Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: severe morning sickness

Apparently, Kate Middleton has this condition, and the media is beginning to cover Hyperemesis Gravidarum. The general population doesn't really know about it, and there also hasn't been much research on the topic because it's considered a temporary condition that passes.

My sister asked me if I had heard of HG because it sounds a lot like what I had gone through. Nonchalantly answering 'yes,' I was touched because I thought no one noticed - maybe except my husband. Reading this New York Times article by Laura Geggel, I do agree that this is not just another case of 'morning sickness.' I felt validated when I read '...there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child.' I have actually been in this situation, where I was accused of exaggerating, which prompted me to change hospitals.

And when reading the blog entry, 'Pregnant and wanting to die' by Betsy Shaw, one of the links sis sent me, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. I guess I could blame it on the hormones, but it is more that this woman was describing things I dared not say out loud. The morbid thoughts that has gone through my head had filled me with shame and a sense of incompetence as a woman. I too remember having moments of complete compassion for women who chose to end it. I remember thinking every day I want to die.

Fortunately, I was able to get through it without such tragedy. And I was also able to stop my weight loss early on. But I was still completely nonfunctional for months without any break - not even a moment, throwing up every single day, mumbling to no one in particular, 'please make it stop.'

I think back, and the only reason I was able to survive without living at the hospital is because my husband was by my side 24/7, feeding or trying to feed me every hour. There is no way I would have ingested anything if I were alone. Every bite of food or sip of drink tasted like death, and I was too dizzy to move.

But I also knew not taking what my husband had in front of me meant going to the hospital. For better or worse, I convinced myself eating and throwing up is better than lying in the hospital with a needle in my arm. Every bite was a battle, but I took it because I had an irrational fear - or maybe it's plenty rational - that I could hurt my baby if I didn't consume anything. My husband's hand movement that brings food to my mouth sometimes would be enough to set me off to vomit. Sometimes, we cried together as I struggled to swallow a piece of fruit...

Needless to say, I'm glad that period is over................

I feel nothing but sympathy for the duchess, but I'm slightly hopeful for what this new awareness could bring about.

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