One of my favorite things to do is to serve as a mentor mom with my local MOPS-Mothers of Preschoolers chapter. Earlier in the year a MOPS mom shared her story with the group and I was really impacted by it. I have a feeling many moms suffered and didn’t receive encouragement like Shawna has to give. If you know a pregnant mom with HG, please pass this information on. Thanks, Shawna, for sharing!
Growing up I had always heard how sick with morning sickness my mother was while she was pregnant with me. I never truly understood how sick she was until I became pregnant with my first child. I was so ecstatic that God had blessed me with this miracle. My husband and I were overjoyed; all of our prayers had been answered. Until one day, I woke up one morning with a wave of nausea flooding over me and the extreme urge to vomit. I then made the now all too familiar run to the toilet and this became the beginning of nine full months of misery.
I threw up multiple times a day from the first couple of weeks and it lasted until I was at the hospital ready to push. The first two months were the worst. I could barely get out of bed let alone eat or drink. I began to waste away. I had trips to the ER for IV fluids and medication. I was in such misery that one day I found myself laying on the bathroom floor in agony, crying and pleading to God to stop this. My lowest point was me telling God that I would not be upset if I had a miscarriage. I was begging for an end and I knew God was the only one who could help me.
I was diagnosised with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum or extreme morning sickness. 90% of pregnant women suffer some sort of morning sickness and of those only 8% of women have HG. I was one of the lucky 8%.
I was given medication that enabled me to function but did not take away the nausea or vomiting. I felt that I was on a constant roller coaster 24 hours a day.
I was thankful that my family understood what I was going through but they were all in California and others were not so understanding. Everyone wanted to know what was wrong with me. I was asked by a friend if I had cancer because of the grey color of my skin and the medications that I was taking. My mother in law was certain that I was harming the baby and even my best friend told me that I looked like crap. No pregnancy glow for me. If you have never had HG you cannot understand what it is like. Many other mothers would tell me, “Oh, I was sick every morning for the first 3 weeks. All you have to do is eat some crackers and club soda; you’ll be good as new.” If one more person told me to eat a cracker I was going to scream! No one understood what I was going through and I felt very alone and spent many hours praying for help.
I was told about this awesome group called the HERS Foundation and its website. It is a great forum for research and treatment of HG. The message boards are filled with horrible stories of women suffering. HG is little known by the public and even by some doctors.
There are stories of women who were told by their OB’s that this was all in their head, it can’t be THAT bad, or that they just did not want this baby bad enough or even being referred to see a psychiatrist. Some women even went to the extreme of ending their pregnancy to stop the suffering.
There is no know cause or cure but many think that it is genetically passed from mother to daughter. HERS is doing genetic research to find a cure. You can have HG and a healthy pregnancy. I luckily had a great and helpful doctor. I went on to lose 40lbs and looked terrible but other than that I had a normal pregnancy and thankfully an easy delivery. I even went on to have another child and this time I only lost 35lbs.
Looking back on this I wonder why millions of women become pregnant each year but the things that we go through during our pregnancy are still a secret. God has given us an amazing gift so why don’t women share what really happens. I think that it is our duty as women to share with others, teach them and speak freely. How many of you while you were pregnant sat there and said, “Why did no one tell me about this?” I ask you here today to help spread the word about HG and help women who are suffering needlessly.
All in all I ended up with two beautiful and healthy kids and I learned many things by going through this. I learned that I am a lot stronger both physically and emotionally than I had thought. I learned that God does answer all of your prayers but does not always give you the answer you were wanting. And my last lesson is that I now know why I am an only child!