt because you are pregnant. Guilt because you sometimes wish you weren’t. So much guilt. It’s suffocating. You’re drowning in guilt every second of every day.
HG is terrifying. You’re terrified you’ll die. Terrified you’ll lose the baby. Terrified you won’t wake up. Terrified that you’ll die in a pile of your own vomit and urine.
HG is vomiting every color of the rainbow, including blood.
HG is vomiting so violently that you’re bleeding vaginally. That your head is ramming into the toilet. That you’re thrown off your bed. That you’re ripping up your esophagus. That it hurts to breathe because your throat is so raw.
HG is tubes. Pump tubes, IV tubes. So many tubes.
HG is so many hospital visits and stays you can’t keep count.
HG is apologizing to the nurses who have to move you in bed to change the sheets you’ve urinated on because you’re too weak to move.
HG is being so thankful for home health so you can get your IVs done at home.
HG is thousands of dollars in medical bills before your baby is the size of a tomato.
HG is suffocating. You’re trapped in your body. You’re trapped in your bed. You’re trapped in your home. You want to rip all the tubes out because you just can’t breathe.
HG is having panic attacks when you find out you’re pregnant because you didn’t plan it and wanted to wait much longer. You prepare for HG like you’re preparing for war.
HG is bitterness. Bitter at all the glowing pregnant women at the doctor. Bitter that they can walk 5 feet without getting exhausted.
HG is laughing because all you can do is laugh when people talk about how they were so sick when they were pregnant. How they finally got an IV in after two tries (that’d be a dang good day for HG mamas). Laugh when they suggest crackers and ginger. Laugh when they tell you to make sure you never have an empty stomach. You have to laugh instead of cry or shout. HG is like morning sickness, just like a little bit of rain is the same as a hurricane. It’s okay though — they just don’t understand because they’ve never had it, and you wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
HG is isolating. It’s so lonely. When you do find other HG survivors you immediately have a deep connection. You know. They know. And just having someone who knows can be so soothing to your soul.
HG is knowing your chances for getting postpartum depression and anxiety again are high because you have a high-risk pregnancy.
HG is having your entire belly be one big, painful bruise from all the needle poking and pump sites for your Zofran pump.
HG is being on chemo-grade anti-nausea meds/doses and still being sick.
HG is never getting relief except when you’re sleeping.
HG is gaining empathy for others you never knew you could have.
HG is your heart growing to a size so big you can’t stop wanting to comfort others in their problems.
HG has changed your soul.
HG has made you stronger than you ever were.
HG is how I grow the most beautiful babies.
HG has made me a warrior.
HG is my battle.
And I’ll be victorious.