Archive for July, 2012

Happy guys

Happy guys (Photo credit: sdemory)

When you have hyperemesis gravidarum, it’s easy to feel that you’re a victim, that you’re being bullied by a disease that knocks you down every minute. Hg hits you with nausea, fakes you out with fatigue, gives you the one-two with vomiting, and drives you to tears with the sharp and cruel jabs by phlebotomists who are convinced that they can find a vein in your dehydrated arms. Knowing that there is nothing you can do to feel better, that you were  thrown in the ring against your will with this strong foe can often make you feel helpless.

But there is hope. Even though you’re feeling like you’re literally dying, you don’t have to feel like a victim. My suggestion? Choose to be a survivor. Know that you’re going to struggle, and you will often be miserable, but you will endure. And when you do, you will have the most wonderful reward anyone has ever received: a beautiful and healthy child.

Stay strong, my sisters in suffering.

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Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I stumbled on this quote today and was instantly transported to last year, when I was just starting to feel like I was dying. Hyperemesis Gravidarum will do that to you. No matter how many doctors tell you that your baby is okay, because you can’t eat or drink successfully, your mind is convinced that both you and your unborn child aren’t going to make it. What a terrible way to go through pregnancy– a time you dreamed would be full of shopping trips, nursery decorating days, and a hazy glow that exuded from your face.

After you’ve dealt with the disappointment of your pregnancy, the shock of having to take drugs that chemotherapy patients take, and the cruel amount of times you have to throw up, you have to figure out how to survive. One way to do that? Stop. Read the quote again. Does it say anything about tackling this all at once? No, Dr. King very wisely advised us to take things one day at a time.

I often fall into a whirling spiral of worry because I think of a massive project, situation, or goal. When I break these things into small, manageable pieces, I’m suddenly able to deal. You can do the same thing with hyperemesis gravidarum. Start by believing that you can survive this. And you can. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It’s downright miserable. But it is survivable. The next step is to figure out what you need to do to survive. Baby step it, momma. What will get you through the next hour, the next day, the next week? Survive one moment, and then the next. It’s harder than climbing Mount Everest, but you can do it, and you will do it. It just takes a little faith.

Touch Me I'm Sick

Touch Me I’m Sick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you’re just starting your hyperemesis gravidarum journey; maybeyou’re 36 weeks into your pregnancy. Wherever you are you’re probably familiar with the desperation that comes from tossing your cookies all day (and night).

When I had hg, I spent an insane amount of time researching this disease, trying to find that miracle cure that would take away the nausea. I felt like an animal trapped in a cage, a kid stuck on a roller coaster… however you put it, I felt trapped. I was desperate to try anything to feel better.

Looking back, I realize that I would have saved myself a lot of stress by accepting my condition. But trying to make sense out of this disease was a coping strategy, and if I were to have hg again I’m not sure I’d be able do it differently. Hopefully, I’d be able to find a balance between accepting the illness that hg brings and finding ways to understand why it’s happening to me.

If you’re there- in the midst of the illness, desperate for a cure- here’s my advice:

  1. Hold on. You will get better.
  2. Distract yourself from how you’re feeling. It’s like those old Chuck Norris movies: they torture the captured soldier to the point that his mind transcends the pain. Do that, only with the nausea. (I know, it’s easier said than done, and may not be possible. But try, my sisters in suffering).
  3. Allow yourself to do less, to rest more, and to dream of the wonderful feeling of holding your child in your arms.
  4. Know that you’re not alone. There are thousands of women, right now, who are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Find the strength in knowing that you are not struggling alone.
  5. Ask for help. Forget thinking of yourself as a bother, ask anyone and everyone in your life to run errands, do dishes, babysit.. anything you need help with. It takes strength to ask for help, but you have that strength. You’re a fighter.

You are always in my thoughts, dear ones. Don’t give up. You can survive this.

P.S. I’m curious: what crazy things did you try to get rid of hg? Help others by posting a comment below.