Wednesday, March 25, 2009

16 weeks, 6 days: Reporting on Results

Well, we did end up getting the call at 6 pm last night that our midwife had indeed been called to a birth - just in time for us to miss our visit! Bummer!! But at least we have it to look forward to again! I'll have to save my ultrasound questions for next week.

Anyhow, since we are kinda-sorta 'out of the woods' HG-wise (though I don't want to say that too loudly), I wanted to report in really quickly on the results of my HG protocol.

I do this with some trepidation, and I want any HG mums out there to remember the following: What did not work for me may just be the thing for you. So just because I say "this didn't work for me" is absolutely no reason not to try it. Please take everything with a grain (or a cup) of salt.

Finding remedies for NVP (nausea/vomiting of pregnancy) is rather difficult, for the following reasons:

(1) What works for mild/moderate NVP is usually useless for HG. For example, "eat dry crackers" may work fine for mild NVP. For an HG mum who can't eat anything without triggering a violent vomiting spell, it doesn't do a bit of good.

(2) NVP/HG is not predictable from pregnancy to pregnancy. It may stay the same, get better, or get worse - it's impossible to tell. Thus, when someone on the internet says, "I tried such and such, and I had no trouble at all the second time around!" it's just possible that she wouldn't have had any NVP anyhow, and that the remedy had nothing to do with it. Then again, she may have found her own miracle cure. But.....

(3) .... Remedies for NVP are usually highly individual, as stated above. What works for one mum may not work for another - or may make things worse! I found countless accounts on the web of "I tried {insert remedy here} and it cured me completely!" - but that is no guarantee of that remedy working for another mother.

(4) Since I don't have a "control" (i.e. an identical twin carrying a baby identical to mine under identical circumstances), I have no way to know whether or not some of the things that I did take and which seemed to be ineffectual might just have prevented the condition from being worse.

So, with all those caveats stated, here goes:

I never got around to trying these things, or trying them seriously:

* Acupuncture/Acupressure - too tired/sick to look around for a good practitioner, and didn't want to face the sticker price (most insurances, mine included, do not pay for any alternative medicine)

* Chiropractic Care

* MorningWell CD - kind of forgot about it

* Homeopathy - I did buy some Sepia 30C, and tried it a couple of times. I didn't notice any great difference, and gave up on it without going into it more seriously. The problem with homeopathy is that it is an incredibly complicated art, whose correct remedies depend both on the exact symptoms of the condition and the personal idiosyncrasies of the patient. There are at least 15 different homeopathic remedies for NVP/HG. My conclusion is that if one wants to try homeopathy for HG (and it can be wildly successful when it works - see the website Blooming Awful for homeopathy success stories for HG), one really needs to be under the guidance of a trained homeopath, preferably one with experience treating NVP.

* Herbs other than those listed below - there's a HUGE list of herbs for NVP, and I only got to about four of them.

These Things Were Counterproductive

* Breastfeeding - It works for some women. Not for me. Nursing while nauseated was... nauseating.

These Things Didn't Do Anything Noticeable

Another caveat, though... It's possible that without these things it could have been much worse. After all, my NVP this time was manageable with Zofran. It didn't go crashing out of control like it could have. So some of these things might be responsible for that fact.

* Omega-3's
* Milk Thistle
* Water with lemon
* Multivitamin
* Probiotics
* Legumes - Despite that article I posted, eating beans does NOT magically make NVP disappear (though it seemed to be an NVP-friendly food)

* Herbs - I tried the following herbs, with no noticeable improvement:

* Ginger: I tried dried ginger in pills (no improvement but caused heartburn and a dreadful aftertaste) and also as a syrup (tastes good, but no help)
* Wild Yam: Tried it as a tincture (put it in apple juice) and as a homemade decoction. No noticeable improvement, and I had to give up on it after a while because the smell and the taste were hideous. And with my pg-nose, I could smell that horrible stuff ANYWHERE in the house, even through the plastic bags. I had to get rid of it.
* Peach Leaf: Tried it as a tea. This is probably one of the worst-tasting herbs anywhere. Had to get rid of it for the same reasons as listed under wild yam. Blech. (But someone I know credits peach leaf tea with curing her severe NVP, so don't write it off.)
* Morning Sickness Balm by Mountain Meadow Herbs: They have some great testimonials on their site, but I didn't notice any improvement. This includes ginger, fennel, and peppermint tinctures.

One of the problems is that I don't like the taste or smell of herbal products even while non-pregnant. Herbal tea I always find repugnant. So adding nausea and a super-sensitive nose into the situation meant that herbal products were somewhat torturous to endure.

Also, a lot of the pills listed above were left off after a couple of weeks because I simply couldn't endure taking handfuls of pills every day (as Shonda Parker told me would probably be the case). So, as always, it's hard to tell what was helpful and what would have been helpful had I continued it.

I would probably try the same stuff above if I had it to do over again. You never know!

These Were Mildly Helpful

* Whole Foods Diet - This is a hard one, because if you have full-blown HG, you usually can't eat. So this is for mild/moderate NVP only. But since I could eat this time around, I did notice that processed foods made me sicker than whole foods. For example, though carb-only meals always made me sick, those that included high fructose corn syrup always made me much sicker than those with plain sugar (learned that switching between homemade and storebought pancake syrup). When I talked to Shonda Parker, she credited a pre-NVP whole-foods diet as the most important factor in NVP-prevention.

These Were Really Helpful

That's right, folks.... Cold, hard pharmaceuticals

* Zofran (Ondansetron)

* Bendectin replica (Unisom {doxylamine succinate} plus B-complex/B6)

Notes on Books

* Ashli McCall's Book "Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum" was extremely helpful. I used it constantly as a reference for all topics HG-related, especially drug facts. If you want to go through another HG pregnancy, please get this book and keep it on hand.

* Miriam Erick's book "Managing Morning Sickness" was not as helpful. Her main advice, "Eat what sounds good" is kind of an intuitive thing anyway. You can definitely try it, though, if you want to keep up on what's out there.

And there you have it!

1 comment:

  1. Really helpful information--thanks for posting! I didn't realize that you'd been nursing. I stopped nursing when I started on the Zofran...nursing had already become completely nausea-provoking and I think my daughter was pretty much done with it anyway. So glad you are feeling better! We did decide to have the 20 week ultrasound; there's just something reassuring about seeing that little one in there. I hope your midwife can help you make the right decision for you and your family!


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