Archive for May, 2012

Energizer Bunny

Energizer Bunny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember him? To tout the quality of Energizer’s batteries, this little bunny was spotted on television, beating a drum, and continually moving. What kept him going? The batteries, of course.

My question to you today is: what’s in your batteries?

When you’re so sick you can’t stand, when you’re throwing up and peeing at the same time, when you are so hungry that you have to eat knowing that whatever you put in your mouth will only come up later… how do you fight the pull to just give up?

When I was pregnant, hg grabbed me by my ankles and dragged me down to a pit so dark that five months later I still tear up when I think of what I endured. What kept me going, however, were the tiny moments of sunshine that reached that dark pit: my child’s kick, a friend’s encouraging words, a get-well card from my mother, a funny t.v. show. Looked at individually, these moments seem small. But when I piece them together, I see that they provided the tapestry upon which I rested, the surface that held me just above despair.

Today, deliberately find the little moments of sunshine in your life and focus on them. That’s the fuel that will fill your batteries and help you keep on going, and going, and going, until the hg goes away.

P.S. What keeps you going? Share with your sisters in suffering by posting a comment below!



Cover of "The Little Engine That Could (O...

Cover via Amazon

Each one of us faces moments in life when we’re not at our best– Whether we’re currently suffering from hg, a sinus infection, or a severe case of stress. I never expected, however, to face moments that would linger for months. When I had hg, I was often fuzzy from Phenergan. While I appreciated the minor improvement this antiemetic drug offered, I was aware that my brain wasn’t always functioning clearly and that added yet another layer of guilt to my heavy-laden shoulders. How could I possibly contribute to my family if I couldn’t even think clearly?

In these moments, we can curl up and die (or feel like we’re dying, which is a pretty common side effect of hg), or we can dig in and try. Trying may not mean success, and that can be pretty frustrating. But it does mean that we’ve won the war over complacency, resignation, and defeat. You may know that you are not at your best, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give the best of yourself– whatever that might be. So today, be good to yourself. Reject the guilt you may feel over being sick and having nothing left to give. Try. Your efforts might just surprise you.

A LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) fro...

“Into the Jaws of Death” by Robert F. Sargent, CPhoM, USCG A LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Samuel Chase disembarks troops of Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) wading onto the Fox Green section of Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944. American soldiers encountered the newly formed German 352nd Division when landing. During the initial landing two-thirds of the Company E became casualties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a historic photograph taken by Robert F. Sargent, CPhoM, USCG titled “Into the Jaws of Death.” This photo depicts American invaders heading from those flat boats, aka landing barges, onto the beaches of Normandy. These soldiers knew that it was very likely they’d die from enemy fire. They ducked down to wade onto the beach, walking through water filled with the corpses of men who only moments before had been among the living. They kept walking, terror and adrenaline gripping their hearts. They kept going. They kept going.

When I think of the word bravery, it is the image of the American soldier that pops into my mind. Bravery, to me, means knowing that you’re facing something terribly scary, feeling that fear, but then doing whatever you need to do anyway. And that’s what you must do, dear hg mama.

A pregnant women has little control of her body. Yet a pregnant woman with hg has even less control. It’s scary. But you can’t give up. You have to be brave because you are in charge of another living, growing, human being. Being brave does not mean that you’re not scared. It does not mean that you don’t feel like you want to give up. It means allowing yourself to experience those feelings and then continue to fight. I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I can promise you that it will get better. Many people died at Normandy, but some survived—you will too.

When I was at my worst, unable to keep even water down, I spent hours online reading the stories of women who had survived hg. These were women who had lived to tell their tales, and they inspired me to hold on. The posts of women who just gave birth on the BabyCenter Hyperemesis Sufferers Community forum gave me an extra boost of strength by showing me that it was possible to survive this condition. I haven’t left that board, and yesterday my heart swelled as a former sufferer turned into a survivor.

She writes, “After 37 MISERABLE weeks, my 3rd and final child was born.” This woman survived Chloeostasis, gallstones AND hg. I’ve followed her journey through the forum, and am inspired by her strength and courage.

In one post, she writes of the joy she feels at being able to eat food: “I ate bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast. I drank a whole glass of juice! It ALL  stayed down! I had a Starbucks frappuchino with lunch and that stayed down! I had a slice of key lime pie! And for my triumph? I have been drinking ice water like it’s going out of style! H2O is my friend again!”

The best part of reading her news, though, was looking at the image of her child. Baby Kien is pure joy.

When you’re feeling down, when you can’t take it anymore, when one more trip to the bathroom to puke is just too much… remember this hg mama’s words:

“My HG sisters….It does end! I am living proof! I did it and you will too!”

Listen up soldier, and listen good. You didn’t volunteer to become a fighter. You were drafted into this war against your consent. You would have preferred a fluffy pregnancy– am I right? Well I have vital information that just might help you face the next battle.

English: German mortar emplacement in preserve...

English: German mortar emplacement in preserved trenches. Part of German forward line (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each day you survive with hg is a victory. Why?

Surviving each day means:

  1. You have one less day to feel sick.
  2. You’re one day closer to holding your child in your arms.
  3. You’ve proven to yourself and those around you that you are a fighter.

So when you’re in the trenches, fighting the elements that make you miserable, dig your heels in. Roar out loud. Tell the constipation that you can handle it. Scream to the nausea that you’re not afraid. Laugh at the enemy. He can kick you, but he can’t kill you. Why? Because you’re a fighter with the most worthy cause in the world: your child.

Bruising three days after giving blood

Bruising three days after giving blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never been good at giving blood. It’s ridiculously difficult for someone to find my veins, so you can imagine the agony I experienced when I had hg.

The first time I was rushed to the emergency room I was severely dehydrated. I had lost about 15 pounds in two weeks and just didn’t know what was going on. I was sick, scared, and unable to really function. A home health-care nurse had visited earlier that day to set up an iv and a zofran pump. She tried three times, but couldn’t get the iv connected to my vein.

Later that evening, my ob called and told me to go to the er. Apparently my keytone level was really off and I needed two bags of fluid pumped into me intravenously. I knew it would be a painful experience, but I was unprepared for just how painful it was.

It took three hours, two nurses, a doctor, and a paramedic over twelve pokes in my hands and arms to finally find a vein. The drew blood and then connected the iv. By the time they were finished, I was unable to control my body from shaking. I wasn’t having a seizure, I just couldn’t handle the anguish of the stabs and prodding of needles anymore.

As I think back on that night, I don’t credit myself with having any strength at all. I was miserable. I wasn’t in control of my body. I cried.

But I didn’t give up. I endured what needed to be done, as painful as it was. And you can endure it, too, dear hg mama. No matter what you’re facing right now– a medicine pump, a PICC line, another round of vomiting– you can handle it. Coping with hg is not easy, it’s never fun, and it’s quite often painful. But most of the struggle is simply enduring, and in doing so you’ll be developing the strength you need to deal with future problems.

P.S. Does anyone else have invisible veins? What do you say to medical professionals to help them

Feeling discouraged?

Posted: May 25, 2012 in Survival Strategy

Frustration (Photo credit: Rajiv Ashrafi)

What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged? There’s no simple answer. There’s certainly nothing I can say in a blog post that will make your illness go away. It feels futile sometimes, doesn’t it?

But there is hope. Surviving hg is about more than finding the right cocktail of medicine and treatment. It’s about fighting the discouragement you face every day. It’s training your mind to look beyond the nausea and focus on the future, when things will get better.

Developing this mindset isn’t easy. It’s not fun. But it is helpful. I remember feeling so discouraged that the zofran pump wasn’t making a difference in how I felt. It never really helped at all, and the sites grew increasingly red and painful. In that moment, I grew overwhelmed.

What I learned from that experience was that there is a way to fight the discouragement. By focusing on all of the positive things in my life, I can convince my mind that I have a lot to be grateful for. When I do that, I’m able to move the focus from the pain to something more positive– and I’m always surprised at just how many blessings are in my life.

Here are just a few:

  • I have a safe place to live.
  • I have adequate food and clothing.
  • I have a happy and healthy hg survivor baby.
  • I have a good job.
  • I have living parents and a sister.
  • I have a husband who works hard and who helps with the baby as well as housework.
  • I have wonderful co-workers.

What are you grateful for? Show us how counting your blessings will make a difference by posting a comment below.