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Monday, September 22, 2003

I have had hyperemesis gravidarum three times.

I am now pregnant for the fourth time and expect to get HG, although I am willing to suspend certainty. However, I'm five weeks and feel it coming on.

They say there are four things you're supposed to do when you're seeking God's will with a particular issue: pray, read the Bible, consult other trusted Christians, and examine the opportunities set before you. We did all this, endeavored, and are pregnant. I hope we did what we were supposed to do. So there’s the explanation for those of you who know me and are going, "What in the heck were you thinking?!"

I was thinking that I could do all things, live or die or suffer like a dog, with Christ. I was thinking that if it was OK with Him, I'd maybe go for it. We'd like for our son not to be a "lonely only." And I want another baby butt to diaper. Children=joy. More children, more joy. This is me attempting to justify what normal women are never asked to justify. But I am a normal woman. It’s my body that won’t cooperate. And so it begins…

I took three pregnancy tests that I bought online. One: negative. Two: negative. Three: negative. Why all these pregnancy tests? Because I was feeling kinda barfy before I even missed a period. Negative, negative, negative. I went to a doctor's appointment. They wanted to do X-rays. I said, "I can't, I'm pregnant."

What? I took three negative pregnancy tests. Why would I say that? I clarified, "I mean I might be." I was beginning to think I needed a shrink, because it seemed I couldn't accept the results of three pregnancy tests. But still, no X-rays, thank you.

Three days after the missed period I was feeling even more barfy, and where was the period? Forget the cheap online pregnancy tests. I went to the store and shelled out the big bucks for a pee-on stick.

At home the positive sign popped up in seconds. I retested with a pregnancy strip I bought online. It said negative. Sheesh. I wrote the company. X-rays aren't so bad, but what if I'd seen a dermatologist during that period of time and started taking tetracycline or something? Be careful about buying cheap tests online. Pay the big bucks for the one at the drugstore.

I've been eating like a cow, indulging in expensive restaurants several times a week. I know what is coming. I'm open to complete and total healing, but I know the illness could be a necessary part of my life journey, so I'm open to that too. Whatever happens, happens. But I'm eating my head off, because if HG returns I know there will be a day when I'd pay a thousand dollars just to be able to eat a sandwich.

I'm going to try to keep a diary. I have a laptop in the bedroom. The hospital bed and overbed table are coming just in case. Still, some days I know there will be no way I will have the strength to get online. I'll try, because it's important that people know what HG is like for the mother who suffers every single moment of every single day.

Today I woke up barfy. It's the barfiest I've been in this pregnancy. I'd say I was at a three on a scale of 1-10. That may not sound like much, but I am pretty conservative in my ratings, and I can go from three to barf in about two seconds. I haven't barfed yet. I'm pretending I might not. I am doing my best to be open to the proposals of some psychological researchers who say HG in subsequent pregnancies could be a learned response. It’s highly suspect, but I’m going give the theory a chance: every time I feel barfy I tell myself I'm not one of Pavlov's dogs.

As I say, I can still eat, although I feel that slipping away. Foods don't sound immediately good. Eatables are starting to give me the creeps. Still, if I ingest something I feel better for about 10 minutes or so. This must be what it's like to be a normal pregnant woman. I know a number of women who were not at all ill during their many pregnancies, but that sort of thing actually exists at the other end of the spectrum of "abnormal.”

I am monitoring my fluids closely. I know how important this is for HG moms. Keeping it together today means staving it off a little while longer before it becomes full-blown out-of-control.

I am planning to take ondansetron (Zofran) for the first time. I think this will be interesting, as I've had a tendency to sort of secretly discount it due to the studies I've read on HG and serotonin. Serotonin doesn't appear to be implicated, and ondansetron is a serotonin receptor antagonist. Explain that. However, I can not deny the myriad positive Zofran experiences that other sufferers report.

In addition to HG, I have an incompetent cervix (IC), so cerclage will be performed. HG doesn't go well with an IC. Nothing that puts pressure on the cervix is good especially as the pregnancy progresses. I'm also considering corticosteroids for the HG at around 15 weeks, if I haven’t miscarried by then. Even with the cerclage I will remain on strict bed rest and will have to walk up the hall three times a day to try to avoid potentially fatal blood clots.

Fun.

I have never "done" HG while having to take care of another child. I will hopefully be able to use this blog to explore the experience. I imagine HG is a lot harder with other children. In fact, I've been contacted on several occasions by women who terminated the second child because they felt they could not take care of the first. It is especially difficult for single mothers.

Any and all prayers are welcome for all women with HG, and my name is Ashli for your prayer chains and lists at church.

I will keep you posted as I am able.

(Added 3/9/07: For more information about HG pick up a copy of Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum. )

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