So this story is a hard one to write and an experience I wish on no woman. I was told at 16 I would not have children at all and that devastated me. I had always wanted a big family and that seemed to shoot all my plans down. I did however get pregnant and go onto have a baby girl, she was my miracle. I soon thought that because I had her I should not have issues having another baby, I was sorely mistaken.
After having my first daughter I had 14 miscarriages that my doctor and I were aware of. Many of them requiring a D&C. It was a horrible experience and it crushed me. I lost two babies at 6.5 months and that was just about the death of me. As if loosing that many babies wasn’t hard enough emotionally and physically, what I was about to experience was even more traumatic.
I got pregnant again in late 2004 and was bound and determined to find the cause of my miscarriages and to save the baby I was pregnant with. I did a lot of research and found a maternal fetal specialist in Fort Worth, TX to take over my care and thank God I found him. He quickly ran some genetic tests and found I had a genetic blood clotting disorder that was causing my miscarriages. Basically I was forming a blood clot and passing it to the baby. He treated me with Heparin injections for the first six months of pregnancy then switched me to blood thinners. During the pregnancy I developed fibroid tumors but everything worked out in the end and I had a perfectly healthy baby girl. After her birth I thought that I was done having children with all the issues I had throughout, but God blessed me again shortly after when I got pregnant again in 2006.
I found out I was pregnant by accident. I was feeling horrible at work for over a week and getting weaker by the day. Finally one day at work I passed out and off to the hospital I went. There is where I found out I was pregnant again but I was not well at all. I had lost 12 lbs in less than two weeks. I was constantly throwing up, I couldn’t eat or drink anything without getting sick numerous times a day. Blood tests and ultrasound revealed I was only 3 weeks along. My doctor informed me I was gravely ill and that I had HG, Hyperemesis Gravidarum. He told me in most cases it would be over in a few weeks and I would go on like normal but in the meantime I needed to be put on TPN (total prenatal nutrition) and a anti-nausea pump to help me along. So a PICC line went into my heart to feed me 24/7 and a small pump put into my leg to deliver me non-stop anti-nausea medication. I was sent home after a week and I was to be set up with a nurse at home.
I was beyond miserable, words can not describe the torture that I endured during this time. I could not put even water in my mouth without getting sick. It was constant relentless agony. I spent my days on the floor by the toilet, in the bed or on the couch even though I had two other children to look after. There seemed to be no end in sight. My days filled with dark thoughts and endless crying for relief. When the “expected” time frame had passed and I was still very ill my treatment had to continue, 24/7 delivery of TPN and Zofran. I again was told even though I had passed the mark my symptoms should go away soon but they didn’t. They stayed with me to the end.
During the following months I was plagued with kidney infections and getting sick with just regular colds that would not go away. It was hard to be optimistic and to be happy about this pregnancy. I felt so disconnected from reality and from everyone around me. I found out I was having a boy and what should have been the happiest time just wasn’t. I had always wanted a boy and so did my husband. I thought the news would lift my spirits and help me fight through this but I was so depressed it just didn’t matter. I would have excruciating constipation and migraines that would leave me exhausted and weak for days on end. I had numerous trips to the hospital for various things but the there was one that was almost my demise.
During Christmas time I had begun to get weaker even with the treatment and kidney infection was not letting up and I was sick with an upper respiratory infection. One night my nurse could not ignore that I was becoming more incapacitated. She called the doctor when my fever had risen to 104. They called for an ambulance and I was rushed to the hospital. After arriving my temp was taken again and it had reached an alarming 107. The quickly buried me in ice. I was delusional and hallucinating. Things were coming to me in waves. I know now I had a severe kidney infection and my kidneys were shutting down. Talk of dialysis was becoming a reality. I also had full-blown pneumonia. To say the least I was in bad shape and beaten down. I feared for my baby and myself, I did not think either of us were going to make it through. Three days of being packed in ice and my fever started to waver but the damage was done and I was not getting better. They had tried all the antibiotics that they could while I was pregnant to no avail. My fever loomed around 103 and stayed. My outlook was grim and the doctor was running out of options and time.
It was the night before Christmas Eve and the diagnosis was not good. He told me he did not expect me to make it through the night as my entire body was shutting down that even if they terminated the pregnancy I would most likely not survive either, but I told him that was not an option I had come to far and if I was going to die I wanted to do it at home around my family not in that hospital. He put up a huge fight and kept saying no, but I was not having it. I signed an AMA and they released me. As I was getting ready to be wheeled out he came back and said he could not let me go with nothing, not to just go home without one last-ditch effort. So, he asked if I would be willing to take an antibiotic that could possibly have devastating results but may save “my life” not the baby, I was confused and upset. He had to explain to me that this was it, he did not expect the baby to make it but he wanted to try and save me. After a long-winded debate I agreed to take deadly doses of vancomycin to try and save my life.
At home everyone gathered and my nurse prepared my treatment, it was going to be a long night indeed. I had 8 of the these balls to be infused with, which were to be given every two hours back to back. The thoughts running through my head were paralyzing. I now know what it is like to be on my death-bed and the feelings that overwhelm you and consume you. It was a very dark night and I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I laid on the couch and took each of my treatments, I could feel my body being overrun with poison. That is what it felt like, pure poison that was going to kill my baby boy and me. I remember I did not want to sleep I was so afraid I was not going to wake up and that it would all be over. I have never prayed as hard as I did that night, I begged for mercy. I was not ready to go.
I could see the tears of everyone, I could feel my own, it was coming. I remember the rush of warmth that washed over me and the need to close my heavy eyes and I did. The fear washed away from me and I thought this is it, it’s over. I was dying inside, I did not want to go but accepted my defeat and fell asleep.
Much to my shock I woke up hours later and all the treatment was done. I was shouting in my head ” I made it! I am alive! The baby is alive!”. I prayed so hard in those first few minutes of being awake, thanking God profusely for saving me and my boy. It was a miracle, plain and simple and I will never forget it. Everyone was shocked but happy.
I stayed sick and constantly sick but I made it through all of it. I went on to deliver him with minimal complications. Our baby boy had arrived and the thought was that everything was instantly supposed to be over as soon as I delivered….WRONG! They had taken my PICC line out right before I delivered so I was not being fed anymore but I still could not eat afterwards. I was still sick for days afterwards and still having to take zofran. It finally all subsided and I was sent home with our new bundle of joy.
It was short-lived because a new battle awaited me yet again. I was taken to the hospital three times by ambulance during the first three weeks at home. Only for them to send me home telling me I was having panic attacks. I knew something else was going on but I just didn’t know what it was. My chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it and my neck and right arm were cramped and aching. My heart felt like it was going to explode. Finally, on the fourth run by ambulance to the er I got a doctor that asked me if my right arm was hurting me and I said yes, why? He immediately called for the nurse and said we were going to surgery right away. He knew it was my gallbladder, it was rupturing. It was rupturing as he was taking it out of me, he said I was so lucky I got him that day. I also had an upper and lower gi done at the time and they had to repair six holes in my esophagus and stomach from not eating or drinking during the pregnancy. After all that I was sent home again and everything was good for a few months minus the HUGE adjustment to not having a gallbladder and the after effects of not eating or drinking for 9 months.
I got another large cyst on my only remaining ovary and it was big, I knew what that meant…another surgery to drain it. So again back to the hospital to have it drained by laprascopy. It wasn’t even two months later I got another one and it was even bigger and it was ready to rupture. So this time going in I was under the advisement that I needed an emergency total hysterectomy. I did not want this as I had not even had time to digest the thought, but I felt pressured into this decision and went with it. So I was given a total hysterectomy and left with nothing. My body went through major shock and it took me a long time to adjust.
I also had to have a bladder sling put in because the tendon to my urethra had been severed during childbirth. TRUST ME when I say this was no bueno!! When this failed it had to be redone…again no fun! Wearing a catheter and not being able to “go” was extremely scary.
Besides all the surgeries for various things my teeth had also started to fall apart literally. I would bite into something and they would crumble. I was in so much pain it was pure hell on earth. I eventually had to have all my teeth pulled on the top and almost all on the bottom except four. It was excruciating pain.
All of the things that I had to endure during and after that pregnancy was almost more than I could handle. Not just for me but for my family as well. The constant carrying for me had taken its toll on them as well. Depression was high during this time and my outlook was not great. The only thing that brought me any joy was my children. Knowing how much I loved them pushed me through those dark days. I know I did not go into a lot more detail about my feelings and experience with this but it is really a place I do not wish to go back to ever, the emotions associated with that time are to much to bare. I hope that everyone who reads this gets a better understanding of what this was like and if anyone woman they know that has this needs all the love and support she can get from you!
Here is a great link to the HG Community:
Picture showing how the setup is for TPN
Zofran Injections for Pump
Whole kit for anti-nausea pump with Zofran
Pump for PICC line
This is what a Vanco Ball looks like.