Being at my parent's house is always great, but when I go near that bathroom -- yes, that one at the top of the stairs, I get flashbacks like a soldier in the jungle. For THAT was the toilet that was puked upon religiously during the middle to end of my first trimester when I crawled back home and surrenderd to the TLC of my parents (yes, I am a married, full-grown, competent adult)...(technically).
When I was pregnant with Lucie, I had very severe morning sickness that lasted until 16 weeks. The medical term for this is hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG. HG is defined as severe morning sickness (or to be more correct, "nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy" [NVP]) that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. I've also heard it defined as regularly throwing up 4 or more times per day. Let me see if I can define it better: unrelenting nausea and puking; complete misery. It affects about 1% of pregnant women.
Technically, I was still able to eat (most days) and I did not lose a significant amount of body weight, so I was probably at the "good" end of the continuum.
One of the reasons it's difficult to discuss with people - especially other women - is that they can't truly understand how miserable it is because they (99% of you bastards) didn't experience it. I can't tell you how many times well-meaning friends told me I'll feel better if I just "take a walk" or "eat some saltines" or "chew on some ginger" or "drink some soda" or "take your Vitamin B".... you get the picture. Heh. Take this ginger and shove it up yer.... yeaaam.
This is not your garden variety morning sickness. This is morning sickness from hell. Complete with horns and a spiky tail.
Feeling constantly nauseated is probably the worst feeling in the world. I think I'd prefer chronic physical pain to chronic nausea. There are several factors that contribute to the sheer misery of this condition 1. you probably didn't see it coming (or like me, even know this level of woe was even possible) 2. nobody else really understands how shitty it is 3. you have no idea how to treat it 4. your OB probably isn't very empathetic 5. you really can't function in your daily life and 6. you have no idea when or IF it will end.
Here are some facts:
It starts early and usually lasts past the first trimester, resolving around 21 weeks; however, for about a third, it can last the entire pregnancy. Nobody knows for sure what causes it, although the chart o'misery tends to correlate heavily with progesterone levels.
Women with HG are often unable to care for themselves or their families for weeks, sometimes months. Some women may be unable to eat for lengthy periods and lose 5-10% (or more) of their pre-pregnancy body weight in the first few months. This in turn leads to debilitating fatigue and depression. About 3% of women with (HG) will choose elective termination (a.k.a abortion) to avoid the misery and stress they will face and many will not go on to have another baby. Nobody talks about that part.
There were dark days that summer. There were days I thought I was dying -- and many days that I wanted to die. This condition gets inside your head. Many women fall into depression. And on the good days - because there are some good days sprinkled in there - you want to kiss the ground and thank god that you aren't hugging the jon. You swear that you will never take feeling good for granted ever again. It changes you. If changes you forever.
If you have this condition, I would give the following advice (for what it's worth, which maybe isn't a lot)...
- Don't ever go to the grocery store or anywhere that sells food. Only go to restaurants if you're having a "good" day.
- Don't allow food to be cooked in your house, especially meats or any kind of animal product.
- Don't over-hydrate. Yes, stay hydrated, but do not drink too much water. The nights that I was sickest is when I drank woo much water (I think).
- Don't go into stores or places that are enclosed, like big-box stores and malls. Make sure you have access to windows and fresh air.
- Don't take your prenatal vitamins if they make you sick. Women have had babies for tens of thousands of years without them. You'll be fine.
- Don't force yourself to eat anything you're not craving. Follow your gut.
- Don't watch TV if you're feeling bad. The motion of the picture often made me vomit. The same holds true for reading.
- Do take Unisom and Vitamin B; sleep is your friend.
- Do eat exactly what you are craving - even if it's Twinkies and potato chips. You'll have time to eat healthy later.
- Do talk to your OB about medication options, common oral and IV therapies include Zofran, Reglan, and Phenergan. Some women will have a PICC line installed for easy IV access.
- Do remember that you aren't dying and you WILL get better
- Do listen to relaxing music when all else fails. Podcasts were a friend of mine that summer because TV made me sick.
- Do keep lemons (freshly cut, preferably) in a bowl by the toilet to sniff or lick (yes, seriously) when you're vomiting. Especially if you need to 'stop the cycle'. Lemons were my best friend.
Every case is different, this is just what helped me.
Good luck and keep your eyes on the prize, mom-ee. The reward is great!
PS. If it's any consolation, these babies are supposed to be hella smart. In theory ;-)