I can’t remember how old I was when I first held up a doll and pretended it was my baby and cradled it. Every little girl does it. Just as most girl grow up with thoughts of the children they would have in the future kept as a treasured fantasy in their minds, brought out to be mulled over and weaved on whenever they found the time to, I too had my dreams. What will I name them? What will they look like? What games will I play with them? Then comes a time someone you know has a baby. For me, it was my cousin sister Malvika who was 16 years younger to me. Ill never forget her sweet milky smell, her soft as butter cheeks, the way she curled her fists around my fingers when she slept, her gurgles of laughter. Oh i loved her desperately; the warmth of cuddling the baby and listening to her little heartbeat. I enjoyed every aspect of looking after a baby, even cleaning up after her, changing her soiled diapers, walking around with her weight aching down on my arms till she fell asleep. Every experience created a memory that I still hold close even after 14 years.
This year, was my turn to finally see my dreams materialize. No one could have been happier to see those 2 pink lines than I. I was going to have a baby! I was going to be a mom. And what a marvelous time I intented to have with the pregnancy since it would be the only time I would be pregnant coz Bart and I had already decided that we would adopt our second child. I was ready to make an eating chart, an exercise plan, buy cool pregnancy clothes and basically strut around feeling like I was on top of the world. I had already tested positive at 3 weeks, even before I missed my period. I took the test coz I had stomach flu like symptoms. But I thought to myself, how bad can it be. Ofcourse women feel nauseous in their first 3 months. But thats no problem, I have a high tolerance to discomfort and pain.
Never could I have been proven more wrong.
Morning sickness and first trimester nausea is one thing. Hyperemesis Gravidarum, is a completely different ball game. 1% pregnant women get it. And anmongst this 1 % , .02% have it in extreme severe form. And what do you know, those odds chose not to skip me in its mathematical improbability.
So what does HG mean to me? It means
– throwing up more than 50 times a day
– slowly being unable to keep food
– being unable to keep liquids
– being unable finally to even swallow your own saliva without puking
– having nausea from morning to night without a moment of break
– being able to take no medication coz im pregnant
– lying down next to the toilet coz im so tired of walking to it every time i need to throw up
– losing 10 kilos of weight
– your body developing acetones because there is no carbohydrates in your body to produce glucose so it starts digesting reserve fats and muscles
– having constant migraines
– reacting severly to ALL smells
– becoming depressed
– developing a caseine intolerence
– having my skin dry up and crack with dehydration
– being hospitalised
– having to keep an IV on for months
– funally having to insert a nasal feed coz the body was getting depleted of nutrition.
This was my first trimester. I kept the IV on for 2 months and the nasal feed for 2 weeks. The nasal feed finally brought in the much needed change, but at a cost. Having a tube going down your throat through your nose let me tell you is no party. Every movement, every time you talk creates distress and discomfort. Your throat already blistered with the never ending puking bleeds all the time. Your nose bleeds all the time coz the tube chaffs it. But finally, I thought the nightmare was ending. True, i still puked. But 10 times a day wasn’t so bad was it? I still threw up after most meals. But i was able to swallow so that was all right wasn’t it? I still had nausea all day inspite of taking my nausea pill 3 times a day, but that can be put up with right? It was normal to choose food that you thought would be tolerable on its way out more than on its way in right? walking around with vomit bags was not so unusual right? I had one and a half month of my ‘imaginary’ better time. Its strange how human mind works, that even a horrible situation becomes ‘normal’ to you just because you have been in it long enough.
There was one other person who suffered as much as me, but in a different way. My husband Bart who stood by me like a rock. He managed to set up a new business, take care of the household, look after me and much more all on his own. He carried me back and forth to the loo EVERY SINGLE time i puked, gave me endless massages, stayed up whole nights comforting me and never once showing me what a toll the situation took on him. He let me vent all my frustration, anger and sadness at him and never once uttered a harsh word.
The worst part of HG is what it steals from you; the joy of being pregnant, the glow, the excitement, the planning of the baby. The baby was the last thing on my mind and I constantly felt guilty about that. But when your battling with HG, its humanly impossible to think of a baby. I was SICK of being told to think if the baby to help me through this. Really? Try being sick for 8 and a half months with no respite and then try to walk the talk.
Im now 36 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow, my 37 th week starts. The last 2 months have been the toughest part of the pregnancy. 2 hairline fractures with my baby boy having kicked my ribs making it difficult to move since the fracture cant heal since the ribcage expands with pregnancy, being on the nasal feed again now for a month and a half coz my stomach finally collapsed with 8 months of puking, stomach being constantly empty coz the tube bypasses the stomach and goes right into the duodenum so as to give the stomach rest but which causes acidity to build up and makes me vomit bile every day, having been admitted in the hospital multiple times, hundreds of tests, injections , ultrasounds and IV, horrible RLS that allows me no sleep at night, painful hemorrhoids, severe heartburn, having not eaten a bite for 2 months which leads to its own kind of mental depression, being bed ridden and trying to get everything organized for Eashaan, losing energy every week, miserably nauseous all the time, angry, sad, depressed, frustrated and just waiting for it all to end.
A far cry from the perfect pregnancy that I dreamt of since I held that doll. But the miracle in all this remains that Eashaan has been healthy and has been growing wonderfully. Its my silver lining for which I am very very grateful.
My darling Eashaan. I am waiting to hold you and kiss you and remind myself of how much I wanted a baby when I wished for you.
But im also waiting to find myself again coz I lost myself in these last 8 months. I am waiting to feel joy again, to enjoy waking up after a happy nap, to be able to eat a meal and savor it and not throw up after, to not feel nauseous any more, to sleep on my stomach, to be able to walk around without puking, to spend time with Bart, to be able to look after him again, to have a social life, to not feel so fed up and defeated all the time…..to just be me again so that I can really enjoy you. And I know thats what your papa wants the most too. Its not too far now. We are waiting to see you. You are our light at the end of this bumpy tunnel.
PS: HG is a serious issue that deserves more attention. Many pregnant women die from negligent care or choose to terminate the pregnancy because they don’t get the help they need to deal with it. The following link explains in detail about HG and its complications