Well, it’s been two years since I updated this blog. And I have wanted to update so many times, so that I can show anyone out there reading, that there is hope. You can get back to joy. Real true joy, whatever the ultimate outcome of your pregnancy is. But at the very current moment it is going to be hard for me to write about that. Because right now my boat is adrift at sea, disconnected from that part of my soul; but I did think what better way to see if it drifts back into port than by writing and getting it all out. My catharsis.
I will give you a little update: I stopped updating the blog for very good reason. I was extremely busy. We did actually go on to become foster parents as I posted, when we were looking into it. Fostering is definitely a journey, and luckily I would say overall we had a very good experience with it, with very few heartbreaks. But it does take strength to walk that road- if you are considering it. We have adopted two beautiful babies, and perhaps I will spend time writing all about that one day soon. About the journey, about the love, about how society views it, and yes, about how it is different than creating biological children, and how even though you can be so over the moon in love with your adopted child, you still mourn the loss of certain expectations and dreams. But that story will flow when it flows. Today I write what the title suggests, about my third experience with HG, my fourth pregnancy.
As I already stated I adopted two beautiful babies. And as you recall I have two biological children. With 4 children (really 5 because we do have a foster son), my house is full and my family felt complete. So, we were shocked/dismayed/excited (insert any and every adjective in the book) to learn that I was indeed pregnant again. After lots of tears and quite a few choice curse words, I began diving into the world of Hypermesis Gravardium again. I dug out my books, I dug out the binder I created five years ago. I ordered every tea, tincture and morning sickness cure I could possibly think of. I made early doctor appointments, filled prescriptions, reached out to friends and family for help (talk about learning who is really there for you), came up with a plan with my husband and I settled in for the ride.
And it was a fast and furious ride. And we did everything right this time. We were PREPARED, we were DETERMINED, we were HOPEFUL, and we were SCARED AS HELL.
The hyperemesis hit at 5 weeks. I had multiple bags of fluid and an overnight hospital stay. The zofran they gave me worked for a few hours, and I thought, I am going to get through this pregnancy, I am going to have another baby! But then as quickly as the zofran worked it stopped. I had a great OB and midwives this time and so many supportive people around me. I am not going into all the medical crises that I experienced this time, though suffice it to say it was very similar (and just as severe) to the last two pregnancies prior. This really is a debilitating condition that I believe to be very dangerous to the mother, it lots of ways not just physically, (though the medical profession and media tends to downplay it). My health care practitioners started the arrangements for a PICC line, and a zofran pump and heart monitors and eventually steroid treatment, and I started in my head to make arrangements to get out of this hell again.
And that’s what I did. Yes, again. Even after I swore I would never make that choice again. I read my own blog and reminded myself of the pain I felt, and I pep talked myself into continuing on and I really tried. I gave it my all, and my husband gave it his all. But as a testament to how strong and horrible HG is, we still decided that I could not continue on with the pregnancy.
And this time, I will testify that I have not dropped into the dark hole that I fell into last time. I am now one month out from my D & C procedure, and there is so much that I have learned about myself and my husband and my family. I am very sad, but it comes in waves this time, I am not drowning like last time. I let the waves wash over me, I feel the sad and I remind myself that it will retreat, and it does.
I recognize, because of this experience, that last time, I made the right choice for me. I always doubted my decision, that I was rushed into terminating, that I panicked and that perhaps the sickness wasn’t that bad…but it was! This pregnancy reminded me that it really truly is that horrendous. And there was always a part of me that wondered about getting pregnant again (perhaps HG would hit again) but it did and it seems that it will every time, and in fact it actually seems to be getting worse with each pregnancy. And can I tell you, that I was in the best shape of my life, and the healthiest I have ever been? After the last pregnancy five years ago I vowed to get my body healthy, in hopes of staving off the HG, and I poured a whole ton of effort and energy into that, to cope, to have a goal, to have hope. But I am certain now that HG has nothing to do with diet and your health prior to conceiving.
I am reconciling now that there are all types of pregnancy and infant loss. I am letting go (or trying to) of the guilt. The position that I am in when pregnant, forces me to make a heartbreaking choice, and no one has to understand or accept it, except me and my husband. Ultimately, I made the choice for the family that I have here, already earth-side, I believe it was a choice of selflessness, though I certainly understand those that think it selfish, and maybe it is even a little of both. All of this just isn’t black and white. But, regardless, it is my experience and if you have never experienced HG (as a pregnant woman- then trust me your opinion will always be limited by not having all the facts) and I still mourn for the little soul that won’t be in my arms, and I mourn the loss of dreams that my husband and I had, I am working on the acceptance stage. If someone can’t understand the true loss I feel, then they are lacking the very thing that makes us human: compassion, that is their issue they need to work on- not mine, so I am also working on not taking other’s shortcomings personal.
I am grateful that I had the right to make a very personal decision for myself. I did not take it lightly, and it isn’t a matter of not being strong enough to continue the pregnancy. I do have to remind myself of that. My husband reminds me constantly and tells me that I am the strongest woman he knows, and I think one day I will go back to believing it. I can recognize that my story unfolded as it did five years ago, exactly as it had to in order to lead me to the children I have now, and there is a strange beauty and peace in that. In my most saddest moments, I remind myself that this too will eventually lead me down a path of joy again, and that I will only be able to see that in hindsight, so I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
My experience this time around as you can tell by comparing my first post to this,my last post ( I think), has been different and in some ways the same. The heartbreak is the same, the sadness is the same, the loss, the frustration, the mourning, but there isn’t shame or guilt this time. And there is more acceptance, awareness and self-respect. It doesn’t really fit into a box, and your experience doesn’t have to either.
And lastly , a political thought, or a human rights thought, if you will. This is a time where debates are raging over our health and reproductive rights, and women’s bodies are on the front-line of this Constitutional war. I believe, as they say, that the personal is always political and the truth is a highly valued and carefully controlled commodity, in our society; This has become part of my motivation to share and offer my personal/political truth and experience with pregnancy, Hyperemesis and abortion. I like to think that when people speak the truth to each other that things can change and people can come to each other (and the collective experience we are having) with compassion, sympathy, support, understanding, respect and most importantly love.