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Monday, March 4, 2013

First Prenatal Visit Today

I'll likely update this post sometime this afternoon, so I can talk about how it went.
**UPDATE at bottom**

Today is my first prenatal appointment. For now I'm seeing a Dr. M, as he is the only obstetrician in my city who attends VBACs. For the record, I cannot be forced into having a repeat cesarean. That would be assault. But they sure as heck can (and will) try to bully and scare me into it.

I've been having a lot of anxiety about this appointment. At my first prenatal with my first pregnancy I had an ultrasound and, according to my dates, "should" have been about 7 1/2 weeks pregnant. The problem was the doctor didn't see what she should see at 7 1/2 weeks. So, I was basically told to go home and expect a miscarriage. Cruel? Yep. Wrong? Also, yep. Because I have longer-than-average cycles, my baby was actually only about 5 1/2 weeks along, so what the doctor saw was absolutely normal, and now that baby is a happy healthy 8 year old princess.

This pregnancy there is also some discrepancy about dates. According to LMP I should be a little over 8 weeks pregnant, but based on onset of symptoms and when I got negative vs. positive tests, it would appear I'm actually more like 6 1/2-7 weeks. So I'm worried I'll hear the same thing, "Go home and expect a miscarriage." 

I'm also worried the doctor won't take HG seriously and won't enable me to try to get ahead of the illness by starting Zofran right away. I've never avoided the ER or hospital during my pregnancies and I'd love it if I could, just this once. That's so hard on my family, too.

My family. Yet another worry. My Sarah, specifically. She's old enough to remember my pregnancies with Caleb and Anna and she loathes them. I can't imagine how traumatic they were for her. She still talks about that sometimes (mostly when Caleb cries about wanting a baby brother). She has lamented the fact that she "loses me" for the entire pregnancy. How sad for an 8 year old girl! Also, since she's a very capable, competent 8 year old girl I'm afraid it's going to be necessary to lean on her a little more than might be healthy.

And as I'm sitting here this morning I feel like I'm on the verge of vomiting for the first time of my pregnancy. Another indicator that I should be 7 weeks, at most.

My appointment went so much better than I expected! It's a father/son practice and the daughter is the NP. I met Dr. M Sr. and the NP today and loved them both. The doctor basically gave me my VBAC consult right then and there, saying that in his 30 years of practice he felt that VBACs were almost always less dangerous than repeat cesareans, and that the only UR he'd ever witnessed was in a mother who was laboring with her 6th child and had never had a cesarean.

And the biggest news: I got my Zofran. Not only that, but there was a big sign on the wall of the exam room that gave symptoms of HG and said if you're suffering there's help. There's help! That's such a change from my first pregnancy 9 years ago when I had to beg for help in the ER. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Five stages of grief

This morning I was lying in bed putting off sitting up and facing the nausea when I had a thought: going through HG is similar to going through the five stages of grief.

I'm not pregnant, that second line was so faint. I won't suffer from HG like last time. Maybe it won't be as bad as last time. Really, last time wasn't even that bad.

Stupid stomach! Stupid toilet!F* F* F* F*! Damn baby. Why does this crappy medicine wear off HOURS before I can take it again? I hate the doctors, I hate the nurses, I hate the IVs, I hate the ERs. Why can't I just have a freaking normal pregnancy?!

 Okay, maybe if I take these three medicines, then a bite of this and sip of that, it'll stay down long enough  for me to give Anna a bath. Maybe if I suck the lemons harder the HG will go away. God, if I promise never to yell at my kids again and keep my house perfectly spotless will you please take this away? God? Are you there...?

My breath smells. My hair smells. My clothes smell. My house is a mess. The kids had pop-tarts for breakfast and granola bars for dinner. I have no desire to help with homework. I'm a horrible mother. I can't kiss my husband. I can't stand him to touch me, even, because the smell of his skin makes  my stomach convulse. I'm a horrible wife. God doesn't even care. This is the fourth time He's let me go through this, and obviously there's something I'm supposed to learn but I'm an idiot and have no clue. God hates me. 

Unfortunately, acceptance doesn't come until after baby is born. HG sucks. It's more horrible than even the most horrible words could describe. But, that's what I go through to have babies. Children. Awesome little people whom I love and who love me.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Friday, March 1, 2013

Norovirus Wimps

Saw this news alert from my local news station. My first thought was "wimps".  I'm gearing up to spend the next 7-8 months with an illness much worse than a paltry Norovirus. I am fully aware that's a mean thought. Maybe severe calorie restriction is already doing the Mambo in my brain.

And while I'm whining can I just say this week is dragging it's ever-loving feet? I have my eyes set on Monday March 4th at 9am when I can finally start to medicate this poor HG-ridden body of mine. My stomach has retreated and it cowering somewhere behind my spleen and my brain screams at me each time I pick up something to eat.

Of concern to me today: though I am able to eat small amounts (600-700 calories per day) and am NOT yet vomiting, I am losing weight. It makes me fearful of the time when I'll only be taking in a few hundred calories a day and not keeping most of it down.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rare Disease Day

excerpt from
Rare Disease Day 2013

Rare Disease Day, held on the last day of February each year, seeks to raise awareness for the impact rare diseases have on the lives of patients and those who care for them. The campaign targets the general public as well as decision-makers and enjoys participation from patients and patient representatives, public authorities, policy makers, bio pharmaceutical industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and many others with an interest in rare diseases.

Rare diseases are life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases. Due to the low prevalence of each disease, medical expertise is rare, knowledge is scarce, care offering inadequate, and research limited. Very few cures exist. While each disease is rare, collectively they affect more than 60 million people in Europe and the US alone. Despite their great overall number, rare disease patients are the orphans of health systems, often denied diagnosis, treatment and the benefits of research.

The European Union considers a disease as rare when it affects fewer than 1 in 2,000 citizens. Approximately 80% of rare diseases have a genetic origin. Over 6000 different rare diseases have been identified to date, affecting an estimated 30 million Europeans collectively. EURORDIS is a non-governmental patient-driven alliance of patient organizations representing 561 rare disease patient organizations in 51 countries. We are the voice of 30 million people affected by rare diseases throughout Europe.

Rare Disease Day was launched by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances in 2008. What began as a European event quickly became international in scope, with participants from more countries joining each year. A record 63 countries and regions participated in 2012 - including participation in all of the 27 EU Member States. Rare Disease Day 2013 already has several first-time participant countries and regions on board – including Bahrain, Iceland, Israel, Palestine and Singapore. Since it began, thousands of events have been held throughout the world, reaching hundreds of thousands of people and resulting in a great deal of media coverage. The political momentum resulting from the Day has also served advocacy purposes, contributing to the advancement of EU policies on rare diseases and the creation of national plans for rare diseases in a number of EU Member States, and now in other countries.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Anatomy of HG progression

I have been having some hormonal problems recently (for which I had now-moot bloodwork done, actually) and figured I was experiencing a "monthly delay" because of those issues. I didn't really think I was pregnant, but took a test just to ease my mind. It was negative. Fast forward 10 days and I'm driving into town and notice that my bad habit of chewing the inside of my cheek is suddenly disgusting to me. Weird, I think, so while I'm at the store I pick up another test. Got home, and surprise! I'm pregnant.

And if I'm being very honest, which I will be on this blog, those two pink lines are the scariest things I've ever seen. I've done this three times, I know how it goes. It's begun already.

The test was taken Saturday February 23rd. By Monday the 25th I was experiencing nausea in the morning until around 10 and in the evening from sundown until I went to sleep. My sense of smell has also increased in sensitivity, which will amplify feelings of nausea in a week or two.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

Oh, no sir, no ma'am, it absolutely isn't easy being green!


My name is Becky. I'm a 31 year old stay-at-home mom, married 10 years with three children and a Baby Bug on the way (due sometime in October). My husband John and I were both born and raised in the deep South, but are currently living about 5 hours from most of our family.

I have suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum during all three of my term pregnancies. I've had two miscarriages (2007 and 2010) and had no symptoms of nausea during those short pregnancies  (8 and 6 weeks).

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

 Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a pregnancy illness that is thought to affect approximately 1% of the pregnant population. It is similar to morning sickness only in that is deals with nausea and vomiting. Unlike morning sickness, HG usually lasts morning, noon and night and rarely subsides until the baby is born. According to HelpHER.org:

HG is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mom-to-be and the newborn(s).
 HG is ugly. Uglier than I can ever describe, though I will be describing its ugliness over the next 9 months. Perhaps the ugliest side of HG, though, is doctor ignorance and apathy. As horrible and debilitating as this illness is, it's hard to convince most doctors you have an illness! With my first pregnancy it took a 30lb weight loss, not having kept food down for 4 days and not having kept water down for 2 days to finally convince my doctor that I was legitimately ill and not just "being a baby".

The Rules

I welcome comments to all of my posts, but I do have a few rules about what you may  not say or suggest.

1. You may not tell me stories of your "morning sickness" free pregnancies.

2. Please do not criticize any choices I have made about medications and treatments, especially if you have never suffered from HG. Remember: I already have three healthy children. Be gentle.

3. The whys and wherefores of morning sickness and HG are worlds apart, therefore common morning sickness 'fixes' do absolutely nothing for HG. In that spirit, please do not suggest:
     ginger anything
     lemon anything
     sea bands
     anything for motion sickness
     small, frequent meals

4. This is probably the most important. PLEASE do not suggest that I "just eat" something. I'm not a tiny woman...I love food! If there was any possible way for me to "just eat" I promise I would. I just can't.