What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum? Yes, I Have It

pregnancy sickness

Day-in-the-life with HG.

It’s really hard to explain what I’ve been through over the last six or so months. Let’s just say, my emotions are not the only part of me that is raw.

So you ask, what am I referring to? What have I been going through? Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I literally want to vomit as I type the words.

I am not ashamed to say being pregnant has been pure hell. And while pregnancy is supposed to be a time when a mother-to-be should be glowing, instead I’ve been throwing-up and mentally and emotionally battling each and every day. HG is a condition that some pregnant women develop. Not only does HG make you feel nauseous 24/7 (think round-the-clock morning sickness from your first trimester into your third), but it has the potential of causing electrolyte imbalances and malnutrition since you cannot keep much food or liquids down. Medication and hospitalization is often necessary. Unfair judgment is almost unavoidable and many women are burdened with deep shame and loneliness as it can be completely isolating in the sense that NO ONE in your little world can relate!

If you also suffer this condition, you may be part of the minority, but let me assure you, you are not alone! HG is rare—studies show less than 2% of women experience this highly unpleasant complication. Although I try to compare HG to morning sickness, it is almost incomparable. Think of the worst hangover, a horrible case of food poisoning, and the most violent stomach bug you have ever experienced—then combine them and try to grow a human–successfully and joyfully might I add.

Pregnant life with HG means that every smell is heightened and sensitivities even to aromas that I would typically find normal or pleasant become stomach churning. For instance, I can tell by smell if someone opened the refrigerator door while I am 30 feet away in another room, with my back turned. Zero exaggeration! I have begged and pleaded with my husband and family not to cook in our home and have struggled to thoroughly brush my teeth, use body lotion, and condition my hair during most of the first two trimesters.

Not only am I ultra-aware of smells while I have HG, but the constant challenge of what to eat and when plagues me!

Meat and dairy are 100% not feasible with my appetite and haven’t been for months. I’ve forced myself to drink 30-40 ounces of water nightly since that’s the only time I can keep it down, and even managed to slowly sip freezing cold tea during the day. At about 12 weeks, all I could handle was a Coke, Doritos and a hard boiled egg. Can someone say, Random?! This does not sound like the ideal pregnancy diet, right? It wasn’t, and it sucked!

During the worst of it (weeks 6 through about 18), I was also hypersensitive to movement and temperature. An uncomfortable cold hard floor might not seem like the ideal place to be. However, staying as close to the floor as possible helped minimize smells, and was slightly cooler. Thank goodness for Fall and the cooler weather in the air! In fact, lying in a pile of snow naked actually sounds AMAZING right now!

As you might understand from my descriptions above, HG does not lend itself well to traveling. I experienced HG during my first pregnancy with Asher so I expected it might surface again with the current baby. However, my symptoms have been significantly worse this go around. Plus, when I was pregnant the first time, I did not have an active toddler, emerging clothing business and fashion shows to tend to.

working mom

Work must continue!

I’m currently in the home stretch and still experiencing symptoms. But, I am beyond grateful for the PROGRESS…the moments of relief that steadily get longer each week, reacquiring an appetite for breakfast foods and actually enjoying some nursery planning as we look forward to baby! Somehow I made it almost ¾ of the way and I know I could not have made it here alone. Let me express my sincerest and deepest gratitude for those who have been solid rocks and pillars of strength in my world…the phone calls, texts, prayers and just the thought of your momentary acts of kindness has literally been my saving grace!

To the strangers, some of whom I have literally never met but have heard my story and uplifted me in prayer, may God shine light into your life for the love you have extended me!

To my friends who have “come my way” for everything from home visits to play dates with Asher to delivering cards and gifts to much needed girl chats, despite what you had going on in your own personal lives…I owe you and I am BEYOND grateful! How blessed am I to have such amazing women in my life!

To my family who has dealt with me on some of the lowest of lows…helping me physically when I literally had no strength to move from the bathroom floor to my bed and listening to my tears of pain and deep, unrelenting frustration, I am grateful and will never forget the love you have shown me.

My dear kid siblings, Rachel and Brooke who gave up much of their summer to help care for my son and serve me, literally standing by my side at every momentary low, I know this was not an easy experience for you and you sacrificed personally to be with me…please know, you are the reason I made it through the absolute darkest days. Your love is respected and your grace was sustaining! I don’t know many people in their teens and twenties, who would give up their social calendar and the beach for countless weeks in the summer! Thank you!

To my dear husband, Jake, please note this is partly your fault, and it still makes me feel 1% better to cast some of blame your way…but, in all seriousness, I am beyond grateful for your sacrifices and advocacy during this time. Helping “explain” what I was going through when I could barely speak for myself! I know it was probably the hardest on you with almost zero breaks, the financial and personal sacrifices and constant professional juggling with a business of your own. I am convinced that our future will only carry more blessings for the resilience and growth we have shared. And while this has not been easy and the fog has not yet lifted, adding another baby boy to our world will carry more lifelong JOY than either of us can comprehend! I ask God to continue to bless you daily with patience, grace, peace and strength and pray you genuinely know without doubt, how much I love, respect and appreciate you and what you have provided our family. I know it is not always properly conveyed! Thank you!

Are you part of the minority, are you suffering from HG or severe morning (AKA all day sickness)? Please tell me how you have managed through this terrible condition. Are you happiest lying on the floor under a fan, or perhaps naked in the snow? Have you swallowed your pride and leaned on family and friends for everything from grocery shopping to personal sanity? Please share your HG-war stories so that we can shed light on this condition and help other women…even if just by relating until they can make it through. Literally knowing you are not alone can be the single most sustaining force on the darkest of days!

mom to be

#worthit

Now I am beginning to rejoice…only a few short months…make that, weeks to go! And of course, IT will all have been worth it!

Stay At Home (not) Sloppy Mom

Welcome New Year’s Resolution number one (actually number two)… I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to share any of them and just do them this year. But perhaps, I will keep the big one to myself and share some of the less dramatic little ones along the way (while I’m doing them of course)!

Being a Stay at Home Mom is both a blessing and a curse! Please don’t hate me yet and hear me out before you judge. I am (mostly) a stay at home mom, working when my toddler sleeps, evenings, early mornings and when I am fortunate enough to bribe a doting Grandparent over for a sitter session (they really don’t take much bribing and for that I am very grateful). Some days I put in a few hours and other days I may lock myself in my office for upwards of ten (and that’s not the time I spend being mommy, wifey, house cleaner or chef). I have been a real estate broker and interior designer for the better part of a decade. I never was the type that just “did” real estate as a hobby, it was my career and it was something I was both good at and passionate about. I swore I was going back to work full time after my son was a year old, but considering his 2nd Birthday is in February, I clearly missed that boat. Then we built a house, life “happened” and now, the talk of baby number two has consumed most free time and while dreading another horrific pregnancy, the time is now or never…So, I have continued to stay home and feel blessed to be with my son daily and to have a husband who works hard to provide that ability. If you every read this Jake, thank you!

Okay, onto the curse part… Most SAHM’s know, it is no picnic picking up after a toddler, baby (or two), potty training, changing diapers, preparing multiple meals (and snacks) a day, battling for naps, doing countless loads of laundry, monitoring the home zoo, and caring for any home on any given day while trying to maintain a pretty YOU! Huh? Did someone say me? Yes, it’s certainly no secret we (all moms) are typically the last on the “to do” lists and often suffer for it. Some may gain weight because they don’t have time to exercise. Others loose weight as a result of eating most meals standing up or by stuffing Balance Bars down your throat while dressing your children; Then you probably gain it back again while gorging on double dark chocolate brownie ice cream at 11PM because you’re hungry. Some of us never, let me repeat, never, get our nails done and our toes may actually look prehistoric…please don’t comment. If it offends, don’t look. As for our hair…if you’re rocking the perm from the 80’s, it may be time for a change, but for those of you who are still hanging onto Jenifer Aniston’s 90’s “layered look,” lucky you, it’s still in! For those of you who say, hair, huh? This is probably a good post for you to read and take note.

Onto the resolution part. I made it a point this year, for me, to promise myself that I was no longer going to stay at home and look, act, be or do anything sloppy. I have always been the type of person who can’t leave my bedroom without (hospital style) making my bed and I can’t go to sleep without cleaning the kitchen and starting the dishwasher. I am certainly, Type “A” in many ways, however, here comes the SAHM syndrome…I have often times let myself go (or rather just, be). I have been known to stay in my PJ’s until my son’s afternoon nap, just to second guess myself, “hrmmm….should I just take a shower and get in fresh PJ’s for the next night.” Repeat. You get the idea. As cute as some Victoria’s Secret PJ’s have become, as a daily uniform it is not that appealing. For someone who LOVES fashion and actually has a fairly healthy wardrobe, I decided I have no excuse to be lazy. If I had to actually leave the house and be at a office around colleagues (or anyone who mattered), I would clearly put in more effort.

Solution: Dress comfortably cute, every day! And, have back up accessories or a simple “swap” ready in case you must leave the house quickly and be “seen.”

Here is an example of today:

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Leggings: Simple Grey by Gabriella Rocha (brilliantly fleece lined) from 6PM.com. Unfortunately grey is sold out, but burgundy is still available today. Or, I love these Grey Knit Leggings, also by Gabriella Rocha.

Tank: Stretchy by Anue from 6PM.com. Last Season.

Open Cardigan: The Loft. Loft.com. Last Season.

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And, just in case, I get called out for a mommy lunch or client meeting last minute, here are my go to accessories…a Rose Gold Belt and Necklace from The Loft. Last Season. Gold Bracelet. It was a Gift. And, Gold Cole Hann Shoes from 6PM.com. A steal of a deal today at just $66.99 vs. $328!!! I might need a second pair!

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This took me less than five minutes to plan (and dress). A little effort really can go a long way!