Staying Positive with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

The multicolored lights shine on our new, overpriced Christmas tree. Our tree has white snow already sprinkled on the edges making it look as if there has been a light snowfall inside our Georgia apartment. 

Three stockings hang over our fireplace- mine, my husbands, and my stepson’s- the burlap theme matching the rest of the decor I have strewn about the house in perfect placement. A thank you to my obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to organization and cleanliness.  

I sit on the couch with my Volkswagen bug mug filled to the rim with steaming hot cocoa and tiny marshmallows, fuzzy socked feet propped on our freshly polished coffee table, and Vanilla Bean Noel Bath & Body Works candles filling the air with the perfect scent for the occasion. 

Although I am usually watching Friends reruns, or at least listening to country music playing in the background… tonight is different. Tonight I sit in silence and take in everything surrounding me. 

I put my hand on my stomach and feel those tiny kicks. I smile and try to imagine what her personality is going to be like once she’s outside next to me. I wonder if she’ll have her daddy’s dimples or his ability to make friends with every single stranger. Or maybe she’ll be introverted and shy like me, choosing a night in with Netflix over a night out with too much noise. 

I think back to the first five months of my pregnancy when I couldn’t be excited because of being so sick. It had a name: Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and it took over every ounce of myself. It stripped away my sanity and replaced it with weeks of carrying around a trash can to every room I went to. I laid on the couch, this same couch I am sitting on now, but with a feeling of helplessness. I laid on this couch about 20 hours a day, throwing up 5 times every hour. I cried whenever I was awake and slept as much as I possibly could. I had needles stuck in my veins on multiple occasions due to losing so much weight from dehydration. 

The doctors kept saying it was normal. That it wasn’t that bad. That I needed to just try crackers before I get up in the morning. 

Despite their simple recommendation, I had tried it all and I can remember the frustration I felt towards every healthcare provider that I saw. They were supposed to be helping me. 

Instead, everywhere I turned I got shunned for being exaggerate. I got told I was lucky. I knew I was lucky to have this opportunity that many women can only dream of, but I didn’t understand why I couldn’t feel this way without being made guilty. 

I thought I was failing as a mom already.

I was upset every single morning when I woke up, because I knew I was going to have to face another day yet again.

Two days turned to three, which turned to five with no strength to shower. No ability to clean my usually spotless home. No way could I wash my husbands work clothes. 

I fell into a deep, dark hole. In this hole, I was alone. I couldn’t breathe and no matter how many times I dug my nails into the muddy sides, I couldn’t climb out. 

Friends and family tried to console me, but nobody understood what I was experiencing. I took solace in the fact that I wasn’t alone through social media #HG searches. I delved into a community of women who taught me to hang on. To take it a second, a minute, an hour, and a day at a time. 

Although it hasn’t been long since those miserable days, it feels like a lifetime ago already. I now look forward to what is to come and I am grateful for every morning I wake up. 

Her nursery is pink. Her crib is grey. She has outfits hanging in her closet and boxes of diapers lining her walls. 

Pregnancy isn’t always beautiful and I want other mom’s to know that it is okay to admit that. It is okay not to have it all figured out and it is okay not to be okay.

But hang in there, better times are on their way. 

And this time next year, there will be four burlap stockings hanging in front of me. 

Written by Logan Johnson.