Our Progress

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Our history and Outlook

Karen: Today we discovered that we are expecting our second child. We made the decision to add to our family just three short weeks ago, hoping for, but never expecting success on our first cycle! But sure enough, this morning I had "a feeling" so I peed on a stick and voila, I am four weeks pregnant.

Our last pregnancy was seven years ago. It's taken that long to muster up the courage to do this again. I suppose that for seven years, I've suffered through a type of post traumatic stress disorder and only recently has desire overcome fear.

I was 24 when I first became pregnant. We'd been married for over a year and felt ready to begin the next chapter our our life together. It took over six months to conceive and only when we decided to stop obsessing, charting and predicting ovulation did it finally happen. We were blissful and bursting to tell loved ones the great news. For two weeks I was able to "glow", with no detectable symptoms to complain about.

Then, at six weeks, I became suddenly and violently ill. This was not like any kind of morning sickness I'd heard described. I thought I must've had food poisoning. The nausea was relentless, the vomiting was a total body experience. I was bedridden within 24 hours, and within one week, had lost nearly 8 pounds. We were not due to see my midwife for another week, but having gone without any food and little to drink for a full week, we decided immediate medical attention was necessary. We went to the ER. A few hours later, pumped full of fluids and vitamins and armed with a diagnosis of Hyperemsis Gravidarum, we were released back home.

Still, I remained bedridden, despite frequent IV hydrations, serious drug therapy and weekly visits to my midwife. This went on until my 16th week, four weeks beyond what my midwife had assured me would be the end of this. When I walked into her office, assisted by Gabe, with a lemon held up to my nose to keep all other smells away, I was FINALLY taken seriously. She promptly left the room to consult with a Perinatologist (a high risk pregnancy doctor) and came back with two options; long term hospitalization, or a fairly experimental drug therapy using corticosteroids. Though it was no guarantee, we opted for the steroids. I just didn't want to spend what may have been the rest of my pregnancy in hospital care with intravenous nutrition or worse, a feeding tube.

Lucky for us, the steroids worked! Within two days, I was eating broth. Within a week, I was eating solids. And though I required medical control of my nausea for the remainder of the pregnancy, I was able to get by with just "normal" morning sickness. However, my diet was limited, and I was only able to consume high fat, high carb foods until the very end. This led to borderline gestational diabetes, as well as the development of gall bladder disease at 36 weeks.

On June 5, 2003, two days after my 25th birthday, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She was perfect and worth every miserable moment of my wretched pregnancy.

So, here we go again! This time we are armed with knowledge. We go in with eyes wide open, knowing what we are facing, and bearing the tools we need to fight this. We have written a protocol which will be given to every medical professional that cares for me. It explains how we'd like my condition treated. What worked last time, what didn't. No need to waste time trying drugs that failed, or had intolerable side effects. We have invited our family and friends to be a part of this, a support group, and will not be afraid to ask for help.

This blog will serve as a record of this battle with HG, a means of keeping "in touch" with loved ones, and a resource for those who have suffered, will suffer or know someone who has suffered through this horrific condition.

Wish us luck!

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