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Christa's HuGStory

I found out I was pregnant on July 8, 2000. I knew I was pregnant because I was 2 days late and I am NEVER late. Also, my husband and I hadn’t exactly been being as “careful” as we usually were.

My husband was out of town that weekend attending to some family business, so I was all alone when I found out. Even though I had a pretty good idea that I was pregnant, I still stared at the test in disbelief. I was in shock. My husband and I weren’t “desperate” to have children, but we always knew that someday we would like to have at least one child. We figured we would let nature take its course instead of actually “trying”, but we had no idea that nature would work so quickly.

After about five minutes of staring at the test, I started crying. I was so happy, so scared, so everything. I had to tell somebody, but I didn’t want to tell my husband over the phone, so I called my mother in hysterics. She was so happy and we talked for about an hour. I knew nothing about raising a child, how was I ever going to do this? She helped me calm down and by the end of the conversation, I was nothing more than happy and excited. She assured me that my husband and I would be great parents, and I agreed. We would be.

My husband returned home the next day. I waited a while to tell him, because honestly I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be. Finally, I got the pregnancy test and showed it to him. He had no clue what it all meant, so I smiled and told him he was going to be a “daddy”. He hugged me and I cried, then he got very quiet for a couple of hours. Later I would find out he was trying to figure out if he was going to be a “good father”, can we afford this?, etc. He was having the same feelings I had had the day before. I gave him all the assurances my mother gave me. By the end of the day though, he was strutting around like a rooster, and seemed very proud of himself.

My mother wasted no time telling me that she wasn’t sick (not even an ounce of nausea) with either one of her pregnancies, and neither was my grandmother, so she was sure that I wouldn’t be sick either. I believed her 100%. There was no doubt in my mind that this was going to be the “perfect” pregnancy.

About halfway through my fifth week, I started feeling nauseous. Nothing horrible, but I was surprised by it. It gradually got worse, to the point that I was nauseous 24 hours a day, but still not throwing up. About a week later, I started throwing up, but just a couple of times a day. I soon figured out I wasn’t going to be like my mother and grandmother at all, but I figured it was just “typical” morning sickness. Even though I felt bad, I could still function.

I had my first ultrasound at 8 weeks and was delighted to see that little “peanut” with the flashing heartbeat. At this point, I was only throwing up two or three times a day, and the doctor told me he didn’t want to prescribe anything at this point because the benefits would not outweigh the risks. I was okay with that, because just seeing my child on the screen made throwing up a couple of times a day okay with me. It was worth it to go through that for him/her.

Unfortunately, two days later, throwing up just a couple of times a day turned into throwing up every half hour. I couldn’t keep anything down and was throwing up stomach acid, what I think was stomach lining, and the small amounts of water I would try and get down just so throwing up didn’t hurt as much.

My doctor finally decided to prescribe me Phenergan suppositories. Not exactly pleasant, but for the first couple of days, they did seem to take the edge off. I was still throwing up a lot, but not quite as much. However, after only two days, the Phenergan stopped working and I was back to square one. It had been days since I’d kept anything down and my doctor decided I should go to the emergency room to be rehydrated. They didn’t even have a bed for me. I had to sit in an uncomfortable chair for three hours hooked up to an iv. They injected a medication called Compazine into my iv and assured me that this medication would get rid of my nausea. It did seem to help, although it made me very sleepy. My doctor also prescribed me Compazine (also in suppository form - so much fun), and once again, it helped for a couple of days. Then, as quickly as it helped, it stopped helping. Mind you, all during this, I was still dragging my butt to work everyday, but was essentially useless to my employer (he would find me lying on my office floor for hours on end, when I wasn’t throwing up). It got so bad, that I was to the point of quitting my job. I couldn’t work anymore, I couldn’t function anymore. I decided to use all my vacation and sick time, and hoped that by the time I was ready to go back to work that this would all be over with (my doctor and everyone else kept assuring me that it “usually” ends around the 12th to 14th week). So, I stayed home. I wasn’t taking any medication, and I was getting weaker everyday. I would move from the couch to the bed and that was it. I couldn’t stand for more than 30 seconds, or I would throw up. Plus, I was so weak, that it physically hurt to do anything but lie down. I couldn’t even take a shower, I couldn’t stand up that long. I would sit in the tub and just let the water run over me, and I could only get up the strength to do that every 3 days or so. I couldn’t sleep because I was constantly awakened with the need to throw up, which made my lethargy even worse. I ate nothing, and basically existed on Ensure (when I could keep it down). I wondered if I was slowly killing my baby. I also wondered if I was slowly killing myself. I could do nothing but cry, but even that was sometimes too much work.

My poor husband, he was so wonderful during it all. He went from having a wife who LOVED to take care of him to having to do everything himself. Shopping, laundry, cleaning, taking care of the animals, paying the bills, everything (we don’t have any family that lives in our city that could have helped us out). It was so horrifying for me to feel this way that there were actually times that I would wish for a miscarriage. What was even worse, on two occasions, I actually told my husband that we needed to terminate the pregnancy because there was no way I could continue on with the pure hell and torment. If it hadn’t been for my husband, I KNOW I would have done it. I would have done anything to escape the relentless nausea, vomiting, and pure torture I felt. I really thought I needed to do it to keep me from literally going insane. Both times I brought up termination, my husband gently reminded me of how much I would regret it if I did such a thing, and he reminded me of women friends we have who had had abortions and have spent the rest of their days tormented by what they had done. He did his job perfectly, became the strong one, and was in no uncertain terms going to let me ruin my life by aborting the pregnancy. He would do whatever he had to do, get two jobs if I had to quit, etc. When I would throw up, he would quietly sit outside the bathroom door with a glass of water waiting for me so I could get some liquids back into my system (even if it was just for a few minutes), he would get me a cool washcloth if I needed it. He did whatever he could to make my misery as bearable as possible, and if it weren’t for his unyielding love and support, I would have made a decision that would have negatively affected the rest of my life.

The time came when I had to go back to work, and I was no better. In fact, I was worse. But, I had to go, or lose my job, so I went. My first day back, I was there for no more than two hours when I blacked out (twice). That really scared me, so I called the doctor and he told me to get right to the emergency room. I was severely dehydrated and they hooked me up to another iv. At least this time I got a bed. They also injected me with Phenergan (even though I told them it doesn’t work on me), but they said to give it a try anyway. All it did was make me incredibly sleepy. Once again, they sent me home, and I still felt like crap. The iv’s and the medication were not helping at all.

A few days later at my doctors appointment, I begged my doctor to do something to help me, because there was no way I could endure this another day. At this point I had lost 15 pounds. He assured me that it should end “any day now”, but went ahead and prescribed me Zofran, which he said was basically his last resort, so he hoped it worked. He told me they use it to treat the nausea in chemo patients, so it should help me. I was a bit nervous about taking this drug, and it took a couple of days to get my insurance to cover the medication, but within an hour of taking my first pill I felt like a new person. The Zofran completely kept me from throwing up. The first couple of days were great, I felt “almost” human. However, after a couple of days (just like all the other medications), it stopped working as well as it was. I was starting to feel nauseous again, but I was still managing to not throw up.

So, that is where I stand at the moment. I am in my 21st week and as long as I take my Zofran on a regular basis, I still feel nauseous and generally “yucky”, but I am able to keep food down. It is still a mental challenge to get through every day. I don’t remember what it feels like to feel “good” or “normal” and I have an irrational fear that I will always feel this way, even after the baby is born. But, I get through every day the best I can, especially with the support of other HG survivors (whom I have found over the internet). I have managed to gain my 15 pounds back and weigh about what I did before I got pregnant. I tried about a week ago to stop taking the Zofran (in the hopes that maybe I didn’t need it anymore), but ended up violently sick again. It really showed me just how good the medication is working, so I will take it as long as I have to (I’m actually scared to stop taking it now - it is like reliving a bad nightmare). It is still a struggle to get out of bed and go to work everyday, as I am still very weak and sick feeling, but at least I know I’m not starving to death.

I just want to say, without the wonderful support of my husband, my doctor, and other HG survivors (my new best friends), I don’t know what I would have done or would do. I would probably be in a padded cell somewhere J.

February 15, 2001 - Update

Less than four weeks to go for me (as long as my baby boy shows up on time). The HG has kicked into high gear again. There was actually a period where I felt pretty decent (between about 25 weeks and 30 weeks), but now that I’ve hit the end, the HG is back with a vengeance. Thank heaven for Zofran. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to function. Anybody who is out there that is suffering with HG and hasn’t tried Zofran, you MUST talk to your doctor about getting this drug. I know it doesn’t work for everybody, but it works for most, and it works VERY well.

Being pregnant and having HG has been the hardest and most awful thing I have ever had to endure. I don’t fear labor at all because I see it as a release from HG. I can’t wait.

If anybody would like to e-mail me for support or anything else, please feel free.

Christa Miller

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