Recovering from physical illness like hyperemesis gravidarum is hard

Life After HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum)

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If you haven’t read my last post about how hyperemesis gravidarum led to depression, be sure to do that now as today is a follow up on that one.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the physical symptoms of HG tends to completely disappear as soon as the baby is born into the world. The mental ones, not so much. In fact, some women suffer PTSD after bouts with HG.

While I wouldn’t say I am that bad, I have questioned it at times. There are certain places we drive past that I can’t help but shudder remembering specific bouts of illness. Some foods I just can’t eat, smell, or even look at because of the memories it brings back. And Febreeze? Don’t even get me started on Febreeze! If anything is a trigger of flashbacks, that is it!

The worst part of recovering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum for me, however, was depression and guilt.

Missed Time

I don’t know if my mind has just blocked out so much of my pregnancies because of how painful they were, or if I was honestly so medicated that I didn’t absorb what was going on around me, but I don’t remember most of life while pregnant.

I remember a lot of what people tell me, and there are definitely a few things here and there that I recall, but hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t bring up a, “Do you remember when…” And I stare at them blankly and ask, “Are you sure I was there?”

The worst part of this for me is the memories I missed of my oldest daughter. Because she was so young when I got pregnant with Kirsten, I don’t remember things like her learning to crawl, walk, or even talk. I don’t have any idea what her first words were. As she has gotten older, and watched Abigail accomplish this feats, she has often asked me and sadly, I don’t remember.

Unkind Words

Everyone knows pregnant women are hormonal and emotional. There are loads of jokes about it. But I truly feel that I take the cake! Being so sick you can’t move is exhausting and makes a person truly grouchy. No one bore the brunt of this more than my loving husband and my mother.

I often felt angry because of being unable to do what needed done. I wanted things done my way, but I couldn’t do them and I became very frustrated. As a result, I often lashed out at the people I loved and cared about the most. Living with the guilt of some of those things is really, really hard.

My Kids’ Maturity Levels

I mentioned before how much I had to rely on Charity. What I didn’t mention is how painful that was and still is for me. Even after Abbie was born, the younger kids sometimes relied on Charity more than me because for quite some time, she was more reliable. That’s a sad statement of fact.

People often compliment me on how kind, courteous, and grown-up my kids are. They say it like it’s a good thing but it makes me want to cry because I know the truth. I know that I robbed them of their young years.

One of my most bittersweet memories was when I was pregnant with Makayla and was completely exhausted by bedtime. Kirsten had had a hard time that day, and asked me to please go and lay with her and sing our good night song. I told her I was just too sick and I couldn’t get up off the couch.

She started crying, and I watched Charity put her arm around her little sister and say, “It’s okay. Mommy doesn’t feel good. Come on, I’ll sing to you.” And they walked off together until I could hear Charity’s little voice singing our song.

Physical Health

Mental health wasn’t all that was damaged by Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Being almost bed-ridden for 9 months 4 times in 6 years is not good for the body. Even after the kids were born, I was in survival mode for a very long time, just trying to do what had to be done. I am finally at the point of rebuilding all of the muscle and endurance that was lost during those pregnancies. But it isn’t easy and I have a long way to go.

Sometimes I want to cry as I hear my kids ask me to pick them up and give them airplane rides to their beds or wrestle as long as their daddy does. But my body isn’t strong enough for that. I can’t run as far or as fast as most 28 year old ones can do. But I am getting there, a little bit at a time.

More Children

I have been asked and even criticized as to why I have had any more children after even just one HG pregnancy. I don’t have a specific answer other than to say, each of them have brought me so much joy! Yes, bringing them into the world was difficult, and even traumatizing. But I can’t imagine life without one of them.

After Abigail was born, we did talk for a little while about taking permanent measures to prevent more babies from entering the family. At that time, we truly felt that we were finished. But instead we decided to just take a break and let me rebuild my physical and mental health so that we’re in a better place to make that kind of life-altering decision.

So will we have more kids? I don’t know. Right now, I’m happy with what we have. But I’ve learned one should NEVER SAY NEVER.

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