Sunday, December 20, 2015

Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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So 2 days after we found out the incredible shocking news that we're indeed pregnant, the vomiting started.
I survived you 4 other times, but Oh, hyperemesis gravidarum, please go easy on me this time!!

Well, that escalated quickly.

First admission to the hospital-

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Second admission to the hospital-

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And now home nursing (thank heavens)

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Lord give me strength!

I never got sick with my miscarriages, so being sick is a good sign.

It's hard to explain to people what it's like to suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Some look on you with pity, some say ignorant things like "try ginger" or "saltine cracker?" or my favorite "that's part of being pregnant", but for the most part, the majority just think you're exaggerating and just a lazy bum.

Let me tell you something about what it's like living with Hyperemesis.
I wake up each morning and want to cry because I know exactly what I am facing for the day, except I can't cry because I'm so weak and literally no tears will come because I'm so dehydrated. I've lost 23 pounds that I didn't have to lose in the first place. I'm starving, literally, to death. Everything I put in my mouth comes right back up again. Everything. Including water and that cracker you thought would fix it all. You would think the vomiting would stop once there was nothing in your stomach, but it doesn't. You either sit there and dry heave over the toilet all day, or vomit whatever stomach acid your body has produced since the last time you purged. Over 20 times a day I vomit. Everyday. Most of the time there's blood in it because your throat is so raw from the vomiting and harsh acids coming up.
Walking makes you motion sick. Too much noise makes you sick. The lights on the TV and computer screen make you sick. Your eyes moving when you read makes you sick. The motion of someone walking in the room makes you sick. People talking makes you sick. Every time you open your mouth you vomit, so talking is really hard. Basically you are a shell of a person laying in bed willing yourself each moment to not die.
Hyperemesis is like having the stomach flu, food poisoning and severe motion sickness all at the same time.
You're not involved in anything that is going on inside your house, including your children's daily lives. You miss it all. Life is happening completely without you and there is nothing you can do about it.
You need constant help because you're too weak to care for yourself and you CONSTANTLY feel guilty about it.
Add in someone complaining about having to be there to help you and it makes it 1000 times worse. But there is nothing you can do about that either because you can't take of anything, including yourself.
My arms ache from the IV's, and I itch to rip them out, but right now they're the only thing keeping me alive each day.
The anti nausea medicine they push through the IV's makes me feel drugged and heavy, and not in a good way. I try to sleep as much as possible to speed my days away, but the nausea is so severe it wakes me up and then the vomiting starts again. And tomorrow, I get to do it all again.

I really can't tell if this is truly making me stronger, or literally killing me.

The Dr. pushes a vitamin B complex through my IV's twice a day to help prevent brain damage to me because of the severe dehydration and malnutrition.
Yet we still have people in our lives who just think I'm exaggerating.

After I had Ada, my dr. told me that if ever got pregnant again, the hyperemesis would kill me.
"It get's worse with every pregnancy", he had told me, and mine was the worst case he had ever seen.

I resigned myself to being done with my baby years and tried to come to peace with it in my heart.

It never came, but I continued to pray for it anyway since the dr. told me I shouldn't have anymore.
It was out of my hands.

Well, we put it into the Lord's hands and apparently he had something else in mind for us and here we are, our oldest almost a teenager and my youngest preparing for kindergarten and a baby on the way!
And we're ecstatic about it!
What an adventure!

Once I found out I was pregnant though, we started praying hard that my body would be strong, my back would be strong (4 years post 2 spinal surgeries), and that I could survive it and come out at the end with a healthy mommy and a healthy baby and felt complete peace that everything would be ok.

Then the vomiting started.
And got worse.
And worse.
And those who promised they'd help us started coming up with excuses as to why the couldn't and endless complaints while they were here.
And there was nothing I could do about it.
I felt so horrible and weak.
It really is so much worse than last time.
I finally told Mr. Kiggins that this is how I was going to die.
I could feel it.
I felt completely defeated.
It's a very dark time.

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Each day I had to remind myself to hang on just one more day.
Just one more day.
One more...

I still remember the last night I vomited. The Saturday after Thanksgiving.
After a week of no more vomiting, I ripped my IV out and all I could think was how I wanted out of this room. My downstairs never felt so welcoming!
I never called the home nurse to come put my IV back in and was able to keep down all of my oral medications and meals that whole week.
That Thursday I called and asked my dr. to be released for home healthcare.
I was still nauseas, but I was able to eat, able to keep my food down, able to take my medicines, able to bear through the nausea and be part of my family again. I was able to be downstairs, ride in the car, go for short outings. Each day I felt stronger and stronger and a little more like myself. And even my arms are starting to heal and hurt less.

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Each day it truly has gotten better and now I feel so much more like myself and I'm so grateful.
My "just one more day" has finally come and so will yours!! This won't last!  I promise!
I honestly don't know why this one passed so quickly this time.
There is no logical explanation.  However for me, I know that there is a Heavenly one!
Never doubt the power of faith!

And as for our little stowaway??
Well besides trying to murder me for the past 3 months... growing big and strong and right on target!

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We're halfway there little one and I'm so excited to get you in my arms soon!

And now that Mama is feeling better I have the energy to share what I've learned after surviving Hyperemesis for the 5th time.
Yes, 5th time.

1. You HAVE to have a support system.
Having a loving husband there to cheer me on each moment and pick up all the mommy responsibilities I was unable to do was MANDATORY for the health and happiness of not just me, but our entire family.
Feeling guilty for being sick only makes you feel sicker.

2. You have to surround yourself ALWAYS with positive people and things.
Negative nellies have no place near a Hyperemesis sufferer.
My mother was a huge help with helping take care of the kids, home, meals, and me.
However, she never let us forget for a minute what a sacrifice it was for her and everything she wasn't able to do since she "had" to be here taking care of us.  I would love to not get so sick when I'm pregnant, but I don't get a say.  Constantly complaining about it solves nothing and only makes things worse for all involved.  A hyperemesis sufferer needs positivity, support, compassion and understanding.  If you can't help provide these things, then it's better to just stay away.

3. If you have never suffered from Hyperemesis, then you have NO IDEA what it is like and therefore need to keep your judgments and opinions about it to yourself.  Yes, it is a real disease, and yes, it kills.  Your "morning sickness" cannot be compared to Hyperemesis so don't even try.

4. Find joy in little things.  It's hard when you're that sick, I know.  But try to think of what it's like to hold and smell your newborn baby.  Plan out your nursery in your head.  If you already have kids, have them tape pictures they draw or cards they make up on the walls in your room for you to look at each day.  Watching tv would make me sick, so I would turn on my favorite sitcom (Friends!) that I've watched a million times and just lay there and listen to it with my eyes closed.  It made me happy and helped pass the time quickly.

5.  Most importantly, you HAVE to communicate.  Communicate to your husband, your family, your doctor what you are feeling and what you need.  No one is a mind reader.  A hyperemesis sufferer has a lot of needs that change moment by moment.  My poor husband had to change all of his body wash, shaving cream and deodorant because the smell made me vomit.  I touched a sticky surface in the kitchen that sent me running with my IV pole to the bathroom and had to have my mother wipe down the whole kitchen.  If you are a helper of a hyperemesis sufferer, please remember, none of these needs are personal or meant as us telling you you're doing something wrong.  We're just telling you what we need that we can't do for ourselves.  Please remember that when someone is that sick, manners and niceties are not forgotten on purpose.  Be patient.  Be understanding.

6. Lastly, Constantly remind yourself every moment of every day that this little one is worth it!
Worth every IV, every vomit, every pill, every injection, every stitch, every bedtime story missed, every hospital visit, every forgotten family moment, every tear and every cry of pain.  This little one is worth. every. single. moment.

Hang in there Mama!
You can do this!!

I did it 5 times, and survived and now it's nesting and nursery creating time!
So excited!
After laying in bed dying for the past 3 months, I have SOOOO many ideas!!

Stay tuned...

Happy Creating Everyone!!!


  1. I can't wait to meet this newest addition to our family!! What an immensely miraculous loved baby this is! I am so excited to see what the nursery will look like. You are amazing. Your strength takes my breath away. I am so proud to call you my sister :) and I'm so glad you chose me!

  2. Love this! I'm on hg baby #3. I decided no more after the first one. I was terrified to ever go through it again. But God changed my heart and gave me courage. I can relate to so much of this. Especially the mom letting me know how much she was sacrificing for me. We are hiring help this time. Thankfully diclegis helped me not have to be hospitalized the second pg so I'm hoping for the same this time. I sure wish it got easier each pg instead of harder.