Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Middle of the Night Whining

Warning: This post is very Debbie-downer. I have to get these thoughts out of my head. It contains my frustrations with pregnancy, which I know may be hard for some of you who are dreaming of being pregnant. Please feel free to stop reading now. I don't want this to hurt or offend anyone.

It's 1:30 am and I've just finished vomiting, again. I've been sick all evening. I was sick most of yesterday too. Sunday was awful. So was last Thursday. And most of the days for the last 2 weeks. For whatever reason, my NVP is increasing in frequency again. Most days, I lose count of how many times I vomit. And once it starts, it doesn't stop until my stomach is completely empty and I am throwing up bile or dry heaving.

I know I complain about this often and you all are probably sick (get it??) of hearing about it, but I'm just overwhelmed with this. I physically ache from vomiting so often. My throat hurts, my esophagus hurts, my abs hurt, my mouth hurts, my gums and teeth are bothering me (from all the stomach acid). I finish an episode and I literally just lie there panting and exhausted. I physically feel hungry all the time.

My house is in absolute shambles. Today I couldn't even finish folding a couple of loads of laundry before I had to lie down again. I'm in this constant state of eat, throw-up, sleep, over and over again. It's maddening. I can't keep up with my life, so I end up feeling pathetic and useless. Any exertion costs me for days in recuperation. I can't exercise or eat properly, and my sleep schedule is really messed up from all the napping, so while I sleep all the time, it's in weird increments and combined with the physical exertion of vomiting, I'm still tired all the time.

Extreme NVP, or Hyperemisis Gravidarum, or whatever it is I have is so frustrating, because everybody thinks they know what it's like. I don't know how to politely say this: this isn't your mother's morning sickness. It's probably not even your morning sickness. Honestly, I've only known 1 woman who has been THIS sick. But because everyone thinks it's "just" morning sickness, I've received endless suggestions and comments about how if I just try ginger, or peppermint, or sea bands, or saltines, it will all be better. Or if I just wait til X amount of weeks, it will magically go away. I've tried all that. I have. And it doesn't work. Neither do the 4 prescriptions I've been on. This isn't just a little case of pregnancy tummy upset.

There are the people who try to commiserate with me by sharing about that one time they almost got sick, or those 3-4 weeks they vomited every other day, or how for their first trimester, they were nauseated several hours a day, but honestly, it usually just makes me feel jealous. It reminds me that this could be easier, and for many it is, but in this case, it just isn't.

Then the people who think it's "just" morning sickness think that I'm overreacting and complaining about something every woman has to go through. Honestly, if every pregnant woman had to go through this, I think the human race would become extinct. I happened to be speaking to someone yesterday just after one of my episodes, and they could hear how exhausted I was. Though this person has known I've been sick, they truly sounded surprised at the extremeness. I wondered what she thought I'd been talking about these last 6 months.

There are the people who try to say things like "well, in a way I'm glad you're sick because it's a reminder that you're still pregnant." Or, "just be grateful for the reason you're sick." Of COURSE I'm grateful for Matthew and I thank God for every day he's with me, but that doesn't mean I can't just be really really tired of the physical toll this is taking on me.

And I just want to scream! Believe me. I have heard it all. I have tried everything. I guess I don't want another old wives tale or trick or an admonishment to get over it. I don't want anyone else to try and fix me. If God won't and neither my doctor or I CAN, I'm pretty sure no one else can either. I just want to feel better and I feel utterly helpless to make that happen.

Then there are the darker thoughts that I really don't know what to do with.

There's the guilt I feel for uttering one word of complaint after trying and praying for this for 6 years. After other people are still waiting. After others have buried their children and would kill to be sick if it meant they got to have their babies back.

I worry so much about Matthew. I worry about the fact that I can only get *maybe* a half a cup or a cup of fruits and vegetables down per week. I worry that one of the things that actually helps me on occasion is a Coca Cola, which is full of caffeine and sugar. I worry about the fact that I'm not exercising, both for what it means for me and Matthew, and what it means for an increase in difficulty in labor. I worry about the fact that I lost another 2 pounds this week, putting me back at a net 0 weight change. I should have gained 8-12 pounds by now. I worry that I'm setting him up to be deficient in some thing--or many things. I worry about the 4 medications I've tried and the fact that I continue to take one of them very regularly. It's assumed to be safe, but no dedicated studies have been done because frankly, no pregnant woman wants to be a guinea pig. So I just have to hope and pray that it really is safe, and that between the medication or not eating at all, the medication is the "safer" bet. But I could be wrong. I know no amount of worrying will change what is already ordained from him but I can't escape this overwhelming guilt.

And harder than that are the thoughts I have about my 6 babies still frozen. I love them with my whole heart. I've believed from the beginning that they are ours, were always ours--that God chose them for us and us for them. I love them as much as I do my 5 already in Heaven and their brother on the way. But honestly, I don't know how I can do this again. And that scares me. I don't know how to face this again, but I don't know how to face any other decision, either. I'm ashamed to say that some days I think about whether or not we'll have to allow someone else to adopt them. What kind of mother am I that I would even consider such a thing over something as small as vomiting? I HATE that my thoughts even go there, but some days, they can't not.

Between DH and I, the only reproductive organ that works right is my uterus, which is the only one you need for EA. I've always taken that, and many other things, as sure direction from God that EA was what He had for us. I HATE that EA is treated like a fertility treatment. I believe that it is a calling to save little lives and I believe that He gave that calling to us. It's so maddening to have that conviction, but to have your body fail you. I wonder-did we get it wrong? Did we misunderstand? And if we were right, why is this particular roadblock not being removed? I resent that I can't look back on this time with pleasure and fondness.

I don't know what to do with all these thoughts. I don't know how to get out from under the physical exhaustion. I don't know how to admit and recognize the thoughts and then leave them at the foot of the cross. I don't know how to stop feeling guilt or worry, even though I know both are sins. I pray for relief from this, but honestly, it's half-hearted at times because I just expect it to continue.

So I don't know. I guess I hoped by actually writing all of this down, I could get it out of my head and abandon some of it. I desperately covet your prayers either for physical relief, or grace to deal with these thoughts and emotions. Thanks for reading. I'm sorry I'm so whiney. I hope you can be patient with me.


  1. I am so sorry it has been so rough. Thank you for the reminder, that with any experience in life, we really don't understand (even though we may think we do) what someone is going through. I will be praying a little more for you also. Hugs!

  2. I shared some of your thoughts when I was pregnant with my first baby. I threw up all day, every day and was constantly thirsty, as I couldn't even keep water down. I would cry when I'd wake up in the morning because I knew it was another whole day of being absolutely miserable. The only peace I had was when I laid down in bed at night, knowing that I could sleep through a few hours of it. It was HORRIBLE. I remember wondering if I could ever do it again. Once my son was born, perfect and amazing, I got a much better perspective of just how temporary the suffering had been, compared to my lifetime of blessing with my child. I knew, very quickly, that I COULD do it again. Do not rely on your thoughts while you are hormonal, suffering, exhausted and scared. Your mind will clear was he is born and you are fully experiencing that precious baby. Stay strong and know that no matter how bad it gets, that in the big picture, it is so very worth it. I am praying for you and your family! Hang in there!

  3. I forgot to say that I was pretty much just as sick with my daughter (2nd pregnancy), but it was so much easy to cope, knowing exactly the blessings that awaited. Plus, having a toddler gave me less time to dwell on my own issues and forced me to keep active and productive. Do not underestimate your will power and strength. You CAN get through it...for Matthew and for the remaining babies that God has brought you to.

  4. Hello, dear friend... I am so very sorry this is being a stinker for you. As I told you last night, what you are dealing with is past what I have experience with, so my advice is pretty much worth nothing. The only thing I have to suggest is to post on - whether for medical advice or just empathy, there are thousands of women there who really DO know exactly what you are going through, and it's a great place for understanding as well as medical advice. I found it very helpful during both of our pregnancies that needed help. In the meantime, I will be praying for you. ALSO, I would love to help out if you can use that with meals or housecleaning help. I would love to help with either - just let me know which (or both!). (Or not, if you'd rather be left alone.) I'll wait to hear from you.

    Much love!!

  5. First off - you can whine whenever you want to!
    Second - I don't consider this whining. This is exposure of your negative thoughts, with afterthoughts. It's no unconstructive whining!
    Third - Hyperemesis must be one of the hardest thing ever!! Not enough with the constant vomiting, but also the thoughts that it will somehow hurt the baby must be very difficult, and you are absolutely allowed to have them! I don't think that you are hurting Matthew Jen, but if he is affected somehow, it is not YOU doing this to him!! Noone could ever blame you for having hyperemesis!
    I know some people who had hyperemesis with their first - some even so had that they had to go to the hospital and get iv nutrition - and they still got pregnant with a second one. So my guess is that once Matthew is born, you will forget about how awful you felt, and rejoice in him!
    If you chose to try to get pregnant again, then it was worth it. If you don't, then it wasn't.

    Love you!!!

  6. Jen, I'm so sorry you're so miserable. And you're not a wuss for calling misery misery, and it doesn't make you any less grateful for the blessing that Matthew is. You're a good mom, and you're enduring, and sometimes that's all our job is.

    I didn't suffer this, but the first time I heard about hyperemesis during pregnancy was from a blog called Amy's Humble Musings. She has a real dry, biting sense of humor, which might be exactly the sort of realism that'd be comforting to you right now. I'm leaving her link below. But she says stuff like this:

    "Greg looks on the bright side of everything, which is why one of us in this marriage has to be the realist. The truth is, I don’t have that pregnancy glow. My skin is not radiating, and my hair is not shiny. Instead, my hair is a matted, greased down ponytail and my lips are cracked. I could play a junkie on TV and not need makeup or a change of clothes. I am prone to count my daily vomiting sessions, not my blessings."

    I need a wobbly-smiley to follow that quotation. Anyway, I hope it gets better soon. You may be one of the few mothers who finds the newborn stage easier than pregnancy!

  7. I follow your blog. I'm 5wks pregnant after our 2nd FET. Hubby and I spent 5 yrs trying to have our daughter who's now 7. Then 7yrs trying to have another baby. Had first FET last Nov, but all died. We tried to redo the procedure 4 times but all got cancelled last minute due to health concerns.
    My pregnancies are like yours, if not worse. I easily puked 20-30x/day. Many trips to ER. Hubby would help me onto our make-shift bed in the bathroom when he'd leave for work and then find me still there when he'd get home. Often I was too weak to scoot 3 ft to the garbage or toilet. Pulled muscles in my back from puking. Pregnancy was filled with many complications and hospital trips. I even puked all through labor until our daughter was born via emergency csection.
    I felt tremendously guilty that I didn't love pregnancy after I had begged God so much for it. Even though only 5wks along, I've been sick for 8 days now and am terrified of the next few months. I homeschool our 7yr old! Also, I have several pre-existing chronic diseases that complicate things.
    I tried everything for the sickness - meds from Dr, everyone's tips and home remedies. Listened to everyone's whiney stories that seemed to pale in comparison. I won't do that to you. 'Cause truthfully, it could hang on for even longer (don' t you wish you could claw my eyeballs out right now!?!) I can say that relief does eventually come and seeing your baby and holding it, does seem to make the memories of it all not so wretched.
    I'm impressed you can blog or fold laundry. That is worlds better than me during pregnancy. Don't feel bad about talking about it and not loving the experience. It can be a terrible means to a glorious end! With any little bit of strength you have, read your Bible, pray outloud, & listen to encouraging music. Remember that this life is temporary and nothing we experience on earth compares to what Jesus went through!
    And eating something not so nutritionally sound is better than eating something eating something good that puts you in a tail spin. My dr would tell me not to worry about what I ate and drank, as long as I was trying. Babies are pretty resilient. I actually had a friend that was so sick during her pregnancy, that she weighed 20lbs less than when she conceived! It'll be ok.

  8. Hope you feel better soon- thank goodness it's only temporary!!

  9. I have been reading your blog for a bit now, and I too am pregnant. I am 16 weeks with my second...and honestly I didn't know if I could tread those waters again. I had some delusion that maybe 2nd time would be not so much. I have tried all the "remedies" as well...without much success. The only glimmer of relief has been zofran on the dot every 8 hrs. to the tee...but even that is not fool proof. I am with you on the whole extinction of the human race, because I think twice is about all I can handle :) I thought pregnancy was supposed to be a special event...ha more like a vomit fest! Just know that I sympathize and think that its great to put words where your thoughts are sometimes. I have quit trying to process all my thoughts...cause frankly it is too demanding :) I will be praying that you will find some relief and that these weeks will past swiftly because that truly is the ultimate relief! Hang in there...he cant stay in there forever! :) Um...and just for the record, you dont really ever forget how you felt when that sweet baby just have delusions it wont happen again...ha!

  10. I for one cannot fault you for "whining". I haven't had NVP, but I had back pain/sciatica so bad on Sunday that I stayed home from church (which is a big thing for me). I think being pregnant is the least fun thing ever (the only highlight being the small kicks, prior to the point where they're big kicks to either the diaphragm or bladder).

    Just like the misery that is labor, I forgot about just how bad it was the last time. And I went ahead and did it again :) But that being said, whine, gripe, bitch, moan all you want. No one should have the "pregnancy is beautiful" party line without a little bit of realism. It's physically hard on the body. It hurts. It makes your body do really weird/disgusting things.

    But that being said, no one has ever been pregnant forever. And the rewards outweigh the trouble you go through times 1000. (until, of course, your boobs are chapped and bleeding and you haven't taken a shower in 3 days and the baby won't stop crying...)

    I love you sister, don't feel guilty about how you feel.

  11. No one is supposed to enjoy suffering. Don't feel guilty and do whatever you need to do to survive the day. If I were you, I'd consider going to the doctor and making sure you don't need an IV or you haven't hurt yourself seriously from all the vomiting. That is no small matter. You're a good mommy and your baby is undoubtedly doing much better than you are right now, so try not to augment your misery by worrying about him.

  12. I am sorry to hear of your ongoing pain and your thoughts/worries and fears all sound completely logical and honest to me. I don't think that you will ever forget this time, or that having Matthew will take away from the struggle. This is just a part of the journey.

    Whether or not you will decide to birth your other children is far off and since you know what you will face (all the women I know who had your illness had it in some degree every pregnancy) you and your husband will make that decision together on what you can handle. And there is no room for guilt in that.

    I have never been where you are but I hope that as each (painful) day passes it is a small consolation or a bright hope that you are one day closer to seeing your son and having this all be over.

  13. I am sorry you are going through this! It is not fair and being sick to your stomach all the time is the worst feeling. I can't imagine how you have survived 20+ weeks so well. I have had one 24 hour period of puking every hour or so and I was ready to throw in the towel. You are so strong and I pray that you will get relief soon.

  14. I'm sorry this is happening to you. Huge hugs! I did some online looking and found this interesting testimony from someone and thought I would pass it on.... food for thought, I guess.
    You might even ask your doctor to check your liver enzymes to make sure your liver is functioning properly. Again hugs. -kriss

  15. Thank you Jen for being so honest and open with your suffering, thoughts, fears, and joy too. Praying for you tonight... Praying that the Lord comforts your heart as only He can. By the way, I really think your heart of openness with everything you are going through is so important for those, like myself, who are continually dreaming of the day we get to experience pregnancy. It kind of knocks me back to reality that just because I've waited so long does not exactly mean I will have a glorious experience. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  16. I completely agree with Jennifer are not supposed to enjoy this, and you shouldn't feel guilty for feeling miserable!

    When my mother was pregnant with me, she had a similar situation. She weighed less when she went to the hospital (prior to delivery!) than she did when she got pregnant, and she was trim to begin with. And you know what? I turned out fine! ;) (Does that help you not worry about Matthew *quite* so much?)

    One of the things my mom did, because she did care about trying to get some nutrients down, was to figure out the biggest nutrient punch in the smallest amount of food. Then choke down a tablespoon and hold it as long as she could. I remember her telling me that wheat germ was one of the things that she tried to get down. Maybe you could do that? Another nutrient/protein dense food that might work for you is custard. Sugar heavy, of course, but eggs and milk pack a powerful nutrition punch, and maybe the sweetness would help you get it down?

    I hope I don't sound like I'm minimizing your problem..that is NOT what I mean to do! I just remember some of these things from when my mom used to tell me stories, and I hope that they help you.

    Love and hugs!

  17. I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. That is miserable! Praying for you now.