Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thoughts from an HG Mama

Any readers of this blog know that I am in the middle of praying through our "What do we want to do with our childbearing career?" question in hopes of arriving at a peaceful decision that both I and my husband can live with. As I see it, we have three options: (1) We can say that we are done, done, done, and be done! Finis! (2) We can say "maybe another, but not now" and be in a holding pattern, or (3) We can be "open to children" now, then, or any time in between. Where we'll end up is really a mystery - I'm just trying to pray and wait for the Lord's wisdom, and pray also for agreement between myself and DH.

A few days ago, I ran across another HG mama blogger - oddly enough, not among my scanty number of HG blogs, but amongst the natural-birth blogs that I read in droves. She is like me in that she adores pregnancy but dreads it for the HG-factor. She and her husband, however, have come to a place of peace in their decision that, HG or not, they are going to refrain from using either birth control or natural family planning, and welcome any and all children that God sends them. Wow! That is one brave woman - braver than I, I must admit. And while I don't have a steadfast stance on the fertility/birth control/sterilization/family size/etc. issue, I do admire and respect their position.

Here are a few snippets of conversation that she and I have had over the past few days (her part is in bold):

"It's probably not apparent in my post, but I really am at peace with our decision to be open to more children. I'll share with you why:

"My mother got pregnant 6 times (she has 7 children) on different forms of birth control.

"After surgery for endometriosis, sister A was told she couldn't get pregnant. 1 week later she conceived.

"Sister L got pregnant at 14 (several years ago), carried the baby until 38 weeks gestation and then he died in utero. No cause found.

"I got pregnant just 4 months after my second child was born and miscarried at 8-9 weeks. After that my cycles were so messed up I thought I couldn't get pregnant anymore. When we got pregnant with Anna is was very unexpected and she has been such a blessing!"

I'm curious! You said that you have made peace with your decision to be BC/NFP-free. Does that mean that you're really okay with going through HG every couple of years through menopause?

"Yes, I'm really okay with having HG every 2-3 years for the next 10-15 (ish?) years. Through my birth experiences and through those experiences of those I love I have learned that it is truly the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away (Job 1:21). If I decide I don't want any more children, as happened before I conceived A. (third child), the Lord may still decide that he wants me to have more. Should I decide I want children before the Lord's timing, I may have that child taken away (as happened with "baby MAC", conceived just 4 months after my second child, C., was born). I've found that when I wait on the Lord's timing instead of my own, blessing abounds."

How do you manage the fear? I lived with overwhelming fear for every cycle in between our eldest and our youngest, and it was exhausting.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) I have prayed so hard over the last few years. I feel like my relationship with the Lord has become deeper than I ever thought possible. I try to focus on the things I love most about pregnancy and how privileged I am to be used by the Creator of Heaven and Earth to bring life into the world. I view my trials as suffering for Christ. Through my sickness, those around me are witness to the physical and spiritual saving grace of Christ. They see how ill I am, and how I lean on the Lord, and how He always gets me through."

Also, what I noticed during my last pregnancy was that SO many things in our life got out of control, especially with our son (things like diet, TV time (skyrocketed), behavior issues (too sick to discipline), etc.), and they took months to get back under control - and we're still feeling the ramifications. How do you deal with not being able to care for kiddos, especially with multiple children?

"We've had this problem in our house, too. It's of particular concern now since S. (5) will begin homeschool in the fall. How will I homeschool through HG? I don't know. Thankfully, the worst of my illness is usually confined to between weeks 7 through 20/21 or so. We can take a good portion of that time "off" and call it summer vacation. As for diet, I've found that simple, nutritious meals aren't that hard to prepare/serve if planned carefully. My children LOVE frozen blueberries and will eat them like candy. Served with peanut butter crackers, it makes a nice snack. I've also found that by adding a bit more high-quality, high-calorie foods, as well as adding a good carbohydrate and protein each meal makes them full quickly and keeps them full longer. TV does tend to take over my children's time when I'm sick, so I'm planning to take away all tv's in the house except the one in my bedroom. They can watch bible movies, veggie tales, talking word factory, etc in there with me when I can't get out of bed. Also, I've found that when I take the tv's away they play nicely together and have a lot of fun! I wish I had an answer for you on discipline, but I don't. We have major problems there, too, during HG. Kelly at Generation Cedar also talks a lot about teaching our children to have Christ's "servant heart" and how pregnancy, especially a difficult one, is an excellent opportunity for children to learn to serve.

"I don't have all the answers. I simply feel called to give this part of my life over to the Lord and seek His will, not my own. I don't feel I should obey the Lord only if I'm sure the consequences will be to my liking, or if I think I will succeed. I feel I should obey "anyway", not "because". It's hard, I know it's hard!"

I asked B. if I could share her responses here, and she said "Sure!" I know that many HG mamas will have very different opinions than those shared here, and I also personally know many, many deeply devoted Christian HG mothers who have come to conclusions directly opposite to B's - so please don't think that I'm taking sides here! But for those mothers out there who would choose this route (the open-to-children-anytime route), I wanted her beautiful words to be out there for them! Thank you so much, B., for your insights! And I definitely agree that HG should have a puke-green awareness ribbon!

I would love to hear any other perspectives on this issue (family planning, biblical worldview, birth control, family size, fertility, etc.) as well as how they relate to HG - politely stated opinions only, as I know that many people hold very strong views on these issues!

Hyperemesis... and Gluten?

There is the occasional HG question on one of the birth yahoo groups I subscribe to, and one woman wrote the following:

"I started drinking ginger tea and drinking Hansen's Ginger Ale (no HFCS). My midwife recommended Vitamin B-6, so I take a combo of B-6, B-12 and folic acid (I can't stomach prenatals) and that seems to help. The biggest thing was my diet change this time around. I realized I was vomiting when I had gluten in my food. I took it out and it has helped a lot. I also eat mostly fruit and veggies, all organic. I also eat like every half hour, in tiny meals. I eat when I am nauseous too and although it is hard, it still helps to not vomit. I also munch on ice all day long. If I drink a glass of water, it can cause me to vomit. Munching ice has helped a lot so that I don't get dehydrated. I also will drink coconut water if I am throwing up a lot, to get my electrolytes and potassium up."

Interesting! Very interesting! Any concurrence out there in HG land?

I'm trying to do low-gluten right now (with lots of relapses), both to try to re-jumpstart my pregnancy weight loss and to deal with the fatigue issues that are ever-present for me. Wouldn't it be interested going gluten-free helped with HG issues, at least for the gluten-sensitive among us?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Someone is Channeling Me...

Occasionally I run across a blog post that could have been written by me... it's creepy. And it happened tonight! So I am cross-posting - thank you, sister blogger! You have saved me a lot of time!

My terrible secret

Not every detail mirrors my life, of course, but the thoughts, emotions, fears - it's all one big ditto. There sure are a lot of HG mothers out there when you start looking!

I've shared on this blog how torn I've felt about "should we, shouldn't we" in regards to considering any more pregnancies - both practically and theologically. Since my eternal vacillating has gotten me nowhere in terms of coming up with a peaceful decision, I have decided to commit the issue to prayer and wait for peace on this issue. I want to be able to say "We're done and we have peace with that decision" or "We're open to another child and we have peace with that decision" - rather than always having one foot in each camp and thinking something different depending on how I'm feeling, how the kids are behaving, how clean the house is, etc.

Hopefully I/we can come to a place of peace on this! I'm tired of being in limbo. And being who I am, having unmade decisions in my life is infinitely stressful. I was under a ton of stress not having the school decision made for our children (homeschool, public school, etc.) even though that decision didn't technically have to be made for another two years - and now that it is made, I have a lot more peace. I want the same thing regarding our childbearing career! I will write more on that as we go along this journey.

Night, all!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hodge-Podge of Anti-Nausea Remedies

Every few weeks, someone posts a question about bad morning sickness on Mamapedia - "I'm really sick and it's getting worse and I don't know what to do - help!" I always post the same thing: "Stay hydrated, try liquid nutrition, try to get Zofran if it gets bad, check out, look for a supportive care-provider." Yesterday, when one of these requests came out, I took the time to look through the answers, and I made notes of the various remedies mentioned by the mothers who responded (see below).

Looking at these answers, I am reminded once again of the fact that morning sickness remedies are highly individual. It's not "For condition A, take remedy B" - it's "For varying manifestations of condition A, take one of several thousand remedies and eventually find out what works for you." When I was pregnant with our eldest son, one of the most frustrating activities of the day was surfing the net for nausea remedies. I would find TONS of women writing "I had horrible morning sickness and I tried [remedy X] and it completely cured me!" Then I would, of course, try [remedy X] and find it to be useless for my nausea. It's such a shot in the dark.

And of course, some of these women are writing about their experience with normal morning sickness, while others are writing about severe morning sickness or hyperemesis - quite different things in terms of being able to find remedies.

Several of these remedies, especially the drugs, I had not heard of before. Always good to have new options to try!

Here is a list of things mentioned:

- Sea bands

- 8 oz. of warm water with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, taken at lunch time and then again in the middle of the night

- Zofran, Reglan, Tigan, etc.

- PICC Line

- Liquid nutrition (Jell-O, Boost, Gatorade)

- Sucking on a thin slice of raw ginger

- Ginger tea, from fresh or powdered ginger

- IV fluids

- Acupuncture

- Ginger ale

- Peppermint candies

- Lemon-ginger tea

- Vitamin B supplements

- Peppermint-Ginger together in Shaklee's Stomach Soothing Complex (???)

- Peppermint aromatherapy

- Cool water - to drink and to use with a wet washcloth on the forehead

- "Try mint tea with honey and cinnamon. Make sure you get ceylon cinnamon not cassia cinnamon (which is what you usually find in the store)."

- Tums

- Mint tea

- Unisom & Vitamin B combo

- Emetrol

- Eating whatever one can keep down

- Promethezane

- Zantac 150 daily

- Ginger pills

- Ginger cookies before bed

- Prenatal vitamin containing anti-nausea medicine

- Freeze pops

- Crackers, lemon-lime soda and a banana

- Exercise

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Verdict on Residual Nausea: Very Rare!

My conclusion from the number of responses received on my last post regarding residual nausea (that is, none!): Post-hyperemesis residual nausea or being nausea-prone post-hyperemesis is extremely rare! Hurray!!

Thus, those of you out there suffering from hyperemesis don't need to worry - it looks like most hyperemetic mothers bid their nausea farewell at baby's birth (or before!).

On the flip side: Well, Anna, looks like it's just you and me! LOL!! :)