Friday, May 11, 2012

Hyperemesis Gravidarum - How to Deal with Extreme Morning Sickness

Hello girlies. I am happy to announce that I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with my second. 

However, this post is not about the pregnancy itself, but about a personal experience with one of the hardest and rarest (happens to less than 2% of pregnancies) sicknesses life dealt me.

But please. Don't feel sorry for me. This post is not a self-pity party, but a way to educate and reach out to other women who are going through the same situation. I gained so much understanding and comfort from reading other women's stories online, and that is the only reason I am writing about my own experience -- to help others.

Before I begin, however, here is a proud belly pic back at 15 weeks. 

Proud belly at 15 weeks

Now, onto the real subject...

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

In Greek, hyper means "extreme," emesis means "vomitting," and gravida? You guessed it. It means "pregnancy."

Together, Hyperemesis Gravidarum means exactly what it spells -- Extreme Vomiting during Pregnancy. 

And it's no joking matter.

How Bad is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not your average morning sickness, in which you feel like throwing up but never do. It is not something you can settle with crackers or ginger candy. It is not even like your regular vomiting. It is EXTREME! 

As in projectile throw up 10 - 15 times a day extreme.

Hypermeresis Gravidarum makes you unable to hold anything down -- not crackers, or rice, or fruits, or even the smallest amount of water -- and even on an empty stomach, you just throw up bile.

It is an everything-must-regurgitate system that shocks your body into dysfunction by dehydrating your every limb, making you a walking zombie about to pass out. And often, you do pass out.

What's worse is that there is absolutely NOTHING -- not food (forget crackers and ginger), medicine (Zofran didn't work) or even alternative methods (I tried acupuncture too and it didn't work) -- you can do about it. Like any debilitating sickness, it is completely out of your control. 

For weeks, I felt so devastated, I cried myself to sleep every night. 

Common Symptoms (with my own experience)

Weight loss of 5% or more
My weight dropped nonstop, which was particularly worrisome when you are pregnant. I was a healthy 108 before, and dropped about 10 pounds within one week. Even my husband, who normally doesn't notice weight, commented (in concern) about my protruding bones.

Dehydration and Constipation

On the worse day, I ended up at the ER. Thanks to a generous mom friend, who took care of my daughter for a night, my husband was able to accompany me.

For the next two days, I could not get myself out of bed. I was so weak from hunger and pregnancy fatigue that I barely made it to the bathroom.

Sorry for being gross, but I barely peed and couldn't take a dump for five days. I was so constipated that I sat on the toilette for over two hours, at the same time throwing up in a trash can.

Not a pretty sight for a Girlie Blog, is it?

Sensitivity to Motion

Sitting in a car made me vomit.

Jogging made me vomit.

Even walking made me vomit.

I was pretty much horizontal the whole time, because every step I took made me vomit.

Difficulty with Daily Activities

I had trouble lifting my toddler. I had to lock her in her room each time I threw up. I was so weak at one point I couldn't push her back home, and vomited a few times on the way back.

My husband took time off. He also took ALL household chores -- sweeping, dishes, laundry...Eventually we hired a part-time sitter.

I pretty much laid in bed all day, because I just couldn't get up.


This only happened on the worst days, which was around weeks 8 or 9. It was also the day I decided to call my doctor, who sent me to the ER. I started seeing stars and dots and then just went blank. Luckily, my toddler was already napping and I was on the couch. I guess you can say I pretty much faded away and passed out.

How to Deal?

Eat what you can keep down

For a few weeks, all I ate were Popsicle, apple sauce and clear broth. They were all my body took in, and barely so. I fantasized about burgers and steaks all day! But hey, you take what you can get.

Then, around week 15, I graduated to steamed fish and sushi -- yes, the sashimi kind. I know, you are not supposed to eat sushi, but it was cleared by my doctor, because if that's all I can take, then I do what I need to.

Sushi - my saving grace!

Hopefully, as I get into my second trimester, I can keep more varieties of food.

Start a Support System

Talk to your mom. Talk to your sisters. Talk to your most trusted friends. The women in your life are the best people to talk to.

Go online and search forums and discussion group of the subject. Learn other women's experiences.

Don't talk to toxic friends. They will never listen. Some might even accuse you of being over dramatic. At such a devastating time in your life, you don't need to deal with their B.S.


Read a book, or watch really good TV shows. Do anything that you absolutely enjoy and can take your mind off of how sick you feel.

From this experience, not only did I catch up on the past few seasons of Desperate Housewives, I also started to appreciate reading again.

Treat Yourself

New makeup and clothes? Always a nice way to feel better. 

A successful Target trip, don't you think?

Accept Help

Even if you are the most self-sufficient person, in some situations, you just have to let others help. 

Thanks to my husband, I didn't need to do household chores, or take care of my daughter after 4 p.m. 

Thanks to my parents, we were able to get a sitter.

And thanks to concerned peers who constantly asked about how I felt, I had someone to talk to and didn't feel so alone. Even a simple email that said "hang in there" was enough to carry me through.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

It's hard to enjoy your pregnancy when you have to deal with such a debilitating and devastating disease, but it all gets better when you realize what you are doing it for.

For weeks, I couldn't help resent this baby. But then came my first ultrasound, and there it was, kicking its little legs and sucking its thumb already.

Little one at 13 weeks.

For weeks, I cried and cried -- and trust me, I am not a crier -- but for the first time, I giggled silly with an overwhelming amount of happiness. From that day on, every time I ran to the bathroom, I think of the little angel growing in my belly. And I know that it will take me through the next 20 weeks of rough ride.

What about you, girlie?

Any horror story with your pregnancy?


  1. Congratulation Girlie. I am Happy for you :-) and Happy Mother's Day.

  2. Congratulations! This is a helpful post. Please keep us posted:)

  3. Awww.... Thanks for all the information and you look good. Congrats to you and your family

    The breast talk

  4. ahhh that sucks hun!! I had morning sickness (with vomiting) throughout my entire pregnancy but it was only for about the first hour when I woke up and late afternoon. So I could basically eat a kinda normal meal inbetween!! My friend had what you have and she was only able to drink milk (eating nothing!!) her entire pregnancy!! I hope you feel better soon :)

  5. I think I know someone who had just gone through these horrible symptoms. I couldn't begin to imagine the amount of energy or tear you must have lost dealing with it because even with normal morning sickness is hard. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you will get to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

  6. You look great! Happy your back :)

    xo Marie

  7. I have heard of this before and I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. I hope that you continue to start feeling better and congrats on the new little one!

  8. Aww thank you so much for writing about this and sharing your story! I have never even heard of this until now. I'm glad the baby is healthy and hope you can get back to your normal weight soon too. Take care and congrats!!

  9. I am so sorry you're going through all this! Hang in there! It'll be worth it when your new baby is here! Keep up posted!

  10. Congrats on your pregnancy and hope you get over this sickness quickly!

  11. Awww, you poor thing!! A friend of mine had this throughout both of her pregnancies and was in and out of the hospital the entire time. =( I hope it passes for you soon. But still, I'm SO happy for you!! Congratulations!!!

  12. i didn't realize you were preggers! congrats! sorry you're going through this. i had it w both my kiddos, and sadly for me it didn't stop until i delivered my kids. it's the hardest thing ever! chin up, and take care!!

  13. Thank you for sharing your story and I really hope you get through this! I can tell you're a strong gal and you will be able to conquer whatever comes your way. Your baby looks beautiful and is already sucking their thumb! That is so precious. I hope you get better soon!


  14. First of all, congratulation on your new baby!! That's such exciting news! And you are right about the makeup and clothes part, that will put some smile on every women's face!! I think you handle it well! You go girl!!!

    So happy for you! :) And so sorry for what you have to go through... :( Hope it'll get better soon... :)


  16. what's a beautiful news...I'm so happy for you.congratulation!
    xoxo mininuni

  17. very great post!

  18. Many congratulations! Its good to see you are back to blogging :D We missed you x


  19. Aww this sounds like a very unpleasant ordeal. I've never been pregnant before, and none of my friends have had kids yet either, so I don't know anything about pregnancies. I never knew you could develop extreme morning sickness. I really hope you feel better soon!

  20. Hello, dear!!! My super huge congratulations!!!!
    I'm on my 14s week with my first child and I don't have morning sickness at all!!!!
    You look amazing!!! So beautiful and fresh!!!
    Happy happy for you!!!!
    Have a wonderful day!

  21. firstly, congrats! and secondly, be strong! I really hope you'll discover more dishes you could eat because you two definitely need it. good luck with everything!

    Maikeni blogi - part of me

  22. Congratulations on the news!!! Hope you can keep some food down thank goodness for sushi!!

  23. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! And so sorry to hear about your extreme morning sickness. :( My BM had that with her first and had it throughout her entire pregnancy. Hopefully yours simmers down soon!

    xx Vivian @

  24. You are one tough cookie! I hope the pregnancy now til birth will ease up for you. You've experienced the worst kind of morning sickness and I hope that it will lessen! Congrats! You're almost there ^_^

  25. Poor thing - thanks for sharing your story and informing us about this. I'm glad to hear that you are better (I think from later posts) and have a great support network!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  26. I have problems with vomitting if I'm not careful with my birth control pill. The pill is seriously the bain of my existence. Thanks for the post, you have some great tips.

  27. Congratulations! I hope your sickness gets better, and lots of luck with the pregnancy xxx


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