This post was written several months ago, which will account for the time discrepancies.
Hello, dear readers!
Our newest little one just turned three months old, so it's time to sit down and reflect! I would like to spend just a few minutes with you processing my thoughts regarding our last pregnancy, including hyperemesis research, our pregnancy, and our birth experience. Some of this will be a repetition of material already covered, but I will ask your pardon and go ahead anyway.
Our newest little one was born from our fifth pregnancy, the previous four including one baby lost in a miscarriage and three live-born children.
All of you know that I have put in hundreds of hours over the past five-or-so years researching hyperemesis, a devastating condition that manifested during our first term pregnancy and has been with us ever since (actively during pregnancy and between pregnancies in residual nausea). This was the first pregnancy in which I fully utilized my research findings, including:
(1) Use of the very-low-carb diet, both pre- and post-conception.
(2) Use of a wide range of lacto-fermented foods.
(3) Various supplements.
To say that this pregnancy was successful in our aim to avoid hyperemesis would be an understatement. I went from my normal state, which is uncontrollable nausea and vomiting plus high levels of medication, to a pregnancy in which I did not throw up once (except during labor!). No medications, no vomiting, no incapacitating nausea - though I was still very nauseated and remained nauseated till the day of birth.
Additionally, with this pregnancy I have dealt with zero residual nausea. Usually residual nausea is somewhat of an issue for the long-term, but this time the nausea disappeared completely on the day of birth and has not manifested again, even for a moment. This too is a huge improvement.
I thank the Lord for this amazing blessing, and I pray that it continues with future pregnancies. I am already back on the VLC diet and am getting back into supplements and lacto-fermented foods. I do not want to play around with the possibility of recurrence, and I intend to maintain constant vigilance.
Here are the problems (or difficulties) with the experiment I conducted:
(1) Sample size n=1.
Enough said. Even repeat-hyperemesis mothers sometimes have a non-HG pregnancy.
(2) Confounding variables
While I was testing the VLC diet, I also was using the fermented foods method. That's a confounding variable. Additionally, baby is our first (known) girl, and HG mothers do sometimes report differences between boy pregnancies and girl pregnancies (though any differences are not usually as drastic as the difference between active HG and non-emetic pregnancies)
In the HG world, I'm a minor player. I am not a severe, hardcore HG mother. My HG, comparatively speaking, is mild. Thus, I would really want to see what I did work for someone who experiences hardcore HG (though I have heard of it happening).
It will be interesting to see where this goes from here - both with me and with other mothers who elect to try this.
(1) One interesting observation was the fact that our newest little one did not get any baby acne (the normal acne that usually breaks out within the first day after birth). Since my hormones were healthier this time around, could that mean that her hormones were healthier too... and thus no baby acne? An interesting point to ponder.
Another interesting change (more hormones?) with this pregnancy was the fact that I was able to nurse our toddler throughout the pregnancy with almost no pain - as opposed to the excruciating pain that I usually experience while trying to nurse while pregnant.
(2) I am so thankful that this pregnancy went so well... and now I'm looking for more things to improve! I would love to work harder on improving nausea levels (which were still very, very difficult in a non-HG way) and also work on improving my health so that the nausea doesn't last the entire pregnancy. There's still so much room for improvement!
(3) Another interesting point is the simple fact that if going very low carb worked so well for me, think how well this could work for women with normal morning sickness! The message that is currently preached to mothers struggling with nausea is "Eat lots of simple carbs!" - but I believe, and others have agreed, that simple carbs often make things worse (much, much worse) over the long run. How much better could women feel during pregnancy if we switched that to "Skip the carbs and eat protein and fat!"
I've now had three months to process our birth.
This birth was unusual in several ways. Depending on how you look at it, it was either our longest labor (over 20 hours) or our shortest labor (less than 15 minutes). It was also our first accidentally unassisted birth.
I have always heard it said that super-fast labors are not desirable - that they can be rather traumatic. I did not find this to be true. Granted, this labor was perhaps a bit sudden. But... it was also awesome. Believe it or not, I'm not a fan of childbirth. And I'll take my ten-minute super-fast labor any day over the long, drawn-out kind any day. In fact, I think I'd like this type from here on out. (If only we were able to order them as simply as that!)
We love our dear midwife and our sweet doula. We would not plan an unassisted birth intentionally. But I am no longer afraid of unassisted birth, and I'll be okay with that eventuality if we ever have another super-fast entrance.
One thing I did learn is that I really do prefer to labor alone. I plan to talk with our midwife to see what can be done to arrange solo laboring at future births.
Additionally, I am going to be absolutely certain that I am in steady hard labor before I call out a midwife again. This time, I didn't actually call my midwife out - she just happened to be in the area and ended up staying. But my main feeling during her stay was one of humiliated embarrassment that I wasn't getting anywhere and was wasting her time, and I think that that could have hindered my labor in and of itself. I adore my midwife - but I felt uncomfortably watched, even though she wasn't in the same room. Call it performance anxiety, I suppose! Next time I will not be calling out the birth team until I am absolutely 100% sure that it is the real thing.
|Three days old.|
What can I say? This has been an amazing year. So many new experiences. Getting to see the fruit of so many years' work on hyperemesis has been wonderful, and I thank the Lord for it.
Where does the road lead from here?
Good question. Most likely, a new little one will not join our family for quite some time - going by our history, for at least a year or more. I plan to spend that time researching, continuing the VLC diet, working on my supplement plan, and bulking up on lacto-fermented foods and healthy fats.
Only time will tell if the diet will work on a repeat basis to avoid hyperemesis. And only the Lord knows if we will ever be blessed with another little one. Time will tell on both of those.
In the meantime, my life is full. I am creating a home, nurturing and disciplining and teaching our children, serving my husband, growing as a believer, doing a crazy amount of chores and housework, and throwing in a few minutes of blogging when I have a chance. Life is good.
This has been an amazing year. We have seen God's faithfulness to our family in so many different aspects of our home and family.
I'm looking forward to seeing the next couple of years unfold.