As it so happens my only connection to royalty, Kate Middleton nonetheless was this nasty condition called Hyperemesis.
The first trimester of my pregnancy I was so sick I had to be admitted to the E.R. I was certain I wouldn’t survive and loathed life. I tried to be strong but it was in vain. And to think I was not even one of the most severe cases out there. I would browse through forum after forum of women plagued by hyperemesis. Heart wrenching stories, women I could relate to and some other remarkable women so optimistic in the face of it all.
Relatives, neighbors and friends from work visited to pep me up. My mother & mother-in-law were home to care for my daughter & me while my husband was away every week. I was barely functioning and falling into a bottomless dark pit of hopelessness. At some point I got pissed. My husband and I chalked out a plan to navigate this difficult period. Some of it may seem excessive but those who’ve been through it would know it is as bad and every bit helps.
Here’s a few guidelines from my experience (Please consult with your Doctor as these are just my experiences and not medical advise):
Varying degrees of severity call for varying measures. Some things would work for a day or two and then we’d be hunting for something new again.
Things I tried for relief:
– Acupuncture (I’d get at least 15 mts of relief but they did say I was too far gone but it’s definitely worth a try)
– Pregnancy massage from a specialist. Again too far gone but I found a little reprieve during the sessions.
– Pregnancy meditation Apps – I had InControlPncy iphone app, there’s a lot more and a lot better. This one used to lull me to sleep sometimes and helped me ignore pain.
– Therapist/counselor/doc – to get me through it week after week. Her recommendation was distracting yourself as much as possible. Have family and friends rally around you. Watch t.v, music, talk, have someone talk … anything and everything that distracts.
– Lavender smells or any other smells that soothe you, put it on your pillow, dab it on your hands, use those soaps. I used to like to smell ginger tea. I wouldn’t drink it but I liked to smell it.
– Try your best to avoid catching a cold though it’s not really in your hands. I had 3 colds during this first trimester and I quite nearly died. 5 Colds through the entire pregnancy. Tylenol, Chlor-trimetron were allowed. I also used to take children’s tylenol which helped soothing the throat.
– Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate … more important than food. If it comes to that, don’t worry if you have to get IV fluids. It provides necessary nutrients and relief to some.
– B6 vitamins are safe and help folks. People also take Unisom at night to help with sleep. Benadryl was also suggested if I needed sleep. All this needs to come from the doctor of course. But you’ll be surprised how little some of the doctors know about hyperemesis or severe morning sickness. First and foremost get the best doc. If they’re not being empathetic or helpful find one that is.
– If all else fails try Zofran, phenergren (suppository is better, does not irritate stomach and does not have side effects like constipation with Zofran), reglan are available. I wish I had taken it the last pregnancy when it wasn’t quite as severe as this one since it would’ve really helped. There’s just this stigma associated to any and all medication but these are failsafe. Confirm with your doctor. Bunch of my friends have used it and they were able to go to work and function. At one point I was on 6 to 8 per day. It beats the alternative of being completely hospitalized with organ failure et al. Now this is all extremes I’m talking about. But, there is help, don’t be afraid to take it. Not worth the suffering and it really is perfectly safe.
– I had a really hard time with this but I could not keep down any prenatal vitamins beyond the 5th week, the mildest of them and even flintstones – nothing worked. I started taking them only well into the second trimester. If you can you should try but if it doesn’t happen it really isn’t the end of the world. Our family friend and doctor has been an obgyn for over 30 years, 2 healthy grown up brilliant daughters and she never took any. She assured me it was going to be fine and I trust her. The key period is really the first 8 weeks. Most of us have relatively healthy diets so it’s alright if you are unable to keep them down.
Food & other:
– The strangest of foods (greasy, fatty or extremely healthy whatever floats your boat) may be the one that suits you best.
– Clear soup, home made broth with carrots and beans or other veggies
– Salty food
– Carrots (not too much, there’s a limitation of some kind on beta carotene but gnawing on them helped)
– Hot/warm foods are better on the stomach though the tendency is to have something really cold. This was what I was told by the masseuse and acupuncturist.
– Avoid raw veggies as digestion is harder, steam or boil them.
– Cream of wheat
– I could not handle any mustard seeds or cumin in my food
– I ate lots of bhindi or okra for some reason it seemed to stay down. Other vegetables were beets and carrots.
– Yogurt was fine at times, the yoplait kind, milkshakes helped at one point. Also jell-o, gatorade, sprite. People recommend having it flat without the fizz, though for me the fizz used to help.
– At one point I tried a chicken biscuit and for weeks it was the only breakfast I could eat. Greasy, salty crap but it was the only thing that would stay down and only from one particular place in town.
– Then it was a beef burger from a local organic fast food joint for lunch. I would eat it over 2 or 3 hours.
– Ginger snaps helped during first pregnancy but not this time.
– I couldn’t stand pepper or anything spicy and past the first trimester all I was eating was extreme spice.
– Steak helped a lot during the first pregnancy.
– Whole foods has some morning sickness teas that help.
They say it’s a good sign to be sick. Doesn’t help hearing it at the time but that’s a good sign.
Most of all keep up morale and know that this too shall pass. It is hard, a lot of it is mentally fighting it but a hell of a lot is very much physical and real so the most important thing is not to be too hard on yourself.