Breathe In, Breathe Out.

You are not alone (breathe in), You will go on (breathe out)

I am starting a blog.

I’ve thought about starting a blog for a long time.  Who would want to read my blog? Nobody. What can I give for advice? Nothing. What talent can I share? None.  But then in a midst of crisis it suddenly dawned on me, that I wasn’t taking my own advice.  I always have loved the quote attributed to theologian, Gustavo Guitierrez (in fact it’s my facebook quote) “those who change the course of history are not those who offer solutions, but those who pose entirely new sets of questions.”  I was asking the wrong questions of myself.  Why do I want to write? For me! Who do I want to share it with? Everybody. What can come of it? Healing.

So here I am. I will try to memorialize my triumph and devastation with this debilitating disease. A disease that has both given me much and has taken away much from me.

If you have never been through Hyperemesis (HG) or have never known someone with it is impossible to describe it.  It is like your worst hangover, on steroids, 24 hours a day, for the duration of a pregnancy.  It feels like you are dying (in fact, your body is slowly doing just that) and it is hard to care that you are dying, because you are so sick. It is isolating and depressing, both while you are going through it and afterwards.  Life without HG will never exist for me.

I promise my subsequent posts will not be this long.  This is my story (and it’s in a nutshell I swear)

I am 28 years old. I am the mother of three children. Two are joining me through this life. One waits to guide me in the next life.

I was pregnant at 21. I had a beautiful pregnancy, health wise. Emotional wise, it was up and down.  I was a single mom, I was right out of college, I was heartbroken but this story is not really about that time, although I could probably write a blog on that too.  6 years ago I gave birth, naturally and with 0ut any pain to a beautiful blue-eyed, porcelain skin and intelligent as a whip baby girl. I call her angelface, and that is what she is. She saved me in ways I didn’t know possible.

Fast forward.

I met my now husband.  (Daddy to ALL my children, biological father to two).  We were ready to expand our family. I was in my final year of Law school.  This was the perfect time. I loved being pregnant with my first, I had dreams of being a surrogate afterwards. Before we Conceived I ordered cute pregnancy shirts,  shirts that would announce to the world that I was pregnant, even when I didn’t have a belly yet, shirts that had political messages or witty things only law students would find funny on them.  I had no idea at the time, that I would never wear them. That I would be lucky if I got dressed at all. Lucky if I brushed my teeth. Lucky if I ever made it to class. Lucky if my belly ever would begin to show.

Saying I was sick was a understatement.  The “morning sickness” hit me like a ton of bricks.  First I ignored it. I was starving and simultaneously gagging at food.  I forced myself to eat. I took a plane to Florida to visit my family.  People started smelling funny to me.  I told my dad he smelled.  I got a tooth pulled. I almost passed out from the pain, I didn’t want to take drugs (little did I know what kind of drug cocktails I would be taking all pregnancy)  After I got my tooth pulled I couldn’t stop spitting. I figured it was a symptom of my dental work. But it wasn’t, it was a symptom of the HG, and for the next 9 months, I carried a cup, or a towel to spit into.  My own saliva made me sick, and the thought of it in the cup, made me sick and it burned when it left my mouth, because it was so acidic. My lips cracked and bled from it.

 I threw up everything I ate. Everyone shook their heads and said, don’t worry it will pass.  I was 6 weeks.  I called the doctor, “nurse, is it normal to throw up 20 times a day?” “Yes it is, you’ll feel better at 12 weeks.” 6 more weeks of this, can I do it?  I’ll try.

I went to the doctor, I went to a few.  They all said the same thing. You’ll feel better soon. I didn’t feel better soon.  I was getting worse. I was loosing weight. A lot of weight. I was in the hospital for dehydration. I would wait in the emergency room for hours.  There I got the same response. “have you tried crackers and gingerale?”  “Buddy, I tried eating raw frickin ginger, I have tried putting a lemon up my nose, I have tried eating before I get out of bed. I have spent a small fortune on acupuncture. I am wearing wrist bands that stop my circulation for sea sickness, I tried meditation” They gave me compazine for the nausea.  The reaction I had was worse than the sickness.  I literally felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I was screaming uncontrollably in the ER.  I said I feel crazy, I feel scared, HELP ME. GET ME OUT OF HERE. The nurse shot me a nasty look, I pulled my own IV out of my arm.  “Maam, we are working as quick as we can.”  I went to Court the next day, to continue to contribute to the clinic I was enrolled it.  I was shaking uncontrollably.  How did I drive there, your guess is as good as mine. I googled the medicine I took. Wouldn’t you know, anxiety is a reaction…so is shaking…do you think someone could have told me, would have calmed my fears that I would return to my normal self.  Or better yet, they could have given me Benadryl.  I walked to my best friend’s nearby office.  Got Benadryl and hung out on her office couch until she could help me pick up my daughter and bring me home to sleep. Sleep the only relief (most of the time) I was 9 weeks.

The next few months consisted of the same routine.  I went back and forth between my midwife and a OB practice just hoping someone anyone would offer help.  I finally was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravardium. Little comfort as there is no real way to treat it and no real known cause.  But it did mean they finally would admit me to labor and delivery to get my IV treatments.  I wouldn’t have to wait in the ER anymore.  I dropped my daughter off at daycare and around the corner was the hospital.  The admitting people knew me.  They wheeled me up the stairs.  sometimes my friend would come visit.  I would try to do school work, but mostly I would just lay there.  After the IV treatments, I could eat a little.  They would bring me the most delicious turkey sandwich ever known to man kind.  It probably would taste like rubber if I ate it now. But to me it was heaven. It was all I ever ate.  I would save the milk and straw to bring to my daughter when I picked her up.  I use to promise her a surprise, and she was young enough that that was just the best surprise to her.  She use to yell to all the teachers “my mommy brought me a milk and straw.”  I tear up thinking about her sweet innocence and love.  I couldn’t stand the smell of her at the time.  Her smell was the second worst. The worst was the scented trash bags, that were out on the patio.

On and on it went, my hospital routine (and mind you I was at one of the best hospitals in the country for women- if not THE best).  When I was 3 months, Zofran was offered to me through the IV.  I don’t think it worked.  It worked enough to let me eat that turkey sandwich, but the oral administration never worked, I couldn’t keep it down anyway.

I threw up.  When there was nothing left to throw up, I threw up blood.  I threw up bile.  I believe I almost died in April.  I started hallucinating.  I started having blurry vision.  I cried and prayed for a miscarriage. I laid on the bathroom floor, I may have passed out. It was a dark time in my marriage.  I called my best friend and said please take me to a clinic, I don’t love this baby, I don’t want this baby. Please. I wasn’t sure I would live through the night. But I did, and she didn’t take me to the clinic, she took me to the hospital. I was admitted. I was dehydrated. I was starving to death.

Slowly after that hospital stay, I started getting a little better.  We hired someone to help us in the house. And make dinners for my daughter and do laundry. I still couldn’t get up, but I could come out of the bedroom a bit.  I couldn’t wash myself, but my friend washed my hair.  I couldn’t hide easter eggs, but I watched from the kitchen table as my daughter made them. ( How I stood that smell, I will never know)

I graduated law school.  My professors were understanding.  I finished one final in 30 minutes (they allot two hours, I didn’t care if I failed, I just wanted to finish so I could go vomit) I passed and did well. I only went to the class two times.

Miraculously, I had a good week when it was graduation time.  Really good. I ate. I celebrated. I wore heels. I washed my hair and brushed my teeth. I was 5 months pregnant

Next week, not as good, but I am still thankful for that good week.  And the weeks thereafter as I slowly returned to my normal self.  I paid extra for the at home bar course. I couldn’t go out to the class. I studied when I could.  When the sound of the lectures didn’t make me sick.  I ventured out on a spring day. I got a massage and a bikini wax (because I wasn’t being tortured enough?). I hadn’t been intimate with my husband since the conception of this baby.  I thought I might like to try, I guess.  Didn’t happen.  vomiting is not synonimus with seduction. Go figure.

A lot of this is glossed over. It was horrific. The side effects of the medicine weren’t pleasant. I hadn’t so muched as taken an Advil for years and suddenly the amount of drugs being pumped into me, to keep me alive was unreal. I was worried and anxious there would be problems with my son.  I lost weight. A lot. I didn’t keep track. I wish I would have journaled it, but I couldn’t pick pen up to paper. I couldn’t be in light, I couldn’t have the TV on, and I couldn’t google to try and get help or answers, because all those things would make me throw up.  I had advocates, but my family didn’t live nearby. My sister was having a beautiful pregnancy. We were all flummoxed.  My midwife let me know that I was lucky to live in the US, because “women in other countries die from this.”  I felt like I was, I wished I was. I thank God I didn’t. 

I slowly started getting better By late July I think I was  mostly better. I gained weight. I took the bar exam.  They don’t allow cups in.  When everyone was worried about the exam, I was worried about my spit. I resolved to swallow it.  I was 7.5 months (I did in fact pass the test)

In September my beautiful Son came into this world,  all natural,  a healthy 8 pounds 8 ounces. I labored in the tub and meditated.  Full head of hair.  (I didn’t mention the horrific heartburn!) I had a beautiful birth at a beautiful birth center.  I don’t do pregnancy well, but women would be envious of the way I do birth, I love it and find it empowering. And it really comes easy for me.  I went home a few hours later. We practice attachment parenting, family bed, and extended nursing.  Two months later I woke up in massive pain. Kidney stones. subsequent tear in my kidneys. Surgery follows. First surgery ever.  A result of prolonged dehydration. Now I am prone to stones at 25 years old.

I never thought of pregnancy again, except to say it wasn’t for me. My family was complete.  Every now and then I do a little research on it, but what’s the point? I’m content, I don’t need the research. Life goes on. We move to Florida.

Two years later.

 I’m late. I don’t take a test. I don’t want to know. I always think I’m pregnant anyway, because I’m neurotic. Next month-late. I take a test.  I scream profanities. I cry. I call my mom.  I cry some more. I’m terrified.  I’m a little happy.  This means a baby.  And made out of love.  A surprise blessing.  My husband kisses my belly.  We tell everyone we know.  But I know what curse is coming.  I’m optimistic though.  I’m two months and I’m not sick! I call the midwife. I go in the next day.  she checks me, she says my cervix is not two months. Let’s get a sonogram. I wasn’t nervous. I knew she was in there and all was well. I go in the next day. All is well! I hear the beautiful musical sound of my baby’s heartbeat. I see the flickering of her heart on a screen. I tell her I love her.  The technician says I’m dehydrated. I haven’t thrown up too much, just feel like i’m going to all the time. And then I cry, because I’m not two months, I’m only 5 weeks, and I’m not in the clear for an HG free pregnancy.  They give me a script for Zofran and send me home. I take it around the clock. I stop nursing my son, I figure he’s had enough Zofran to last him a lifetime.

My sister has her second baby, we are suppose to go see her in a few days, I have vacation time from work.  My husband is away, he texts me to tell Iyla goodnight too.  It sounds like I love. That’s our name for the baby right now.    I never make it to my sister (I’ve still yet to meet my nephew).  I couldn’t get out of bed. I can’t drive my daughter to school. I can’t eat. I get ready to tell a friend that we aren’t going to make it to her wedding.  I vomit a lot.  Smells don’t bother me yet. I have to spit in a towel on the floor next to my bed.  My Husband is helpful, but its hard to be the 24hrs a day caretaker. My son is a handful. He has speech delay and is prone to fits.    I call the midwife. I need fluids. I’m throwing up a lot again. I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth. She tells me to go to the ER.  My insurance isn’t as good as last time.  Each visit costs $200 just to walk in.  I went every other day for 6 months last pregnancy.  You do the math.

They don’t understand this disease.  They make me wait forever.  They give me a bag of fluid,  I begin to dream of that turkey sandwich.  When I ask for food, they say they don’t have any to give me, my husband runs to get me chicken nuggets.  They tell me to try crackers and ginerale, and to eat before I get up in the morning. They do a sonogram.  They can’t see anything because I’m dehydrated. They do an internal sonogram. The nurse doesn’t let me see the baby, and I don’t ask to see her.  I have already begun to make up my mind.  Back in the ER room, The lights are off. The nurse comes in and throws the lights on, and looks me in the eye and says “its called morning sickness and it sucks, you must leave now.” I throw up the whole way home. I pee on myself when I vomit, from the force of it.  I throw up completely undigested chicken nuggets in my living room, when we walk in the door.  I grab paper towels to clean up the mess.

I called the midwife the next day.  I told her I’m going to end the pregnancy. I’m so sick.  She says nasuea is a bad reason to end a pregnancy. She tells me to go in and see her.  I call the office to make an appointment, they say she’s not going to be in that day.  I’m too sick to drive there. I call my mom. She comes to get me. But I tell her I don’t want to go there, they can’t help me.  My friend finds a doctor who might be better at managing this disease. They don’t have an appointment for me right away. I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to beg doctors to help me.  I’ve made up my mind. Everyone, except my mom, that I consult with about my decision thinks its a good idea or at least a justifiable one. I’m too sick. They don’t want to loose me.  I think of all the things I’m going to miss during the coming months if I have to lay in bed.  I think of my sanity, my marriage, my kids. I’m afraid if I die my kids will be left without a mom. I’m afraid my son and daughter will be separated from each other if I die (as my husband is not the legal guardian of my daughter).   I’m just plain afraid.

I call, I weigh my options. I google the different methods. I call another Doctor. My old GYN. I go on autopilot.

I cry and scream. I cry and cry and cry and I yell out, “I want my baby.”  I plead with my husband, I say I don’t want to do this. I secretly hope they will refuse to perform it, because I am clearly a mess.  I take the pills they give me and the last thing I think before I go black, is “there’s no going back.”  They perform their procedure. I come to and  the first thing I say, is “I named her Scarlett Juliet.”  My husband is crying.  I scream. The first of many.  I WANT MY BABY. He carries me out.

It took a few days for the vomiting and the extra saliva to stop. I lay in bed. I become fearful that the symptoms will never go away.  I have heard of this before.

I live everyday with the effects of this disease and my decision. I obsess over getting pregnant again. I’m on a restrictive diet because a homeopathic doctor thinks she can balance my body so I can get pregnant again.  I have little faith. Yet, I have never stuck to a diet this well before,  motivation, longing, retribution, a loss of appetite? I have digestion problems still, sometimes I wake up thinking I have kidney stones again, I fear it. I called a new OB and had a consult. She thinks I made the right decision for my health. She says I did nothing wrong.  She said I could have been offered different drugs, Vitamin B-6, unisom, home-care, a nutrition line.   No one ever offered that before.  She says I had bad medical care both times. Aggresive treatment could help. She said I wouldn’t want to get throat cancer from all the vomiting or loose my teeth. She says it was the disease not me.

Some say they’re sorry for my loss. They don’t really understand what I’m grieving though. Few act as if I really lost a child. No one brings food, or lights candles, no one really consoles me anymore.  It’s a taboo subject. I suspect some would think I deserve to grieve, after all, I signed on the dotted line.

 I replaced one kind of pain with another. A much worse suffering. Life before HG will never exist for me.  I am empty. My husband watched the procedure. He held my hand throughout it. He later said something that haunts me to my very core…I can’t repeat it.

 I wail.  I don’t just cry. This is wailing. It comes from a deep place. In my gut.  My body shakes from the force of it. It’s a place only a grieving mother will know.  I cry for my child. I cry because I was robbed. And I cry because at a time when everyone is starting their family, I am faced with the reality that I am finished building mine.  I feel guilt.  I feel like a bad mother. I hate my body for failing me. I hate everyone around me for failing me.  I lost my job. I can barely keep it together. But I must.

I get another job.  I sign up for counseling and church groups.  I go on forums. I find there are a lot of women who have been in my shoes.  And lots who have chosen this path. I start talking about it less.  I push it out of my mind.  I decide I am still very  much pro-choice.  I decide that I killed my baby. I decide that what I did was understandable. I decide I deserve to suffer. I plan to make a peaceful garden. I donate to a pro-life clinic.  I hide my sonogram picture. I blog and talk incesstantly about it. I want to make retribution by getting through a horrific pregnancy. I look into adopting.

I feel like a monster and having the blessing of the medical community or friends, family and counselors, doesn’t make me feel less so. I beg the baby for forgiveness. I talk to her all the time. I don’t feel worthy of talking to her.  When people ask me how many children I have, I desperately want to say three. I always say two.

They call it therapeutic termination.   I feel worse, it doesn’t feel therapeutic.  What do I do now?  At this moment, I simply remind myself to take breaths.

Your wings will mend (breathe in)

You are loved (breathe out)

This entry was posted in hyperemesis gravidarum, My HG story, Pregnancy loss, theraputic termination, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Breathe In, Breathe Out.

  1. Ashli says:

    Oh, my poor friend. You were shafted and shafted and shafted again. This is a great and terrible tragedy in so many ways. We could sit an analyze it, rebuild the history, recraft it in a way that would possibly produce a different outcome. BUT all there is is now. And like HG you CAN get through this. But I know (and you know) words are hollow. You are not a monster. You are not perfect. You are a human being. And you suffered a condition that goes beyond the realm of normal human experience. And you had very little medical support. At times it was even punitive. I would never try and rob you of your reaction, your perspective, the validity of the deep pain borne of the loss of your precious little one. But I will tell you now and today and tomorrow that you CAN get through this. You CAN learn much. You CAN contribute much. This experience CAN be useful. As with HG, this is a pain you will have to ride. And you CAN. The edges will wear off the stone in your heart. The stone will not leave, but it will not destroy you every moment of every day. The stone will always be there, and for me, God eventually transformed it into a precious jewel. He CAN and DOES do that.
    “We are not doubting that God will do His best for us. We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. ” C.S. Lewis

    Let’s talk.

  2. I have no words. Your story moves me in a way that I can’t even begin to describe.

  3. MichellevsHG says:

    I walked the same path in 1992. Undiagnosed HG and an abusive relationship made me send my daughter (I didn’t know the sex) to Heaven. She would be celebrating her 19th birthday this May. I think about her often. TAs are often shunned at the mere mention, because of that I want to say I have two children, but I do not. It is a secret that lives with me.

    You are not alone. You are not a monster. You are a survivor.

  4. Diana J. says:

    Thank you for getting your story out there – I have linked to it from my blog. Your entry left me without words.

  5. dallison says:

    I lit a candle for you today.

  6. Sleepwalker says:

    There is so much pain and anguish here that I can’t breathe either. Shame on the medical community for allowing women with hg to suffer the way we are left to suffer. I am blogging about my hg and my search for things that might help next time if I am ever brave enough to give my baby a sibling. At the moment I’m reading up on medical marijuana because the drug I was given did very little. I’ve signed up to see a counsellor for post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety but it is the nhs so there’s such a long waiting list that it is hardly worth signing up. I’m wondering about hypnotherapy to try to help me forget how awful being so ill was. I want more babies but right now I am still trying to get healthy after being starved and I’m not able to think about it all yet without it making me feel panicky. I can’t face being so ill and I need some hope that next time could be better. I have never been so alone as I was during my pregnancy. I think it made me go a bit crazy really from starvation and dehydration. If I didn’t have to look after people and if they could put me in a coma for my next pregnancy I’d accept gladly.

  7. Heartbreaking beyond words. I know that it the time to come, your story and you actions will do so much to help other women avoid the unbearable pain you are feeling.

    God bless you.

  8. S.M. says:

    You are not alone. It happened to me too. HG is the darkest horror imaginable. I was pregnant with twins and starving to death. Ignorant people told me to eat ginger and crackers. I couldn’t move. It took me four hours to make it from the bed to the shower. It took 5 hours to force feed myself 1/4 plate of food. Then, not even a single sip of water would stay down. I thought I was going to die. I wanted to die. A badly wanted first pregnancy at 37 years old turned into complete hell and suffering beyond anything I believed was possible. My brain functioning began to shut down from the starvation. No medical insurance to pay for treatment, even if I wanted the HG treatments. My husband would leave the house in the morning with me collapsed on the bathroom floor. He would come home 16 hours later and I was stuck in the same position (not having had the strength to move). My business was falling apart. I couldn’t even pick up the phone to call clients back and tell them I was sick. I lost so much weight I looked horrendously skeletal. I terminated at 7 weeks out of complete desperation and lack of access to proper, affordable medical care. I didn’t lose one child….. I lost two. It was a nightmare experience. I could write my own blog, similar to yours. Your story is my story and like many others too. It has taken my one year to work through the trauma and devastation. I think that is faster than normal. So I am grateful for the healing I have achieved. But mostly, I just want people to know that this is a very real disease that needs to be seriously researched and by the medical communities. Pregnant and starving to death……… no woman should ever have to endure this.

    • nikki says:

      i am so sorry for your heartache. i wish i were closer to reach out and hug you. you are forgiven, i know it. scarlet is grateful you gave her spirit a little body. my theory: we come to earth to learn and become like our heavenly father. she was already perfect. she just needed a body to return to heaven. its just me, but i think its okay to have a ceremony of sorts to say your goodbyes. bless you & thank you so much for being brave enough to share, i know your efforts will help other hg sisters be able to make more informed decisions and ask different questions in their time of need.
      i too have started a blog about my hg life. you have brought a very important issue to our attention. i would like to send you flowers, light a candle, share a vigil. i am tearFull and speechless really. so disappointed in the medical personnel out there oblivious to this dis-ease when there are some who do know about it. GWhiz already.
      i will blog soon about your experience , & link to your “sight”. i hope i am able, or have the strength to video my next hgXperience & pray it helps to get the word out along with the rest of you hg survivors. you rock sister, dont doubt that you are the angel in your childrens lives. you bless them with your strength, among your other great attributes.

  9. Pingback: The Tragic Effects of HG…The Blessings of the Blog « Dawn Breaks

  10. NancyLee says:

    Dear Island,
    You can go to and download the observation exercise – it will help you sit still and watch the thoughts in your head until they gradually resolve and you will see what you need to see and your mind and soul will be healed.
    Kind regards,

    • In my situation I also found “observation” or “witnessing” helpful. I was a long time meditator before my HG experience. I had traveled to Asia on three occassions to sit in meditation for 6 weeks at a time watching my thoughts continuously. So luckily, I personally had a lot of experience with observation exercises prior to HG. However, even with that, I now understand that HG is not anything that falls within the realm of normal human experience. It has the power to shatter all spiritual faith and mind-body healing tools. It is more like a complete dark night of the soul experience. I found that the trauma and emotion it causes is so phenomenally deep, that the fastest way to heal it is actually to feel it completely, and talk about it with other HG sisters. Resolution is nearly impossible without being validated that this is a real disease, we didn’t cause it, and there is no effective cures (so hence…. nothing more we could have done to stop it). The “feeling it” part actually helps release the energy from mind-body-spirit. Later, I found observation of the mind to be useful in bringing final closure. But observation of HG fall-out would have been impossible without releasing through feeling first. Just my two-cents…..

  11. nikki claire says:

    Dear Island Mountain,

    my thoughts are with you and I am sending love. I suffered the loss of a much wanted pregnancy in Sept 2010.

    I suffered a break-up with a long term partner in Dec 2009 and in May 2010 I got together with someone whom I thought of as a solid friend and had known for 3 years – a younger man and someone who I had always enjoyed a soulful and playful connection with. I hadn’t been looking for a relationship but we started seeing so much of each other I began to wonder if something else was happening – were we really just friends (?) and I discovered that I had feelings for him and wondered if it was mutual. I thought about talking to him about this for several months and it was only after speaking to a mutual friend that I decided to say something – she said he had spoken to her about me too.

    And so, in a magical way the two of us came together and very quickly I began to feel as if I wanted to have a baby. The interesting thing is I have only felt this way with a couple of other men and hadn’t really known how I felt about motherhood but suddenly something happened and it seemed possible and I felt ready in so many ways and wondered if this was my chance… (?). I felt so sparkly with him and divine and I wanted so much to cross the bridge to motherhood. And so, we talked about it and it seemed that we both felt that our friendship was strong enough to weather a change in our relationship and that maybe, although this may not be conventional, it would be how it would be for us – maybe this was part of the reason that we were together now (?).

    The day I discovered that I was pregnant I felt elated and excited and full of light and I remember when I first told him that he was supportive and made me laugh too, with some of his ideas for names! This changed, however, within a week and it soon became clear to me that for whatever reason (and I was too forgiving of him I feel, always giving him the benefit of the doubt – because I wanted to know in my heart that I had given him the opportunity for dialogue with me about the baby) he was not going to be able to support me emotionally and so I turned to my friends.

    I felt strong. I felt clear. I was going to have this baby and I was going to be a stronger more capable woman through having her. (I didn’t know what sex she was but I always thought of her as a ‘her’ and I named her too). In that first week of knowing I was pregnant I was full of energy and I began to think about the practical elements of my life that I would need to rearrange in order to be ready for her. I began to think about how I was going to afford to have her, how I was going to support myself, about my health and about the birth. I bought Prenatal vitamins in the health shop and I contacted a local home birth group and also women providing antenatal yoga classes too. I also began to think of names and to imagine what my baby would be like. I did think of her father and I felt that he would go away travelling as he had said that he wanted to do and I hoped that when he came back he would want to be a presence in her life but I was determined that I would do this on my own if I needed to. I also spoke to a friend who is single mum about all sorts of practicalities and realities and began to see the way forward.

    At one point I even made an appointment to go and look at a house in a cheaper area of the city with a more multi-ethic population feeling that I would downsize, rent a room to help support myself, tutor and pick up with my training to be a therapist. I remember that day with such sadness now. I see myself stepping out of the car and meeting the estate agent (who I had met previously with my long term boyfriend) and I remember that the sun was shining and for the first time in too many years I felt ‘home’ and embodied and I felt strong and I felt like I could see my future and I liked who I was and I liked who I was becoming and I could see a struggle but also much happiness and heart.

    And the estate agent asked me ‘why i was looking for a house’ and I remember saying ‘i’m pregnant’ and I remember him then talking about how he and his wife we trying to conceive and I remember feeling supported by this stranger and full of light and love and me feeling full of love for the world, enchanted with the world, her mysteries and her magic… vital and luminous and full of energy too.

    And then, the sickness began and my clarity began to dissipate and I began to lose heart and energy for every day tasks ~ so much so that I wasn’t able to buy food in, cook food, clean the house, make my bed, wash myself. I was sharing the house at the time with 2 other housemates and I found this very difficult and had to say something to them about smells and noise. I couldn’t bear the cooking smells, especially the fatty cooking smells and I couldn’t bear television noise ( I don’t have one but they had laptops) or music. At this point I asked the father for practical support, asking him to bring me some ginger, some cammomile tea bags – I began to think obsessively about food, what could I eat? what could I try? maybe he could bring me these things. And he came over once when he said he was 50/50 about the baby and then the next time he didn’t show up and called with some lame excuse about ‘tidying his house’.

    Everything became overwhelming at this point and I didn’t feel myself and it took a friend visiting to suggest that I needed to get to the doctor. So i went to the doctor and she asked me ‘if it was my first pregnancy’ and I said ‘yes’ and felt moved and then she tested my urine for ketones and explained that these would show in my urine if my body was starving and dehydrated. The ketone count was I think 3 and we arranged for a friend to pick me up and for me to go and stay with her for the weekend with the doctor saying that she would ‘like me to try the antimetic tablets’ and let her know how I was doing over the weekend. That weekend I couldn’t keep anything down – not even water – and my friend called the doctor and an ambulance was arranged to take me to hospital.

    My friend was going on holiday that day and when she could no longer wait with me she called the baby’s father to tell him that I was really very sick and that she didn’t want to leave me alone while waiting for the ambulance. The baby’s father grudgingly turned up an hour later than we had asked him to come and then when the ambulance still didn’t show i asked him to drive my car and take me to hospital. At this point I was desperate to get to hospital. So he drove me to hospital and dropped me at the main gates and from there I tried to find the ward. He later reappeared in the ward, finding my bed, and by this time i was hooked up to a drip and the doctor was asking me questions.

    The questions became personal and she asked me ‘if I would like my friend to stay’. He looked so uncomfortable that I said to him ‘why don’t you go’ and now I wonder how it would have been to let him sit there and see that I really was ill. He later communicated with me in an e-mail that he ‘hadn’t believed that i was ill’ ‘that he thought i was making it up’ ‘that he thought i was manipulating him’. I feel so hurt by his estimations of him and I feel deeply betrayed. I had asked him to be a friend and I had felt that he was jointly responsible (or irresponsible?) in creating this little life and I had expected him to stand there and, I know it’s a cliche, be a man – help me through, show me respect. And so he left.

    I then had a scan and saw the baby on a screen but i don’t remember this well and I don’t think I took it in what was happening… I don’t remember the face of the nurse and I don’t remember any feelings. I’m not going to go into the treatment here as I have to go out in a bit except to say that I was ‘nil by mouth’ for 4 days and then another couple of days in hospital before returning home with a ‘party pack’ full of antimetics – which I soon discovered didn’t help. And so I was desperate and vulnerable and sick and I don’t know how I made the decision to have a termination I think I just couldn’t see a way to support myself through the HG. I felt like I was dying, I had suicidal fantasies, I felt disenchanted with life, I felt profoundly rejected and disenchanted with people and I could not see how I could bring another being into this world when my vision of it was so dim – but I didn’t, at the time, have the ability to step aside from this vision and see that it was something that would pass, was something created by the illness, I was consumed by it. I also felt deeply alone and isolated and as if I were rotting, rotting away and this didn’t make any sense when I was creating a new being?

    In a mist of nausea and depression my experience culminated in a termination in sept 2010 and I wish with all my heart that the clinicians who work at abortion clinics had more awareness of HG. I remember having a consulation with a counsellor prior to the abortion which lasted 20 mins and I remember her asking me ‘if i had felt any excitement around the pregnancy’ and I remember that I said ‘no’. And for me this is the indication of the extent to which HG can alter your mental processes – this wasn’t true, I had felt excitement, I had forgotten.

    There is more to the story and I too have found much comfort in the stories and information on the HelpHer site and am moved deeply to raise awareness of the disease here in the UK. I wish i had known about the site when I was suffering from the disease. I also wish that I had been able to share the information on the site with my friend who was supporting me. I too, started writing as soon as I began to recover and wrote a poem called ‘The Remaindering’ (this is on my website) in the week following the termination and then began to write letters to friends and 3 0r 4 to the baby’s father. I am hoping that these letters will become a book, even if i just pass it to my friends 😉 and also have many ideas around creating a play based on my experiences. My website address is

    I would also like to share a link to to Hopes Place charity in Bristol with whom I am receiving counselling at the moment. And I would also like to say that I too am thinking about how to remember and honour the little being who was so briefly with me and feel very determined now to move even more compassionately in the world. I have created too a small piece of paper which I carry in my purse on the piece of paper I have written my baby’s name, her conception date, the date of my termination, my due date, and her message. I have also written on this piece of paper ‘lost to HG and deep depression’ and her message is ‘go gently’ ‘go gently with yourself and others’. My mother thinks this is mad (!) and does not want to know the name of the little being. But I have never been in this position before… how do I heal? How do i remember? What is ‘appropriate?’ and I deeply resonate with what you write about peoples’ responses to your situation and your grief. My family said nothing at Christmas, nobody asked me how I was, nobody asked me about the baby, about how I thought she might be, about my dreams, about what the father was like… I know they may feel awkward or not know where to begin but I feel so invisible this way and it is difficult not to interpret their silence as condemnation. have i done something wrong? Was I really that sick? Could I not have tried harder? Did i try hard enough? I realise that I have been experiencing the ‘bargaining’ stages of grief and, also, today a disturbing numbness.

    I have some butterfly candles I am saving to light on my due date, i am also thinking of planting a tree, and raising money to plant bulbs in bristol this autumn too to brighten downtrodden areas of the city. I may give a name to this project. I would happily send a candle to anyone who would like one if we can connect via my e-mail address. Something else I have found is a site about Mizuko ceremonies and I feel that whilst I would not wish to hold a buddhist ceremony i would like to create a ceremony or ritual, maybe very private, to honour the little being.

    so much to say, not enough time now!
    i too received Ashli’s books today and will be giving one to my doctor, an angel.

    bliss wishes to everyone whose lives have been touched by HG
    nikki x o

    • Anjali Khanna says:

      Hi Niki,
      I remember reading your story on a UK website and somehow, it feels a bit similar to mine. I recently ended a pregnancy just over one and a half months ago. I’ve been in severe turmoil and agony. I believe I was suffering from HG and didn’t even know. Having no medical insurance in the USA, I had to end my pregnancy at 11 weeks and 2 days. It has been so devastating for me. I know that with the appropriate medical care I could have sustained this pregnancy. I hate myself for giving up and should have fought harder. I would have been 17 weeks now. I just don’t know how to move on from this.

      • I think the main thing is is that there is no way to actually “move on” and there will always be unknown and an unresolved feeling (even if you would have carried to term) but just recognize that hg is no joke, it is serious even with proper medical attention and care. Hang in there, time is the only thing that lessens the pain

      • Anjali Khanna says:

        Dear Island of Grief, Mountain of Joy,
        My story is very similar to Nikki Claire’s. I originally read her story on a UK website. I was eager to connect and share my story with her through message, however the link in her post is inactive. Is there anyway to connect through your blog?

  12. Lynn says:

    Thank you – I made the heart wrenching decision to end a very much wanted pregnancy. This was my first pregnancy. After years of dealing with severe endometriosis and being told it would be unlikely I would conceive, I was shocked when I tested positive. What was a very exciting and unexpected period in my life, it quickly spiraled downward. Over 10 weeks, I lost 33 pounds and had multiple IVs (including one which was done in my neck because all my other veins were collapsing or too thin). While my OB was supportive, I don’t think she had all of the resources to treat the HG aggressively. The days after the procedure were horrendous due to the muscle pain throughout my body. It was basically eating itself. Although it’s been six weeks, I am no where near recovered. I am now looking at probably gall bladder issues related to the HG and severe weight loss. Accepting that this was not my fault, but rather the disease is at times difficult. Thank you for sharing your path… this is a lonely disease and having others that have traveled it makes it slightly easier.

  13. Your HG story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for telling this story that so desperately needs telling. Pregnant women, whether it’s a first pregnancy or a fourth, are often marginalized by their peers, families, and healthcare providers when they complain about these sorts of symptoms and others that they know ‘just aren’t right’. Thanks for stopping by medtopicwriter and for writing your blog as well. Samantha

  14. Pingback: Expecting Moms, Do You Puff-Puff…Breathe? | P.O.S.H.Inks Apparel, Accessories and Design

  15. Cherry says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story with us, you are so brave and so strong and please dont ever forget it! I have had HG 4x and lost 2 pregnancies because of HG and poor care. I can relate to so much of your story and still have issue’s with my kidneys from HG along with anexity, panic attacks, and food issue’s a year and a half later. You fought a battle hun, the battle of your life and are a true warrior.

  16. Sarah says:

    WOW. This story… so similar to mine. Even the insurance thing. I had a good first pregnancy, a lot of nausea all day long but nothing I couldn’t handle. This pregnancy the nausea is so severe all I can do is lay on my couch moaning. The smell of my son makes me ill also. Everything. I am 8 weeks and I am HOPING that it will go away by the second trimester. I didn’t know you could have a great first pregnancy and a wretched second pregnancy. People think I’m making it up (how nauseous I am). They tell me “Every woman gets this. Suck it up.” I am pro-life. I am totally against abortion but I UNDERSTAND when it comes to HG. I am living it. I am going to make it through somehow as mine is not as severe as yours was but I just wish that doctors would educate themselves. I wish the medical community would stop acting like women are whiners and we are exaggerating. Anyhow, thank you for sharing your story. If you ever want healing for the abortion, may I recommend Rachel’s Vineyard? You have every right to grieve. Your baby was real. You suffered a tremendous loss. And I feel for you… HG is hard and so many don’t know. I have what seems to be a mild form and it is awful. It sucks the joy right out of my soul. It is interrupting my life.

  17. hgsurvivor says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so important for people to understand just how devastating hg can be. I just started a blog about hg designed to help those struggling through it. I’d love your feedback, if you have a moment. Thanks!

  18. Ahcim says:

    I have just become completely dehydrated through tears. Your story is mine, with one difference. I never told anyone (apart from my partner who was by my side through it all). It’s a dirty secret I’ve kept buried inside & I am now bawling my eyes out just to know that I’m not the only one. I made it to 10 weeks. If it ever comes up in conversation with my partner now, I never say “when I was pregnant ” it’s always “when I was sick”. I never named my baby. It was too painful.
    But what I really want to say is, I am pregnant again. 3 and a half years after my termination. I did a lot of research and found a small ray of hope. A small study said that if you start zofran as soon as you become pregnant, it MAY reduce or even eliminate HG. Well I’m now 7 weeks (had to go on fertility meds for PCOS too by the way) and so far although I am nauseous & a little depressed, I have not vomited. I gag a lot. I can’t eat or drink much. But what I can stays down & it’s keeping me going. I wanted to share this for anyone who desperately wants to try again but is too scared. And always put yourself and your health first. Find a wonderful & supportive dr and when you need help DEMAND it.
    Ok I will try to stop crying now. Thank you, thank you so much, for sharing your story. You are a strong, brave woman & a wonderful mother.

  19. Pingback: HG and Wanted Babies | Kernels of Wheat

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