Monday, June 30, 2008

A Post for No Reason At All!

I thought I'd better do a quick post, even if it's just to show that this blog is still active! I don't like to go longer than a week.

But for the most part, I don't have anything significant to say. I have finished reading the two books I for which I want to do book reviews ("Body Mutiny" and "The Problem of Pain"), but I want to reread both of them before doing formal reviews, so it'll be a while before I post those. I also have a big post forming in my head on the spiritual questions raised by hyperemesis, but I haven't the time or the effort to post that one now! I will also be posting Sarah's second HG story as soon as she sends the second part of it.

Oh, I should make one note..... I had written that we had had a 9-day luteal phase last cycle, which most internet sources say is infertile (some docs say anything under 12 is infertile; some say anything under 10). However, I was in contact with our NFP teachers this weekend, and they told me that some of their friends conceived their six children with a 9-day luteal cycle, LOL!! So apparently a low luteal cycle is no guarantee of sterility (although it might be a contributing factor to anyone experiencing infertility).

For the moment we seem to be blessed with at-least temporary secondary infertility - nothing definite, just going off the fact that all of our charts for the past year show that we really should have conceived each cycle. Of course, our NFP teachers told us that they "fooled around" with NFP phase-2 rules for eleven months before they paid the price (i.e. got pregnant), so I'm not counting on anything. I'm just grateful for the extra time we're being given to prepare. If we're never able to conceive again, I'll be perfectly happy with that. I love being pregnant aside from the HG, but the HG was enough to cancel out the rest - or at least to make the rest of it not worth it.

We have been quite busy lately, mostly with church, house-sitting for some friends, and toddler-chasing (90% of my time). We're hoping to start regaining our social life - we really have had no one over for the past year or so, and I want to rectify that situation. So we're starting to make efforts!

Well, I guess I'd better go do something constructive for the last bit of Caleb's nap! Love to all!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Last night I received the news (via the usual method!) that I am once again not pregnant!! I'd like to say otherwise, but I was absolutely overjoyed. I have been spending the last few days of each cycle for the past while in a state of anxiety/semi-panic over the possibility of being pregnant. Obviously I'm not quite ready to try again yet.

The problem is that one has to jump blindly. One can't test the waters gingerly with one foot and then call it off if one doesn't like what one feels - one has to jump with both feet, not knowing until one jumps whether one is jumping into a balmy Caribbean paradise or a swamp of hungry piranhas. And that's what scares me to death - not to know. I could have a "fluffy" pregnancy, due to chance, divine sovereignty, and my improved eating habits, or I could have a pregnancy like the last (God forbid), or I could have life-threatening hyperemesis (God forbid even more).

I was also freaking out over the thought of being in the middle of a home purchase while dealing with hyperemesis. So if we can hold off until we move into our new house, it'll be that much better. Packing and moving with hyperemesis is not only inconvenient, it's impossible. That would be good.

I would be able to relax a little bit more also if I had family in town who could care for Caleb in case of hyperemesis. I simply don't know what I would do right now if I came down with HG, just because Caleb is so needy - but with hyperemesis, even the moderate stuff like I had, childcare is simply not an option.

And then there's just the fear of hyperemesis itself. I am more afraid of HG than just about anything else in this world, and the thought of it reasserting itself is literally enough to put me in panic mode.

But it's been two years!!! Two years since Caleb was born. So how long does one have to wait to get over the fear? I'm willing to try childbirth again - painful as it was, women are just built to be able to forget it just enough to be willing to do it again, LOL! But not hyperemesis - that is a torture that is in another category all by itself.

This blog has been a very healing experience, but apparently I am not far enough down the road to be ready to reenter that world. Well, I guess we'd better improve our use of NFP techniques!!!

One interesting note is that I had a 9 day luteal phase this cycle, and 10 days is supposed to be the cut-off point between functional and dysfunctional (some docs say 12, some say 10). Normally mine has been 10-11 days, since it stabilized postpartum. However, I don't know what it was pre-conception (whether it's changed or not). So I guess there's the possibility of a minor luteal phase defect keeping us from getting pregnant! Well, I wouldn't mind - at least for now.

Love to all!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hyperemesis Mums Unite!

On Saturday I had my long-awaited meeting with two other valley HG mums - Sarah and Jenna.

Sarah I met fortuitously three months ago at our midwife's annual reunion picnic. She has three kiddos, and had HG with two of them - moderate with the second (like mine), and life-threatening with the third (oddly enough, she only had typical morning sickness with the first, which is extremely unusual for an HG mum). Meeting her was truly a God-thing, as we just all 'happened' to fall into conversation while our kiddos played on the swing set, and Joe (as part of an illustration) happened to mention HG - at which point we learned that she knows all about HG from top to bottom!

Jenna is actually an HG celebrity - after going through her nearly fatal bout of HG, she wrote a book which is now high on the market of HG literature - "Body Mutiny: Surviving Nine Months of Extreme Morning Sickness." She also operates the informational website

(I started Jenna's book on the way home at red lights and finished it that night - I HIGHLY recommend it. It is not a "research" book but an "experience" book - a great resource for anyone trying to come to grips with hyperemesis. She said that one HG mum ordered twenty copies to hand out to all of her friends/family in an attempt to be taken seriously - and that it worked!)

Although we're all 'Phoenicians' to one extent or another, we all had to drive quite a ways to meet. We met at a Cheesecake Factory in Phoenix and spent two hours chatting up a storm. Going over stories, comparing experiences - it was absolutely wonderful.

Sarah and Jenna are, of course, in a completely different realm than I. The difference between moderate and severe hyperemesis is quite a divide. So even though we had a lot of shared common experiences, the two of them could talk at a different level than I could. (Each time I'd catch myself being envious of their knowledge, I would think, "Wait just a second, you idiot. You don't even WANT to know what they know, LOL!!!!") Sarah and Jenna both spent a vast amount of their pregnancies in the hospital. They both had PICC lines (tubes running up one's arm to one's heart delivering total parenteral nutrition and drugs). Both of them contemplated both abortion and suicide (which goes to show you what HG can do, when you have a devout Catholic and a conservative Protestant, both 100% pro-life, contemplating that). Thankfully they and their babies are alive and well today, and both of them are devoutly thankful that they did not do anything drastic.

To truly report on our meeting, I'd have to type all day. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful experience of comparing notes and sharing experiences. My poor husband has had to live with me following him about for the past three days (after an initial debriefing) saying, "Oh, oh, oh! And another thing that Jenna said...." and "Guess what Sarah also said?......." Those poor men. They have to live with our emotional mindstorms, and they do it well!

One interesting thing to note is that all of us are sensitive to hormones - we all got sick taking birth control. Considering how hormonally-linked HG is, that was very interesting.

Another difference between myself and Jenna/Sarah is that they are Done with a capital D in terms of childbearing, whereas I probably am not. Jenna had a complete hysterectomy, due to numerous factors including the HG, and Sarah is looking to permanently end her reproductive capacity in some way or another. As neither of them would probably live through another bout of hyperemesis, that's a good thing! So although I was the least among us, I am the only one who is looking at hyperemesis as a thing of the future as well as a thing of the past - so I was taking notes! Hopefully I won't ever be where they have been with this condition. However, it's nice to know that they are there with all their knowledge in case I need it! Last time we were just wandering around blindly looking up "morning sickness" and trying to eat dry crackers - this time we're ready to play hardball from day #1.

Well, Bug is up and ready to go, so I'd better go too! More soon!

P.S. A quick love note to Kirsten, who left an anonymous comment on my blog - Kirsten, good luck in Germany!! Unfortunately most of the 'natural' research on my blog falls under the category of "first line of defense." Please let me know if any of it does work for you eventually (as I will). If you're interested in homeopathy (and if there are homeopaths in Germany), you could possibly try that. Check out for one woman's account of how she dealt with HG using homeopathy. Blessings!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"The Look"

Well, it's been a while!!! I have a TON of things to write about, but a morning when I am already late getting ready for church is not going to be the morning. Hopefully this should be a big blogging week! I have two book reviews to post, lots of personal stuff, more HG theology, and a report of the big HG event of the month - my meeting with Sarah and Jenna, which occurred yesterday and was amazing!!!!

But for now, I wanted to just post a quick little note on something that I call "the look." I think that every HG and post-HG mum must know what this is. I personally have gotten it so many times that I honestly can't count it. Here's how the situation inevitably goes:

PERSON X: "So, Caleb's turning two soon.... Are you guys thinking about another one any time soon?" (Or some variant of this)

ME: "Well, we'd like to, but I'm kind of scared to try again. I dealt with some severe morning sickness during Caleb's pregnancy, and I'm not sure that I can deal with that again."

Person X: Gives "THE LOOK"

So what is "the look"? I have tried to analyze its different components, and here's what I've come up with. "The look" seems to me to be composed of more-or-less equal parts of the four following components (with possibly more of an emphasis on #2 and #3):

(1) Confusion/Shock/Surprise

(2) Amusement

(3) Contempt

(4) A desire to change the subject

Anyone out there agree/disagree? That seems to me to be fairly accurate, but I could be missing some components.

I had an interesting conversation with Joe yesterday (or rather, I talked at Joe and he listened politely), and I think that I came up with something. Hyperemesis is included among those unfortunate health conditions which are publically disregarded. In other words, if you have them, you are going to be somewhat ignored or patronized. Other conditions in this group would include chronic fatigue syndrome and depression (I'm sure there are many others). They're all diseases which are considered to be "in one's head" and are given the public prescription "just deal with it" or "snap yourself out of it" etc. Diseases not in this category would include things like cancer. (You never hear someone say to a cancer victim, "Come on. We have all had a little bit of cancer at one time or another. Just snap out of it and deal with it. You're making yourself sick by thinking about it too much, you know.")

So then it struck me. Diseases in the "publically dismissed" group are all diseases which occur on a continuum, at the shallow end of which they are not diseases at all, but normal conditions of human life. For example, everyone has been tired (chronic fatigue syndrome), down in the dumps (depression) or experienced some form of morning sickness (hyperemesis). Thus, when people experience the non-mild disease end of the continuum, the knowing public believes that it knows all about the disease and is qualified to speak on it. "I had morning sickness, but I just sucked it up and worked through it." "I had depression, but I just went for a walk and felt better." "I feel tired sometimes, but I just work harder to gain energy." But, though most people know fatigue, doldrums and morning sickness, most people do NOT know chronic fatigue, true depression, and hyperemesis. Unfortunately, that wee bit of experience is enough for an omniscient public to dismiss all people who suffer from more severe versions of what is a common affliction.

Does that make sense to anyone? It just came to me that that might be the reason why certain conditions are lumped together as being "all in your head" (and for some reason, it's generally "all in a woman's head"). Female conditions, such as menstrual cramps and labor pain, are often put in this category. After all, the labour prep class I took told women that labor pain was all in their heads - great, another encouragement of people to think that suffering people are self-sickening hypochondriacs.

Well, I've wasted enough time!! More later!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Research: Herbs II

I am going to digress from my digressions, for a moment, and take a little time to finish posting my research on herbs for hyperemesis. I have been meaning to do it for ages, so here goes. I think that my research is finished - or at least, my preliminary research is finished. My main problem is that there are so, so many herbs that I have discovered, that I don't know where I would start. That's where further research will come in.

Of course, as always, one of the main problems with herbs (and other remedies for morning sickness) is that they often just aren't powerful enough for hyperemesis. A "gentle soothing tea" for mild morning sickness isn't going to do an HG mum one bit of good. However, some of these herbs do hold great promise, and, as always, I prefer to try natural remedies over pharmaceuticals.

I am going to repost my original entry on herbs, and then just add in my additional material - that will save me a lot of time looking back and forth to avoid duplications. Here goes!


I don't have any research to back this up - this was just testimonial evidence from a woman on the Arizona Birth Network who said that she used it to tame severe morning sickness. Alfalfa is very high in vitamin K, so that might perhaps have something to do with it. Whatever works!!

Recommended personally by Jessica Wild, doula & student midwife


"Anise infusion makes a great morning tea that also curtails morning sickness."
- Jaqulene Harper-Roth, "The Pregnancy Herbal," p. 58


"After trying every antinausea drug she could find, she tried a tea of basil leaves - and her vomiting ended. Since I wrote that article, I have heard of numerous doctors who recommend basil to stop vomiting."
- Kathi Kevill, "Herbs for Health and Healing," p. 94


"This herb has a good reputation as a treatment for the nausea of motion sickness. I believe it's also useful as a treatment for vomiting due to pregnancy or nervousness. Try black horehound alone or in this combination: one part black horehound, one part camomile, and two parts meadowsweet. Meadowsweet contains an aspirin-like compound, so if a little aspirin upsets your stomach, you might replace this herb with ginger and/or citrus rind. Try a cup or two a day."
- "The Green Pharmacy," James A. Duke, Ph.D., p. 401

"Black horehound in tincture form can help prevent vomiting. Add one half teaspoon to one cup of hot water and sip two to three times a day."
- "Hey! Who's Having This Baby, Anyway?" Breck Hawk, RN & Midwife


"Raw or cooked cabbage, cabbage juice and/or sauerkraut are old-time remedies for stomach distress. Sauerkraut juice in particular is reportedly soothing to the overactive intestines that contribute to morning sickness."
- "The Green Pharmacy," James A. Duke, Ph.D., p. 401


"Herb teas to try: peppermint, chamomile, and red raspberry."
- Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, p. 170

"German chamomile reduces the feeling of nausea and calms the stomach. It can be taken in tincture form - five to ten drops in hot water - or as an infusion, one cup before getting out of bed in the morning. Do not exceed this amount per day."
- "Hey! Who's Having This Baby, Anyway?" Breck Hawk, RN & Midwife

These really should be in a whole category by themselves, as they really are a discipline distinct from traditional herbalism. I know absolutely nothing about them; however, I have heard them repeatedly mentioned in the quest for morning sickness herbs. Can't hurt to give it a try!


This is the main herbal remedy for morning sickness, so I'm going to devote an entire blog entry to it later.


"Prepare nausea-preventing tea infusions like ginger rhyzome, lavender flowers, peppermint leaf, peach leaf and/or wild yam root."
- Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., "Herbal Remedies for Dummies," p. 240


"Drinking water with a wedge of lemon squeezed in it is refreshing and liver cleansing."
- Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy," p. 171

Have seen several references for this - it seems to be mainly preventative. I've been taking it myself for several months as a preventative.

"I have found milk thistle (standardized to contain at least 70 - 80% silymarin) to be invaluable in preventing morning sickness. I began taking 2 tablets each day two months prior to this pregnancy and increased to 3 tablets daily when our pregnancy was confirmed. Milk thistle is liver supportive and protective. I feel this is why it worked so well to prevent the nausea and vomiting I have had with every other pregnancy. This would be especially helpful for those moms who vomit bile during pregnancy."
- Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy," p. 171


"Dried peach-leaf tea relieves nausea and morning sickness as well...."
- Jaqulene Harper-Roth, "The Pregnancy Herbal," p. 58

Recommended personally by Jessica Wild, doula & student midwife

"The Chinese use the laves and Europeans use the bark of the peach tree to make a tea for morning sickness. The leaves contain the compound benzaldehyde, which should be of some help in relieving this condition. If you opt for bark, don't use more than a teaspoon."
- "The Green Pharmacy," James A. Duke, Ph.D., p. 401


".... a peppermint or spearmint infusion first thing in the morning lifts the spirit and acts as an effective antinausea remedy. Spearment infusion also soothes evening sickness due to hormonal imbalances. Drink 2 cups every 3 hours."
- Jaqulene Harper-Roth, "The Pregnancy Herbal," p. 58

"Several years ago, when I was at a concert, the promoter sought me out and asked if I had anything for nausea - quick. The band was ready to go onstage, but the lead singer was doubled over behind the curtain, vomiting. Fortunately for her and the anxious crowd, I had a vial of peppermint waters with me. This wasn't anything fancy - it was similar to the peppermint flavoring you can buy at grocery stores. The singer took this remedy and in ten minutes, she appeared onstage, all smiles, and went into her first song."
- Kathi Keville, "Herbs for Health and Healing," p. 94

"Herb teas to try: peppermint, chamomile, and red raspberry." - Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, p. 170

Don't even know what this is - have only seen one reference.

"In Chinese medicine the herb perilla, taken as a tea, is used for morning sickness."
- Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., "Herbal Remedies for Dummies," p. 240

Found a lot of references to this one. It's also a known uterine tonic, known to prepare the uterus for labor and make for easier labor (just for that, I'm planning on downing it by the gallon next time!!).

"Red Raspberry leaf is a classic uterine toner and pregnancy tonic. It prepares the uterus to function at its best. The leaf can ease morning sickness and gently aid digestion."
- "Heart and Hands" by Elizabeth Davis (p. 47)

"Herb teas to try: peppermint, chamomile, and red raspberry."
- Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, p. 170

"Tea made from raspberry leaves has been widely recommended for curbing the nausea of morning sickness.... the tea has a persistent reputation as a treatment for women's conditions, from menstrual cramps to morning sickness and labor pains. Raspberry leaf is said to contain a constituent, readily extracted with hot water, that relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. I'd suggest drinking up to three cups a day. Or combine it with ginger, mint, and a little lemon for a very pleasant antiqueasiness tea."
- "The Green Pharmacy," James A. Duke, Ph.D., p. 401-402


"Wild-yam-root infusion or decoction is slower acting, but far safer, than any over-the-counter medications for severe or persistent morning sickness."
- Jaqulene Harper-Roth, "The Pregnancy Herbal," p. 58


"Yellow Dock: 25-50 mg per day. This is one midwife's first remedy to try."
- "Relief for Morning Sickness" (website unknown - forgot to record it)


Mix 1 teaspoon each

Fresh ginger
wild yam root
orange peel
lavender flowers

in 4 cups water. Simmer the herbs for a few minutes, then steep the mixture for 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup of the tea 2 or 3 times daily, before meals. If you prefer, mix 2 teaspoon each of the individual tinctures in 1 cup of water and drink 1/2 cup, 2 times daily. Taken from "Herbal Remedies for Dummies" by Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac.


"Mix one part raspberr and peach leaf mixture to two parts peppermint and one half part grated ginger root. Add one quart cold water, heat to simmer, and infuse for twenty minutes."
- "Hey! Who's Having This Baby, Anyway?" Breck Hawk, RN & Midwife

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Christian Faith and Hyperemesis - Part II

Greetings, all! It's been a busy couple of weeks! Houseguests, birthdays, swim classes, more house hunting - we've been hopping! We just lost our sixth house bid. I don't know who on earth has decided that it is a buyer's market, but this buyer is finding house-hunting nearly impossible! Or rather, yes, it is a "buyer's" market - the market is flooded with buyers! This last house that we lost had no less than NINE bids on it!! So we are back to the drawing board.

Caleb had his first haircut this past week - Joe's sister Anne cut it during his birthday party. I wasn't upset about him getting his hair cut - although I was very fond of his dear little curls, I was quite tired of getting "what a beautiful little girl you have!" practically every time we went out into public. But when it happened, what a shock! I think he has aged a year in looks. I have spent the past week wondering where my little baby went, and who this new little boy is who has taken his place!

If Caleb will give me a few minutes, I wanted briefly to continue on the subject of Christian faith and hyperemesis. Or rather, to digress in a slight tangent. I already have my next blog entry thought out - about the dilemma of HG vs. strong Christian faith, but since I have had this blog entry in mind for a long time, I wanted to write about things in order.

I would like to list briefly the spiritual benefits (yes, you heard rightly) that hyperemesis has brought into my life. For a hellish experience that still leaves me drenched in fear, it is hard to think of anything pleasant associated with it, but I can name several specific improvements that it has left in me spiritually (not physically!). (Speaking of physical effects, I tried on my bathing suit last week that I have not worn for three years and two pregnancies... It, oddly enough, has shrunk! I'm thinking it's the Phoenix heat. It's affected all my other clothes, so why not my swim suit, LOL???)

So here goes....

(1) Firstly, HG has helped me to realize that my Christian faith is weak and in serious need of improvement, not strong and impervious to trials/temptations, as had been my previous, though unconscious assumption. Since this series of blog entries deals almost exclusively with this topic, I won't attempt to cover it any further here.

I should mention that I am currently reading C.S. Lewis's "The Problem of Pain." Though a devoted Lewis fan, I have not yet read that book, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. My soul always stretches by about fifty years whenever I read a Lewis book. Because it deals with a subject near and dear to HG mums' hearts (i.e. the problem of human suffering), I will post a book review here when I have finished (and probably reread it). Unfortunately, though, the problem of human suffering is both ridiculously easy to grasp in a theoretical sense, and nearly impossible to deal with practically - as Lewis notes in his forward.

(2) Secondly, HG has helped me to realize that everything that I am and that I have is truly a gift from God, and not of myself. We all know that fact theoretically, but all of us (at least, I hope it's not just me!) tend to take pride in what we have and are - probably more of the latter than the former. I may not take (too much) pride in my possessions (although I'm not free from it), but I tend(ed) to take pride in my person and character - my moral standards, my intelligence, my education, my abilities and talents, etc. And we/I take for granted things that are also a gift from God - namely, health. Hyperemesis knocked me flat on my back and took away not only my "life" in terms of social intercourse, activities, etc., but also my ability to function as a normal human being. While it was at its worst I was unable to hold a conversation, comb my hair, cook, wash dishes, handle food, do the simplest household chores, or even walk outside. It has helped me to thank God continually for the blessing of health and for all his other blessings, which are exactly that - blessings from God, and nothing from myself.

(3) Thirdly (and this is to my shame), HG has taught me compassion. I am not naturally compassionate. I have a lot of Yankee get-up-and-go, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, just-deal-with-it kind of thinking going on, and in the past I was not very compassionate toward weakness and illness. I remember visiting the home of an invalid and thinking, "This place smells awful. Why can't you just get up and straighten up around here?" Well, HG gave me a nice long stretch where I, too, was unable to "get up and straighten up around here," where I had to rely upon the help of others, and where I was not able to "just deal with it." I think that I have been able to meet life more compassionately since HG, although un-compassionate-ness is a temptation which I think that I shall have to fight all my life.

I am sure that there are more spiritual benefits that have been sprinkled into my life through HG, but those are the main ones that come to mind. I would love to hear from any other HG mums out there who have perhaps thought on this subject - or from anyone who has thought on the subject of suffering vs. faith!

This subject (of faith and HG) is the most serious that I need to deal with in this blog - I cannot face another pregnancy without coming to terms with the spiritual implications of HG. I need to do some really fast maturing. Thankfully this blog is helping me to be able to deal with HG's spiritual ramifications rather than concealing/stuffing them as I have been (unconsciously) doing for the past couple of years. Hopefully the end effect will be good! And hopefully I have learned my lessons well enough not to have to repeat them, LOL!! Of course, lessons are different each time, and it is doubtful if a human being can ever learn during one's finite lifetime, all the lessons that human suffering has to give. But I don't want it to be in vain!

We have more houseguests (my parents) coming on Saturday, so this blog will probably (and unfortunately) be neglected for the next week, unless I can fit in another blog entry tomorrow. I have not told my parents about this blog, due to the fact that (a) I have always been a private person with regards to my parents, and (b) I doubt that any woman wishes her parents to read a blog that contains details of her reproductive and/or spiritual life!! But I will be thinking about the subject of my upcoming blog ("the main spiritual problems/questions resulting from HG/human suffering") and will hopefully have something worthwhile to say when I return.

Love to all!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just for fun....

I really do have a blog entry ready (in my mind) and waiting to be typed out, but having gotten up an hour and a half late, today is not going to be the day!! So instead, I wanted to post the birth pics of a birth-circle friend of mine, who just had her fifth baby. Congratulations, Stephanie! May my next birth be as easy as this one was!! (But with 5 kiddos, she's earned an easy birth!!)

I am such a huge fan of birth stories and pictures and videos - hopefully I can get pictures as good as this next time!! (Ours were quite dark and grainy.... The effects of a really bad camera used in a big hurry.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Christian Faith and Hyperemesis - Part I

Well, having washed, hung and ironed the laundry, made a lasagna and brownies, and a ton of other stuff, I feel that I have earned the right to a few minutes of blogging! (Probably just in time for our little guy to get up from his nap! At the 2 1/2-hour mark, I'm on borrowed time.)

I have been meaning to blog aboug spiritualty/faith and hyperemesis for a long time, but have put it off because of the enormity of the task. It is something that I can't yet wrap my mind around, and will take some time. I have been dealing with spiritual issues stemming from hyperemesis ever since I underwent this condition, and have only recently started to think them through - before this I have simply been too sick, too tired, or too busy!!

Rest assured, I am not questioning the existence of God or throwing away my faith. Not at all. It's just that incredibly difficult circumstances do tend to provoke a "crisis of faith" - a time of intense questioning. I feel the need to work through this and gain understanding before entering another pregnancy.

Instead of doing a straight blog, as I have limited time, I am simply going to paste a letter that I sent to Sarah, my oft-referenced HG-mum friend, which I sent to her in response to her email which I have posted under "Conversations with Sarah, Part II." It may or may not make sense - I was rambling a bit. I feel so overwhelmed by this topic that I don't tend to make much sense. If you're a Christian (or person of any faith) who has had HG, this probably makes sense to you. I think everyone who goes through an extremely trying life experience probably goes through something similar. Unfortunately one can't simply move from weak faith to strong faith without the intervening periods and stages of doubt, fear, anger, etc. - rather like the stages of grief. However much we'd like to avoid them, we can't. I daresay there are some annoyingly amazing people out there who go through a trying experience and bounce through with faith immediately strengthened, but I, alas, am not one of them!

Ashli McCall has told me that she is in the early stages of writing a book about biblical faith and hyperemesis, so if any of you has any thoughts on this, please get on her website, and email her!!

Here goes....

"Hello, Sarah!

"I have to tell you – reading your email was creepy. It was like reading my own diary, or a version thereof. Wow. Yes, I have gone/am going through a spiritual “crisis of faith” very similar to yours, although to a bit lesser of an extent (only natural, since my experience was so much easier than yours). I don’t think I ever doubted God’s existence – but I did doubt his goodness and his love. With HG one simply wants to die (nausea is worse than pain), and one is begging God for relief from the unending torture – but it only gets worse. It truly is sinking into the pit. I don’t know of any other disease which so easily induces despair.

"It has left me puzzled. Very puzzled. When people give testimonies, they always say, ad infinitum, “I prayed for more faith, so God gave me cancer, and it was tough, but I got through it, and now I trust God completely!” It’s not that way with HG. One is just too hurt. Too spiritually damaged to bounce back and say “God is good!”

"Here is my summary:

"I thought that I could handle anything.
I couldn’t.
I thought my faith was strong.
It wasn’t.
I thought that I knew God.
I didn’t.

"I think, basically, that I just had mistaken assumptions about God and about faith. Here in America we’ve probably all absorbed various notions of the “health and wealth” movement – that being a Christian ensures some degree of prosperity and constant victory.

"In thinking this through, I am drawn to the words of Christ on the cross – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If there’s someone who can be said to have suffered as much as an HG mum, it was Christ on the cross. So no matter what, he does know what we have gone throw or are going through.

"Another thing that I am drawn back to is the simple statement, “God is love.” And “Now we see dimly, as through a mirror, but then we shall see face to face.” There must be a purpose in suffering if God is both all-powerful and all-loving. It’s just hard to admit it when we are in the midst of unbearable suffering.

"Here’s another quote I’ve been considering recently, from Agatha Christie’s autobiography. Quoting a teacher of hers, she writes:

“Quite unexpectedly one day (in the middle, I think, of an arithmetic lesson) she suddenly launched forth on a speech on life and religion. ‘All of you,’ she said, ‘every one of you – will pass through a time when you will face despair. If you never face despair, you will never have faced, or become, a Christian, or known a Christian life. To be a Christian you must face and accept the life that Christ faced and lived; you must enjoy things as he enjoyed things; be as happy as he was at the marriage at Canaan, know the peace and happiness that it means to be in harmony with God and with God’s will. But you must also know, as he did, what it means to be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, to feel that all your friends have forsaken you, that those you love and trust have turned away from you, and that God Himself has forsaken you. Hold on then to the belief that that is not the end.” (p. 172)

"I have also considered that with all difficult spiritual learning experiences in life, one must go through the middle chapters of rebellion, doubt, fear, anger, etc. before one comes to acceptance and an increase in faith. For me, it’s taken a while. I’m still not there. I don’t have all of my answers yet – or even very many of them. But I’ve started to at least think through things, especially through my blog. A lot of this stuff has lain dormant while I was too busy to think about it, and is now coming to the surface.

"I also consider the Christian martyrs – those who endured unspeakable agonies rather than deny Christ. They too begged for mercy from God and didn’t get it this side of Heaven.

"My friend Jennifer just wrote an interesting blog entry on the subject of spiritual growth through suffering, based on her experience with infertility – you might find it interesting:

"But anyhow, I totally agree with you saying that “the dross is burned away.” Our faith has been revealed for what it was – weak, immature, trivial, circumstances-based. It’s a long journey. I have great hope that the end result will be a much better thing for us both. But in the meantime, don’t give up hope! I believe that God is good, even if we can’t know everything this side of heaven.

"And, as a side note, positive-thinking people can annoy the heck out of one, can’t they??????? “Look on the bright side.” AAAAHHHHH


Monday, June 2, 2008

Conversations with Lisa, Part I

Hello, everyone!!! Well, Phoenix summer has officially set in!! Aack!! Ah well, we have great weather for at least 6 months out of the year!!

Before we get started, here's the life lesson for the day: One should never put one's cheese-making experiments ANYWHERE where a toddler can remotely reach them unless one wishes to spend an hour cleaning up a cheesy-smelling mess having the consistency of infant spit-up off of one's counters and appliances. Enough said.

Anyhow, I have had the honor of conversing with another HG mum, Lisa from Michigan, whose story is quite like mine - moderate HG two years ago and thinking of trying to conceive again sometime in the next year. She was so kind to email me her HG story, and has given me permission to post it here! Thanks, Lisa!!

In other HG news, I will be meeting with two local HG mums, Sarah and Jenna, this month to talk HG. I'm so excited!! I will post all about our conversation after the meeting. Sarah is the girl who has had hyperemesis twice, once moderate and once life-threatening, and I have posted her first HG story in this blog (second story coming soon). Jenna had life-threatening HG once, and she has written a book about it, "Body Mutiny: Surviving Nine Months of Extreme Morning Sickness," which I hope to read very soon. Here is her website:

And now, on to Lisa's story!!

"Here is a little of my background (some relevant to the story, some not so relevant) :)

"I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was a freshman in high school. Over the course of the following 8 years I had 3 laparoscopies to remove the endometriosis and try to save my reproductive organs, so that someday I would be able to have children. During that time my
doctor also put me on birth control pills. I would take the first 3 weeks and skip the last week- immediately going to the next pack. Apparently this prescription was to prevent the endometriosis from growing more.

"During high school I met my husband. We were best friends throughout high school and started dating our senior year. We dated throughout college and married 2 years after we graduated college.

"We knew we wanted to start a family sooner than later- because the doctor warned that with my endometriosis, conceiving might be difficult. A little over 1 year after we were married (we were married August 2004) we started trying to get pregnant. I believe we conceived around the middle of Feb. 2006. I found out I was pg. the first week of March. I was doing great for several weeks. Then started getting nauseous. I figured it was normal and did the best I could. Pretty soon I was vomiting 6 + times a day- and could not eat, and whatever I did eat- would not stay down. I finally called my OB (I think this was around the end of March- so I was probably 8 weeks or so along). He gave me some *M/S* cures (ginger, sea bands, etc). Also told me about Benadryl and (not sure if it was B6 or Unisom)- at this point it did not touch the HG- I was probably too sick for it to kick in?!

"April 1st, I had thrown up over 10 times by noon, and could not walk. I called OB and he said to go to the ER. I received an IV (not sure what was in it. I was SO weak, I could barely talk). They gave me Reglan to start taking- and diagnosed me with HG. I took the Reglan for 2 weeks, and it did not help, if anything I was worse. I should have called my OB during that time, but I just thought this was somewhat normal. I didn't think there was anything he could do for

"At this point I was around 13 weeks. I was down about 10% of my body weight. I finally called my OB and he had me come in. Fortunately, no ketones- but severely dehydrated.

"He then tried Tigan- nothing. I had DH do some research online and he learned about Zofran ODT. At this point I was down about 15% of my total body weight. We asked my OB for the Zofran ODT- and he wrote out an Rx right away. It worked miracles. Finally, by the beginning
on May I was headed on the right path. My insurance company was impossible to deal
with- the would not let me have any more Zofran ODT, and I started vomiting again. It took 2 days for my OB to convince them to let me have it. I took it until 37 weeks.

"I never tried phenegran. I took 2-3 (8 mg doses) of Zofran at my worst. Around 5 months, I went down to 4mg in the morning and 4 mg before dinner, then by 6 or 7 months I took about 2 mg first thing in the morning and that was it.

"In retrospect. I should have spoken up sooner, we should have been more proactive. I don't think I or my OB realized how severe it was. I should have said more, but I thought it was normal. DH and I have a meeting with my OB next week to discuss TTC, and how it would be
handled, we also have a meeting with an adoption agency tomorrow. We really want to weigh all of our options fully.

"If we TTC again, my MIL said she would come and take care of our daughter, take care of me, cook, clean, etc. She lives 10 min away and she and I are very close. DH said he would obviously be willing to do whatever is needed- he was great last time. Again, I am going to have MIL read your (Ashli McCall's) book- to make sure she truly understands what she could be *getting herself into*. I don't think she realized how bad it is/can be. I worry about my daughter though. IF we TTC, it will be this time next year when DD is around 2 or 2.5."