Hyperemesis is not just morning sickness

After fourteen months of trying to get pregnant, I finally made an appointment with the doctor.  We discussed my health, my history and an action plan was made.  I was prescribed the medication Clomid, which is used to stimulate ovulation. Clomid is a very strong drug, and you can only take it for a few months.

I took the medication and followed my doctor’s orders religiously for a few months, only to get a big fat negative on pregnancy tests.  Luckily, the month that I was allowed to take the medication, I found out that I was pregnant.  After about twenty or so months, I was going to be a mom.

At four weeks into my pregnancy, the nausea began.  Everyone told me that this was normal. I was experiencing “ morning sickness“.  I was given tips and tricks by everyone I knew. I drank 7-up, I ate crackers, I took TUMS, but the vomit continued. The “morning sickness” that I was experiencing turned into day, afternoon, night, and early morning sickness.

During all of these symptoms, I managed to make it to work.  I worked shift work which consists of a 10-plus hour long day, and at least a two hour commute home.  I’m not sure how I even did it, really.  I remember pulling over on the freeway several times, just to vomit.  I remember carrying plastic bags with me, in case I got sick. I spent a ton of time lying on the bathroom floor.

At one point in my pregnancy, I vomited so much in one day that I knew that it was time to go to the hospital. I was diagnosed as “extremely dehydrated” and was given medication for my nausea and an IV for several hours; I had tried to take oral medications for my nausea prior, but they did not work. While I was at the hospital, the doctor mentioned “Hyperemesis Gravidarum” . I had never heard this term prior to the doctor telling me about it.  After checking out of the hospital, I went home and researched it on the Internet.

I was shocked when I read this information. Everyone kept telling me that the “morning sickness” would be over soon.  After reading about Hyperemesis, I went into a state of depression.  I knew that this vomiting and sickness would probably not be over, until I had a baby in my arms. I felt like this roller coaster of pregnancy was never going to end.

Just when I thought that the Hyperemesis was the worst part of my pregnancy, I was wrong.  At 32 weeks pregnant, I had a gall bladder attack in the middle of the night. After a weekend in the hospital, I was told that I had gallstones, possibly caused by the Hyperemesis, and that I would have to have surgery, as soon as my baby was born.

At 36 weeks, I had a second gallbladder attack, while at work. I knew that I was not going to go home that night.  After checking into the hospital, I was given medication for my severe pain. The next morning, I delivered my son via c-section, as he was breech.  He ended up spending 6 days in the NICU for breathing issues.  A few days after delivering my son, I had a procedure to remove the gallstones. And the day after my gallstones were removed, I had gallbladder surgery.

I constantly get asked if I’m going to have a second child.  After telling this story, most people understand.  Statistics show that woman who experience Hyperemesis with one pregnancy have over a 50% chance of having it with a second pregnancy.  I just can’t do that a second time.

As of today, I have a healthy 6-year old son.  Every time I hear someone talk about their morning sickness, I almost get post traumatic syndrome.  I have friends whom have also had Hyperemesis.  We have a little sisterhood of women, who get it.  I wish I had these women in my life when I was pregnant.

Becoming pregnant changed my life, and I’d love to hear more about your best or most difficult pregnancy moments. By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an all expenses paid trip to a conference on mothers hosted by the UN Foundation in DC (Jan/Feb 2012), an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs September 19 to October 16, 2011. A random winner will be announced by October 18, 2011.

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