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.