Pregnancy looked good on my friends. All of them had a cute, tiny bump, with little to no morning sickness. They all maintained employment and continued with their daily activities. Their main focus was decorating the nursery and buying cute baby clothes. This inspired my expectations for how my pregnancy would look. I would have the “glow” people talk about.
Indeed, my experience looked a little different.
In January 2017, I found out not only was I expecting a baby – but two babies. I was having twins! I was thrilled beyond measure, as the road to pregnancy was difficult, due to infertility issues.
I couldn’t wait to start taking weekly baby bump photos, planning my baby shower, and buying maternity clothing! It was going to be great!
Life then came to a halt.
One day, I was getting ready for a job interview at a local attorney’s office. Only a few people knew I was pregnant, so I had to keep it together for the interview. On the drive there, I had to stop the car on the side of the road to throw up, violently. I thought, “Wow, my mom nor my friends ever got sick in their first trimester, so this must be a one-time thing.”
Oh, how wrong I was.
I took a few breaks during my interview to get sick in their bathroom. I was mortified. On the drive home, I canceled all my meetings and activities for that day. I called my husband and told him to bring home some sprite and crackers, as I couldn’t keep anything down.
I made myself a bed next to the toilet, so I had easier access. “This must be a bug,” I thought.
Update: It wasn’t a bug. It was extreme morning sickness. Morning… Ha! More like all day.
I spent the next week getting sick from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep at night. And sometimes in between. This wasn’t the experience I had dreamt about when trying all those years to get pregnant. I started to ask myself what I had done. How can something (or two somethings) so small make such an impact?
I decided to seek help after I noticed I was losing weight. My obstetrician prescribed me with Zofran (an anti-nausea medication) to overcome my extreme morning sickness, or what she called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). It was the second time I had heard that term – as the first was from an article I read about Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. If she could get through it with three of her pregnancies… I could do it too, right?
Day after day, I kept up hope that it would stop… but it didn’t. It was relentless.
My Zofran pills ran out (I only had 14) and my insurance refused to refill my prescription. They said 14 pills should suffice. My doctor switched strategies to accommodate my insurance and I was prescribed a Zofran pump. The pump provided me with a constant drip, connected to my body 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I had to change out my syringe of medicine every few hours and sick myself at the injection site daily.
I mostly laid in bed during this time, which affected my mental health and caused me to spiral into a perinatal depression. I didn’t know that existed, as I had never seen anyone struggle this much during pregnancy. I couldn’t do anything, smell anything, eat anything and it was making me very angry and resentful. I began to seek treatment for depression during this time and counseling to help motivate me to get out of bed on days I felt slightly better. I kept asking myself why I couldn’t have the same experience as my pregnant friends?
By 18 weeks, I had lost 23 pounds. I started to feel better physically, and I tried to make my way out of the mental fog HG has caused. I was also sporting a new bump, minus an attached Zofran pump.
The rest of the pregnancy was a wild ride but didn’t include hyperemesis gravidarum. After a few weeks of bed rest and a blood transfusion, I gave birth to two healthy baby girls at 38 weeks, full-term for twins. The moment I laid eyes on them was the moment I forgot about every hardship I had encountered in my journey to motherhood.
Looking back, I wouldn’t want to go back to my hyperemesis gravidarum days; however, having my twins here with me every day makes my experience with debilitating morning sickness totally worth it!