When we saw the two pink lines on the pregnancy test for our third child, I could already picture the moment when our boys would meet their sibling: the five of us piled together in the hospital bed, our family complete. What I did not envision was a high-risk pregnancy riddled with complications caused by severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). I did not envision the debilitating nausea and vomiting that would overtake my entire pregnancy. At times vomiting more than 20 times per day, taking steroids and several anti-nausea medications used for chemo patients that did not even touch the unrelenting nausea. Having to keep the blue vomit bags in my purse, car, and desk drawer at work.
I did not envision being hospitalized at 8 weeks, 11 weeks, and 13 weeks pregnant, and then 8 more hospital admissions after that, or my Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician saying, “my goal is not for you to feel better, it is just for you to live.” I did not envision having a home health nurse and a permanent IV for 7 months. Mixing cocktails of vitamins and and administering my own IV fluids on a daily basis to ensure my electrolytes stayed in balance.
I did not envision my medical team telling me I would die if I did not have a feeding tube surgically placed into my small intestine. Then, having to convince them that this was not anorexia when I questioned their plan of care or when the sickness did not go away when they thought it “should.\' 24 weeks pregnant
I did not envision having a feeding tube down my nose to my intestines, surrendering all dignity while my nurse sat with me as I retched for hours.
I did not envision the unbelievable weakness and my husband having to be my caretaker- carrying me up the stairs, helping me shower, get dressed, and brush my hair. Too weak to tuck in the boys or even read them a story, my husband took care of every single need for our family.
I did not envision the isolation and loneliness. The tears that would overcome me while in the shower or driving alone, wiping them away and assuring everyone I was starting to feel better, while truly wondering if I was going to live.