I want to give you an example of what a typical day is like right now.
(Note added after I wrote this: this is pretty dry reading, almost like a textbook. I guess that's what you get when you write "the history of my day" when it's late and you're super tired and hungry. Note to self: never write textbooks at night. Or maybe only write textbooks at night. Depending on what you're going for. Anyway, sorry about the way it's written. Enjoy!)
I woke up this morning about 7 o'clock, feeling sick. I didn't hear Ellie in her room yet, and I'm reluctant to get out of bed in the morning before my body "tells" me it's okay (because when I get out of bed before I'm given the all-clear signal, like when Ellie wakes up early, I feel like I've been sucker-punched in the gut and am especially nauseous). So, I went back to sleep for a little while, then got up about 7:50. My stomach felt queasy, but not too bad for the moment.
I checked in Ellie's room, and she wasn't there, so I headed out the front door because I assumed she was with her Grandpa James (he's been getting her in the morning when he can). I was right, and they were outside washing Jason's mom's car. James told me that Jason had called and said he had to stay at work for an extra while, and would be home soon (Jason usually gets home about 7 am). I decided to let Ellie keep playing in the front yard while we waited for Jason. Standing up to watch her got hard after a couple minutes (my stomach started to turn), so I kept following her around the yard and sitting down. My stomach kept feeling more and more churny. I was glad when Jason pulled up about 10 minutes later.
We went inside, and I sat down on the couch for a little while, which helped. I usually can't stomach anything for breakfast, but a breakfast milkshake sounded good to me, so I got up some energy and made a small milk/banana/chocolate ice cream milkshake, and drank that slowly. I also remembered to take my morning Zofran. Jason went to sleep, and then I spent the rest of the day with Ellie.
To summarize several of the next hours: when I was sitting down on the couch today, or lying down on the floor, I was okay. I felt okay. As soon as I stood up, or started any kind of motion whatsoever, my stomach began to churn. And my gag reflex - holy cow. My gag reflex was on overdrive today. Things that set it off: walking into Ellie's room, walking into the living room, walking into the kitchen, walking into the bathroom, walking into my bedroom (all of the rooms have different smells, you see), opening the fridge, opening any of the kitchen cupboards (all of the cupboards have smells, too), changing Ellie's diaper, being by the kitchen sink, thinking about foods, thinking about eating, thinking about smells. I nearly threw up so many times today. I was *this* close probably five or ten times, but I didn't. Everything was making me gag. So, watching Ellie today consisted of moving different places to sit or lie down, and almost but not quite throwing up.
When Ellie took her nap, I was experiencing pretty bad hunger pains, but nearly all food sounded bad and looking around the kitchen (opening the cupboards, opening the fridge) nearly made me throw up. Finally I managed to eat two popsicles. A couple hours later I managed to eat a poptart and drink some milk.
By the time Jason woke up (about 4:30 in the afternoon), I was feeling really bad hunger pains. After he'd been awake a while and we were thinking about dinner, he asked my if any food at all sounded good. I thought about it and decided that stir-fry meat (just the meat) or nicely cooked fish sounded okay. We ordered some Chili's to-go and picked it up at 6. We brought it home and ate it. So, for dinner I had salmon, mashed potatoes, some cinnamon apples, and chocolate milk - more than I'd eaten the rest of the day put together. I had to stand up a couple times while we were eating - to help Ellie in and out of her high-chair - and I felt very close to throwing up each time I was standing up, but I held it in.
Ellie went to bed about 7:30. About 8 o'clock, Jason and I were talking, and I started crying because I'm tired of being sick. He offered me a hug to comfort me. Ironically, the pressure from the hug plus my crying set off my gag reflex again, and I had to run to the bathroom (and barely made it) to throw up. It was bad. It was a big, long throw up. I lost my whole dinner.
I felt better afterwards, and drank some water. Jason comforted me again, and left for work at 9:30. I took my nighttime Zofran before I came to bed (I took my afternoon Zofran in there somewhere, too).
My total food intake (and retention) for the day was:
- An 8 oz milkshake of milk/banana/ice cream
- Two popsicles
- A poptart
- A glass of milk
- Half a cup of water
Here's the point of my story:
I was just lying on my bed, trying to go to sleep but it's hard because I'm starving. And I was thinking about it, and thought, "You know, if I told any of my friends right now, 'I'm starving,' they would nod sympathetically and think, yeah, you're hungry, I hate when I'm hungry. But that's not what I mean. I mean, my body really is starving. I am not taking in (or retaining) as many calories as my body is using right now. I spend every day feeling severe hunger pains almost all the time, unable to eat due to nausea or food aversions and unable to retain a lot of the food that I do eat."
That's Hyperemesis Gravidarum in a nutshell. It's the inability to consume or retain the amount of nutrients that you and your baby need during pregnancy. Nausea, vomiting, and starvation.