Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hyperemesis and Residual Nausea, Part III: Now "Nausea-Prone"

I posted two days ago or so about having recently had 24-hour stomach flu, and I commented on the puzzling fact that I was still having brief intermittent waves of nausea, even though the stomach flu was five days in the past - and I wondered if this was yet another way that my body has been permanently altered by hyperemesis. (Or if I was pregnant.)

As I've posted several times before, my post-HG body is much more "nausea-prone" - my nausea took a long time to go away (it left mostly during the first week postpartum, but stayed around in twinges for about two years) and has reappeared frequently - when I'm hungry or wait too long to eat in the morning, when I'm really tired, when I eat something my stomach isn't in favor of, etc. Now, having had stomach flu for the first time ever since my first pregnancy, it seems that stomach flu too is going to appear under a different guise - that of being extremely slow to go away, nausea-wise, and prone to flair-ups afterward.

That being the case, I was very excited to receive Anna's comment:

"I'm WAY more nausea- prone post HG. All kinds of things make me nauseated that didn't before, and stomach bugs are worse than they were pre-HG in that they take me longer to feel better and fully recover. I also have to be sure to eat pretty soon after I get up, or I feel nauseated off and on the rest of the day! Lack of sleep = nausea, Extra stress= nausea, too much dairy = nausea, you get the idea. None of these issues were nausea inducing pre-pregnancy. So, yeah, I'm with you on this one!"

Interesting! Very interesting! I'm not alone! So.... Is this going to last for an entire lifetime? Will it gradually go away, or is being nausea-prone just a new way of life?

I know that post-pregnancy nausea is not a universal (or even a common) theme for HG mothers. I have spoken to at least one severe (read: life-threatening) HG mother whose nausea vanished on baby's birth and has never been back. My morning sickness, by comparison, was quite mild. So severity is apparently no predictor of this odd side-effect.

I do not think there is anything in the literature or in the educational airwaves on residual HG-nausea. I have asked several OBs about this, and each time received an odd look before the subject was quickly changed. So no help there!

Anyhow, I'd love to know. HG mothers: Have you ever experienced postpartum nausea? In what form? When, and under what circumstances? How long did it last? How severe was it? Or did your nausea vanish magically upon baby's birth, never to return? I'd love to hear any postpartum end-results statements.

Interesting stuff!



I saw my friend and chiropractor last night, who is about 28 weeks pregnant with the cutest little tummy you ever laid eyes on. :) She was talking about planning her upcoming homebirth (with my midwife, *sob*!), and what thought popped into my head? You know, after concluding "I can't do this again", etc. etc. etc. ? You guessed it: "Ah, shucks! I've got to have another one! I can make it work." (*Groan!!!*)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Quick Update

Being that I am home (with leftover stomach flu) and DH and DS are at church, I finally have time to blog!

Those of you out there who have two or more children and still make time to blog rgularly... I applaud you. Loudly and heartily and sincerely. How do you do it? With two kidlets I am usually too busy or too tired to blog... and whenever they're both asleep at once, I'm either terribly busy or wanting to nap myself. So my blogging life has definitely taken a back seat for the moment!

So... life! What's been going on? Beats me! I can't even remember when I updated last! As usual, I've written tons of blog updates in my head, but they are so far in the past that I can hardly remember them.

It seems lately that our life has been in a state of flux. Everything is changing! Not a good thing according to me - I prefer the serene, unchanging lifestyle of a hundred or so years ago. But goodness, everything is going crazy here. For starters, we left our dear church (a big enough change in itself!), and unfortunately, our ties there are starting to gradually lessen (predictably), simply because our "see you next week!" has become "see you in a few months... or next year... or whenever." Predictable, but infinitely grieving.

Secondly, half of our friends seem to be moving away! This past winter we lost some dear friends to New Hampshire (you KNOW who you are!!). Then this past month we lost another family to Colorado and another to Georgia, plus another friend to California. At least three more families of our acquaintance are waiting to hear on possible moves. Our neighbors (who just happen to be the best neighbors in existence) are moving to Florida. Oh, and let's see.... One dear friend just married, another just divorced and is moving away, our midwife changed business partners and has a new practice... My decision not to homeschool means that my few ties to the homeschooling community will probably be broken as well over the coming months.... and there's more, but that's all I can think of now.

I mean, seriously! What is God trying to tell me here? I have wondered (nervously) if God is preparing us for a move ourselves, just because He knows that the only way He could pry me away from here is if a lot of our ties were broken (I tend to be rather limpet-like). No signs of that, but it is definitely a season of change for us. I do feel rather at sea, and all the more so because there are no signs of anywhere new to land. The church where we are currently attending is a semi-mega-church - the kind one can attend for ten years without making friends. We're going to try some other churches, but (unfortunately for me), DH loves mega-churches, and in my experience it is very hard to find community and/or friendships in mega-churches. So we'll see... we'll see. Hopefully we won't be without anchor for too long. I am very, very thankful for Facebook, which is at least allowing me to keep in touch online with my dear friends from my home church. Not the same as in-person, but the next best thing.

What else is going on? Well, to be honest, mostly just life. Diapers, meals, housework (precious little of that!), playing with trains, supervising outdoor play, grocery shopping, MOMS Club dates, daily routines - all the usual SAHM rituals! Nothing extraordinary, but there's never a dull moment. As usual, I had at least a couple of things that I wanted to mention in this blog post, but now that I finally have time to write, they have fled my mind.

We have a busy couple of months coming up here - June, our big birthday month, a hopeful camping trip (our first in three years), a possible trip back east (driving two days with two kids - ack!), visits from family, etc. However, we shall need all the amusement we can get, because (drum roll, please....) Phoenix's annual six-month summer is rolling ominously in upon us. That's right, it's time to pay the piper. What I wouldn't give to be a snowbird! :) The only person I know who actually likes Phoenix heat is my midwife, who absolutely revels in our super-heated summer. This, incidentally, proves that she is certifiably insane, meaning that I should probably question having her catch our babies! (Just kidding - we love her!! Even if she is insane!) I'm thinking of enrolling DS in preschool early - in August - just so he can have something to do when it's so horribly hot outside.

Well, off to get something useful done! Happy Sunday, everyone!!

Hyperemesis in Miniature: A Week With Stomach Flu

This past Wednesday, I woke up at 2:15 a.m. - distinctly nauseated. "Hmm," I thought. "I can't possibly be pregnant (right?). I'd better go back to sleep." So I tried to do so, found it fruitless, and hopped out of bed to meander aimlessly around the house - for about one minute and thirty seconds, until I found it necessary to run wildly for the bathroom. Stomach flu! Or food poisoning, take your pick. (It's my understanding that they are identical - gastroenteritis caused by one of numerous organisms, differing only in the mode of transmission - either person-to-person or person-to-food-to-person. Right?? Anyone??)

Anyhow, I stayed good and sick for most of the day. I alternated throwing up with napping in bed and on the bathroom floor, and drank what was probably a clinical overdose of Pepto Bismol (they really need to change the flavor on that stuff - ugh). I also broke out the last three Zofran in one of my pregnancy Zofran bottles, and that may have been a reason why it wasn't as severe as I've had in the past. Fun times!

It lasted basically 24 hours, but I had an odd relapse on Friday afternoon and started throwing up again and feeling absolutely horrible - why, I don't know. And even now, on day five, I still have low-level nausea. I have wondered idly if this is linked to my HG history - I have noticed over the past four years that my body has become much more "nausea-prone" than it was pre-HG. For example, I now get nauseated if I don't eat soon after rising in the morning - something that never happened pre-HG. This is the first time that I have had food poisoning/stomach flu since my HG experiences - am I now going to be more nausea-prone with stomach flu too? Interesting stuff. Someone should do a study on this!

Anyhow, my main line of thought during this experience was about pregnancy. You see, DH and I have been knocking around the question of "Should we or should we not consider another child?" Or rather, we've discussed it occasionally, but it has been a topic of considerable, extensive, obsessive thought on my part. I just can't make up my mind. One part of me wants to rush to the OB and get whatever sterilization procedure I can lay my hands on, and the other can't stand the thought of never being pregnant again or having another baby. If I could just knock some sense into my head one way or another so that I could have peace on this issue, I would be very happy.

But, to be frank, having stomach flu was just like being pregnant (except that it wasn't nearly as bad as being pregnant - much milder than pregnancy nausea). My main thought while being sick was, "I can't do this again. There is no way I can do this again." DH took two days off of work to help with the kids while I was sick, thus cutting his available sick time down from three days to one. Taking three months off while I am sick with a coming baby just isn't an option! Do I really want to face the reality of being really, really sick - yet again - and trying to deal with the ins and outs of caring for two children at the same time?

Both times that I've been sick with pregnancies, our life has fallen apart. Completely. Socially, maritally, house-keeping wise, everything. But with the first, it didn't matter because DH could take care of himself. He ate out or ate frozen dinners, did laundry and dishes when he had to, and the place just got a bit dusty. I slept and/or threw up all day and that was that. It was the worst time of my life, but we were okay. With our second, everything changed because we had one child, who was now mainly thrown into DH's care on nights and weekends so that I could sleep. The results were somewhat deplorable, simply because DH, like most men, is not primarily a child-caregiver or a homemaker. Thus, life went like this: Housework = didn't happen. Food = takeout and junk food. Childcare = massive amounts of television. After our second was born, I had major remediation work to do with our first - weaning him off of daytime television, getting him off of junk food, getting back to routines, dealing with discipline issues, etc.

Now, I'm not complaining about this - I am really appreciative of DH's efforts in coming home to do his best with childcare and coping with running the house. At the same time, do I want to go through that entire yearlong process again - this time with two children? It causes a lot of marital strife (having our kids in front of the TV bothers me like nothing else) and stress on my part, and it takes our family a long time to get over it.

And all that doesn't even get into the issue of dealing personally with HG/morning sickness. Do I want to go down that path again? It is a frightening, dark path... not knowing how bad it will get, not knowing how long it will last, not knowing if the medications will work or not, and having to deal with the terrible, grinding, sickness - day after day, week after week, month after month. It is a hard, hard path to walk. Do I even want to try to go there again?

If I could convince DH to go the vasectomy route, I wouldn't have to go through this angst! But he is hoping very much to convince me to have another kidlet, and I too am reluctant about permanent sterilization. So... something to keep praying about.

And now.... Off to write a proper blog entry updating our life! Yes! Woo hoo!