my hyperemesis journey

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Hyperemesis Gravidarum is best described as hell on earth. It’s vomiting until blood comes up, throwing out your back and ribs from aggressively heaving, having veins collapse from so much poking, receiving enemas because your digestive system nearly stops from the lack of food, and taking powerful anti-nausea meds that are prescribed to cancer patients and you wonder how on earth that’s safe for your growing baby. It’s living in a constant state of what feels like food poisoning only you know it won’t be over in 24 hours and this will be your life for months on end.

 

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Madelyn’s pregnancy:

My nausea started before I even got a positive pregnancy test. The day after conception I had a terrible migraine which made me vomit and then it was a constant state of nausea after that. Within 4 months I lost 20 lbs, throwing up over 20 times a day. Everything set it off, even switching positions in bed. One day there was a massive snow storm knocking out the power in our basement apartment and the movement of shivering made me vomit continuously. It was so dark in the hallway and bathroom I had to crawl around trying to find the toilet.

During the first trimester my back kept hurting more and more until inhailing started sending shooting pain up my back and side. I went to the chiropractor who discovered I had thrown out my back and a couple ribs from all of the violent retching. 

I was still in college for the first bit of my pregnancy and was forced to leave our apartment which always resulted in public hurling. I threw up on the side of the road and at my lowest point in the grass while walking to class surrounded by people trying to go around me. 

I’m ashamed to admit I was so resentful towards my growing baby that turned my body against me. I fell into a deep depression from being so incredibly miserable and helpless. I felt trapped in my body and so very alone. I honestly prayed that I would die so I could be put out of my misery. My face sunk in and every pair of pants and even my underwear would fall off the moment I tried putting them on. My first pregnancy was a very dark time, and one I never really learned to enjoy.

 

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Roslyn’s pregnancy:

I didn’t start getting nauseous this time until week 6 or 7, but it hit hard and fast. When I went in for my first prenatal appointment and I told my midwives I hadn’t kept anything down for days they immediately sent me to the hospital for IV fluids.  They gave me a standing order at the hospital to come in for fluids if I ever went 12 hours without keeping anything down. I went in 2-3 times a week for 2-4 hours of IV fluids and wasn’t allowed to leave until I kept something down,  even if it was just crackers and ice chips. My arms and hands became so bruised and sore from the constant poking and prodding, I had veins collapse and moments of a nurse poking me over and over unable to get a vein. They discussed putting a port into my body fearing the day would come that I wouldn’t have an accessible vein. I had IVs in the inside of my elbow, upper arm, all over my forearms, my hand and even my foot. For weeks that was the only nourishment I received and kept me from getting as sick as last time. 

This pregnancy I only lost 11 lbs which I’m convinced is because of my midwives constant care and help. I had an appointment every 1-2 weeks to keep track of my weight loss and check-in.  They were always giving me pointers on nausea relief and sending me straight to the hospital for more fluids. I became a regular at the hospital and developed friendships with the nurses there, all of whom I’ll always be so grateful for. When I came in they could just look at me and gage how bad I felt. They even started giving me empty rooms while I got my IV infusions. Whenever I was in the hospital they’d all come in and see how I was doing. Nurses are the best, guys.

Much like the first pregnancy every time I vomited I wouldn’t stop until absolutely everything was out of my system and blood mixed with bile would come up. I developed sores in my throat from all of the acid and bile which gave me a constant sore throat and caused me to cough up blood between vomiting. My chest was always so sore from all of the contracting and aggressive vomiting making it difficult to breathe. 

This pregnancy my lowest point was when I contracted some stomach bug on top of the hyperemesis. I threw up every 3-5 minutes for 14 hours straight and was admitted into the hospital for 48 hours. They discovered that the anti-nausea meds had also given me a blockage in my intestines (the WORST part of Zofran) so nothing could pass through my system and must come out the other way. I was given two enemas (super glamorous I know), and this visit I was poked 4 times while they tried to find a vein which seemed to all be hiding from my dehydration. I sobbed to the nurses and asked them to please knock me out because I couldn’t handle this anymore, I could not take another day of feeling this way and being trapped in my body. They rubbed my back, gave me warm compresses for the IVs because the constant cold fluid going into my body made me freezing cold. The nurses held on my hands and rubbed my feet to try and alleviate my nausea and even blocked Madelyn’s view from watching me retch up blood and sob until Josh was able to take her to his parents house. I felt like such an awful mother for not being able to take care of her. I could barely make her a meal and she watched TV from the moment we got up in the morning to the moment daddy got home from school. 

This pregnancy my hyperemesis suddenly got so much better around 14 weeks, much sooner than last time (although I still had occasional days where I felt nauseous and had to stay home regaining my energy). All of which I attribute to the midwives and nurses who took care of me, they never let me get as bad as I did last time. One of the midwives told me, “We know your hyperemesis can reach a 10, so this time we’re going to try and keep it below a 7 at all costs.” 

The biggest difference with this pregnancy is that it took us so long to get pregnant and I went into the pregnancy not caring how sick I got as long as I had another child. And having Madelyn, a constant reminder of what I had gone through and gotten out of it helped me to stay positive. There was only 1 day where I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore (the day I contracted the stomach bug) and I wanted it all to end. My more positive outlook made a world of difference for my mental health and luckily this time I wasn’t depressed and resentful.

 

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I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go through this hell again. It’s amazing how much you forget what you go through to have a baby until you’re going through it again. I would tell people how miserable my pregnancy was with Madelyn, but I felt disconnected from the experience like it was more of a bad dream. I had forgotten what it felt like, and during this pregnancy I kept begging Josh to never let me do this again because I don’t think I could survive a third time. Even now reading through this post (that I wrote while I was pregnant with Roz) it all feels so foreign. As I read it I get flashes of memories, but it feels like a distant memory that is mostly repressed and forgotten. If I ever get baby hungry again I’ll just have to read this post!

Hyperemsis is the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through and my heart goes out to anyone else that has experienced it because it really is torturous and feels a lot like being stuck in hell. Women are warriors who will do anything for their children and that is a one of a kind love.

my guide to a natural childbirth

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I'd first like to give a shout-out to Kelsey Nicole Photography for the amazing newborn photos she took, I love them all SO much! Thank you Kelsey!

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I wanted to give birth to Madelyn naturally since my mom and sisters all gave birth without an epidural/pain medication, but I really didn’t prepare myself. With how INTENSE labor is, in my opinion, you gotta have some preparation in order to make it. I read “Hypnobirthing” which helped me get to 6 centimeters before I asked for an epidural but it was a long road even getting that far. All I kept thinking about was how much worse the next contraction would be and I couldn’t relax/save energy between contractions which is KEY. Of course it didn’t help that my labor started with my water breaking which caused my contractions to piggy back and get intense fast. But this time I decided I’d prepare mentally and see how far I could get.

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Even though I tried giving up and asked for an epidural right before I started pushing, all of these things really helped me keep pushing through labor/transition, ultimately helping me birth Roslyn without any pain relief! 

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1. The book “Mindful Birthing” is the #1 reason I was able to do it. This book teaches you how to be in the moment. I learned to focus on my breathing during contractions and completely relax between contractions without thinking about how awful the next one would be. After birth my midwife told me she was impressed with how much I was able to completely relax between my contractions and how that allowed me to save my energy.

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2. Having the right support people. In my opinion is really helps having someone there who has given birth naturally, for me that was my mom. She knew exactly what I was feeling and seeing her during labor and knowing she did this FIVE times really helped keep things in perspective. Any time I said “I can’t do this,” she told me I could. Also having Josh, my partner in life, meant so much. Having someone there that truly loves you and whom you love with your whole heart just incompasses you with this feeling of love that can help you get through even the worst contractions. 

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3. The right support environment. During early labor at home we turned off most of the lights and Josh and I watched “Parks and Recreation” while I bounced on my birthing ball and pounded some Reese’s pumpkins. Then once we got to the hospital we dimmed all the lights in my room. My key was to be surrounded my things I liked to take my mind off of the contractions and create a comfortable enviorment, all of those things are listed below:

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  •  Music was a huge factor in helping me. I made a playlist called “Contraction Jams” of all my favorite songs/some relaxing music. I especially loved the music between contractions, it really helped brighten my mood having my favorite songs playing in the background.

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  •  Essential oils. I poured some lavender on a washcloth and smelt it during contractions. Lavender has always been one of my favorite smells and I really noticed a difference when I had that over my nose and inhaled it during contractions and when I didn’t. The moment I started smelling it I was able to relax into the contractions so much more.

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  • Warm water. I loved laboring in warm water, although I love being warm in general and I find it relaxing. It felt like I was in a little warm cocoon hugging me and it felt amazing on my lower back. 

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  • Massage/pressure points. When I was transitioning and on all fours on my bed, the one thing that helped was my midwife massaging my lower back and putting pressure on my hips. It helped me focus on something other than the contraction. I also loved massage between contractions, it really helped me to continue relaxing.

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4. Switching positions once you feel like you’ve reached your limit. Some of my favorite positions was sitting up on my birthing ball, cross legged in the bath tub, on all fours on my bed, and finally sitting up on my bed/leaning forward during the contractions.

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5. Having a birth plan that your partner, nurse, and midwife/doctor have all read. Along with that a code word really does help keep the epidural off your mind. For anyone interested in looking at my birth plan or you want my “Contraction Jams” playlist you can email me at laurenrogers727@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you!

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xo

dressing the bump

When I was pregnant with Madelyn I bought a few maternity items, but I mostly wore my normal clothes and completely stretched them out, ultimately ruining them. This pregnancy I was determined to buy actual maternity clothes, especially ones that are trendy and don’t make me feel like an unattractive blob.

I originally found Pink Blush when a friend bought one of their delivery robes for hospital photos, and honestly, it was love at first sight. Almost all of the maternity clothes I’ve bought this pregnancy are from Pink Blush, and after getting so many inquires about the different outfits I’ve worn in my posts I’m so excited to collaborate with this company and spread awareness – so, if you don’t know about Pink Blush, then you need to be! I have loved every single thing I’ve bought from them; it’s all unique, high quality, fashionable, and affordable.

 Madelyn didn't want to endure the hot weather so she opted to stay inside during the photos, but she kept opening the door and making sure we "okay?"

Madelyn didn't want to endure the hot weather so she opted to stay inside during the photos, but she kept opening the door and making sure we "okay?"

So many other companies maternity sections are unflattering, it’s like they want us to look as un-sexy as we feel. But some of Pink Blush’s cutest clothes are in their maternity section. When Josh and I went on our Babymoon cruise almost all the outfits I wore were Pink Blush and I felt so beautiful and stylish. Just because you have a baby bump doesn’t mean you’re banished to muumuu dresses and your husband’s biggest, rattiest, oldest shirt. You can be 7 ½ months pregnant and dress even better than you did pre-bump. 

I hope you all love this shop as much as I do; I’m excited to share more of their outfits in the future!

 The other half of my attentive audience. Everyone always wants to know what mama's doing. 

The other half of my attentive audience. Everyone always wants to know what mama's doing.