Surviving Hyperemesis

I mentioned I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy, but just realized I never really talked about it. I remember googling like crazy for at least one blog or article I could relate to. Nothing. Each case was either more extreme than mine or less. I wasn’t on bed rest in a hospital but I couldn’t even keep water down unless I took Zofran. Here’s the difference between morning sickness and hyperemesis (sorry for the TMI):

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It hit me out of nowhere the 2nd week I was pregnant. I blamed it on eating Chikfila (weird how eating there still makes me get kind of queasy). I had a vacation that was planned for a year in Paris and French food to this day still makes me nauseous when I see it. Weird how your body remembers but I really forget how bad it felt daily (so don’t worry if you have a middle of the road hyperemesis…I promise it will go away). One plus is that it will most likely make your recovery more peaceful as you relish in the fact that you can once again enjoy food! Looking back now, I have no idea how I threw up nonstop all day and worked full-time. This weird construction/paint smell in the office still makes me gag since I spent a lot of time walking down a hallway that led to the bathroom. But besides that, I have been able to eat everything as I did before (which is an entirely different problem for another post lol).
Ok, so how did I survive working full-time and dealing with this??!! Here is my simple worked/didn’t work list. Everyone is different, but my hope is that someone will see something on this list that they have not yet tried. Remember that these things will help but not 100% get rid of the symptoms and you have to accept and be at peace with that. Stay relaxed, stay calm…this too shall pass. Your body is undergoing major changes, allow it to.

Didn’t Work:
Preggie Pops, these just felt like plain hard candies with sugar…womp womp
Dramamine, nauzene…just made me tired
Sea bands…nope…just no…
An all natural homeopathic chiropractor…yes, I even tried this out of desperation. Since the guy doesn’t accept insurance an appointment was $200. I figured at this point, who cares if I spend my entire paycheck to feel better?! The woman that referred him swore up and down he was a miracle worker. What did I have to lose? His assistant sat me in a room sales pitching me/quizzing me in a cheesy way. When I finally saw him he put a magnet on my wrist, cracked my neck and gave me a bottle of aloe vera juice (which my gyn than told me is a no no). Upon checkout, I nearly had a heart attack. No meal plan, no unique supplement suggestions??!! But they said “for $80 next time I can get my neck cracked again and I absolutely must keep coming back for months before I see results…” She was real snarky saying “do you understand the value in our services?” It just left me with a bad feeling. They still send me cheesy letters and leave voicemails selling me to go back. After going home and crying hysterically, I ate the $200, I just let it go. Now that I think of it, I should leave him a bad review. So slimey.
Ginger…despite the blogs on blogs on top of advice about this being a nausea curing rockstar…did nada but made my throat burn when I threw up. I wish I had $1 for everyone that told me to have ginger and saltines. Revolutionary! I never thought of trying ginger ale, ginger water, ginger chews, ginger pops, tea, supplements, pills… :-/  That’s like telling someone with a broken bone to just put a bandaid on it.
Teas made for nausea (all of them…) hot tea especially…made it even worse
Peppermint/Spearmint/Any Mint: O.m.g. now this I remember very well! I rushed to leave work at lunch and pick up Zofran at Wegmans. It was so crowded when I walked in and I was so dizzy I clung to the walls while I waited. I couldn’t eat lunch bc I ran out of Zofran and as frazzled as I was, forgot to call it in advance. I slept maybe 2hrs bc I spent the night throwing up. I remember waiting in that pharmacy line for what seemed like an eternity. So the pharmacist told me the dr. forgot to call it in and the office was closed. It was a Friday aka I wouldn’t be able to eat all weekend. I starting panicking for the first time my entire pregnancy, felt like I was minutes from fainting and this butt-insky next to me says “hun, you really need to start walking around with peppermint oil if you’re nauseous bc that’s what my daughter did her first trimester and believe me it works, you shouldn’t be taking anything if you’re pregnant.” Believe YOU…you???!!! People and their unsolicited opinions never work me up, I tend to think it’s funny. But not in this case. Not even 1%. First of all Mrs. First Trimester expert, I’m 7 months pregnant. Idiot. You bleeping bleep the bleep bleep bleep. I could’ve smacked her right there in front of every Wegmans pharmacy cashier and customer with no shame. I almost asked her to move towards me so I could puke all over her since she was so interested in my life. I snapped back “you really need to mind your own business and worry about picking up your meds.” Than I walked away and cried in the organic cracker section while searching for something neutral I could keep down. I ended up digging through my purse and finding some leftover Zofran at the bottom. But everytime someone suggests mint for nausea, I think of this story. Yes, I had tried mint. Mint candies, mint oil, mint lotions…I even found it was way too strong of a scent/flavor to handle. Long story short…no mint for hyperemesis for me.
Diclegis/Anything besides Zofran: I lost 10lbs the first few weeks of pregnancy. It was terrifying. The dr. tried every pregnanct safe option and none of them did anything but add side effects like extreme exhaustion or dizziness. But keep trying your dr’s suggestions, anything that allows you to eat is a good solution. Be patient, you will find something that works with your body’s chemistry.

What Worked for ME:
Sparkling water
Steak/Burgers (I think it may have been due to B12)
Smoothie King Strawberry Angel Food it’s a light smoothie that I was able to have as a meal in the beginning before Zofran
Watermelon Refreshing and I had my days where I could keep it down…
Baked potatoes Neutral in flavor and they were filling
Whole wheat toast with butter
Irish Oatmeal Heartier than instant oatmeal, pure, no added sugars and junk
Chocolate pudding No idea why, but some days it was all I could keep down
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream I never buy vanilla ice cream, but something about it I suddenly liked
Baths...I can’t say enough good stuff about baths!!!!!!! Obsessed. Since I couldn’t enjoy food, I would treat myself at Lush (to whatever scent I could handle that day). I would get my Fit Pregnancy mag, Snooki’s Baby Bumps or a Jenny McCarthy book (light, relaxing reads) and chill out. My gyn said baths were perfectly fine at a normal temp, use common sense. I would light a candle, put on a face mask, pour the bubbles, do a sugar scrub. My favorite routine during the 9 months.
Swimming
Chopping off all my hair…I was preg during the summer. Trying to straighten my frizzy highlighted knotty hair or have curls all over, agitated me. I went to hair cuttery for $12 and said just chop it all off, all of it. It felt clean, refreshing and hassle free. No more throw up all over my strands and hair that was easy to wash/maintain after hovering over numerous toilets. I felt so good that day, the best I felt the entire pregnancy:

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B12 & B Natal – I carried these in my purse and popped them before meetings at work. They helped me appear like I was functioning somewhat normal when I truly felt like standing over a trash can.
Pregnancy Pillow – I used the one from Bump Nest. It supported my body and head so I wasn’t lying flat.
Ice Chips/smell of ice/lemon water ice
Orange Creamsicles
Pedialyte Pops
Zofran. I felt very uncomfortable taking medicine until my Dr gave me some tough love. She said “would you like to keep losing weight and providing baby with no nutrition for development or be able to eat and stay hydrated for her survival?” Enough said. The fact that they give Zofran to cancer patients just seemed so…extreme. And scary. But long story short, after much research the benefits were clear and it was the right decision for me. It didn’t make me feel 100%, it made me shake and left a weird taste in my mouth. I’m not saying that to discourage you, but mentioning bc I expected it to be some miracle pill. It allowed me to eat without throwing up. I didn’t feel healthier, it felt like strong medicine. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling but if you are going through it you will undersrand. Please know that it’s totally normal to still feel “yucky” but if you are able to eat, you are doing the right thing. I hope that feels good to hear!  And that’s where baths/swimming helped to take away that groggy/medicine feeling. Be strong.
Staying active: This sounds like lame, hokey advice from a pregnancy magazine but hear me out. Keeping busy at work was better than staying home. I had a routine. Talking to other Moms with hyperemesis they look at me like I have 10 heads when I explain that I worked FT. I asked to work from home at least in the morning or at least have a laptop on hand and that was shot down. So Moms if you are hard working and enduring the same right now as you read this, you will push through. Instead of getting negative about it, I just explained it and pushed through reminding myself I was saving for my future child.. “I have hyperemesis, I have no idea what tomorrow will be like or even this afternoon. I’m throwing up. But…I will still show up and ensure everything is done.” It was a very difficult time for me trying to work while throwing up often every hour all day. I pulled over on the side of the road each day with my little plastic grocery bag to throw up praying my boss or coworkers wouldn’t drive by. I spent weekends barely leaving the couch, just keeping a garbage bin by my side and resting. Somehow I still exceled and went above and beyond, answering emails in between throwing up and closing my eyes to just breathe for a moment. Be thankful if you work in a normal office environment. The construction going on in our building was often unbearable smell and sound wise but I had no choice, I needed a job and couldn’t afford to lose it. Take your time, breathe, go at your own pace. Do not feel guilt about it. I believe that if I stayed at home hidden under a blanket all day, I would’ve felt worse. There were only 3 days I had to call out, but besides that…I pushed through. I brought those hospital grade blue vomit bags with me everywhere and got up and left when I had to take care of it.

I’m trying to rack my memory but I’m positive there’s something I forgot. I threw up the entire delivery too…thanks hypermesis 😉 but the good news is bc of that, my labor/recovery was not even close to traumatic. I hope this helps or lets you know you are not alone!!

XoXo,

Caitlin

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2 thoughts on “Surviving Hyperemesis

  1. Loved this! You explained everything I have been feeling from my first pregnancy. ..and now week 6 of my second. This really made me feel better! Thank you!

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