As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted in life was to be happily married and have a big family. I never thought I’d be near 32 years old when I married the love of my life. We were married on July 10, 2004. With my biological clock ticking we didn’t wait to try to conceive. It was October 1, 2004 that we announced very happily to family that we were going to have a baby. I couldn’t have been happier. My due date was June 4, my husbands birthday.
I remember telling, or rather bragging, to a few co-workers that I felt great, not sick at all. Little did I know that in just a few days the nausea would set in? Almost immediately I felt non-functional. I went to work every day crying and spent most of my time in the bathroom. On my lunch break I would go lay down in my car. Anything I may have tried to eat for lunch usually ended up on the ground behind my car. After a week or so of this, my HR manager put me on medical leave. I was so thankful. Of course my OB still wouldn’t see me until I was 10 weeks. All I could do was call the office and hear the usual…try crackers, ginger, B-6, blah blah blah! Obviously nothing helped.

Since my husband worked days and my family lived 500 miles away I spent every day alone. I lay in bed so sick I couldn’t move. In the throes of my illness I would vomit countless times a day until there was nothing left and then I would dry heave. The vomiting was so violent that I would nearly choke as I wasn’t even able to get a breath between heaves. And as if the nausea wasn’t enough, I quickly developed a pinhead size ulcer at the back of my throat from the force of the vomiting. It felt like a small particle of food stuck in my throat and every time I would try to swallow it would gag me and I would vomit more. After many, many phone calls to my OB’s office they finally prescribed Phenergan.
Of course it didn’t work. Within 20 minutes it would come right back up.
There came a time when I felt like I was dying. I remember calling my mom crying and telling her I was dying a slow death. I never left my bed except to puke. My bedroom door stayed shut because I couldn’t stand any smell, especially food and my husband. I know this was especially hard on him as we were newlyweds.

I finally got in to see my OB at 10 weeks and was prescribed Zofran. At first it did nothing but I continued to take it. I ended up losing 21 pounds in about 6 weeks. The Zofran finally kicked in. Somewhere around 13-14 weeks I was forced back to work or face losing my job. I had been off for 8 weeks. Very shortly after, my sickness became manageable with the Zofran. I had to fight my insurance company to allow me enough to take 8 mg every 4 hours. There were several times I would run out and the nausea would return with a vengeance within hours. By 20 weeks I was starting to regain a little strength and a few pounds. I was able to eat small meals at first and keep most of it down and eventually cut back on the Zofran. Towards the end of my 3rd trimester the vomiting returned almost daily. I took at least 4 mg of Zofran daily the entire pregnancy. My son, Brendan, was induced 3 days early on June, 1, 2005. My nausea was gone immediately.

I was never diagnosed. My torment was never validated. My Dr. took it like it was “normal.” She told me that just because I was sick this time didn’t mean I would be with another pregnancy.
In December of 2007 my husband and I decided it was time to try for another baby. It happened very quickly. I knew on Christmas I was pregnant not because I missed a period but because I was already sick, at 2 weeks. After the New Year I confirmed with a HPT. Again, within a couple of weeks my HR manager put me on medical leave. I only had 6 weeks this time. I lost 15 pounds in less than 4 weeks. This time my parents were here as they had moved to my area. My mom researched online and found the HER foundation. It was my mom who diagnosed me. It was she who told me my illness had a name…Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
I was able to get a prescription for Zofran earlier on this time around. My husband was still working days so my parents drove me to my first OB appointment at 10 weeks as I was unable to drive safely. When we asked my Dr. about HG she very casually replied “yeah, that’s what she has.” I was laid back on the exam table because I had no energy. She and my mom were discussing care and treatment. My Dr. turned to me and said a little harshly “Shelly, sit up here and be somebody.” I struggled to gain the strength to sit up. She even told me that maybe I needed to find a new OB if I felt she wasn’t good enough; still no validation and nothing more than Zofran. She proceeded to examine me. She couldn’t find my baby’s heart beat and immediately sent me to the hospital for a vaginal ultrasound. Everything turned out okay but this was a very scary experience to say the least.
This second pregnancy, even though the duration of the HG wasn’t as long, was harder on me than the first. I had a toddler I was missing out on. His Daddy took him to a sitter while he was working and even when he was home I missed out on so much. I made myself move from the bed to the couch just so I could be in the same room with him.

The vomiting this time, though shorter lived, was more violent than the first time. The side effects of the Zofran were much worse this time too. I remember telling my husband on more than one occasion that I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I would get so depressed I wanted to die. I wanted this to all magically go away. I know without a doubt that had I been in my right mind I never would have said any of these things but at the time I meant it with everything I had left in me. I cried so many times, usually alone.
Both pregnancies I needed IV fluids but couldn’t get a Dr. order for them so my husband would take me to the ER where we would sit for hours before being seen. I remember being given Phenergan and Zofran through my IV. Neither one did anything. The Phenergan, though, caused near hallucinations I felt a constant feeling of falling. My husband had to raise the rails on the gurney so I could hold on. I couldn’t even dress myself when it was time to go. He had to dress me.
My 2nd son, Kaidan, was induced on his due date, September 5, 2008.

Both of my boys are very healthy, beautiful and intelligent boys. Despite taking in literally nothing for weeks on end, not even water, my boys have suffered no developmental issues. They both, however, had trouble with reflux as babies and my oldest at age 5 had to be put on Zantac for 30 days for vomiting.

As I write this I’m nearing 4 years post HG. Just within the last 6 months to a year have I been experiencing the lasting effects of HG. My esophagus and stomach are damaged and I will most likely be on medication for that the rest of my life. My gall bladder will eventually have to be removed and I’m still needing repair surgery and fighting with the side effects of Zofran. Otherwise, everything is great and I’m loving my life with my wonderful husband and our 2 beautiful boys. Thank you, Jesus!!


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