Monday, April 15, 2013

This Should Answer Everyone's Questions

I hope this makes sense, because I am very, very tired. I am going on my 5th day of very little sleep. I have so many emails, phone calls, text messages, etc to catch up on...and don't have an ounce of energy for it right now.

Clint and I had planned to wait a while before announcing that we are expecting. I am 16 weeks along. While pregnancy has always been challenging for me due to severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) that necessitates 8 months of bed rest, a plethora of drugs, and other efforts to control it, this one has had some new twists.

What is HG? Simply put, I make a lot more of the pregnancy hormone than most women do. This is good to support a pregnancy, but very hard on my body. It overwhelms my liver which my body fights by vomiting. It's a condition that isolates you socially and takes you to your limit physically.  

We wanted to have another baby after Hannah was born. I was unable to conceive. Then, I did conceive twice, but lost the babies both times. So, figuring "That's that," we gave up trying to have a baby and had set some new life goals. We had laid the groundwork for some of those goals and were about to begin pursuing them in earnest when .... WHAM! Life threw us a curveball! We are very happy and look forward to welcoming this little person into our lives.

Less than 1% of 44 year old women can conceive naturally. This, coupled with my miscarriage history, is why we didn't expect another pregnancy and is why the doctor called me a miracle when I turned up in his office pregnant.

The baby is on target growth wise and looks great. The doctor said he sees no reason why this pregnancy will not continue. Still, Clint and I are very familiar with how fragile life can be. We covet your prayers for the life and health of this child. 

Right after I learned I was expecting, I experienced some spotting and a tiny bit of tissue loss. At the same time, the symptoms of pregnancy stopped. I have had several miscarriages, so I knew what all of that meant. I prepared myself for my womb to clean itself out. It didn't. Instead, I started feeling "pregnant" again. Then, I was violently ill. Our heads were spinning! What in the world was going on?! I felt like I was going crazy!! It is called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. I was carrying two. One baby died and was reabsorbed while the other baby lived. 

The HG hit hard after that. I did everything I was suppose to and still felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I kept getting sicker and sicker. We had to resort to liquid meals, hydrating enemas, and anti-emetic suppositories to keep me out of the hospital. 

On the very first time I threw up, fluid (with food particles) was forced up into my tonsils. I got an infection that lasted nearly 3 months! (I finally cured this by using a honey, garlic, cayenne mixture I used 1 tsp at a time to wash over the area every 30 minutes for half a day. It was extremely effective on removing the pus and worked very quickly to kill the bacteria.)

I mentioned to my new OB that I have always been aggressive on self care to avoid the hospital, but this time, I felt like things weren't working for me. He didn't really say anything to that, but he did write a prescription for everything I asked for.

As a result of the vomiting, laryngitis set in. So then I couldn't talk on the phone. I didn't want everyone to know how bad it was lest they worry, so I withdrew.

We had already paid for the rental in OBX before I got pregnant, so we had to go or lose our investment. That was a different kind of vacation. I mostly sat around and watched my active family go, go, go without me. It was OK though. When they were gone, I slept, slept, slept! 

Then, the flu hit us. Have mercy! I was trying to be there for my sick children and husband, support a growing baby, endure and manage the HG, fight the dehydration, clear up the tonsil infection, cope with the flu, then I got bronchitis. That's where it got worse.

I started bringing up lots of bright red blood. 

Because I have literally thrown up thousands of times during my 14 pregnancies, I have significant wear and tear to my insides. It is normal for me to see a little blood when I vomit now due to Mallory Weiss tears (click for pict). The bleeding usually stops within minutes to a few hours. However, this wasn't "the little" I am use to seeing. And, it didn't stop. It would slow down, but not go away completely. The heavy coughing from the bronchitis was/is aggravating the tears. I had to continually work to spit up the blood because if I swallowed any at all, I became very nauseous which only compounded the issue. It kept getting worse, and I kept getting weaker. That's what sent me to the ER. 

I had a wonderful, caring, "HG aware" doctor give me excellent care while I was there. Honestly, in 20 years of having children and struggling with HG, he was the best doctor I have seen. He listened to me. He cared I was struggling and clearly wanted to make it easier on me. He was a bit shocked I had been given such a low dose of Zofran to control my vomiting. He told me I can safely increase the dosage many times over and take it closer together to give my body the rest it needs to heal. Now, this is information I could have used many pregnancies ago to save my body wear and tear! He gave me more tools to use to try to get this bleeding stopped.

So that's what's been going on. 
We thank those who have known all along, kept our confidence, and prayed with us through everything so far. I very much appreciate each text, email, voice message, etc. Those "little" things helped more than you can imagine.

I was asked if the HG will go away like it does for some women at 20 weeks or so. No, mine lasts until the baby is born. I have even thrown up in labor. A lot of women say they will do anything for their children. HG suffering mothers have already been tested in this area before their babies are even born.