Tuesday, January 22, 2013

24: family love, HP, and getting owned by stairs.

week 24.

wouldn't that be something if my mom really was pregnant.

kickin' it MORMONSTYLE.

some maternity shops have a little cushion you can strap over your stomach
 to see what the clothes will look like as your belly grows. naturally, my mom strapped that bad boy on. 

we treated ourselves to a much needed and well deserved pedi, complete with hot stone massage. ahhhhh. 

    always a good time when we go out. 

vitals looking good and veins feeling a little better that day!

travis, bless him, is working a zillion shift trades at the fire department so he can have the whole month off after remy makes his entrance, so i stayed with my parents all last week. can't say how grateful i am for my family. every morning, my dad gives me a cheerful, "mornin' pumpkin! what would you like for breakfast?" and then hangs out and eats with me. we watch all those loud stock market analysis shows together (as that is his line of work) and he usually gives me a lesson in economics. my mom, who works from home as a teacher at an online school, checks on me throughout the day. one of them is always willing to take me to the infusion center to "be watered." for the past week, my mom has been making me the meal i've been able to eat for dinner, noodles with a very mild white cheese sauce. my brothers always say hello and goodnight to remington and rub my back or give up their spot on the couch for me. pretty wonderful family i've got. 

also, they are all on a harry potter kick. like they have all torrented the audio books and are listening to the different books in their rooms, the kitchen, or the car. my family has always been pretty potter-crazed, but lately it's gone to another level.

snuggling up with baby brother zane and listening to HP 4.
and probably acting it out as we listen.
at breakfast sunday morning, after obama was sworn in as president, my mom remarked, "have we ever seen his arms? i think he is probably hiding a dark mark under those sleeves." president obama is a death eater. -luann charles. (everyone is entitled to their opinion right? a wonderful thing about our country.) but pretty much everything is a harry potter reference around here. 

oh, and everyone in the family likes to shout, "DRANK!" every time they see me, as in, drink some more water you dried up old prune. 

had several good days, but totally overdid it on the good days, like walking too much and not resting enough or drinking enough. so then had some pretty bad days. 

sort of threw up. 
what does that mean you ask? 
like i was gagging over the toilet and puke was coming out, but it wasn't anywhere near as terrible as the straight 5-10 minute heaving of kidneys and liver as before.
plus it only happened once. 
and i didn't pee in my trou-sas. (in english accent. although pants would be the more accurate term, since that's what they call underwear, right?)
not sure if i'm counting it as breaking my streak or not. 

at the beginning of the week my vitals and such were looking better at hydration, (a first!) but then they went south again. and i'm still making it through both bags of fluid without having to pee, so they want me to keep coming. okay body, you're the boss. 

oh also, other cool story, travis got a part time job as a paramedic at TOSH, a hospital dealing with orthopedics... something. this is awesome because it pays enough that he'll be able to quit all the other part time jobs that take so much time and pay so little. he was picked over like 15 other guys! way to go trav!

speaking of travis, this week was the last week of the duck hunt, yes my husband is a hunter, something i did not grow up with. (although my dad is an extreme fly fisherman, which is in the same train of thought, right?) yeah sure, but there are now three dead ducks frozen in my freezer. of course they are frozen in the freezer. uh, gross?!?!?! travis is dead set on getting them stuffed and then putting them somewhere in the house. i'm going to have to call NOT GONNA HAPPEN on that one, babe. i told him they will made a lovely addition to the garage. 

referred to myself as a mom for the first time. if you care to know the exact phrasing it was, "mama needs her beer!" you know, called out in a loud voice at the grocery store. my mom and i were looking for the margarita drink mix, as i'm still on a sour lime craving kick. oops, pregnant women aren't supposed to drink beer. sorry remy, this probably isn't the last time your mother will embarrass you with inappropriate yellings. 

oh yeah, fell down the stairs. (and spilled said margarita all over my face and the floor.) because i'm just that good at being a pregnant person. i'm saying it was due to the drunkenness, not clumsiness. and seriously stairs, do you not see how hard i have been trying to survive this pregnancy? i have not made it this far to mess something up by falling down stairs. 

also, gained some weight. at a total weight gain of 15 pounds by 24 weeks! woo! amazing what happens when you stop throwing up and are able to eat a few things, eh? 

that's pretty much it for my super exciting life. 
still feeling really nauseous most of the time, but compared to before, i can't complain too much.
trying to stay positive and keep eating.
amazing what you can endure when you don't have a choice, eh?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

coming back from the dead only to find a soccer ball sized growth on your abdomen.

so i've been pregnant for six months now and this week i noticed something.
my belly is poking out. 

according to the pregnancy app on my phone, my uterus is now roughly the size of a soccer ball. 
(and then the app made a joke about how i'm already a soccer mom. ... uh, good one, app.)

but wait, when did that happen? 
obviously, i've sort of noticed my body changing, but through the haze of nauseous, vomitous, migraneous, lightheadedness, depressing sickness, it really didn't register, nor did i care at all. about anything besides wanting to just die. travis heard it multiple times, "why can't i just die?" and he would respond, if you die, what about remington? and i will admit, at that point i really didn't care; i just wanted something, anything, to put me out of my misery. 

and if you are thinking i'm a terrible person for thinking that, then you have never been that physically miserable. or i'm just really weak. but, that's a whole other post for another day. 

anyway, this past week, i've been having more good days. and let me clarify here that a good day means i'm able to eat a small group of bland foods, taking a shower isn't out of the question, i might be able to leave the house for an hour or two, (as long as i lay down the rest of the day) and the nausea level (that would have knocked me out before this pregnancy) will be manageable with three different prescription drugs meant  for cancer and diabetes patients. 

so more good days this last week meant i was able to spend more time thinking about other things besides surviving. one thing i took notice of was my appearance. hair has grown a bit, (and seems much healthier since starting fluids) toned arms not so toned anymore..., AND GOOD HOLY BATMAN, WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY ABS?!? 

by the way, this post isn't a plea for compliments and reassurance. i get plenty of that from my mom, ("no, no you haven't gained weight in your face, it's all in your belly!") and from travis, ("your boobs look incredible!") and i have instructed them to just continue the lies. i don't care how huge i get; tell me i look amazing. 

but all the sudden noticing that your old t-shirts don't quite cover your tummy, which is now webbed with dark blue veins, complete with not-so-deep-as-before belly button, is weird

so i did what we all tend to do when freaking out about a changing appearance: went shopping for new clothes. (i also used to deal with that by eating A LOT of ice cream, but sweets aggravate the nausea, so just the money spending bit was utilized.) huge relief to discover i'm still wearing the same sizes as before, which shouldn't be that surprising considering how little i've been eating, but i haven't been away from the gym for this long in three years. yeah all that muscle is gone. 

a new pair of jeans, several shirts, and a rather sexy dress did help me feel better about the bodily changes, but all this made me really examine how backwards my view of what makes my body valuable is. 

my body just survived months and months of terrible sickness, becoming severely dehydrated and entering the beginning stages of malnutrition, and still managed to grow a human person. yet instead of celebrating this fact, i looked at my body with criticism and shame. but really, after 24 years of a culture conditioning me to believe my body is only valuable if it's a certain size and fat percentage, what else was i supposed to think? 

i've also been having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of breastfeeding. i never knew why, but it's always seemed so wrong to me. i know all the facts; i know that breastfeeding is wonderful, that it releases oxytocin in the brain, which makes you feel good and helps bonding. that mom's breastmilk is perfectly customized for the baby's individual needs, with the antibodies that will fight sickness, etc. that breastfeeding burns calories and helps to shrink mom's uterus. i know all of this. still grossed me out to picture doing it. and i think i feel that way because i only see breasts as something sexual. it seemed so foreign to me that my breasts could be used to nourish and grow someone, instead of being expected to be large, perky, and satisfying to every-man-on-earth. or even, as i discovered, being used for my own sexual pleasure. 

so wait, my female body can grow and feed a human being? and yet the only way for our culture to value my female body is if it looks and feels a certain way? is this supposed to make any sense? 

it's hard to break 24 years of conditioning. it's hard for me to look at my body without feeling terrified of the new soccer-ball-sized growth. it's hard for me to look at my breasts in a completely different light. 

but just when i'm convinced i'll never love my body again and i'll never be able to shift my view of what's valuable, 

remington kicks me. 
and i know one person who appreciates my female body for what really matters.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

23 weeks and life improvements.

miracles are happening.

for example, i just ate two eggs, that i fried on a pan on the stove, yes, smelling them cook, yes feeling the heat of them cooking on my face, (no i didn't cook eggs on my face; i felt the heat on my face.) as i flipped them.

and then i ate them.

this is a big deal. 

also, i didn't throw up after tying up those last two posts, which is the first time i hadn't thrown up after/during using the computer since like, september? so i can resume my old blogging habits, which is nice because writing on this blog is kinda how i process my life.

also, this thursday will be the three week mark of my no vomit streak. three. weeks. this is something i gave up on ever happening to my life.

also, this last week i think i started to look pregnant. like maybe strangers would know i am pregnant rather than just assume i eat burritos all day long and have let myself go.

yes, i know this picture is missing the super cute border and words, "23 weeks"
and i'm sure it bothers you as much as it bothers me. i'm currently staying with
my parents, whose computer doesn't have the photo editing capabilities that mine has.
so we're just going to have to deal.

other super cool things about week 23

  • started feeling remy kicking and punching on a daily basis. sometimes hourly. the light fluttering sensations i felt at 15 weeks are long gone, now replaced with some serious strength. what does it feel like to have another human being punching your insides from the inside, you might wonder? it kind of just feels like crazy strong muscle spasms. but i like to imagine the announcer from the video game, super smash bros announcing, "remington punch! remington kick!" and if you never played that game, never mind that reference. also, travis felt him for the first time! pretty cool stuff. 

  • no puke-age. still gagging and nausea a good portion of the day, but compared to before, i can handle this. with pleasure really. i did have a nightmare about vomiting, and woke up in a panic before realizing, it's okay, just a dream. great, one more thing in my life to feel traumatized over. 

  • started noticing more "normal" pregnancy symptoms, like back pain and sharp stabbing pains on the top and bottom of my abdomen. (which i guess are from ligaments stretching?) i am ecstatic about these new problems to deal with. i will gladly take pain over vomit, every time. 

  • only cried over having to eat dinner once. it was a nasty day, headache, really nauseous, close call on the puke, and having a tough time choking anything down. travis and my mom suggested anything they could think of and nothing worked. travis brought me something to drink and some naan, (yummy yummy flatbread) and i stared at it and cried because eating seemed so impossible. this used to be a daily routine, staring at food someone prepared for me and just sobbing, knowing i had to somehow get that food in my stomach or i'd be sicker, but being so repulsed by the smell and taste. baked potatoes were about the only thing i could eat for dinner from october to december, and if i never have to see one again, that would be alright. 

  • had my first pregnancy craving! for a margarita, obviously loaded up with ...whatever alcohol you put with margaritas... but no, just the most sour, limely margarita possible. oh, it was refreshment  from heaven. the only other thing i'm really into is this sugar free hot chocolate made by swiss miss. don't worry, it's sweetened with splenda, which i have researched and feel comfortable feeding to my fetus. i find it interesting that the only things i'm craving are liquids, like my body is trying to help out with the dehydration situation. 

  • speaking of dehydration, still going for fluids every few days. the second time during week 23, my resting pulse was at 121. my resting pulse used to hang out around 40. you know, back when i was healthy and exercising. was that person even me? so yes, i'm still dehydrated and playing catch up. my blood pressure has also been lower than normal for a prego, another sign of dehydration. as one older nurse said while examining my veins for a stick, "oh little girl, you are dry!" so i guess i'll keep going until my vitals are more normal and the nurses aren't lamenting over my veins. if it keeps me from being a sicky, i'll take it.

  • i ate a doughnut. (!!!) and then that night i was like, hmmm i feel like i'm eating a ton these days. maybe i should figure out how many calories i sucked down today with that doughnut. and it was still under 1500, even with the 300 doughnut calories. but that is a huge improvement from before. i haven't weighed myself, but i know i've put on some poundage. 

  • my boobs. are huge. that C cup, now a trip D. finally went in for a fitting and got some new bras. comfort level improved. still probably never going to feel well enough to break the celibacy streak, but at least the boobs are comfy. 

  • oh, had my first "rude" belly comment. from a family member who shall remain unnamed, who is about 40 pounds overweight and has his own swollen belly. we were waiting on him to come home from work so we could eat dinner. when he came home, i was starving and nauseous and panicking about needing to eat soon and what i would even be able to eat, and i asked him if he was ready to go to dinner. he looked down at my stomach and said, "looks like you've already eaten dinner." and yes, i cried over this. (i blame the nauseated panic for part of the sensitivity.) seriously, the only thing you should ever say to a pregnant woman about her appearance, is how wonderful she looks. seriously. 

  • i have stopped counting the hours until i can go back to bed. (even though bed wasn't a safe place to be either because i wasn't sleeping much due to the nausea.) from mid september until mid december, i spent most of the time laying in the fetal position, telling myself, okay, it's ten am. just make it until noon. and then it would be noon and i'd think, okay, it's noon, just make it until two. yesterday, i looked at the clock and it was already three in the afternoon! i wasn't panicked about finding something to eat and i hadn't thrown up! i spent the day running errands with my dad and was actually, gasp, enjoying the day! pretty cool.

anyway, i can't describe how thankful i am for all the life improvements. there's a light at the end! remington is real and he's going to be here in three and a half months! 

happy mid january survival. stay warm.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

christmas and such.

as always, i am completely overwhelmed with your responses from my last post. seriously, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the love and encouragement. 

i haven't touched my beautiful camera in months, for the same reasons i haven't played music, gone to the gym, or been able to do any of the activities that break up the monotony of every day life, too sick and too tired. so all i've got are some low quality pictures from my phone. time to bullet out some catching up from our holidays. 

as the holiday season approached, i felt extremely depressed. i had been certain i'd be over "the hump" (an imaginary term i no longer believe in.) by december and that i'd be able to join in the festivities full throttle. not the case. honestly, i felt pretty bitter about everyone else's christmas break from work and school, wishing i could have a christmas break from being a sick person. i was also really bummed because we weren't going to be celebrating christmas in our new house, something i'd been excited about since moving in. travis was on shift the three days before christmas, and i would be staying at my parents', and don't get me wrong, i was so thankful and happy to be staying with them, but i had just planned so many things for christmas in our house. decorating, baking all sorts of cookies, making our traditional manicotti dinner, opening presents christmas morning in the house of our dreams, just being really idealistic as always. 

instead, the day before travis had to be at the station, we were packing my things so he could drop me off at my parents' while he did our christmas shopping, another thing i felt really bitter about, that i wasn't well enough to be in all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, something i always look forward too. feeling sorry for myself a little maybe? a lot maybe? i'm only human. we were downstairs in the kitchen and i was grabbing a plate so i could eat a snack. my shaking hands dropped the plate, which smashed to the floor, chipping the wood laminate, and sent shards of china flying everywhere. travis immediately grabbed the broom and started sweeping the slivers, and i completely lost it.
"collette, it's okay! we can fix the floor!" travis soothed. 
i was having a meltdown. 
"i b-broke a nice plate and now the f-floor is ruined and i don't want to eat anything and we c-can't even stay in our own house for christmas!" 
looking back now, it's kind of hilarious in a watching-a-toddler-throw-a-fit kind of way, but at the time, i cried for over twenty minutes, while travis alternated between hugging me and finding more shards of plate. what on earth would i do without him? 

so, as real life often goes, the idealizations i had for christmas weren't meant to be. but it ended up being great in different ways. even though travis was on shift christmas eve, i really enjoyed the charles family party. we always have a music program after dinner and i was unable to sing the song i normally sing, so my mom did it and it was one of those wonderful, rare moments where i remember that there is a purpose to this pregnancy, that someday it will end, and we will meet our sweet son.
the song is called "mary pulled the shawl" and if you are into the Christ part of christmas, you should look it up. 

mary pulled the shawl about her shoulders
and pondered in the darkness what she'd heard.
that she would be the mother 
of a little baby boy
she trembled as new feelings in her stirred.
she would bathe and clothe the little infant. 
sing lullabies and hold him to her breast. 
be there when that first smile,
escaped the holy child. 
and kiss him and she laid him down to rest. 

mary pulled the shawl about her shoulders
and smiled with pride as jesus swept the floor
remembering how tall he'd looked
and wise beyond his years
as he taught the elders by the temple door.
how thankful, mary thought, i am for jesus.
for this son whose spirit grows so sweet and pure.
for the love that is engendered, as mother teaches son.
and feels her love returned so sweet and pure.

mary pulled the shawl about her shoulders
for it was wet from standing in the rain. 
trying to find the reason
for the taking of her son.
and praying for relief from all the pain.
if she could only know
how countless mothers
had prayed for what her son alone could do.
for mary's loss on calvary
would justify all men. 
that every mother's child, 
might be blessed to live again.
and love again, the mother that he knew. 

my mom had always sung this, every christmas eve, and christmas eve my senior year of high school was when i first started to really believe in Jesus Christ, on my own and this song played a big part in it. then, my mom started accompanying me on piano so i could sing it. part of what you do as a singer, is to put yourself in the song so when you sing it, it's believable. obviously this year, i understood mary in a much more personal way. not the whole, you will be bearing and raising the Christchild way, but the being pregnant and wondering what is coming next, way. actually, during many of my long sleepless nights of nausea, i would sing this song to myself over and over and cry, trying to remember the reason i felt to sick, that it would all be worth it in the end. watching my mom sing this song was a rare reminder of what is coming, and also that i believe in a God who loves me, knows my struggles personally, and believes i can get through them.

okay anyway. 

christmas eve was wonderful. and this is getting out of order. christmas eve day i was able to go to the infusion center and get fluids. the infusion center at IMC is located in the cancer building, and it's pretty humbling to meet so many others who have it WAY harder than me. people are strong! 

 it's either cry or make a cheesy thumbs up sign, right?

 my sweet mom, sitting with me for hours, keeping us laughing.

oh and i was actually able to do one thing i love about the holidays, wrap gifts! 
even if everyone else had to go out and purchase them for me. 
i was way too proud of them and way too tired after wrapping them.

 christmas morning, travis got off work and we surprised each other with ipads! 
great minds think alike, right?
also, note the duck onesie. the first thing we bought 
after finding out i was pregnant was a onesie with little 
ducks on it. travis searched high and low to find me something to match. 

christmas day was pretty perfect! i felt nauseous throughout the day, but nothing crazy and no vomiting. i was able to eat my family's traditional christmas dinner, homemade pasta with shrimp and alfredo sauce. (it's amazing how much of a difference it makes when you can eat the same dinner as everyone else at the table.)
we enjoyed spending time with both of our families and relaxing together.

another one from the infusion center. 
every time i go in, the nurses are shocked at how dehydrated i am. 
they had an extra hard time finding a vein that day,
so one nurse made some bows to put over all the spots they tried and missed.

 my sweet guy keeping me company

 new year's eve! 
we had dinner and games with my family and then headed to 
trav's family for movies and snacks. 

some wild times this year. 
glad i spent them all with this dude. 
the holidays next year will be crazy too! we'll have a 7 month old little man scooting around. 

hope your holidays were warm and full of fattening food and family. i didn't get my idealistic christmas and it was probably better that way. learning some pretty good life lessons lately. so thankful for supportive family and friends. 

love you!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

20 - 22: the best and worst migraine ever, track marked arms, and having a team to fight for you.

i'm having a hard time writing this post.
i don't know how to say all the things that have happened and how i feel about them. 
i don't know if i'm ready to process everything that has been suffocated by the sick and tired and helplessness. 

reading back through my pregnancy posts, i realize how much i've tried to put a positive spin on things. those posts weren't exactly the most honest telling of how things have been. sometimes when you're going through something hard, admitting how hard it is and how terrified you are is impossible, because then you have to admit everything to yourself. 

ramble ramble. 

things are still really hard, but it's easier to deal with because i'm getting help and i don't feel so alone anymore. and believe it or not, but some incredible changes have come about because of this whole deal. you know, besides the whole, creating a human life, blah blah blah, thing. 

so i'll try to recount everything in an honest way. even though i feel like i'm just whining if i admit how awful the past five months have been. 

the last day i posted was the day before my 20 week mark, a sunday afternoon. that night i had a headache, which was pretty normal. we had gone to my parents' for dinner, also normal, because i haven't been able to cook, or handle the smell of cooking in my house. (because then my bedroom smells like whatever travis cooked and i cannot go to sleep because it makes me so sick.) so we left my parents and got home in time for me to choke down a bowl of cereal, quickly brush my teeth, trying not to give into the gag reflex of the toothbrush, and head to bed. my head was pounding, but i hoped it would go away with the night's sleep. 

it did not. pain jarred me awake sometime after falling asleep. i checked the clock, 3 am. the pain in my head, eyes, neck, and back alarmed me. intense hunger pains had been waking me for months, but it was too early for my nightly bowl of cereal. i tried laying still for a few minutes, but the pain was too much. i got up to pee, and then headed downstairs, thinking maybe eating would help. 

i was too nauseous to eat. finally, i woke up travis who was asleep on the couch, and told him my head hurt more than usual and i was worried i was having a reaction to the zofran. i was laying on the ground in the fetal position crying, while he tried to figure out what would help. he suggested the ER. 
"how much is it going to cost?" i whimpered. 
he reassured me it would be okay, but i wanted to try other things before going in. he heated up a rice bag to put on my neck to try to relieve tension. no help. he called the ER and talked to the nurse, who informed him headaches are normal for pregnant women and zofran causes migraines. thanks for nothing.

 from the beginning of my pregnancy, i was determined not to take any medications for headaches. i have gotten migraines from the time i started puberty, so it was nothing new. plus when i asked a nurse at one of our doctor's appointments, she told me over the counter drugs for headaches are a no-no during pregnancy. so i vowed to grit my teeth and take the pain, even though it seemed to fuel the nausea and vomiting. 

i told travis i would just try eating a bowl of cereal and going back to bed and if that didn't work, we could go to the ER. he gave me a priesthood blessing (feel free to email me if you want to know more about that.) and then i choked down three bites of cereal and travis helped me back up the stairs and tucked me in. he laid down behind me and tickled my back. the pain was still getting worse. by 5 am i called my mom, thinking she was probably awake by then. she was, and suggested calling Labor and Delivery and talking to an OB about it. we did that, and were told i could take Lortab. as luck would have it, i had one left from a prescription. i broke my vow of no headache meds and took that Lortab. 20 minutes later, my head was feeling a little better and travis and i were actually making jokes. he started dozing off and suddenly i had the urge to vomit. i stumbled out of bed, lost the feeling in my hands and feet, and completely blacked out on the bathroom floor. (again, with the bathroom floor, right?) my vision started coming back and i crawled to the toilet and violently lost whatever precious little was in my stomach. travis was immediately by my side, waiting as i heaved and heaved and heaved over the toilet. after what seemed like an hour of that, i crumpled on the floor. "come on, collette, you need to drink something." travis was saying. but my body wouldn't seem to work. the room spun and my legs wouldn't support my weight. 

the rest of this memory is pretty hazy. i remember travis trying to get me to stand up and that i couldn't stand. i remember him carrying me into the bedroom and his voice sounding frustrated and nervous, urging me to stand up, answer him, look at him. i remember him saying, "okay, we are going to the ER." then i was being scooped up and cradled in his arms and carried down the stairs. i remember saying, "i can't see anything. my contacts." and him going back to grab them. then being carried down the stairs and placed in the car. the cold air from the garage. how he had to buckle my seat belt and i was curled up sideways. then, driving. travis kept talking to me, asking me if i knew what was going on and to tell him how i was doing. he later told me i wasn't making any sense, just mumbling. i can't imagine how terrified he must have felt on that drive, can't imagine the roles being reversed and being the one driving at breakneck speeds, not knowing if the other was okay. he later told me he thought i was having a seizure, because my body was twitching uncontrollably. 

then, the car stopped and i was being placed in a wheelchair and pushed through doors. cold air, bumps from going over doorways. a nurse asking me so many questions and being unable to answer. being wheeled forward and into a room. another face hovering over me, saying i had to speak up and answer questions like, how many weeks pregnant are you? what is your name? do you know where you are? and travis answering for me. being placed in a bed, having a needle jabbed in my arm and the pain seeming to wake me up. 

my parents came in at some point. a nurse told me they would be testing my blood and giving me fluids. they needed a urine sample. i was starting to come around at this point, but i still couldn't walk, so they wheeled me to the bathroom and travis held me up on the toilet while i filled a plastic cup with my pee and handed it to him. i remember making a joke about how we aren't supposed to have to help each other use the bathroom until we were 90 and him laughing about how my pee got all over his hands. ah, true love, right? 

we stayed at the ER for hours waiting on test results. a different doctor came in and did an ultrasound so we could check on the remster meister, and he was doing great, totally unaware of the crazy morning his parents were having. finally, another doctor came in and talked to us. we were sent home with info about dehydration and hyperemesis gravidarum. they said i hadn't had an official allergic reaction to the lortab, and they weren't sure what was going on, but that my potassium was getting out of whack and that i was dehydrated. 

before they would let me leave, i had to prove that i could hold myself up and walk without assistance. this picture was taken after i proudly hobbled around the halls. 

a word on being diagnosed with a scary sounding problem  

after being told i had hyperemesis gravidarum, i was skeptical. travis's oldest sister suffered with this during both her pregnancies, and the horror stories sounded way more intense that what i have been dealing with. she had to have a PICC line for nutrition and hydration, she threw up 20 times an hour, etc. if i was so sick, why hadn't any of the nurses suggested this when i called in every week, asking if there was anything else i could do for my nausea and vomiting? the lady who cuts my mom's hair had also had hyperemesis, and after hearing my mom describe my pregnancy to her, she said i should be getting fluids and that it sounded a lot like what she went through. my mom had told me this a month before, but i still didn't think i was sick enough. 

after being told i did have it, my mom looked it up on the trusty internet. reading through the symptoms, i was shocked at how many i had. there are different levels of severity, mild, moderate, and severe, and i identified with most of the moderate symptoms: sickness that does not subside after first trimester, extreme food aversions, difficulty keeping food or fluids down, headaches, abdominal cramping, dizziness and fainting, sensitivity to loud sounds and bright lights, extreme hunger pains, rapid heart pounding, being unable to complete daily tasks such as showering, cleaning the house, etc. extreme fatigue, vomit consistently yellow with bile, and so on. 

this website was amazingly helpful: {helpher.org} i really related to this paragraph:

" Others think I’m not very sick, but I am. What should I do?
First of all, know that only HG survivors truly understand how you feel. You may have some success in explaining HG to others by suggesting that it is like having food poisoning for weeks (or months). Most people know how miserable and debilitating that can be in just a few days or a week.
Also, keep in mind that if you become isolated due to HG, you may become depressed and/or anxious, especially if HG lasts beyond mid-pregnancy or is very severe. Some HG medications worsen mood as well. This is expected when you are sick, and it is not your fault." 

so then several days later, i was vomiting bile and unable to eat. i slowly walked down the stairs, hugging the railing because of how shaky and weak my legs felt. travis told me i needed to eat and drink, and he warmed up some angel hair pasta and slathered some butter on top, the only thing besides cereal i'd been able to eat in weeks. i was standing at the counter when i started getting tunnel vision and becoming dizzy. i fell on the floor and travis was instantly next to me. "come on, babe, you have to eat something or you are going to be sicker." he insisted. i looked at the plate of noodles and felt so helpless, knowing he was right, but being repulsed by the sight of food. when i tried to hold the fork, my hand shook too much to lift it to my mouth. so we sat there on the floor together, travis spoon feeding me while i cried hysterically. 
then i laid on the couch while we called the doctor's office together and described to the nurse the symptoms i thought were due to a bladder infection, burning and cramping when i peed. the nurse, who happened to be the mother of one of my old boyfriends and a neighbor in our old neighborhood, asked me if i was still throwing up. yes. was my mouth dry and lips chapped? yes. was my urine a darker yellow? yes. she said the burning could be a symptom of dehydration and suggested i go to Labor and Delivery immediately to get fluids. this was when i started to feel like i wasn't so alone. finally, a nurse had listened and taken me seriously. 
travis's sister emily who had HG, along with my mom, met up with us at Labor and Delivery. The three of them convinced a nurse to admit me, even though i wasn't 23 weeks. (IMC L&D considers 23 weeks to be a far enough along to be "viable.") a nurse started me on fluids and took my history, and while my IV was going, an OB came in to talk to us. at first, i was getting the same song and dance i've been getting from the nurses at my doctor's office. "well, some women are just sick the whole time, it's pretty normal." the doctor wasn't listening to anything i said and as usual, i felt too tired and sick to fight an "authority." 
this time, i wasn't alone. the minute that doctor started interrupting me, emily, my mom, and travis, sat up a little straighter and told that doctor what was what. emily told him about her struggle with HG and made sure he understood that i needed help. the three of them sitting there, being on my team, i can't explain what that meant. even though i was still sick, still scared, at least i wasn't alone.  
since then, everything is better. the sweet nurse who recommended i get fluids, got me all set up at the infusion center at IMC to get fluids as often as i need to. i go every two to three days. my arms are covered in bruises, but i am feeling so much better. i'm now taking pepcid and zofran with breakfast and dinner, and phengren before bed. the headaches are less and it's been nine days since i've thrown up. it's getting easier to eat and i already feel strength returning to my legs. i can't describe how thankful i am to that nurse, to emily, and to travis and my parents for taking care of me. 
a word on feeling too helpless and tired to fight for yourself
unless you have gone through this, you don't understand. i have heard everything from, "if you just take a shower and get ready, you'll feel better." to "you just need something to distract you." to "drink some sprite!" to "all it takes is good nutrition. you can overcome all symptoms of nausea if you eat right." it's impossible to explain to someone why you are terrified to drive, why it's so hard to take a shower, why you are afraid to be alone, how frightening it is to wake up in the morning feeling horrible, knowing you have to eat something or it will get worse, eating something and then throwing it up, running out of things you can choke down because you have thrown them up too many times, not being able to cook something for yourself because the smell and heat of the stove make you throw up, and how it feels to be trapped in a body that refuses to work properly. plus the worry of your baby. if i'm not eating, what does that mean for remington? i'm a bad mother because i can't keep down prenatals. eating in a restaurant doesn't work because of all the smells, the energy it takes to be in public, what if the food you chose comes and you can't eat it. going over to someone else's house and you can't handle the smell of what they cooked for dinner or the smell of their dog sitting in the corner and trying to be polite and cheerful when all you want to do is curl up and die. 
all this takes a toll and it becomes too hard to fight for yourself. you keep calling the nurse and she keeps telling you nausea during pregnancy is normal. saying, well i haven't gained any weight in over a month and i can't eat anything and being told, just keep trying. you feel all alone and trapped and starving but unable to care for yourself. family and friends don't know what to say or do. 
it's just hard. 

after going to church with my parents (who i stay with when travis goes to the fire department) and being told over and over, you look so pale! you don't look well! 

what a week of vomit free living looks like. travis and i went to the mall and ate at a restaurant that night! the food tasted good! 
the moral of the story: doctors don't know anything, they just guess a lot. life is really hard sometimes. it's easy to be overlooked if you don't put up a fuss. let people help you when you can't help yourself. 
i'm thankful for that terrible migraine that led to us going to the ER. i'm thankful to have insurance and access to medical care. i'm thankful for nine days without throwing up. i'm thankful for that breakfast burrito complete with ham that i was able to eat the other day. i cried the entire time i ate it. 
i'm thankful for this pregnancy proving something really important to me: i am not alone. 


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