My name is Jessyka. I am starting this blog as a documentation of my HG pregnancy; as an encouragement to those currently suffering from HG and/or those who have previously suffered from HG; as an informational resource to those curious about HG; and as a place to discuss faith, food, health, and wellness. The topics will range from God, HG, food/food prep, family, exercise… These topics have either always been incredibly important to me or have newly become important to me through recent life experiences. I feel that I have something to say about them – and what I have to say I wish to share with a wider audience. I may post some things that challenge conventional or mainstream thoughts and beliefs. Whatever I post I stand firmly behind (unless I otherwise state.) I welcome thoughtful, respectful discussion however. I am constantly in a state of learning and like to consider what others have to say. When we stop growing, we die. I wish to keep growing.
What is HG?
What is HG? HG stands for hyperemesis graviduram. Try saying that three times fast! Now, try saying it three times fast while bent over a toilet bowl with your mouth full of vomit. Hyperemesis gravidarum is defined as “excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.” For many women with HG, their lives are disrupted as they spend many hours in the bathroom heaving into a toilet. Nausea is persistent and not relieved by vomiting. Often times their mouths produce excessive saliva, and they suffer from splitting headaches (either on their own or caused by the nausea/vomiting) and debilitating fatigue. Some women visit the hospital multiple times during their pregnancy because they’ve not been able to hold down food or water for days. They live on IVs and PICC lines (a catheter that runs to the heart.) Some women lose vast amounts of weight and never regain it their whole pregnancy. They take multiple medications, desperately hoping for the right cocktail that will help them keep down their last meal of crackers and Ensure. Even the simple thought of food can send them running to the bathroom. They are often misunderstood by medical professionals, misunderstood by family, misunderstood by friends. The so-called traditional methods of dealing with morning sickness do not work on these women. The causes of HG are currently unknown. The effects of HG can be devastating during and after pregnancy. Many women are blindsided by this disease, being otherwise “healthy” prior to pregnancy. They will tell you that it is terrible to feel sad, depressed, and anxious during a time when most would be rejoicing. Some women have been driven to abort their pregnancy because of severe malnutrition, poor medical advice and care, inadequate emotional support, and crippling depression. Some women have died.
HG is like being trapped in your own body, isolated from the world around you, waiting for something to change.
A Little About My HG Pregnancy
I knew something was not right when it felt like my insides were coiling up into hard knots and my head began to ache. Little did I know on that Thanksgiving evening that I would struggle with persistent nausea and vomiting until I gave birth at 34 weeks to my beautiful little boy. For a couple of weeks after that initial experience I exhausted every option of traditional methods to relieve the nausea and vomiting until I finally begged a prescription of Zofran from the first practice I saw. I knew that if I didn’t get something in me fast to stop the vomiting, I’d lose weight quickly. Their flippant disregard for how truly terrible I felt caused me to seek out another doctor who had no problem prescribing me Zofran but didn’t do much for me otherwise. Zofran stopped me from vomiting on most occasions, but I still suffered from constant nausea and splitting headaches. I cried a lot in the beginning – the pregnancy was unplanned to begin with – but then I stopped talking about how terrible I felt. I missed a lot of days at work in the beginning (and whenever my prescription ran out and I relapsed I would usually miss a day or two) and ended up being suspended. After that I just “sucked it up,” and I think people at work just assumed that I felt better. I missed church services as well. It tore at me that I did so because of my duties there. The person closest to me – my husband – got to see first hand how I was. I’m so grateful that he was there because I don’t know how I would have cared for myself without him. All I could do most days was roll out of bed, go to work, come home and fall asleep. Sleep was my only escape.
I am almost one year post partum, and I am finally feeling almost “normal.” It’s taken prayer, lots of sleep, friends, family, and good nutrition to get here. HG feels farther and farther away. And I’m hoping by the grace of God that I will never have to go through it again. I like to say that if I had enemies, I wouldn’t even wish HG on them. Nobody should have to suffer like that.
The Healing Process
Back in November 2013, I gave God my health at the altar. It was the first time I’d ever prayed that. I’d given many things over to Him in my past but never my health – even during pregnancy. I’d asked for specific healing for specific things but had never completely surrendered that to Him. I guess I thought I’d always had my health on lock by myself. The awesome thing? He’d always healed me of whatever I asked for. In that same service, my husband prayed for my back which had been injured by a car trunk slamming down on me. Immediately after he prayed, the tension in my back released, and I have not struggled in that spot since.
After that service, my health continued to decline. I began to have symptoms of HG again. 6 months post-partum I was feeling nauseous again in the mornings and whenever I ate something. For a few days I thought I might be pregnant again. I was not. I began to read. And read. And read some more. And it was like God was helping to direct my thoughts and where my searchings lead. Some might say I should have gone to a doctor. I did not want a doctor. The solution while I was pregnant was just to medicate me, not to figure out the root problem. I wanted to get at the root, dig that bad boy up, and burn it. And by God’s grace, I think I’ve found it, and I’m working on it. As I sit here typing this, I feel quite all right! I don’t feel perfect, of course; I’m taking my solution day by day so as not to overwhelm myself. And let’s not forget that we are frail, fragile creatures living in a sinful world. We will never achieve perfect health in this realm. But I have renewed energy and strength, and I no longer feel as frail as I once did. I sleep like a log now. I’m calmer in my mind and words and actions come easier. Most importantly, I’ve felt a renewal in some dreams and interests that I’ve had in the past as well as have new-found future prospects – this blog being one of several. I’m looking forward to the day when I can once again resume physical exercise. I’ve got a beautiful road bike calling my name (and a bike seat just for my son too!)
If you are intrigued by any of the above, I invite you to follow along and to discuss with me whatever you’d like. Pick my brain, and of course, I will always encourage you to read and discover for yourself. When you find answers on your own, then you own what you know.