So you’re pregnant. And everything is wonderful. You have those first signs of morning sickness that you may feel a certain sense of pride in. They have a certain reassurance that things are OK, a reminder of what your body is doing.
But then it doesn’t stop. The sickness becomes all day, all night. You can’t eat, can’t smell anything without wanting to hurl. The headaches are killer. You can’t function anymore.
Your life becomes the couch or bed as you try to figure out what is wrong. The vomiting comes from anything; the thought of food, warm water, trying to take a pill, laying wrong, having the baby press on your stomach the wrong way, or nothing at all.
This is hyperemesis gravidarum. It hits everyone different; some stronger, some shorter. In my first pregnancy, it lasted till the day I gave birth. The nurse had to give me a shot of Zofran while I was in labor just hours before my daughter was born. This time around it’s been more manageable, but I’m on Zofran 3x a day.
There is no cure. No fix. Nothing but Zofran and time. Some women only get it during one pregnancy, others get it during every one. It affects everyone around you, rendering you incapable of doing even simple things or being able to enjoy what you used to. It can change your thoughts on more children. It puts a strain on your marriage and your relationship with children you already have.
It is not morning sickness. It is a medical condition. And if you get it, you need all the help and support you can find to make it through.
If you are struggling with this or know someone who is, these tips are here to provide both suggestions and comfort in the months to come. Many of us deal with this. You are not alone. Know that it truly will be worth it in the end. I promise.
Here are my personal suggestions for anyone struggling with HG, but please feel free to add your own in the comments.
Lay on the floor 1 of 10Really. If you can't bear to be up, and most of us can't at some point with HG, then just get on the floor with your kids. Have them get out puzzles, trains, blocks, dolls. If you can't interact, simply chat with them about what they're doing, or watch. Kids love to be the center of attention.
Take your Zofran 2 of 10My first go around with HG, I had no idea I could be on medicine. It wasn't until 11 weeks in that I finally was given Zofran, and it changed the rest of my pregnancy. Take it, take what's prescribed, don't skip doses, and don't feel guilty. Most of us can't even function without it.
Don’t stress the advice 3 of 10Anyone who hasn't ever had HG wants to give all kinds of simple home remedies: tea, sniffing a lemon, etc. Remember that while you'll grow tired of hearing these things that won't work on us, they are concerned and trying to be helpful. But do what works for you, and if it's not Tummy Time tea, then just nod and smile. And then go take a Zofran.
Read books together 4 of 10A great way to rest and not be up moving is to pile the kids books by you and every so often, have them sit by you to read them. And have your kids try reading them to you. Make it a time where you can snuggle up and stretch it out by talking about pictures, new words, and finding different things on the page.
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Get a housecleaner 5 of 10We couldn't afford this when I was sick. But if you can, first off — I am jealous — and second, do it. Anything that keeps you from having to smell something dying in the trash or sink is worth the money, and if they'll throw in laundry for a few extra bucks, do that too. It doesn't have to be permanent, but it will relieve a tremendous amount of stress. The brief spurts you feel well can then be focused on the kids and things like meals and grocery shopping.
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Ask for help 6 of 10Ask your playgroup, your church, your friends, your family. Ask for specific things: "I need meals. Could you bring Tommy to play with Jenny for a while? I can't do the dishes." People are more than eager to help when they can, but telling them exactly what you need makes it easier for them to say, "I can do this!"
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Let the cooking go 7 of 10This was the hardest thing (house-wise) to do this time around. I love to cook and my food aversions were so bad I honestly couldn't even open the fridge most of the time. Anything made me sick. We became besties with Papa Johns, and Sam cooked big meals on the weekends to heat during the week. Again, it's not forever, so do the best you can just to make it through.
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Pamper yourself 8 of 10Most of the time I didn't want to be touched. By anyone. Ever. But as I started to feel better, I also felt the effects of being immobile for so long. If you have a bit of extra money, take a weekend afternoon to get a massage or your nails done. Or something. Or just hide in your car and sleep in peace.
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Watch TV 9 of 10We cut cable two years ago, so the amount of Netflix we started watching about 5 weeks into my pregnancy was insane. I felt guilty every moment of it, until I realized it was temporary and a sanity saver. I limited what I could, but in the morning when I had to sleep instead of puking, I'd turn on a movie, curl up next to Bella, and pass out knowing she'd stay right there, (and I'd feel her if she got down). Do what you need to do for a while to get past the worst of HG.
DON’T STRESS 10 of 10Easier said than done. But honestly, don't. It will be over. It is worth it. No matter how bad it gets, know that little baby (or two, or three) will make every moment of having HG totally worth it. Let the rest go — a few months of chaos and lowered expectations are OK. You've got this.
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Diana blogs on more on the crazy that is her life on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances.
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