Dealing with Hyperemesis 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant this time, I braced myself for the horrible, horrible morning sickness again. But two weeks went by and nothing really happened. I

I reread my Dealing with Morning Sickness post from when I was pregnant with Jack.  I made electrolyte ice cubes, bought ginger tea, started taking a probiotic in preparation. I though I was on top of it and had it totally under control.

I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong….

Six-and-half-weeks along and it hit me like a freight train. All day nausea. I managed to throw up very little, but only because I couldn’t eat much. I tried to drink as much as I could keep down, which wasn’t a lot. The only thing I could do was lay on the couch and rest. I spent a lot at my mom’s, mainly so she could take care of Jack for me.  It was just miserable, but manageable. I thought just a few more weeks likes this, it won’t be so bad. This was similar to what I had with Jack and I survived all alone most days.

Then one evening I got bad diarrhea that lasted into the next day. I felt weak and tired. I knew this was not good, so I went to Urgent Care. I was badly dehydrated—like after two full bags of fluids I didn’t even have to pee. Doctor said I had Hyperemesis and a stomach virus.I should have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis with Jack, but never told the doctor because I didn’t know any better. The doctor said I needed to rest and stay hydrated, and the virus should pass on its own. She also prescribed Zofran so I could start eating again. There are some warnings that Zofran causes birth defects, but I was so sick I knew for the baby’s and my health, I needed it.

I also tested positive for a UTI, but I had no symptoms at the time. My midwife said to keep an eye out but the test came back so high, it might be a false positive. A few days later, the stomach virus went away but I still felt awful. Then my lower abdomen started to hurt, so I called my midwife. She told me try a homeopathic method first since it seemed mild. It really helped the first day, but a few days later it started it hurt when I peed. So antibiotics. I felt less weak and the pain went away the next day.

I started to feel pretty good after that. I was 9.5 weeks—about the time my morning sickness cleared with Jack— so I thought I was in the clear! Wrong. Wrong again.

One afternoon at my mom’s house, I got the worse headache of my life. I had thrown up that morning, the first time in over a week, and just fell apart after that. I spent most of the day laying on the couch and feeling horrible that my mom had to care for my child yet again. My head just kept getting worse and worse. Nothing was helping. Not Tylenol, tea, heating pad, ice pack, or lavender oil.

About 8 PM, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I called Michael at work (he works nights) and he took me to Emergency room. The only plus side to this visit was we got an ultrasound. The doctor wanted to make sure these were not symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. We say a very active healthy baby inside the uterus where it should be—even measuring a little big! But I was still in rough shape. Dehydrated again, so another IV of fluids. They also gave me a Zofran shot in the IV so I could keep some water down too. And some extra strength Tylenol at a higher dose to curb my headache. The doctor also prescribed Diclegis, a nausea medication designed for pregnancy. He told me to take that daily until I feel better, and take the Zofran for breakthrough nausea only. I didn’t get home until 1 AM that night and was exhausted. My parents kept Jack the next day so I could rest.

But man, Diclegis works wonders. I actually wanted to go out for brunch the next day! And I ate most of my meal! That hadn’t happened in over a month. I thought for sure I was done with being ridiculously sick. The next few days went pretty good, I was very tired but very little nausea. Wrong again

I woke up one morning and new I was going to puke. I asked Michael to bring me a Zofran in bed, but as soon as it hit my lips I threw up. A lot. I just started crying and went back to bed. I felt horrible. A little while later I went to the couch and forced some water down. Then something weird happened. Every face on TV went all blurry. I looked away, and realized it wasn’t the TV. Everything was blurry in my left eye. It looked like static feedback. It really scared me. I told Michael and he said it sounded like a migraine, he gets them every so often. I called my midwife, she said it sounded like a ocular migraine too, but I still go get checked out at an Urgent Care.

So my parents came to pick up Jack and off we went again. On the car ride over, my head started pounding again and I became sensitive to light. Doctor pretty quickly said it was indeed a migraine, pregnancy often induces migraines on people who have never had them in their life before. Good news was I was not dehydrated and did not need an IV. But she said to take Tylenol every day until the headache goes away, so I can eat and drink normally and not end up dehydrated again. So also prescribed me Codeine to take if my migraine became unbearable. Codeine is Category C pregnancy drug, meaning its not totally unsafe, but there is no good evidence to prove it is safe. I took one later that night to help me sleep since my head was still killing me, but I haven’t taken one since. I am glad I have them, but understand the risks and will take them only if really needed.

I am 11.5 weeks today and feeling mostly better. The nausea is starting to go down, but I am still taking the Diclegis. I hope to be able to stop it sometime next week or the week  after. I haven’t taken any zofran in several days–knock on wood. I am still getting moderate headaches, but no full blown migraines in a week or so. I had an acupuncture session yesterday for migraines and it helped A LOT.

This whole first trimester knocked me on my ass in ways I never imagined. I was prepared for Hyperemesis to be bad like with Jack, but not for all the other crap. Seriously, extreme nausea, stomach virus, UTI, and migraines all in 5 weeks? Why! That’s just cruel an unusual punishment. The only thing I learned from this is that every pregnancy really is different. I heard people say that over and over, and didn’t believe it. But it’s so true.  I have my fingers crossed that there will be no more crazy surprises this pregnancy. I am preparing myself for the horrible acid reflux and the low blood pressure fainting I had with Jack, but cross your fingers nothing else happen!

 

 

 

Things That Helped my Morning Sickness

I was not prepared for my horrible morning sickness. It struck hard around 5 and a half weeks. My mom told me she had horrible morning sickness with both my brother and I, but I didn’t think it could be that bad. I tried to explain it to my husband one day, the best analogy I could come up with a horrible hangover that wont go away.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I had some symptom, a bad headache and a little bit of an upset stomach. We had eaten out several times that weekend, so I assumed I had mild food poisoning or something. Neither the headache or the stomach issues were that bad. Well, long story short, about week later I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. After the initial shock, I thought to myself  Hey, this isn’t that bad. Just a headache and extra time in the bathroom…I can totally do this!

….Oh how wrong I was. It started to get worse slowly. A few days after the test, I didn’t like the smell of Michael’s dinner one night and made him sit on the other side of the room to eat it. Then one morning I woke up with a even worse headache. Then that night I woke up feeling like the room was spinning and I was going to be sick. The the next day I woke up feeling so sick I couldn’t eat until noon. Then the next day I couldn’t eat until dinner. Then the next day I couldn’t eat anything. Then the vomiting started…most of the time I just threw up in the morning, but the queasy feeling lasted all day. I was also getting dehydrated, giving me a worse headache and the shakes. At about 7 weeks I said enough and tried to figure out ways to cope.

Here is a list of things that helped me:

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  • Laying Down: Every time I stood up, I instantly got dizzy and felt like I was either going to faint or puke. I kept trying to do stuff around the house, but would just end up crying next to the toilet. Eventually I realized if I just laid down, I felt a lot better. Eventually sometime in the afternoon my nausea subsided and I could at least make Michael dinner and finish the laundry. I eventually found out if I ate laying down, I could actually keep it down.
  • Ginger Candy: My mom bought me a box of Reed’s Ginger Candy. I kept it next to my bed and popped one in my mouth right when I woke up. I have to admit, they are pretty strong and even sting a little to swallow. But they really do work wonders. They fix that hunger-over-like feeling you have when you are not throwing up.
  • Ritz Crackers: After the ginger candy, while still in bed, I would eat a few crackers. I tried these fancy organic multigrain ones, but they didn’t work. I needed plain Ritz Crackers. The simple taste wont set off your nausea, unlike the multigrain. They are easy to digest. And they have salt to balance your electrolytes. Plus, grains absorb liquid and acid in your stomach, giving it less stuff to irritate it.
  • Preggie Pops: My mom also bought me Preggie Pops. These things are a godsend! They are made from sugars and essential oils–and taste great! . Just pop one in and suck all nausea away. However, at least for me, the effects only lasted as long as I was sucking on one. So I only used them when I absolutely need to be out and about for awhile. I would have not gotten through wedding dress shopping if it wasn’t for these pops.
  • Carbs: So I know only eating carbs is not healthy at all, but when you are that sick, you have to eat whatever sounds good. I could usually get down bread (even multigrain) and butter. Plain ramen noodles (no flavor packet or soy sauce) went alright too. I tried really hard to eat anything, because having an empty stomach makes nausea way worse. I was usually fine by dinner time if I could munch a little something during the day. But I still was careful and only ate simple things.
  • Coke: I am not a big soda drinker. The stuff is pretty much just liquid fat waiting to give you a heat attack or diabetes. I rarely ever drink it normally. But for me, it the only thing that will really settle my stomach. My mom would give us a little bit as kids if we were like projectile vomiting—and it worked every time. And when I am hungover, it’s the first and only thing I ask for. There are tons of reasons why people think coke works, but nothing has really be proven yet. My guess the sugar gives you energy, the potassium/sodium electrolytes re-energizer you, and that liquid hydrates you. All that being said, soda still has no nutritional value and really is just liquid fat. So I only used soda a last resort on the days I was really sick and had things to do. After the coke settle my stomach, I usually drank a few glasses of water to make up for it
  • Sleeping: I noticed pretty quickly the days that I had a good nights sleep, I could handle my nausea a lot better. I already have insomnia issues, so adding nausea and stress did not help.
  • Benadryl: Luckily my doctor said I could Benadryl as need to help me sleep and curb my nausea. And it worked! See My First Trimester post.
  • Small Meals: Eating a few bites at a time went over a lot better than trying to eat 3 meals a day. Like I said, by dinner time I was usually okay, but I still tried to keep it small.

My First Frimester

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with a boy (check out my Gender Reveal Cake post on my other blog).  I didn’t start this blog earlier because, well, mainly I didn’t think of it sooner.

22 weeks and 5 days. Ignore my laundry on the floor…

Michael and I are planning on having another baby in a few years, and I was thinking of all the thing I don’t want to forget for next time. So I thought would write it down for myself and other people to learn from. I hope it can helps anyone who has a rough time in their first trimester like I did.

I am going to be honest, I hate being pregnant so far. Don’t get me wrong, I am very very grateful to be pregnant and already love my baby very much. But the process of making him sucks. Looking back now there are things I wish I did differently to make it easier in my first trimester:

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  • More prepared: My pregnancy was a surprise (and there is no shame in admitting that, it’s happen for centuries and it does not make it any less important to us), so I was not prepared for anything. I wish I had ginger tea, preggie pops, and coke (I know not healthy, I’ll explain later) stock piled in my house from the start. And before I found out I was pregnant, I originally thought I had a stomach bug or food poisoning so I had not been eating much. So when morning sickness really hit, I was kind of weak and not prepared to eat anything—which any pregnant women can tell you makes morning sickness worse. However, there is not much I could have done about this one (short of building a time machine and going into the past to tell myself). I also don’t think I could have avoided horrible morning sickness, it seems to run in my family.
  • Stay Calm: Do you know what sucks more than losing your job in a shady way for no reason? To lose your job the day after you find out you’re pregnant. I was so worried about everything the for the first few weeks that I stressed myself out.  How can I pay all my bills? Should I sell my brand new car? How will we eat? How will we pay rent? Then all the horrible things popped in my head. What if we are horrible parents? What if we are so broke they take the baby away from us? What is something is wrong with the baby, how will pay for care? What is something happens to me and I need care? What if I lose the baby? What if something happens to Michael? In the end, do you know what good all that worrying did? Nothing. I cried on the couch for days and made myself a nervous wreck for nothing. Everything has worked out very well so far. It was not easy for awhile, but I am so happy right now that I almost can’t believe it. I really think that emotions play a role in morning sickness too. Once I started to calm down, I started to feel better. And I think losing my job was the universe’s way of giving me a break. I could not have worked those 10 weeks or so, and would have just stressed myself out trying.
  • It’s okay to be sick: I was convinced that I need to be one of those women who never has morning sickness and gets everything done like Wonder Woman. I know I just said I needed those 10 weeks of rest, but I did not comprehend that at the time. I would beat myself up for not going to the grocery store or doing the laundry. As I was sitting next to the toilet waiting to puke again, I would start crying thinking of Michael hard at work earning money and I wasn’t even going to make him dinner. And on top of it he was being soooo sweet and taking care of me—and all the household chores! He would tell me he doesn’t mind and understand that I don’t feel good. That just made me feel worse. Now I look back and realize I was doing a very important job, making a baby! The first trimester is when your baby goes from a dot to mini human—and that is a lot of work for your body. And, Michael knows I am not a some spoiled princess who expects to be waited on for the rest of her life. I needed help and he loves me enough to give it it to me. Next time, I will give myself a break. I will focus on keeping myself and the baby healthy.
  • Drink More Smoothies: I had a hard time keeping anything but plain bread with butter or ramen noodles down for weeks. That is not a very healthy diet at all. A few times I made smoothies with berries and soy milk, and drank them slowly over the course of the day. They still upset my stomach, but as long I went slowly, I kept them down. I know the obvious answer is I should have done this everyday, but I felt so awful that forcing something down was the last thing I wanted to do. Plus I didn’t have a blender at the time, just an old school food processor that is a pain to clean. A few days ago we bought a NutriBullet and I am in love. Michael offered to buy me one months ago and I don’t know why I ever hesitated. It’s quick and easy to clean. Plus, they resealable, so even if the smoothie makes me sick, I could freeze it for later. I drink a smoothie almost every morning now, and will make myself next time I am in the my first trimester.

And there are somethings I did right and I will do next time around too:

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  • Help from Mom: Even before I told my mom I was pregnant, she knew something was up and throwing out dates for her to fly down. Once I told her the news, she pretty much was on the next flight here (she is the definition of someone dying to be grandma). She took care of me and helped around the house. I am still very grateful for her coming, it was a huge help. Plus nothing helps you feel better like a hug from your mom.
  • Acupuncture: I had acupuncture for the first time while I was in Hawaii to treat insomnia and recover from my car accident. I loved it (major shout out to Kim, you are seriously an amazing healer, check her out if you are on the Big Island). I found a deal on Groupon for 3 sessions at a place in Campbell and decided to give it a dry for my morning sickness. I did not really like the acupuncturist, but the sessions did help. I went from the room spinning and wanting to throw up every time I stood to just an upset stomach and headache when I walked around too much. It wasn’t a 100% improvement, but when you are that sick, anything is better.
  • Benadryl: When you have already existing insomnia and add nausea, you are guaranteed to not get any sleep. I had all day to take a nap and recover, but I kept Michael up too. The doctor said I could take 1-2 Benadryl as need to help me sleep and reduce morning sickness. At first I was reluctant to take any medication, but I realized it wasn’t doing me or the baby any good to be exhausted and sick all the time. So I tried some Benadryl a few nights a week and it was amazing! I slept and my stomach calmed down. I still needed to lay down for bit and munch on crackers before I could really start my day, but it was an improvement for sure.
  • Not reading ahead:  I knew a bit about pregnancy and babies already. I love kids and have babysat for years. I also was thinking of becoming a neonatal nurse for awhile too. But somehow I got this crazy idea that it would be a great to get all the baby/pregnancy books and be totally informed right away. It started to skim through them, and got slightly overwhelmed. So I decided to return them and just look on sites like babycenter.com week by week or just for that trimester. My mom bought me The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book, which I read as needed. Why make yourself worry each time something new happens? Or the books says something should happen and doesn’t? Plus who really needs to read about episiotomies when you still your baby is still the size of blueberry?

There are two things I am still not sure were the best idea, but would not go back and change them:

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  • First Trimester Marriage: I am not saying I regret marrying Michael. Not at all. I fell in love with him on our first date and knew he was the one about a month later. I wake up every morning grateful to have such an amazing man next to me. I am saying that is was very stressful planning a wedding when I was feeling like death. We had a trip to Vegas booked for Michael’s birthday anyways, so decided just getting married while we were there was easier. My mom was all excited and want to start booking everything right away. Did you pick a place? What about a dress? Upgrade your room to a suite? Where are you going for dinner? What show do you want to see? All that is a lot to deal with when you can’t even keep water down and are already stressed. However, I am not sure I would have wanted to wait until I felt better. I liked not needing a maternity dress. I got the dress of my dreams (curve hugging trumpet with a sweetheart neckline and pearl beading). I liked that I could still run around The Strip in cute little mini dresses and feel like a sexy new bride. Also, I was not showing so I didn’t get the “Why is she even here? Shouldn’t she be home resting? I bet she is drunk, too!” judgmental looks. I loved my wedding and love my husband, so I cannot complain. And maybe it’s just my warped sense of humor, but it’s kind of funny to say I had a shotgun wedding in Vegas!
  • The Belly BandLike most women, I went through that “bloated but not really showing” phase. My normal pants just barely didn’t fit, but I wasn’t big enough for maternity pants. So I bought a Belly Band. I read the reviews first, and the most common complaint was that it unravels if you wash it a lot, especially in hot water. I decided it would be fine to just wash it as need with Michael’s delicate bike clothes and never dry it. I have to say it did the basic job. I could wear my normal pants unbuttoned and it did not look weird. Just looked like I had a tank top on underneath. However, the band does not stay up that well, which annoyed me. It didn’t fall directly off or expose my unbuttoned pants. But I wanted it to stay around my lower belly, over my button, and go down a half inch or so. It would slide a little and cover only two of the three areas I wanted. It was only $20 so it was not a giant waste of money, so meh.