Sunday, April 25, 2010

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!

1 comment:

  1. 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!


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