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Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum Through Pregnancy

“Hyperemesis Gradvidarum (HG) is defined as a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and/or vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mother and baby(ies).” – HER Foundation

I was diagnosed with HG early on 🤢 HG is not “morning sickness.” It’s so debilitating that it leaves you physically & mentally exhausted from extreme nausea, vomiting, dehydration, dizziness, etc. Dealing with HG during a pandemic has been awful. So many times I was told I needed to check into urgent care but also advised to “try to survive” at home because of the risks of COVID-19 and pregnancy were unknown.

I tried EVERYTHING to alleviate symptoms with little to no help. With HG, there were days when I was unable to hold down a single bite or sip of nutrients. I’ve vomited so aggressively blood came up from irritation. I’ve passed out in public & at home, I’ve been checked into urgent care, received multiple IV drips, and was prescribed multiple  medications. I lost about 10 pounds throughout my first trimester. Nothing helped. I’ve cried out of frustration, pain, and exhaustion.

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*Picture: Two full IV drips for hydration and I threw up the entire time and after I left*

On one of my worst days, I puked non-stop for about 4+ hours and finally let Mike convince me to get checked into urgent care for the day. I threw up the entire time I was in urgent care, nurses gave me buckets to have near me while I took in IV fluids. When I was discharged to go home nurses gave me a bucket for the drive. I puked the entire drive home and continued for hours. It was so bad my mom drove to my house close to midnight because we were all scared for me. I tried eating bites of toast and sips of tea, and instantly what I consumed and MORE came out of me.

I slept with trash cans and towels next to me because I would wake up with the urge to vomit.

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*Picture: At 20 weeks, trying to smile through my day*

I’m currently 34+ weeks and I still feel pretty nauseous the majority of the day.  Although I still spend a chunk of my day looking into a toilet or trash can, I feel a lot better than before. I am able to hold down food a lot better. Early in the pregnancy, I had moments where I would eat maybe a grain of rice or suck on ice chips (for water intake) and would end up vomiting non-stop, like a liter amount. A part of me also accepted that not being a hold down food is just want I have to go through so, I try to at least enjoy the food while I eat it.

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*Picture: “For this child I have puked, like a lot 24:7″*

COVID has caused many to stress and sacrifice during pregnancy. From not being able to hangout with friends and family, to canceled baby showers, to only allowing one person in the delivery room (if anyone at all). I always try to focus on the silver lining of things, and in this case, I am at least grateful that through COVID, everyone worked from home. There is ZERO way I would have been able to go into an office setting with HG, ZERO way!! I am glad I was at least able to suffer at home while keeping up with my work tasks. It wasn’t easy working through my worst HG days. I remember working from bed because I physically could not get up. I ran through meeting agendas while puking on mute. I ran virtual meetings while laying on the floor of my office advancing presentation slides. It was not easy, but I am grateful because I know HG has caused a lot of women to lose their jobs because of not being able to go into work settings or taking to much time off for hospitalization. I am thankful that Mike was at home 100% of the time during quarantine to care for me physically.

Mentally, my mind felt exhausted. My anxiety over food, nutrition, safety, and pregnancy in general skyrocketed. HG does a number on the mind.

  • 76.0% reported changes in their plans for future childbearing.  
  • 19.4% developed a fear of pregnancy, and some specifically developed a fear of having sex.  
  • 34.8% changed their mind regarding or considered limiting the number of children they planned to conceive. 
  • 28.7% of women reported that their health-care providers were either uncaring or did not understand. 
  • Several used adoption or surrogacy to reach their family goals or increased the spacing of their pregnancies. 
  • 15.2% voluntarily terminated at least one pregnancy because of HG. 
  • 6.7% reported serious psychological sequelae from their HG experience. 

Remedies for Relief

I hope my experience helps someone else know that you’re not alone. It’s tough but things may get better! Everyone is different but I’m listing a few of the things that I tried and may have given me some level of relief, even if it was temporary or placebo effect. Maybe it’ll work for you:

  • Peppermint Candy (I had batches scattered everywhere for easy access)
  • Pedialyte (I would fill up a shot glass and sip at it or poured over ice)
  • Pedialyte popsicles
  • Ginger tea (I sipped this first thing in the mornings, it kind of tasted like the oat milk)
  • Crackers with ginger ale (I kept this combo on my night stand and on my office desk)
  • Green grapes – cold or frozen
  • Apples – I ate red and green. I recently learned that green apples may be best. I would also dip slices in peanut butter when possible for extra nutrients
  • Banana’s and toast
  • Lemons (Adding lemons to my water made it easier to drink and provided some relief)
  • Chewing on ice chips
  • Sea Band Anti-Nausea gum
  • Potato chips (the salt from this helps)
  • Peppermint essential oil from a humidifier
  • Home made ginger oil for a humidifer
  • Cold/wet towel presses on my forehead and mouth

I am probably missing things but I hope this list helps!

Medications (*These were prescribed to me. I am only sharing my personal experiences with them.)

  • Bonjesta. I was prescribed Bonjesta when I was first diagnosed. I thought it worked well and I was actually able to sleep without waking up nauseous throughout the night. I thought that it actually helped me not feel nauseous throughout the day, at least it felt more manageable. Unfortunately, my insurance didn’t cover more than two weeks worth.
  • Diecglis (doxylamine and pyridoxine). Doxylamine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Pyridoxine is a form of vitamin B (B6). I am not 100% sure if this truly helped. It may have been placebo. I was still nauseous ALL THE TIME. But who knows how worse off I may have been without it. Either way, I weaned myself off of this as soon as I could.
  • Zofran. I was prescribed this after stating several times that I needed more than Dieclgis. But I wasn’t 100% comfortable taking it so, I never actually picked this up from the pharmacy. I had several doctors prescribe this because they felt that it may help the most. I have heard of several pregnant women who experienced relief from this medication. On my worst HG days, I gave myself a deadline of “if I don’t stop throwing up long enough too…” or “if I don’t hold this amount of food/liquid …” then I would take Zofran. Luckily, I met my personal deadlines 🙂

When it comes to medication. Theres a lot of shaming that goes around. I experienced this myself and guilt of having to take something too. But every women needs to do their own research for medications and do what they feel comfortable.

Im currently 34+ weeks. Still throw up a few times a week but I feel lucky because it’s manageable. If you have HG or think that you do, I highly recommend checking out the HER Foundation website for more information: https://www.hyperemesis.org/

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