My youngest turned 2 today. He is so old and so young all at once. Such a little man. I love him.
I love all my kids. Even factoring in the hyperemetic pregnancies, the result is far greater than the effort I put into them. It is my custom to reflect on my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum annually in this public fashion. I do it because I don’t want to forget and because I have friends going through what I went through (and worse) right now.
This last year I learned a lot. I read more, thought more, sought more, and prayed more. It has been a good year. It has been a challenging year. I’m not sure I can blame all of my health problems on having had HG 4 times, but I know it contributed in a big way. When you starve long-term, are on mass doses of medications and are constantly concerned about the well-being of your unborn child, there are repercussions. I am currently working with my doctor because of sleep problems. I will fall asleep and wake up shortly thereafter panicked with my heart racing. It takes hours to get back to sleep. It is weird. Nothing is wrong. I pray. I feel peaceful. I usually just get up and clean. Generally speaking, I feel happier and healthier then I ever have. I weigh more right now than I weighed fully pregnant (this is a testament to how malnourished I was since I am not overweight by any means now). I’m biking 7 miles a day. I can almost do a real push up and it hurts less and less to be active again. I laugh more. I enjoy life more. I’m more comfortable, content and confident. By the grace of God and with long-suffering support from friends and family, I have improved physically, emotionally and spiritually. But sometimes I’ll catch a whiff something inducing overwhelming nausea. I still struggle to answer and talk on my phone. I’ll start shaking and can’t catch my breath if I’m not having a particularly “good” emotional day. Being a classic introvert, verbal communication doesn’t come easily anyway but add in the association of uncontrollable nausea and vomiting with talking on the phone and you see why this might be an issue. I don’t deal well with stressful situations (like my phone ringing or confrontation or making returns to retail store). I’m on supplements and oils and vitamins and now medications — all to fake my body into something like normalcy. And it is ok. Honestly. I don’t mind as long as I can keep my wits about me. Reality check: I’m not actually going to vomit if I answer my phone. I’ve learned more about myself and how my body works and about fears that can be worked through spiritually and the others that are chemical problems. I’m getting better. God is kind. I see Him everywhere. Protecting me, ministering to me, holding me up, comforting me.
I’m not trying to complain or garner sympathy, but I do desire to make it undeniably clear that Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not some little inconvenience. It is not morning sickness — even the worst kind of morning sickness. I want to affirm to other HG moms that their struggle is real. I want to remind them that God is loving you through this trial. It took me awhile to recognize that. He wants you to be able to rest. He wants you to find real peace. The kind of peace that doesn’t depart when tribulation arrives. Lean into Him. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing and it is good. If you can rest in that and rely on Him for all your strength, you’ll never need to fear anything or anyone ever again. Don’t be afraid of HG. Don’t be afraid of nausea. Don’t be afraid of vomiting. I know, it’s ironic for me to say this, given that I struggle to even answer my phone. But I’m still learning this. I’m still reminding myself that God can sustain me through each phone call. Through each sleepless night. Through every moment of unfounded anxiety. He is there. He gave us the Bible to comfort and sustain us. He gave us sermons to challenge and encourage us. He gave us friends to pray for us and speak truth in love. He gave us medicine in all kinds of interesting forms. He gave us health care practitioners to help us navigate the complications we face. Fall back into His glory — He will catch you. I promise it is going to be ok. I know, because I am ok. I’m thriving — even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.
“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all those who love him, but the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:17-21