He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
— From Psalm 91
Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG literally means drowning in nausea.
It was 9 p.m. and my cheek was against the cold tile of the bathroom floor. My face was in a puddle of my own tears and a copy of Beyond Morning Sickness was in the magazine rack by the toilet. I was four months pregnant with my third child. And, I’d lost 20 pounds.
My husband Robert came in to check on me, to push away the long hair sticking to my wet face. Sobbing I told him I thought I was going to die if I barfed one more time. How was I going to keep working? How could I take care of two kids? My son was still in diapers. And, what about the baby inside me? HG or hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare pregnancy disease, was swallowing both of us.
No cracker, 7-Up, sea band or cancer drug could save me from the long journey ahead.
Kate Middleton’s Morning Sickness
Recent news that Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton suffers from HG, has elevated her status from Duchess of Cambridge to Patron Saint of Severe Morning Sickness. And, isn’t it about time we started talking about how hard it is for some women to grow a baby?
HG is a serious disorder that effects 2 percent of pregnant women. It involves weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, unrelenting nausea and oh yes, barfing. Lots and lots of barfing.
Because about 75 percent of pregnant women have some morning sickness, those with this more severe form are often dismissed as not being quite tough enough for pregnancy. Weenies, actually.
My Treatment for HG
During my last pregnancy, Oklahoma City obstetrician, Dr. John Dosser diagnosed me with HG. He wrote me a prescription for Zofran, an expensive drug for chemotherapy patients who suffer from nausea.
Unfortunately, it did nothing for me. My Walgreens pharmacist cried with me.
My weight loss continued so Dr. Dosser sent me to the ER at Mercy Hospital twice a week for fluids. This temporarily relieved all my symptoms and for a couple of days I’d feel fantastic. Dr. Mark Lipe started me on a cocktail of Vitamin B-6, Pepcid AC and Reglan. This also helped me a lot.
Finally, HG taught me a few things, like I can’t imagine how difficult pregnancy must be for horses and cows. And, just because I don’t understand what someone is going through doesn’t give me the right to think it’s all their imagination.
I also learned that it’s really important to ask for help, and that every valley will eventually be filled in and every mountain made low.
And this. There are things we’re going to go through in life that probably only God will understand. But, now if one of those things is HG, we can add to that list of the faithful understanding the future Queen of England.
To learn more about hyperemesis gravidarum (Latin for drowning in nausea) or HG, visit the HER Foundation.