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!