Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hyperemesis Article - Amazing!

This is an amazing article.... thanks very much to Kathy for tipping me to it. Check it out....

Living Dead Girl: Surviving HG

If you ever need an article to show to people to make them "get it" as to what hyperemesis is all about, this is a good place to start.

Her experience mirrors those of a lot of women whose stories I've read - mild HG with a first pregnancy, then even worse with a second:

"Our second pregnancy was planned. I had deluded myself into thinking that my previous sickness had just been stress-related, and it would surely be a thousand times better this time around. I thought I was prepared. How very wrong I was.

"This time, the fatigue was all-consuming. The nausea and vomiting hit me like a brick wall. I tried all the "morning sickness" tricks and natural remedies that I'd read about and that others recommended. This time, I could not even hold down a sip of water. Often, I could not even make myself swallow. A minuscule nibble of cracker would instantly come up, along with stomach acid. Sometimes all that would come up was what looked like snot. Sometimes I'd retch and retch for eternity, with nothing left in me to come up."

She writes about how hard it is to get people to take one seriously during a hyperemetic pregnancy:

"Sometimes I wondered if our marriage would survive, despite how very committed I was/am to him. He didn't understand what I was going through. He couldn't bear the thought of me truly being as sick as I looked. He preferred to think that I was being somewhat lazy and milking it. I had been very sick before, but had managed to still be up and around and at least fake being a normal human being. He couldn't see how this time was so different, and I didn't understand it either. I felt betrayed by my own body, and let down by the one person I was counting on the most. My own brothers would talk about how their wives had experienced morning sickness too, but had managed to lead normal lives. They couldn't see how it could be so different for me. My aunt was convinced that walking a mile a day would do me some good.

"No one knew how DESPERATELY I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy. How could anyone think I was enjoying this? I was in HELL. I was trapped in bed. I was starving and weak. My whole body hurt so bad that I could not sleep. I had this really odd and uncomfortable sensation constantly like my limbs did not have enough blood in them. My lips were so dry and cracked that over 2 years later, they are still not the same. I cried more in those months than I did in the rest of my life combined. I felt trapped in my body. I felt like I'd lose my mind. Sometimes I wondered if I already had. I WANTED to clean my house, and play with my little girl, and just be a normal human being. I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy in the way I hadn't been able to before. Instead, I felt like a corpse. I felt like I'd die if something didn't change, and no one would see it coming because they were convinced it was just "morning sickness" that I was milking. But of course even thinking like that meant I was being "dramatic", and I'd get further depressed over my inability to be happy. What a sick cycle....

"I was terribly depressed. I was afraid of losing my baby. I was afraid of losing my husband. I was CRUSHED at the lack of understanding. I didn't want to be babyed, I just wanted them to stop doubting me. I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy. In Hyperemesis Gravidarum forums, there are women who suffered so much that they resorted to aborting babies that they had desperately wanted and tried hard to conceive. There are some that considered suicide, or even attempted it. I must say, that if I didn't have some very important reasons to live, and a baby inside me counting on me, I would have wanted to die too. Instead, I just sometimes fantasized about it, logically knowing it was wrong, but still wishing for escape nonetheless."

Her conclusions echo mine:

"I'm terrified of becoming pregnant again. I have beautiful, healthy, amazing daughters that I absoultey adore. I have a husband that loves and supports us. We used to talk about having four children. Aside from the fact that it would be financially rather difficult for us at this time, I am deeply, profoundly fearful of being pregnant again...

"So many moms like me are afraid to ever try for another baby. Although we love our children dearly, there is a constant fear that another pregnancy will bring more hell with it, for mom and the entire family. There's a strong possibility of experiencing HG even WORSE with future pregnancies, and that thought can be so terrifying, that people would rather adopt, use a surrogate, or stop trying, than even think about going through that again. How can one even care for the children they have when they're trapped in bed, on the bathroom floor, or in the hospital?"

There is so great a need for awareness of this condition - it is one of the only serious illnesses in the world for which a woman will be scolded and blamed ("You really didn't want this baby or you wouldn't be making yourself sick! You're just being selfish and dramatic! You just need to get out and get some fresh air, and then you wouldn't deal with this, and it's all in your head anyway!"). Let's get the word out on this!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birth Activism: Better Late Than Never

Any longtime readers of this blog will remember the fiasco of last January, when I was madly trying to find a consulting OB who would treat my hyperemesis while being okay with the fact that I was receiving prenatal care from a (*gasp*)...... midwife (oh, the horror!). It was not easy. The large OB practice that I visited dropped me like a hot potato as soon as the m-word was mentioned. In fact, it went something like this:

Me: "I have a midwife"
Doctor: "Okay, goodbye"

Anyhow, I've been meaning to write to the practice about this ever since, and I finally (over a year later), got around to it! And so, without further ado, here is the letter which will be hitting the mailbox Tuesday morning. We'll see if it disappears into a black hole, or if it gets any response! I'll post on the end results.

In this letter, I have tried my best to use my three rules for activism letters:

(1) Be clear and concise
(2) Be calm, polite, and respectful (spiteful letters generally produce only angry readers, not true heart-change, which is the end-goal of all activism)
(3) Begin and end nicely, even with a complaint

(The name of the practice is two last names put together, so in the letter it appears as
-------- & --------)

(And don't ask me why the fonts got so crazy on this entry... it's a mystery to me!)


January 15, 2010

Dr. ------------ --------------

--------- & -------- OB/GYN

Re: My Experience With -------- & --------

Dear Dr. ----------,

I wanted to bring the following situation to your attention regarding my experience with -------- & --------, and I apologize for the tardiness of this letter.

In December 2008 I discovered that I was pregnant with our second child. During our first pregnancy I had received prenatal, labor/delivery, and postpartum care from an excellent Licensed Midwife, and I planned to do the same with our second.

However, with our first pregnancy I had suffered from hyperemesis, and I knew that I would need to find a consulting OB/GYN to prescribe medicine to control this condition, as Licensed Midwives do not currently have prescription ability. I posted this need on, and your practice was recommended by several valley mothers as having doctors who were extremely skilled in dealing well with hyperemetic patients.

I immediately called to make an appointment with your office. However, I knew that my situation was somewhat unorthodox, so I explained my needs in detail to the receptionist over the phone so that everything could be cleared before I came in. I told the receptionist in particular that I would not need prenatal care or birth attendance, just prescriptions and care to deal with hyperemesis. She spoke to a supervisor to clear my situation, and then told me that my situation had been approved by the supervisor and that a doctor would see me for this purpose.

I came in to the ------- location for my appointment the following day, on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:10 a.m. I was immediately impressed with the efficiency and attractiveness of your offices. My appointment was with Dr. ------- --------, and she told me her general protocol for treating hyperemesis. I was extremely happy to have found a practice that treated hyperemesis efficiently and aggressively.

However, wanting to make sure that she understood my needs, I asked her if she had been made aware that I was not needing prenatal care, only help with hyperemesis. It became immediately clear that she had not been told anything of the situation and believed that I had come to -------- & -------- as a regular prenatal patient. When she learned that I was under the care of a midwife and would not need prenatal care, she immediately told me that she could not prescribe for me and that I could not be her patient. Our appointment then ended, though I was left with a very positive impression of your staff and offices.

I continued my search for a consulting OB elsewhere, and found an OB with a different practice who took me as a client and prescribed Zofran for my needs during my pregnancy.

Based on my experience, I would like to suggest the following:

(1) That patient needs be carefully communicated to doctors, so that confusion and wasted time be avoided, and

(2) That doctors at -------- & -------- would consider providing consulting care for clients of the valley’s Licensed Midwives. We have a wonderful community of Licensed Midwives here in Arizona who are always glad of the partnership of competent and caring OB/GYN physicians in order to be able to co-manage client care. I hope that in the future, -------- & -------- will be willing to provide consulting care for the patients of midwives and that I will be able to recommend your practice to friends who need pregnancy co-management.

Thank you very much for the services you offer to Arizona’s mothers and babies!

Sincerely Yours,

Diana J.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Having Nothing to do With Anything

Having been inspired by my good friend J., who is making her own (super-easy-to-make) homemade powdered laundry detergent (which I am planning to try next week), I offer the following two recipes which I have tried this week. Voila!

Homemade Windex

2 cups rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup ammonia
1 teaspoon Joy dishwashing soap
Blue food coloring, optional

Put above in gallon container and add water to make one gallon. I just made this ten minutes ago and haven't had time to try it yet, but the reviewers on the original recipe all rave about it.


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Into a 32-ounce container place:

1/2 cup borax (laundry aisle)
1/2 cup washing soda (laundry aisle)
1/4 cup kosher salt (with the salt!)
1/4 cup citric acid (buy from brewery, herb shop, or health food store - I get mine in the bulk herbs at Sprouts)

Shake well. Ignore any clumps. Use 1 Tbsp. per load. Works beautifully!

Can also fill rinse compartment with white vinegar. I haven't figured out how this works yet, so I haven't tried this.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baby Nicknames

Nicknames are funny things - unless you purposely plan them, they can show up at random and really surprise you.

Take our cats, for example. We didn't plan this, but all three of my cats ended up with animal nicknames. They may have had given names, but what they were actually called were "Cow," "Pig," and "Weasel." As a conglomerative group, they were referred to as "The Weasels." Weird.

Imagine my surprise, though, when the same thing happened to our first-born. We spent months deciding on his name, but within a week or two of his birth he had been re-christened "Bug" - as in "he's cute as a bug." And he stayed "Bug" for the first 2-3 years of his life!

So when this baby rolled around, I fully expected another animal nickname to show up - I really did. But what nickname has evolved?


Yes, seriously! Chubs, alternately "Chubby Wubby." Alternate forms: Porkchop, Morsel, Cutlet. Now obviously, these are names which will not and cannot stay around longterm! For obvious reasons. But I think the reason they've cropped up is simply because it is so wonderful to have a properly chubby baby! I never knew how delightful baby plumpness could be!

The difference, I think, is that while both of our babies had nursing problems, baby #2's problems were discovered within a week or so of birth, and corrected - while baby #1's problems were not diagnosed until over two months post-birth - at which time our plain-spoken pediatrician bounced into the exam room and said "What on earth have you been doing to this child; he looks awful!"

Of course, we were rather shocked - being around baby all the time, we hadn't noticed that he really had grown skeletal - looking back at pictures at the time, he was quite emaciated. But we just didn't notice on a day-to-day basis. Anyhow, we got our nursing problems corrected and went from there, but he never really developed into a properly plump baby.

Our current baby, however, has! He's not really plump by baby standards, but in comparison with our first, he's quite chubby. And it's absolutely lovely. I spend most of my time with him just admiring his chubby little cheeks and legs. Delightful!!

Moving on....

This will be short, because I have a few minutes of FREE TIME (cue Hallelujah Chorus)... Hubby and son are at church, and baby is sleeping. It won't last, and I have a HUGE to-do list to work on and mess to clean up, so I don't want to waste time. But I wanted to check in!

Our first week at our (presumed) new church last week wasn't as bad as I anticipated - because the worst had really happened, I didn't have to dread it any more. It really reminded me of the time when I started noticing a ballet-caused foot problem, which had originally necessitated rather painful surgery, re-manifesting itself. I dreaded needing surgery again.... and dreaded it... and dreaded it.... and when I finally heard the doctor say, "Yes, this needs surgery again," I was giddy with relief - because the shoe had fallen and I didn't have to keep dreading it. That's what it felt like. I still haven't sent our goodbye email to our dear church family, but I will hopefully get to it this week - and I know that a growing number are finding out anyway through the church grapevine!

This has been an odd week. My poor husband has been dealing with some really, really ugly work politics. I won't post much on it, but.... If I did, you would laugh at the triviality of the complaints being made against him. The fun continues tomorrow morning, and we know it's probably going to get worse before it gets better - prayer would be appreciated.

Baby is murmuring - let's hope that's temporary! I'll check in again soon (I hope!). Love to all!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Season of Mourning

And yet more thoughts on the subject of leaving our church.....

This week has had an odd air of unreality about it. Every few hours I think suddenly, "Wait. This can't be real. This cannot be happening to me... we are going back next week, and everything will be fine."

But it's not. Tomorrow is the first morning that we will not be at our church... because we no longer belong to our church. I had to drop something off there today, and it was the first time that I have set foot on the campus... as an outsider. As someone who does not belong there any more. It was heart-wrenching.

Dear little church, I miss you so much.

This has been a hard week. I meant to have all of our "John Dear" letters written to our friends, but found that I couldn't manage it. (Side note: I used to think that those were "John Deer" letters, and wondered what tractors had to do with anything!) I only got through two communications - one to our pastor, and one to an elder. A very surreal experience.

I'll have to try to get through the rest next week. I've been procrastinating, I know.... for one thing, it's extremely painful, and for another, I keep hoping that DH would change his mind. But he hasn't. And in some ways, that's a good thing - because I'd be extremely angry if he was vacillating and I'd gone through this much pain for nothing!!

However, he believes, and I believe, that he is doing this for our family's good, and I'm very grateful to him for standing up strongly for what he believes in the face of as much pouting, sulking, lecturing, and general blame-casting as I've cast in his direction these past few months. Brave guy.

And I will be the first to admit that my spiritual life has not been what it should be these past few years. That is not my church's fault, of course, but it may be that I need something as shocking and unsettling as a church change to jump-start my faith journey again. I don't know. I'm trusting that God has a plan in all of this, but I think it will take a while to see. Hopefully I will see it at some point to convince me that we're not making the mistake of a lifetime.

One really great thing is that my parents have been visiting this week. As I decided not to fill them in on this situation (I need to deal with it first before dealing with the advice/comments/input/opinions of family), it has been a blessing to have uninformed outsiders around before whom I must put on a cheerful face and avoid discussing the situation. It's saved us a lot of bickering and my husband a lot of hassle. Now that they've gone home, I am having to consciously refrain from discussing it and am trying to keep (most of) my turmoil to myself.

We had actually planned on being at church this Sunday in order to say some in-person goodbyes, but having been advised against it, we have decided to refrain - and we know that in a tiny church like ours, it probably would have created somewhat of a spectacle, regardless of how private we tried to be. So we are officially done and out.

My goodness, this hurts.

I can't help but remember constantly how much of our life is with this church. We've been through so much with them.... the conception our three babies and subsequent one loss and two births (the first thing after both of our births was getting to the computer to send pictures to our church family)... the conception and either losses or births of at least twelve friends' babies.... the death of a dear friend.... the fun musical performances... the potlucks, the Christmas programs, the Easter mornings and Christmas Eves.... the graduations, courtships, marriages, celebrations, moves, joys, sorrows, of so many friends over five years.

I don't know how the next few months are going to go. In some ways I'm looking forward to reaching a point where I'm not constantly on the verge of tears... but on the other hand, I don't want to "forget and move on." One way or the other, my heart is still at my church. We may have relinquished membership, but I'm still there in spirit - a "ghost member," if you will.

So this is definitely a season of mourning. But I will try to focus on having a loving husband who cares about our family's spiritual growth, two beautiful babies, wonderful friends, and all of the other things in my life for which I am truly thankful. This will pass.... it just hurts horribly for now.

(Church member readers - and there are more of you than I thought, LOL! - I need not say that the above is confidential... I don't need to spread my whining around. And I also want to present a united front whenever possible in real life. I've been very proud of myself this week for presenting a "we" rather than "he" when dealing with people!)

And I promise to cheer up in my writing soon!