Posts Tagged ‘Zofran’

It’s true: life is very unfair. At times it’s wonderful, at times it’s awful. And since I’ve been diagnosed with kidney stones it’s been painful. After five lithotripsies, I believe my doctor has finally blasted the stone away. The past week has been fraught with nausea, constipation, and pain. I haven’t been able to properly take care of my son. He’s reached out to me with his tiny two-year-old arms and buddha belly and said “Mom, down!” (his way to getting me off the bed and onto the floor to play cars). I’ve had to decline.

This situation is temporary, and in comparison to a pregnant woman suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), it’s truly nothing. Yet the anxiety and fear I’ve spiraled into has enveloped me like a tornado. In the middle of the tornado are two sides to my psyche battling for control: Logic, with its reticent personality tells me that I can do anything. Of course I can survive another HG pregnancy. It was terrible and will be terrible again. But suffering through a full nine months of illness is certainly do-able, especially given the joy of bringing another life into the world. Heart, with its power to overwhelm my being, cowers in the corner confessing all fears binding its fragile grasp on normalcy. Heart whispers that I will become a bad parent, ruin the bond I have with my son, push my husband past the point of exhaustion caring for us both, and  suffer even worse than I did when expecting my son.

Heart spurs me to spend hours after my bedtime frantically skimming journal articles, asking questions on Facebook groups, and chasing down every random medication that might lessen or prevent this extreme morning sickness from happening again. Logic reminds me that I am in good hands- that I have a wonderful doctor, a supportive husband, and a caring God. Logic tells me that, even if I will suffer, I will survive.

Right now, I am scared. And there is so much to fear. But I am trying to hope, to not give up, to continue pressing on. And so I’ll continue drawing up battle plans. For me, there is no alternative.

Please, tell me how you came to grips with pursuing another child despite the likelihood that you would get HG again?

 

 

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We’re thinking about trying again. In spite of the suffering hyperemesis gravidarum– or, extreme morning sickness– caused. In spite of the long-term disability. In spite of the medical bills.

Of course, few understand. My friends and family throw out phrases like “you never know, maybe this time you won’t be sick at all!” Yet, all the studies I’ve read indicate that I have a high likelihood of contracting one of the most debilitating and miserable condition known to pregant women: hyperemeis gravidarum.

Even writing about this makes me sick to my stomach. My ob said she cannot guarentee I won’t get sick again. So why? Why would anyone think about subjecting their body and mind to months of endless nausea, vomitting, er visits, and medicinal cocktails that seldom offer any relief?

The answer is simple: love. I love my son. And I’d love to have another child. My husband feels the same way. And I will not let nine months of misery stop me from having another child.

Albert Einstein said that “One cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” He’s right. I’m trying to focus my mind away from the dream that I won’t get sick and toward the best way I can prepare for that eventuality. Getting in shape, eating nutrient-rich foods… and learning more about drugs. My ob is optimistic that Diclegis may help. I’m doubtful that this mixture of Unisom and Vitamin B6 will work, yet its status as a class A drug motivates me to try. Last time, I was a Zofran junkie with a medicine pump that did nothing to alleviate the vomitting but did cause big red blisters and irritate my skin. I blew most IVs and often threw up water. Phenergan provided a little relief, but mostly made me sleep. I’ve read all about the studies of Dr. Guttuso at the University of Buffalo but am not tempted to risk the life of my future little one on a class C drug. not yet approved by the FDA for use in pregnant women.

So what’s a girl to do?

Here’s my plan: prepare as best I can (I’m sure I’ll write a new post about that later), dig my heels in, and fight through every moan, heave, and vomit session. I’m preparing for battle, dear sisters in suffering, and am going to use every weapon in my arsenal. I’m gathering my troops (family, co-workers, friends, doctors, internet pals), I’m conditioning my body, I’m preparing my mind. And when the HG comes, I’ll be ready.

Has anyone experienced HG in a subsequent pregancy? What did you do to prepare? Help others by posting a comment below.

I’m a big sci-fi fan. Something about the unknown fascinates and terrifies me. But it’s a good curiosity, a safe fear, because I expect little in the world of science fiction to ever happen. When I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, I faced a different kind of unknown. Why couldn’t I keep any food down? Why would my body reject even drinking water? Would my baby survive? These fears were not safe because they were real, and they terrified me.

Recently, I viewed a trailer for Will Smith’s upcoming scifi film, After Earth. The story of two soldiers lost on a dangerous planet, facing unbelievable odds, must survive. Sounds fun. The voiceover, however, struck something deep inside my mind. Smith’s character says, “if we are going to survive this, you must realize that fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create… danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Think about that for a moment. Is fear a choice? Yes, fear is an instinctual reaction we have to danger. In some situations, it can be very healthy and help us protect ourselves. Yet the fear I felt while suffering through my hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy– on the bad days, when I lay in bed crying, weak, and so very nauseous– was not healthy. I tried to remind myself that my doctors (and I had a team helping me through my hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy), said the baby was doing well. But these logical thoughts seldom overcame the fear that overwhelmed me.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I remember discussing my zofran pump with my doctor in her examination room. Suddenly, I felt faint. I passed out, had what I felt was at least a forty-five minute dream in which I road different rides at a sea-side carnival, and then woke up to my doctor saying my name. I instantly became terrified and started to cry. When I asked what happened, my doctor said that I had just had “a little seizure.” I had been out for less than a minute. I was so worried that the seizure would have somehow hurt my baby. Luckily, he was fine. But as my pregnancy continued, the sharp memory of that fear stabbed at my mind. It was growing stronger. I knew that I had to fight to overcome my fearful thoughts. Some days I was successful. Other days, I failed terribly.

Having survived a hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy, I feel qualified (at least on some level), to give those who are in the midst of suffering some advice. So here it is, dear ones. Will Smith is right: fear isn’t real. It is a product of our thoughts. It is a choice. Sometimes, that choice is made for you by your body’s instinctual reaction to danger and the unknown. When that happens, recognize what you’re feeling. Try to understand why you’re afraid. Know that it’s okay to be scared. But don’t wallow in fear. When you feel unable to overcome those emotions, it’s time to start fighting. How can you do that when you’re an exhausted, vommity mess?

Start with distraction. Immerse your mind in something else. Browse online stores for baby clothes, listen to a book on cd, call a friend, or watch a comedy. Districting your mind is a great way to give it rest.

Next, gather information. When I was pregnant, I read every blog, every journal article, every website about hyperemesis gravidarum I could find. The unknown is always scary, so the more you learn about what’s going on with your body the quieter your fears will become. Forget about being annoying and call your nurse, doctor, a psychologist—anyone who can offer you information— three times a day if you need to. You’ve got one of the toughest jobs known to humanity: carrying a child. If you need to know something, do not hesitate to ask.

And lastly, be cognizant of the tiny moments when things are okay. It may seem like life is a constant, grueling, miserable experience. Even so, look for the good: feeling a kick, going a day without vomiting, being able to eat a potato. Notice these times and remember them. Write them down on post-it notes if it will help. And when you’re feeling scared, recall those moments and know that you will have them again. Hyperemesis gravidarum comes with an array of complicated and miserable symptoms. It’s downright awful. But it is survivable, and you are a survivor. You will do anything you need to produce a healthy baby. That may mean facing your fears of blood draws, medicine pumps, PICC lines, and even hospitalization, but if that’s what it takes to keep your child alive you will do it. And you can do it.

Help others by sharing some of the fears you face. How do you overcome them?

Writer's Block

With hyperemesis gravidarum in the news, I’ve been feeling convicted to share my journey. However, this is easier said than done. For a while I’ve known that I need to share more than the snippets I’ve included on this blog. So why have I hesitated?

It’s more than writer’s block. It’s fear. If I put my hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy into words, it suddenly makes the nightmare that was last year more real. Writing my story means reaching inside, waking a person who wants to  hit the snooze button just a little longer. I’ve talked about those months plenty, but writing is somehow more real, more honest, more raw.

Not only does hyperemesis gravidarum damage your body, it devastates your emotional being. It takes time to heal. Perhaps writing my story will help. Until I’m ready to face that task, I’ll continue to offer encouragement to anyone who is struggling.

Today, dear sisters in suffering, that encouragement is written by Amber, a fellow hg survivor. It is these stories like these that helped me hold on during my pregnancy, and I am hoping that her words help you as well. Please read her story, and let me know if you have a story you’d like to share.

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Fra...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Franklinas Delanas Ruzveltas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, we only focus on part of a quote. Doing so often robs us of valuable information. Take Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous statement on fear: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” We are all familiar with the first part of that quote, but how many of us know the rest of the sentence?

Fear is indeed nameless, unreasoning, and unjustified terror. And it does have the power to paralyze us. So let me encourage you, dear sisters who are suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, to fight any fear you might feel in your life. Before I was diagnosed with hg, I was terrified. I thought I was starving, and that my child would not survive. How did I combat that fear? Information. I spent a lot of time researching hyperemesis gravidarum and talking to my doctor, nurses, and other moms I found online. Some days, knowing what was going on was helpful.

Yet other days, the fear stemmed from the lack of control I had over my body. I did indeed feel paralyzed. Some days, I there was nothing I could do to make things better. That sense of powerlessness is terrifying. How did I combat that fear? Mostly by reaching out to those in my life who cared.  Once a week I dragged myself to a counselor. Talking about it, sometimes ad nauseum (pun intended), seemed to help.

One of the hardest parts of struggling through a hyperemesis pregnancy is fighting the fear. But doing so is an essential part of survival, hg mama. Do not retreat. Do not let fear rule your life. You are stronger than that. Combat your fright by seeking information, connecting with someone who cares, and continuing to hold on. You are doing this for your child. You are doing this for yourself. It is grueling, horrific, and takes everything you have, but you have to hold on. Believe me, the fight is worth it.

Vrouwelijke bokskampioen / Female boxing champion

Vrouwelijke bokskampioen / Female boxing champion (Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

It’s rough. You are so nauseous. You can’t imagine life without the sick feeling that clings to you like plastic wrap. The house is a mess. The kids don’t have your attention. Your husband is overworked. Thanks to the zofran,

which you can’t really afford, you’re more constipated than you ever thought imaginable. It’s incredibly tempting to give up, to let the desperation overwhelm you. But you need to hold on.

You need to be there, in the moment, feeling the sick and fighting the despair. Because while this moment feels like it will last an eternity, it will pass. And what you do in this moment will define you in ways that impact your future. Someday you’ll face another moment, perhaps even more difficult than this one. If you don’t give up, if you keep on fighting, you will build strength. And that strength will become a reserve upon which you can draw in the future.

So hold on, my brave hg mamas.

When I’m depressed, I often recall the chorus of the song Hold On, by Good Charlotte:

Hold on, when you feel like letting go
Hold on, it gets better than you know

While these lyrics are not about hg, they do relate. The joy of having a child is much better than I ever could have known. When I was expecting, there were days when the sickness was so bad that I did give up and allowed despair and fear to overwhelm me. I don’t want that for you. Giving up never made me feel better, and it did nothing to strengthen my character.But on the days when I was able to fight, I deposited strength that I’m now able to draw from on a daily basis. Strength I need to help me keep moving, to keep pressing on.

So today, just for this moment, hold on, dear friends. It gets better than you know.

Happy

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dark days: we’ve all had them. How can you not have them when you’re feeling like you are literally dying? I’m not even close to being a medical professional, but even a dunderhead like me knows that when your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function it’s easy to get depressed.

By the fourth month of my pregnancy I needed help climbing out of the massive pit hg had thrown me into. I sought counseling and, eventually, medication. Looking back, I see that those choices helped me and my unborn child. At the time, it was incredibly difficult for me to seek help. In addition to feeling like I was starving to death, I was terribly scared. I had never been this sick before. Would my baby survive? Would I survive? I was already on Zofran and Phenergan, two medications that have unfortunate side effects.

My question to you is this: How are you doing…really? Are you struggling right now? Does the darkness of your thoughts scare you? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then consider seeking help. When I was expecting, all I could focus on was how terrible I felt. Pregnancy was way different than what I had expected. Where was the bond I was supposed to feel with the life growing within me? Would it develop after the baby was born? What if it didn’t? My counselor helped me see that these thoughts were normal for someone in my position, and I want you to know that what you’re feeling is probably normal, too.

I included this picture of a happy baby to remind you what you’re fighting for. The fight is not just to stay hydrated, push down another pill or keep eating. As the preacher Joyce Meyer says, it’s a Battlefield of the Mind, and you are a soldier. Do what you need to do to equip yourself with the tools needed to win the war. If that means medication and/or counseling, then do it. You’re in a battle. Gear up.

P.S. Feel like sharing? Let others know they’re not alone by posting a comment below.