Monday 19 December
I’m due a period today. I know it’s early to expect a pregnancy test to tell me anything, but I’m excited at the prospect of starting baby number two – despite HG. I’ve been doing tests each month for the past three months, forking out $17.95 for the kits each time. This time, it’s more a case of ‘just knowing’. You know how you just… know? I sit and watch the test. It comes up with ever such a faint extra line, but it’s there all the same.
Tuesday 20 December
I do another test to be sure. It’s slightly darker this time. I’ve managed not to tell my husband yet. I’d like to keep it as a surprise Christmas present, or at least a Christmas Eve present… But I can’t! I want us to have a few days where we can privately share our secret. I’ve decided to tell family and a few close friends early this time around, rather than after 12 weeks because I’m fairly certain I’m going to have HG again which is impossible to hide.
Saturday 24 December
My parents have arrived from Victoria to spend Christmas with us. Innes and I enjoy dropping hints to them as they settle in for a cup of tea, exchanging smiles as they go over the top of their heads. In the end I have to say, ‘When Bronte has a little brother or sister in August’. Dad laughs and asks if we’re joking. Mum, who was playing with Bronte looks at me realising she’s missed something, ‘What?!’ she exclaims. They are both excited for us, but obviously not surprised. We have always been open to everyone about the fact that we want to have a second child as soon as possible to get it all over and done with.
Sunday 25 December
We head over to Innes’ parents place for Christmas dinner. We wait until all the family are about in the same room to share our news. Again, no one is overly surprised! We ask everyone to keep it under wraps as it’s only early days. I estimate I’m about six weeks. One relative says, ‘Oh gosh, I wouldn’t have been game to tell people so early. I’d be worried that something might happen.’ That quickly wipes the smile off my face. I’m extremely aware of the risk. I am usually a very private person. I’ve never felt the need to go into graphic detail on anything. But HG changes your perspective somewhat. The first time around with Bronte we kept it quiet from everyone except our parents until we saw the 12 week scan. And the only reason we told our parents was because I was so unbelievably sick that they began to worry that I had a serious, terminal illness. I also had to tell my boss because from six weeks until about three to four months, I was off work. For those first horrendous 12 weeks I suffered through it by keeping quiet and hiding from society. Of course I was concerned about telling people early when there is always a chance of something going wrong. But with a 1-year old already, I knew I’d need to be asking for help to care for her early on.
To scare me further, over the next few days I experience some light spotting. I’m fearful that we should perhaps have kept quiet. I think it’s nearly harder if something goes wrong if you tell friends and family rather than complete strangers you will never see again. There is also little to no nausea so far too, which excites, but also worries me.
I’m trying not to get to hopeful about avoiding HG though. We’ve calculated that early in the New Year is when I should expect to be as far along as what I was with Bronte when I began to feel rotten. Every day, every hour, we are anxious about HG’s likely return. It’s a weight over us – all the unknowns. How will I cope this time with a child already? Will I be able to return to work (I’m due to return at the start of February after 14 months maternity leave which I already extended a couple of months to fit in with when Bronte’s spot in childcare becomes available)? Will we be OK financially if I can’t? Will it be worse this time around?
Friday 3 January 2012
I celebrate Bronte’s first birthday at the local pool with my Mother’s Group. It’s a nice, low-key and stress free afternoon. Yesterday, I hoed down on half a BBQ chicken. Today I bought two for us to share over lunch. I can eat it, but I do feel a slight, ever so slight aversion to it which triggers warning bells. My first experience of HG saw me able to eat a certain type of food for a day or so, and then the next I’d be hurling at the sight of it.
I’ve been taking naps whenever I can over the past few days. I’m exceptionally tired. We try going for a walk with Bronte in her backpack through our highly prized and loved National Park we reach by stepping out of our front doorstep. Twenty minutes into it, I’m dizzy. Uh oh. We cut it short and head home. On the way back, I vomit. It’s started. I know.
Manage not to throw up. Feel revolting.
Vomit in the morning after cereal and orange juice (bad decision – too acidic). I’ve been hanging out over the weekend for my obstetrician, Dr. Adelyn Leong to return from her holiday, so I can beg for Zofran (an antiemetic) again. Tomorrow.
I phone Doctor Leong’s rooms at 9.15am. Ought to giver her at least 15 minutes to settle in before she hears my name again! The new receptionist tells me, ‘You’re in luck. Someone has cancelled their Friday appointment which you can have.’ It’s Monday. While the 13th is better than my original appointment on the 20th, it’s no good. Even one more day without Zofran will see me rapidly decline and this time I’m desperate to try to stay ahead of it, rather than let the downward spiral begin before any treatment.
Just as I’m about to instruct the receptionist to tell Dr. Leong that it’s me calling, she walks past and he mentions my name and that I suspect HG is returning. I hear her instantly tell him she’s write out several scripts for me to pick up that day. I’m relieved to have her as my Doctor. Half the battle with HG is finding a Doctor who knows what it’s about, can treat it and actually believe that it exists. I get to her rooms after Bronte’s morning sleep, rush to the chemist and down my first dose – half an 8mg Zofran tablet. Sweet relief – well sort of. The tablets are placed on top of your tongue and dissolve quickly for you to swallow easily. A person with HG finds it impossible to swallow tablets, and even more impossible to keep them down. Zofran is immediately absorbed into the blood stream.
The next few days are OK. I can eat bland Vita Brits with milk still and lunch which I couldn’t at this stage last time. However dinner is reduced to potatoes, potatoes, potatoes.
My first appointment with Dr. Leong. She checks my weight (69kg), my blood pressure (110 over something or other I think – but good), asks me how I’m going and if this one was planned (Bronte wasn’t!).
I tell her how we decided after the first horrible pregnancy how we just wanted to get the second and last baby over and done with. She thinks it’s a good idea. Have them close together while you’re still in the mode, if you can do it. It’s lovely to have support from such a professional individual. I climb onto her examination table and we have a look on her small ultrasound machine. Somewhere lurking in my belly is a little blob and it makes me smile. ‘It is going to be worth it,’ I think, ‘and it’s going to be the last time.’ I can’t see a heartbeat and am quite disappointed. Bronte was an obvious baby shape when I had my first scan with her. Dr. Leong assures me that a heart will already be beating in there.
She looks over my file and breaks the news to me that I was 10 weeks when she first saw me with Bronte. Ten weeks! During today’s scan, the Doctor estimates the baby is about eight weeks. That means I have another two weeks before I hit rock bottom! Plus, I thought I was 8 weeks a couple of weeks ago. Nooooo! A HG pregnancy drags enough without being set back a couple of weeks in progress. I know it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. Pleadingly, I ask, ‘Is it going to be better this time around because I’m taking Zofran earlier?’ She seems to think it will be. Her reasoning is that this time around I haven’t started the nasty cycle of vomiting nad losing weight and therefore energy, which makes getting on top of the whole cycle harder.
We’ll see. As the days go by, I feel worse…
I ring Dr. Leong to see if I can do anything to get rid of the intensifying nausea. She suggests ginger beer (I shudder at the thought – I grew to hate it after the first time around) and ginger tablets. I know she’s just trying to find something for me to hold on to, but I also know she knows these things won’t work for me. I am trying ginger tablets, but I’m not convinced. They didn’t work last time. She recommends I take Metamucil for Zofran’s ugly side effect – severe constipation – or another drug it this doesn’t work after three days.
I tried a tiny bit of ocean trout and cous cous for dinner. It’s difficult for me to actually bring the fork towards my mouth. It smells and my stomach is telling me not to do it, while my head is telling me to get something into me.
Bronte wakes that night and it takes about 30 minutes to settle her. She experienced her very first day of childcare today. Massive relief for me! She seemed to be quite content and slept OK during the day.
The day began OK, but I am severely nauseated after a short sleep. I took another half Zofran table early as I couldn’t stand it. Popcorn, which I ate with gusto yesterday, is no good today. It makes me sick. I’m grateful to have Bronte in childcare. I think I’ll be keeping her in there regardless of whether I return to work or not.
I’ve booked in for acupuncture on Thursday. Fingers crossed. I’ve been trying homeopathy. I know it’s the kind of thing that you are meant to stick at to find the right remedy, but two different bottles of medicine down already I’m losing faith. The taste of the brandy that is used to preserve the medicine makes me retch. A friend of my sister-in-law had HG twice, with the second time being a drastic improvement. I bailed her up at their wedding to ask her questions and she swore by a naturopath’s prescription of some prenatal vitamins. I need to track these down and try them.
I’m finding doing any housework, or in fact anything, difficult to do today. I’m also worried that my husband isn’t quite aware of how bad it is getting. I took three half tablets of Zofran today. I’m not sure whether I was meant to go over the dosage of just two halves, but I felt terrible.
Zzzzzz! I stayed awake for hours after Bronte woke at 2am last night. She was only awake for 10 minutes thankfully. I felt very nauseous. Met a friend and her two boys at lake Alexandra this morning to see how some light exercise and fresh air might treat me. Some slow, short walks around the lake felt OK, but I am super tired. At least it kept my mind off spewing.
My friend was telling me how much they were paying to have her two boys in childcare now so she could work two days a week. Scary!
I was grateful to have Innes’ mum come over for the middle of the day session with Bronte so I could sleep. I’m not sure what she gave her for lunch though – nothing I’d packed for her was touched! I hope she did get fed…
I’m trying to hold off on taking another Zofran. I ring Dr Leong to see if I can up my Zofran dosage. No. It’s getting harder to hold the vomit in.
Innes is at home today. I got up when Bronte woke to give her breakfast and then go back to bed again. I sleep and sleep. Bronte fell asleep early on a bushwalk with her Dad and now her routine is out, so she’s very grizzly. He’s frustrated by the end of the day. still, at least I got a break.
Acupuncture was nice. I didn’t feel any relief from nausea, but I felt extremely relaxed. I also had an ultrasound at Bowral Hospital. I finally get to see a heart beating. bub is 1.5cm and a heartbeat of 167 bpm. It’s dated at eight weeks. Sigh. It was eight weeks this time last week with Dr. Leong. Groundhog Week! I book in for a nuchal translucency and blood test in three to four weeks time.
Bronte is really taking to the bath these days. I get doused with water as she splashes away happily and I’m keen to let her so she wears herself out for a good night’s sleep. It is her first night of being completely weaned from breastfeeding. She’s one year, two weeks and two days.
I wake at 3.30am when Innes gets up to have breakfast before leaving for his job in Sydney. He does this two days a week and other days works locally. I head to the loo shortly after and get a whiff of his deodorant and gag. It’s exactly like last time. i couldn’t let him spray it in the same room as me. I manage to keep the vomit down. But 15 minutes later I run to the loo to vomit up stomach juices. It’s vile. I lie in bed feeling horrible, but at least get a hug from hubby. I hold out on taking Zofran until 5am to try to space the two doses out. I manage breakfast and sleep while Innes’ mum looks after Bronte in the morning.
I then take Bronte into town at 11am for her one year immunisations. It’s horrible. She’s hungry and struggles during the three injections and cries all the way though. The need into her leg scratched her and it leaves a cut that bleeds for ages. I am a sweaty, nauseous mess in the hot, airless room. To make things even less fun, there is a woman there with her 1-year-old that was in our prenatal classes at hospital. She drove everyone nuts moaning about her pregnancy constantly and feigning feeling ill and having contractions at the first class. We didn’t return for the second class because of her. Now, she sits in the room moaning about immunisations and telling us all about her sciatia. I feel sorry for the midwives who had to look after her during her son’s birth. I move away from her, though I’m tempted to throw up on her. I notice the next people along from her move away too.
I manage lunch, a potato and spinach frittata. I’m really pleased to still be able to be eating this kind of food. I remember last pregnancy that I reached a point very early on where my food intake became even more restricted because I would choose to eat food that, rather than being easy to get down, would be easier and less harsh on my throat to get back up. I’d be throwing up stomach acid and bits of blood regularly.
I head home again after seeing a naturopath in the local health food store. I’ll head back in later to pick up some similar vitamins to the prenatal ones that were recommended for me. The naturopath is also going to order me the brand my sister in law’s friend recommended. Hopefully the ones in the interim will work. I feel nauseous but am trying to distract myself with a phone call to Innes and writing my blog.
Well, it’s back with vengeance. I picked up the prenatal tables yesterday afternoon and took one (enormous) one when I got home. Surprisingly, that night I felt the best I have so far since getting sick. Could this really be the miracle cure? I try not to get my hopes up too much. I know how HG works. You’ll be really low, then there might be a good day, and then you’re back down low again the following day.
Sure enough, today it all came crashing down. I can’t move off the couch to play with Bronte and to make it harder she has a temperature from the immunisation. When Innes’ mum rings to see if she can help out for an hour or two, I gratefully accept. I feel terrible that night, throwing up twice. I believe the vitamins have actually made things worse. I read with regret that a biathlon I was going to enter months ago is on next week.
I ring mum and sob down the phone. When you’re a daughter, I don’t think you ever become too old to want your mother’s care. We discuss how she can help me out with Bronte – whether it’s best for me to travel down to Wangaratta or whether she should come up here. She leaves the decision in my hands. Inn and I both think me being down there for a few weeks is the best option. At least there I can get 24 hour care and don’t have to worry about housework or looking after Bronte too much
My sense of smell has definitely heightened in the last few days. The smell of our house is making me retch, because neither of us has the energy or ability (me) or time (hubby) to clean it. The bathroom and laundry are the worst. The damp smell sends me off.
Today I’m really struggling to keep things down. Innes is home today, but he’s had to go an unload some stuff off his ute while Bronte is asleep. I hope he gets back quickly. I attempt to eat some cruskits and drink some Ovaltine. I spend 95% of the day in bed trying to sleep the nausea away.
Australia Day. I couldn’t get any more un-Australian: bedridden, no beer and no BBQ! Innes is working in Sydney today. I’ve driven Bronte over to his parents place for them to care for her from 8.30 until 4.30pm. I happily leave her there knowing she’ll be perfectly content with a different bunch of toys and plenty of songs from her vibrant Gran who is a recently retired primary school teacher.
I get back home after a quick trip to a health food store to pick up some more organic and gluten-free food. I’ve been trying to eat this type of food for a few days now. Originally it was just because I’d sought out food that would be easily digestible. The theory being that if it’s easier for my stomach to process, it may be less likely too reject it. I’ve been managing organic rice puffs with goat’s milk for breakfast. Despite the initial gag reflex at the smell of the goat’s milk, once I started eating it, it sat very well. I have even managed two bowls some mornings! Incredible! Other food I’m trying is gluten-free everything; chicken noodles (OK, but the texture does make me a little gaggy), melting moment biscuits (too sweet, but they stay down most of the time) and a type of rice flour bread with avocado. Some days I can eat these things, some days I can only get half way through a serve. I’ve also been sucking on fruit tingles. A little unconventional for my HG, generally sugary things send me vomiting instantly. However, the strong, revolting metallic taste I have in my mouth is overwhelming and I’ll try anything to keep it at bay. The fruit tingles are at least a little sour to start off with, rather than things like jelly beans. I tried jelly beans during my first pregnancy. Mum recommended trying them as they were successful in helping her morning sickness (mum didn’t get HG with any of her four pregnancies). They lasted two days before the sight of them had me projectile vomiting. I regretted buying a 1kg bag of them!
I get to about 7pm that night and then vomit.
Not a good day. Bedridden for virtually all of it except for visits to the loo, a shower (eventually) and to try to find something, anything, I could possibly eat. By 5pm I’m vomiting. Innes wants to go over to his parents place to have dinner with them, his brother and sister-in-law. He asks me if I mind. Is it selfish of me to expect that he stay behind and look after me, or should he be entitled to have a few beers and a break from caring once Bronte is in bed? It means he’ll stay the night over there because he’ll be over the alcohol limit to drive back. Personally I tend to think that sometimes drinking alcohol isn’t the most important thing in life… By asking me if it’s OK to go, doesn’t it turn me into the monster if I say no? Anyway, he can tell I’m not happy about it. Tonight is by far the worst night I’ve had. I’ve vomited three times by the time he leaves. I love him, he’s my soul mate… but I do wish he’d cut the apron strings and realise he does have his own family now that he has created. It’s not all about his side of the family. Cripes - he hasn’t ever spent a Christmas with my side of the family, when I’ve spent many a Christmas with his.
I’m still awake at 2am and have been vomiting violently on and off for hours. I haven’t eaten anything for an even longer period because I know it will just come straight back up. Better to keep the stomach empty to give it less to want to reject. By this point, I’m really seething at my husband for leaving. What does that tell other people? That I’m really OK? That I’m not that important? This is the second, and all going well, last time that I will ever have to go through this. Is it crazy of me to expect him to sacrifice a few months of caring for someone who is supposed to be his first priority? We will get our lives back again, after all. And I think he spends an awful lot of time with his side of the family at the snap of a pair of mother’s fingers…
I send an angry text, ‘I hope you’re having a wonderful night. I’m still awake and vomiting. I’ve had enough of trying to be brave with this when I get dumped for a few beers. I only hope my mum can get here soon to look after me. I’ve had it with being second best.’ Nothing like having HG and feeling so very, very alone to get the hormones raging! I get an apology back, ‘I’m sorry Kiz. Will see you early in the morning. I love you.‘ I hold off sending an angrier response. And to his credit, he does arrive back at 6am the next morning, clearly with a sore head. But he dives into helping me and looking after Bronte.
I spend the day in bed again, watching episodes of Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I’m feeling a little better after my worst night yet (I don’t think my emotions or crying helped at all). I sleep for hours in the morning to catch up after only three hours the night before.
Innes’ brother and sister-in-law come around with their 6-month old boy and head off for a bushwalk. I get a few hours of peace again.
Evening comes and I throw up only once overnight. I’m tending to eat when I can during the day and nothing past 5 or 6pm. The fact that I can actually eat something and keep it down this time around is keeping me a little positive. The starvation level hasn’t hit the point yet of my first pregnancy. I have lost 2kgs though.
I actually had a really great sleep last night, from 11.30 until 6.30am. When I woke, I took my Zofran dose, then immediately fell asleep again once I heard Innes rise to get the waking Brontasaurus out of bed for breakfast. I woke again at 8.20am.
I savour the feeling of the first few minutes after waking up. Most HGers would know this feeling. It’s when you wake and have those few precious moments when the part of your brain, the vomit centre, hasn’t yet registered the HG. You think? Wow. I’m feeling better. Then a minute or two goes by, or you get up and wham! It hits you again.
I’ve run out of goats milk. I mix the last of it with some cow’s milk. It stays down, but definitely doesn’t sit as well. I’ll have to try to drive to the health food store for some more, but doubt it will be open on a Sunday. Wish I could find some more types of food to eat!
Yesterday afternoon and last night was terrible. I couldn’t eat anything from 3pm except a few handfuls of cherries. I shocked that they stayed down despite the nausea. That’s not to say I didn’t vomit four times, I just did so when the cherries weren’t in my stomach! I was so hungry, and just tried to forget about it by watching movie after movie on my laptop. I just want to cry. I’m trying to stay strong for my husband and little girl. It’s hard, because I think people think that if you’ve gone through it before, you can do it easier the second time around. Not true! You forget just how horrible and debilitating it is. I will agree that at least this time around I do know what wonderful gift I’ll get at the end of it.
My sister-in-law offers to look after Bronte at night. Their 6 month old has reflux so needs a lot of attention during the day. She talks about me driving an hour to their place to babysit. It’s a really nice gesture and I know is meant to do nothing but help me, but it drives home again how people don’t really hyperemesis affects you. I can barely manage to run Bronte over to childcare, less than a kilometre away, let alone drive for an hour down a winding road! It’s so much easier just to stay in the comfort of your own home. Thankfully, we have plenty of support close by. Mum and dad are arriving hopefully today. I need mum’s company! They’ve just purchased a caravan so will be staying in that at a caravan park so they can come around during the day and leave us to our ‘own devices’ at night. It’s a good option – dad’s pretty hyperactive and finds it hard to just chill out, and I won’t have the energy to humour him, as much as I love him! Plus, Innes has been sleeping in the spare bedroom the last couple of nights as he’s really congested and doesn’t want to give me his cold. It is actually working OK for me too – I feel sick every time he rolls over and the bed moves. He also likes to cuddle (which I usually love), but I can’t stand having anything touching me.
Woke at 3.30am when Innes rose to get ready for work. Made a dash to vomit in the toilet. Not much came up, not surprisingly considering I hadn’t eaten properly for half a day. I tried to hold off having another Zofran tablet, but caved at about 4.30 am. Once I’d had it, I let it settle for maybe 5 minutes then braved drinking some lychee juice (weird, yes) and eating some strange sort of biscuit type bread… It stayed down.
I’ve eaten breakfast this morning, showered (Bronte crawled into the shower fully dressed, but I was too exhausted to lift her out, so let her splash about), brushed my teeth (gag, gag, gag), dropped her off at childcare and managed to get a few bits and pieces from the grocery store to try eating… They are all significant achievements in the world of hyperemesis. It took me two hours to get Bronte packed and ready, something that should only take 15 minutes.
Oh, and I also called my boss. I had to break the news that I wouldn’t make my return to work today… or probably until I was four months pregnant, just like last time. He’s agreed to giving me another month of maternity leave and then to check in towards the end of it to let him know how I’m travelling. I hated, hated, hated having to disappoint him and my work colleagues and I couldn’t apologise enough. Thankfully, he’s been quite understanding and that leaves me less stressed about it all. I know other people in this situation wouldn’t have it so good and constantly hear about people who lose their jobs because of ongoing absences. It’s so stressful. It’s not just about letting colleagues down, it’s also about desperately wanting to return to work, to have some sort of normality again before the months of being plunged back into the world of newborns, and it’s the financial strain.
I’m lying in bed about to begin another round of movie watching and sleeping. I’ve been trying to eat more bland food (as well as my iced coffees which, while I instantly went off my usual lattes, have been craving right from the start). Unfortunately none of it is sitting well and I’m at the point of nausea where you’re not sure whether it’s best to rest your stomach and just let it get thrown up, or to eat more because you’re actually feeling so sick because your stomach isn’t full enough. I would to anything to have an extra 20kg stacked on to me right now, if it meant I didn’t feel like this!