I found out I was pregnant very early on. When I say very early, I mean only about 8 days after I ovulated. I pretty much knew a few days after implantation. Thanks to charting basal body temperature, ovulation signs, and what felt like a million other things, along with Dollar General, cheapy, $1 pregnancy tests, I was able to know I was pregnant almost as soon as it happened, which was pretty exciting and nerve racking. Medically, I found out at 3 weeks pregnant (based on last menstrual period). Like many, I thought that morning sickness was one of the first signs of pregnancy. I was wrong.
First, I had tested early because I was so emotional, I figured if I wasn’t pregnant, I was going crazy and taking my husband with me! Otherwise, I was sure that I was out of that cycle of trying to conceive. Then, when I tested positive, I thought “Hey, I haven’t gotten sick yet! Alright!”. As each week went by without my even feeling slightly ill, I kept thinking “I’m gonna get through this without any morning sickness.”, and I even told some friends that due to my lack of morning sickness, I thought that I would have a pretty easy pregnancy. Yeah, at this point, you can start figuring that things went the other direction.
Almost as soon as I passed the six week mark (but still before seven weeks) I started feeling sick. Very sick. I threw up once, then, due to my hatred of vomiting and the fact that I always felt ill, I started eating popsicles and drinking water–nothing more. But even then I was getting sick. Working with a bunch of catty women (I was a Certified Nurse Aide), I always heard “That’s normal!” and “Suck it up!”, so I did. For about 6 weeks. During those six weeks, my routine was this: wake up at noon (I worked second shift), eat an italian ice or popsicle slowly so I (fingers crossed) wouldn’t get sick. Get dressed and be to work at 2:45 (possibly a little later if I pulled over to throw up), wipe adult butts while holding bile in my mouth until I could get to the bathroom, rinsing out my mouth, repeat butt wiping and heaving. Go on break and try to rest to save energy, wipe butts again, get out of work at 11 pm, go home, put wood in the wood stove, and shower (possibly vomit bile and/or water in the shower), let the dog out, vomit in the snow, go to sleep. My poor husband lived on bologna sandwiches, hotdogs, and ramen noodles; I couldn’t even make those for him! To make matters even worse, our wedding was to be when I was eight weeks pregnant, leaving me sick as a dog and pretending to feel fabulous (after over a year of planning, there was NO way we were pushing it back…we had already set invites, booked the date at the church, and I had bought my dress. Pushing it back until after the baby or until I felt better just was not an option) while really wanting to puke on the alter. Hurray.
At my 12 week appointment, my midwife, who I was meeting for the first time, asked if I had any sickness or lost any weight. I simply said yes. She asked how much. I told her that I hardly ate anything in the last 6 weeks, almost passed out at work, and lost 18 pounds. Her eyes got huge and she pushed back my appointment; at that moment, getting me hooked up to an IV was much more important than anything else. So, after finding my little ones heartbeat, I was sent to the hospital portion of the clinic and given 2 bags of lactate ringers, along with an IV dose of Zofran. When I finished my appointment with my midwife, Glenda, I was given a prescription for Zofran. If you don’t know, Zofran is also given to patients who are going though chemotherapy to help them with nausea. Yeah, it’s that strong. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or as I shorten it to, HG.
At 14 weeks I had to go back again. My weight had stabilized, but I hadn’t gained even an ounce. At that point, I was placed on Meclizine as well (which is over the counter and used for motion sickness), which worked enough for me to start gaining weight. But still, I was vomiting at work (sometimes even in residents trash cans, toilets, or commodes–thank God old women love pregnant people!), I was still on a restricted diet (not by choice, but by food aversions). I stopped working at around 28 weeks (a topic I’ll further discuss on a different post), and the hyperemesis didn’t subside until around 30 weeks. Even then I would have random flair ups.
The morals of the story:
1. There is a reason why all the books say to call your care provider if you are vomiting or not able to eat for 24 hours. Hyperemesis can end in the death of the fetus, and even the mother. It’s nothing to screw around with. Normal morning sickness comes and goes. If you have super ultra mega morning sickness, call your damn doctor or midwife ASAP. It’s not normal and it’s not a joke.
2. Don’t speak to soon. I had said that I thought I was going to get off easy, have minimal to no morning sickness, and I ended up getting so sick (and being so stupid by not calling my midwife) that I risked my life and the life of my unborn child. Next time, if I don’t feel sick, I’m sure not going to assume I’m gonna have nine months of joy and not puking.