Anyone who watches Family Guy knows how a Family Guy character throws up: loud, violent, massive and messy. If asked to describe what my Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is like, I could find no better example. I become Peter, Stewie, Brian or Chris, down on my knees, my mouth like a broken pipe, I vomit my guts out until I’m empty or exhausted.
HG is not morning sickness. It is a lot worse. I have been unable to keep food and liquids down for days in a row. I have been to ER twice to receive intravenous fluids. I have been under all sorts of medication. I have tried all sorts of home remedies. I have lost weight through my first trimester. My body has rejected every type of food, drink and treatment that seemed to offer some temporary relief. My left rib cage hurts from frequent vomiting. It’s almost as if I have no other recourse but to suffer until the symptoms subside.
These are supposedly the happiest days of my life and yet, my condition makes me miserable. I constantly fear that my baby is not getting proper nutrition or that he/she may incur a birth defect. Every visit to the doctor, I nervously yearn to hear that heartbeat. Please let my baby be okay. Please continue to say nothing is wrong with him/her.
Please… if you know someone who has this condition, be sensitive. Don’t treat it like it’s normal morning sickness. Don’t tell the person to suck it up. Don’t suggest saltine crackers. There are very few things that do help and a lot more things that don’t. Unless you’ve experienced or seen it first hand, unless you’re in a medical profession, please do your research first and know that: 1) HG is not just a fancy term for morning sickness, 2) there is a high chance a sufferer hates/can’t tolerate everything and 3) a person with HG is most likely struggling to cope with daily life. Some women drastically alter their lifestyle and manage to gracefully bear the illness. Some need to go on a different work arrangement (me included). Some can’t even get out of bed and opt to file for disability. Some have it so bad, that they make the difficult choice of therapeutic abortion. Everyone’s journey is different. Please… choose respect over judgment.
Yesterday, I received a Mother’s day card from the baby in my womb.
Hi. It is me, baby, from inside your belly. I know I cannot talk or write yet but I have been sending thoughts back and forth with Dad. He and I agree on the same thing. That while I have not been born yet, you are already an incredible mother. I am sorry I am making you feel so sick every day and that I do not like a lot of foods right now but I am so thankful that you are putting me above anything else. But mom, you have to think about yourself, too.
Do not worry too much about me. I am growing healthy and strong in here. I know I will be fine because you and Dad care so much about me and you have given me a nice warm environment to grow in for another 6 months.
I promise to make all your suffering right now be worth it in the end. I promise to love you so much and that we will be the best of friends. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to meet you soon.
I love you, mom.”
This was a very touching note because I have a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which I will explain on a different post. Of course, I sobbed after reading this. And of course, my kid is going to be awesome. I know not just because s/he can already be so fluent at 13 weeks… But more importantly, because his/her dad is awesome.
I never thought I’d be a mother. It’s not that I never wanted to have a baby. I just never fully believed I could be a good mother. Since I was young, there had been signs: I had cut my younger sister’s hair all wrong, I had dropped my toddler cousin, I had given up on caring for my rabbit after it chomped my finger… Up to now, I still detest cleaning up, I still feel awkward around children and I still fear the limitations that come with being a parent.
So why am I now having my first ever Mother’s Day? Because I knew that compared to all these doubts, the regret from not even trying to have you… will be so much greater and will most likely be too unbearable.
People say one can never really be absolutely ready for a baby. I agree. But that won’t stop me from hoping that when you come out into this world, I am the strongest mother I can ever be.
Whenever life became too difficult to face, I had always been able to run to my mother. Each time, her advice was consistent – hang in there until something good comes along. But on many occasions, I wasn’t strong enough to take this advice. I would simply crumble in the middle of a problem… without a plan, without the will to seek a solution.
My mother was firm. Yet, every time I felt too weak to do anything about life – to go to school, to work, to try, she had me join her for a day at her job. I’m not ashamed to admit that even as a grown woman, my mother would take me, pretty much like a kid, to her workplace. Why? Because I needed it. That’s what makes my mother awesome. She pushes me to be stronger but also gives me confidence in knowing I won’t be alone if I fall.
To my Mama, thank you, I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!