Today Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day: No More Babies for Me

This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to write. And I am crying through it. And I might not get out of bed today.

I was kidding myself for the last few months when my wife and I were contemplating having a second child. I wrote out a pro/con list that I almost posted here but then it came down the question of how you properly weigh “Get to try again for my ideal birth” on one side of the chart and “Terror, Liver Failure, Possible Death”  on the other? The “No” side of having a baby was longer but things seemed to have different weights. How can you measure the joy of birthing a soul? How do I measure my own life?

I was extremely sick for 18 weeks with Hyperemesis Gravidarum: extreme morning sickness (and the rest of the pregnancy was filled with gallbladder disease, aggravated by the HG.)  Am I ready to willingly, willingly do it again and even risk death? I mean, for straight religious women who do not believe in birth control, it doesn’t feel like choice. But we have to plan and chart and buy really expensive sperm.

During my pregnancy and afterward, we said no more babies, but I think that is what many new parents say. Now our little girl is grown up and I would really love to nurse just one more and we would love to give Iris a sibling- but a pregnancy would actually just be RECKLESS for me, as far as I can see.

So a few days ago I decided that I won’t be having another baby. I wasn’t going to think about this at all for a few years but then I was told I need a surgery for a birth injury that would need to happen after birthing and breastfeeding is done for good.  The world’s first Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness day was looming and I couldn’t any longer ignore my reality and cover it with dreams of home births and baby names. I also realized that I have PTSD from my pregnancy (and I made an appointment with an appropriate therapist- one who deals with grief and parenthood). I feel relieved to have finally made the decision and so, so sad that I feel possibilities or souls have been taken away from me because of a disease.

First Days of Sickness

The worst part of it is that I have never been allowed to feel my grief. Everyone has said that my partner can just have the next baby (she’s older than me and doesn’t want to), or that we can adopt. That would be what they tell someone who has had a long process of infertility. Sure, there may be other options, but talking about them right away   ignores the mother’s process and tries to hide her grief. How about someone just says something like “I’m really sad for you?” I’d like that.

Sure, we could try again to get pregnant. But if we inseminated again, I would the terrified and shaking during the insemination. While waiting to find out if we were pregnant, I would be terrified and shaking. Part of me would be hoping for a baby and the other part of me would be praying I wasn’t pregnant. After finding out we were pregnant I would be waiting anxiously for which minute would start the process. First low blood sugar and fainting, then the throwing up and I would be unable to get out of bed most days (or take care of my first child). Then the hyper-salivation would start and I’d be unable to leave the house without towels. I would lose many pounds. I wouldn’t allow myself to bond with my baby because I was so terrified I would lose her. The enamel on my teeth would further erode, I would see blood in my vomit when my esophagus tore.

HG ruins marriages because of stress, ruins families financially, takes women away from older children, causes long term health consequences and emotional trauma. For me the main emotional trauma was nobody taking my condition seriously until it was almost too late. People thinking I was overly dramatic and wussy, people thinking I was making myself throw up. I withdrew from friends because nobody understood and because I was so disgusting. I was depressed and when people wanted to help, I literally had no idea what to tell them to do. The only thing that made me feel better was to be on an IV and my medical team wouldn’t give me IV for my home. I prayed to get through each day without allowing myself to ask to go to the hospital again.

Sure, I could go for it anyway like all of the many women with HG who try to forget enough to get pregnant and then pray it is better the next time. Maybe the medical professionals and midwives would take me seriously this time before I damage my liver again. At least I would know more about the medications, at least I would know to get IV hydration immediately. Still, the chance for having HG again is 85% and there is a possibility that it will be much worse subsequent times.

Moms die. So many desperately wanted babies are aborted to save the mother’s life. I was reminded by two docs that this was an option for me. This was my first baby but I understand why moms may choose this especially to be around for older children!  Many, many babies just die due to complications of HG. The names of the babies and moms lost are on the HerFoundation page today. A similar message from a few mothers to the babies: “I wish I was strong enough.”  No mother should be made to feel like her baby died because she wasn’t “strong enough”.

We Are All Mother Enough

We Are All Strong Enough

Please spread the word about HG by posting this link on your blog, Facebook or Twitter:

http://www.helpher.org/

The study being gone at USC is extremely important and has already yielded important results which will all eventually help treat and find cure for HG.

If you are a mom of two normal and healthy pregnancies, you are needed badly as a control! Email Marlena at : nvpstudy@usc.edu

Please consider donating here: http://www.helpher.org/specialpages/give-hope-campaign.php

Please sign the petition for government funding for research! http://www.helpher.org/about-her-foundation/petition.php

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About mooreamalatt

Find my whole bio here: http://www.savvyparentingsupport.com/#!about/cktc
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18 Responses to Today Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day: No More Babies for Me

  1. I hope this is a healthy first step towards allowing yourself to grieve and to experience, feel and process these very real emotions.

    *hugs* What a strong post. I wish you well.

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  2. anktangle says:

    I’m sending you so much love today, Moorea. Know that you’re in my thoughts and that you’re not alone. ❤ Thank you for being so brave as to share your truth, your story.

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  3. deananall says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. We wanted at least one more child, but after two rounds of HG (first much worse than the second), I was no longer willing to do that to myself or to the people around me. I’m so sorry for everything the HG took from you and your wife. Here is my story: http://deanaland.blogspot.com/2012/04/that-sick.html.

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  4. Leah says:

    Sending love to you. What a hard and heartbreaking decision to have made. After you describe HG like that it’s hard to imagine anyone willingly risking it again, but that doesn’t mean it’s not devastating. XOXO

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  5. Having done it twice now, and the HG lasting longer, starting earlier and being so much worse the second time, I’m terrified of trying again. No one knows the life changing debilitation of HG unless they’ve been there. I feel for you. I don’t feel ready to say for sure no more babies, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it again either.

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  6. i’m sorry you’re going through this. i’ve been there, twice. i won’t have any more babies either and it’s heartbreaking. thanks for helping to spread awareness.

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  7. Renee says:

    That really sucks and I’m sorry to hear it. I still play with the idea of having a third (maybe a boy this time?) but my last pregnancy was scary enough for Scott that he doesn’t want to risk trying again, since placenta previa risk goes up with age (I’m nearly 42), prior d&c (Ding!) prior placenta previa (Ding! Ding!) andprefer c sections (Ding! Ding! Ding!) I couldn’t resign myself to it enough to have them tie my tubes during my last c section, but I think I am going to have to let it go and it is sad to think about.

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  8. Thinking of you Moorea, as you go through this. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  9. Brian W says:

    I recently checked back on your MySpace page after having essentially abandoned MySpace a few years back in favor of Facebook (not unique, I realize) – I had followed you a bit then after seeing your connection to The Nields (a group/duo I credit with getting me into ‘modern’ folk), and I did like your musings and postings as well as your music, though essentially resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t get to see you in concert since I’m on the opposite coast, and don’t expect to be getting to that area of the world, well, ever, really. So, when I re-checked in, I realized I’d missed a lot and had some catching-up to do.

    I was concerned for you after reading this particular post – not in a creepy, stalker kind of way, but in the concern-for-the-welfare-of-another-human-being way. I realize that, as a male, I’m at a disadvantage on a couple of fronts, mainly that I can never physically experience the childbirth/development process so I could never experience what you went through (though truthfully, no one could know exactly what another person goes through, even if the same gender), and I also am not a parent, so I have no child-rearing skills beyond baby-sitting my godchildren and numerous honorary nieces and nephews (though I apparently get high marks in that regard), but that all said, it’s not difficult to understand when someone’s in pain, and needs some kind of help, and since I’ve benefited from you in the past with your postings and such, and here you are posting about a painful situation, I would have to have a heart & head of stone to not feel a need to reach out to you.

    First, you are a good person. An excellent person, in fact. You have had an incredibly difficult situation placed upon you, through no fault of your own, and have had to make some unbelievably hard decisions. This is the kind of stuff that would challenge the renowned wisdom of Solomon, and you’ve more than risen to the challenge. The people who didn’t understand and tried offering advice generally meant well (unless they’re evil people, in which case you don’t want them around you anyway), and just wanted to try and help in some way, and just couldn’t find the right way that you needed – though if nothing else, you can take comfort in the fact that they were trying to help.

    Second, you are an excellent mother. All of the tough choices you’ve made have all revolved around being the best mother you can be for your child, and I can’t think of a more unselfish thought process. And you’re continually re-checking, which is not the same thing as second-guessing (though there can be a fine-line between the two, so I would recommend that, if you find yourself lingering too long on a thought-process, take a mental step back, a few deep breaths, maybe a glass of your favorite wine – or other relaxing beverage – and push it aside to keep the beauty and joy of what’s around you as you’re also a part of that, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on that).

    Finally, despite the reputation to the contrary, it’s ok to be sad – it’s very natural, and it helps us appreciate the not-sad times more than we would otherwise; I would be concerned if you were *always* sad, though, since that can cause a lot of damage. I’m not sensing that that’s the case here (as much as one can sense such things from a blog posting), and that’s encouraging; you have a support network in place – your spouse, your child, your friends, your family, your fans, etc., – and they’re a support network for a reason: to support you, so never feel guilty in any way if you need them, that’s what they’re there for.

    So, sorry to have rambled on in an almost blog-worthy post of my own, but like I mentioned at the beginning, you’d lifted my day numerous times in the past, and it seemed only fitting that I try to return the favor at a time when you seemed down yourself. There will still be tough days, no doubt, but hopefully, knowing you have supporters will make those days even just a little less tough, and, as they say, every little bit helps.

    Sending a Bear Hug your way, since they’re for those times when you think you can’t bear it.

    Be Well.

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  10. katerina says:

    I’m really sad for you. I found your blog through Birth and Beyond and this post has left me with tears in my eyes. You are so brave for sharing this with us. Thank you.

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  11. Stephanie says:

    I did the HG thing three times, and very much understand your reasoning- makes sense. It does get worse each time. Longer, if not generally much more severe.

    That said, have you had your gallbladder out? Every HG sufferer I know whose HG was related to gallbladder disease and had it out had none in subsequent pregnancies. Gallbladder disease can just flat out cause HG where there would be none otherwise. In those cases it seems curable- honestly, I am jealous. I wish I had had a treatment possibility. Laying on the bathroom floor retching, deciding whether the IV fluids would really be worth the trip to the hospital with the toddlers in tow- I can’t think of any lower moments in my life.

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  12. Moorea says:

    I have had my gallbladder out but inquired on the forums and found many who had it out but went on to have hg pregnancies. And actually found nobody who had an easier pregnancy. I think of hg as an allergy to the hormones of pregnancy which likely has not much to do with gbd. But I’d love to talk to ant of your friends who had a fix!!

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  13. Rhiannon says:

    I just found your site today and for some reason this is the first one I read… I am so sorry. And I know it doesn’t help, but I am also so sad for you.

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  14. Jenny says:

    I’m in tears reading this. I am sad for you. I know what it was like wanting a baby for YEARS, and then finally being with someone that could give me a baby – at 41. I know that my time is short to have another one, and would LOVE to carry another baby, and try again for that “perfect” birth experience – or ANY birth experience for that matter – as I was forced into an emergency c-section, and was totally put under and missed the whole thing. My boyfriend and I are actively trying – but for only another 9 months – then we’re done. My son has DS, and the risk is just too high that it will happen again – not that I would love another baby with DS any less, but I’m just too damn old to be responsible for the remainder of someone else’s life – let alone two people’s lives. I love my son dearly and like you, want to give him a sibling…adoption just isn’t the same for me. I share in your pain, not for the same reasons as you – but share in it just the same. I’m sorry. I wish I could give you a hug.

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  15. Angela says:

    I think I may have had HG. I was sick my entire pregnancy and gained no weight until I developed swelling from early eclampsia. Within a week of giving birth (6 weeks early because my amniotic fluid was dangerously low) I weighed 12 pounds less than my starting weight. I was sick the entire pregnancy. As a teacher, I would stop class to throw up in the hallway before returning to class. The vomiting was so violent I had bladder loss and petechiael hemorrhaging on my face and neck. I desperately wanted to take my maternity leave early, but couldn’t afford to lose the income. My physical experience during pregnancy and postpartum led to severe depression. Having a name for it may have helped. As awful as the experience was, I swore I would never have another child. Fate intervened and I unexpectedly became pregnant again. The second pregnancy was no picnic, but not marked with the severe reactions of the first.

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  16. Neetu says:

    I am not sure how we can connect to strangers on the web .. knowing that nobody else around you understands you better that this person .. who has gone through what you have .. and has felt every hurt and blow you experienced. I battling with myself since last one year after loosing my second to HG at 9 weeks. growing up as a single kid ..i never though i would subject it to my kid.. and i feel tears everytime i look at my son .. I soo wish i could have the second one ..for me , for him for all of us .. everything seems incomplete .. and i wonder if the sadness will stay or go away someday .

    Like

    • mooreamalatt says:

      Thank you so much for writing, Neetu! It’s a hard road. There are some really helpful Facebook groups for Hyperemesis, those done with kids and those scared to try again but who may try. I find them really helpful. It really takes time to get over the awfulness and also the loss, so difficult that we know we don’t all have all of the years in the world to get over it and then try again years later. We feel like we have to do it now or never sometimes and we aren’t always ready! The names of the Facebook groups are Hyperemesis Gravidarum, TTC after HG, and HG Warriors xoxo

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