My name is Elaine Cho. I live in Bothell, WA and have been married to my best friend for the past five years. We have a great house, goodpaying jobs and two loyal dogs. We were very content with our life,but last year, the in-laws started pressuring us to start a family. I had never really been comfortable around children and wanted to makesure that we got pregnant on OUR terms, and not theirs. But fortuneately for them, after all of my friends started to get pregnant, I began to have baby envy. I decided that the time was right to start trying because we had been married almost five years, and I was approaching my thirties while he was in his mid thirties. Now, all we had to do was get pregnant... easy as that!
We started trying in January of 2007, but after months of not being able to conceive, I began to worry. I have friends who have been trying for years and have undergone fertility treatments with no success. I was afraid of being one of those women who spent her entire life trying not to get pregnant, only to find out that she was sterile after deciding that she wanted children. The irony!!!
So, after six months with no luck, I decided to distract myself by looking for a new job. We decided that the timing was off, and that we could start trying again next year after I found my dream job. I had several interviews with exceptional companies all lined up, and was excited about the prospects of having a new career with a higher salary. I thought, we could finally afford that trip to Europe I hadbeen talking about!!!
No sooner did I start calling my references didI realized that I had missed my period. My periods have always been inconsistant, so I didn't think much about it. But my breasts had never been that big or tender. My husband laughed and said I was probably pregnant, but I knew that there was NO WAY I could be, because we didn't have sex until after my ovulation window. After a few days of telling myself that my period would start "any day now", I finally caved and bought a pregnancy test.
I took the first one and sat in awe as the plus sign started to come over the test strip.There was no way!!! I was grinning from ear to ear, but thought,"this test is wrong". So I pulled out the second test and tried again. Another PLUS sign!!! The first thing that came to mind was,"HOLY CRAP!!! WHO'S GOING TO HIRE ME NOW!!!". But after that passed, I was so excited. I had planned on making a special dinner with baby themed foods, like baby carrots and baby corn with small cornish hens etc., to surprise my husband.
I had purchased a onesie and a bib thatsaid "I love daddy" months before to present to him when we finally did get pregnant. It was a great plan, right? Well, I'm very impatient and easily exciteable, so I didn't get to surprise him the way I had planned. Instead, I got the onesie and bib which were already pre-wrapped and ready to go, and I woke him up from a deep slumber. I made him open the gift while he was still half asleep and took pictures of his reaction. He looked thoroughly confused and shocked. It was great!!! Once he finally got his barings, we celebrated with a little cry and a warm embrace. This was going to be a great time in our life.
So a week had passed and I was feeling wonderful!!! We decided that Iwould continue my pursuit of a new career without informing them of my pregnant state and we also decided to wait the obligitory three months before announcing the news to our friends and family. I was always hungry and my cravings were running rampid, but unlike my mom who claimed to be sick the entire 9 months of pregnancy with both my brother and I, I had no signs of morning sickness. This was GREAT!!! Or so I thought.
The Friday going into my sixth week, I started getting acid refluxafter dinner. I had never had that before, so I just assumed it was a symptom of being pregnant. No big deal. Saturday rolled around and I was extremely nauseous. I drove to the grocery store, making myself car sick, to pick up the pre-requisit morning sickness arsenal of soda crackers and ginger ale. My mom happened to call me while I was shopping and could hear the sickness in my voice. She immediately asked me if I was pregnant, to which I replied "NO".
I got home and drank the ginger ale and started to feel a lot better. My family was having a party for my uncle's 60th birthday that day, so I had to do everything I could to look normal in front of everyone. We stayed at the party for a couple hours, but the smell of the food started to bother me. I asked my husband to take me home so that I could try to sleep off the illness, but the car ride proved to be worse than the party.
I barely got back into the house when I threw up for the first time. To preface my story a bit, I have probably only thrown up five times my entire life before this pregnancy, and it was usually tequilla related, so to throw up that Saturday was a huge deal for me. After I puked, I felt much better and decided to go to bed early because my husband and I were going to drive 50 plus miles to visit his parents the next morning.
I didn't need an alarm to wake me up on Sunday, because I had projectile vomit spewing out of me in the wee, small hours of the morning. I was so sick, and depressed that I was experiencing morning sickness like this. I ran downstairs to the kitchen to get my soda crackers and ginger ale, but it didn't work. Nothing burns quite as much as ginger ale coming out your nose. I told my husband to go to his parents on his own, because there was no way I was putting myself in a car for that long a trip. Even though I felt like crap, I thought that there was no way that I could feel any worse and that it would go away in a few days. Boy was I wrong.
I had a doctor's appointment the following Monday with my primary care provider. She did some blood work to confirm my pregnancy and prescribed some B6, Unisom and Phenergan for the nausea. She printed out some information on morning sickness and warned me to take the Phenergan cautiously, as there was not enough information on the potential side effects on the baby. Basically, she made me scared to take the medication. I tried the B6 and Unisom combination but it did nothing. I took half of the Phenergan and fell asleep.
By this time, I hadn't eaten since Saturday afternoon, and had probably thrown up 8 or 10 times. My husband urged me to eat, but nothing looked, smelled or sounded any good. In fact, by this point, his smell started making me ill. The next morning I started vomitting bile and dry heaving every five minutes. My husband called the OBGYN to set my initial appointment and told them how bad my condition was. They told him to get me to the ER right away for hydration therapy.
I was bawling my eyes out because I didn't want to get in the car, but he was adamant that we go. Upon arriving at the ER, I found out that I had lost 8 pounds in the three days that I felt sick. They gave me a shot of Zofran and put four litters of IV in me. I slept the entire time and was so hungry by the time I woke up. The ER doctor gave my husband a print out on Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and told him that it was important to make sure that I was hydrated. They sent me home with a prescription of Zofran and set me up with an appointment at the OBGYN's office for that Thursday.
When I got home, I ate two crackers, threw them up, and tried to sleep. But the nausea robbed me of that as well. I just sat up crying all night thinking, "how am I going to do this?". My husband finally gave up and called my mom, hoping that she could get me to eat. She had no idea that I was pregnant, so she was both thrilled and worried when she got the news. She rushed to the house to be by my side, and force fed me a milkshake. She retold her pregnancy horror story and apologized forgiving me her genes. Having her there made me feel calm and relaxed and I was able to fall asleep in her arms. After she left though, it started all over again.
By Thursday, I had lost 14 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. The doctor seemed empathetic and started me on a higher dose of Zofran and Phenergan. I felt more at ease about taking the drugs because the specialist was prescribing it. She told me I could take it every eight hours, which was better than the once a day regimine I was on. However, I didn't feel any better so on Friday, I went to an acupuncturist.
I was willing to try anything and everything to make myself feel better. While the acupuncturist was placing the needles in my ears, head, wrists, stomache and feet, I felt the sudden urge to vomit. But the woman twisted the needles slightly in place and the sensation went away. Hallalujah!!! I thought I had found the cure. For two whole hours after the session, I was on cloud nine. My husband and I went to McDonalds where I ordered a Fillet O' Fish and Seven-Up. It took me two hours to finish it, but I swear, it was like manna from heaven:)
That day was our five year anniversary and we had dinner reservations at a very exclussive restaraunt. I was so happy that I was feeling better and that we would be able to make it to dinner, when it all hit me again. Needless to say, we have yet to celebrate our fifth year. Anyway, I went to the acupuncturists dilligently, every day for a full week with only minimal benefit. I would be saved for a couple hours a day, but the rest of the day was committed to vomitting. I was now throwing up on average, upwards of forty times a day.
On my second visit to the OB's, they decided that I needed home IV treatment. They set me up with Matria for IV and subcutanious Zofran. But somehow the wires got crossed, and the started me on IV and Reglan. Well, the Reglan did nothing but cause me to become extremely anxious and nervous. My emetic episodes were more severe and now I couldn't even sleep. After 26 hours of straight vomitting, I called my doctor's office in hystarics. They told me to come in right away to get hospitalized. My husband drove me to the office looking like death. Neither one of us had slept, and his patience with me was waining.
When we walked into the office, they rushed me into a patient room and the doctor came in soon after. She discussed all treatment options including termination. At that moment, the idea of aborting the baby to feel normal sounded great. She said that I should be admitted to the hospital for observation that night, but I didn't want to. I just couldn't stop crying for some reason, so my husband made the decision for me and had me admitted.
One night became "just through the weekend" to maybe one more night, and the next thing you knew, I was there for a full week. My husband started the paperwork with my company to get me on short term disability and my doctor gave me the worst news I could've ever heard. She told me that I did in fact have hyperemesis, and that the majority of women suffering with the illness experienced it through at least the first five months. WHAT!!!
She said that she was not comfortable sending me home without an IV which meant that I would have to have a PICC line put into my arm. I was not happy about this at all, but what other option did I have. While in the hospital, they had me on a steady dose of Anzemet and Reglan, and I was able to eat several small meals throughout the day. I had put about four pounds back on thanks to the IV and was looking a lot less like death warmed over, so they were ready to send me home.
So that long drawn story took me to about week nine or ten. From there, I was successfully treated at home with the IV, Anzemet andReglan regiment. I was still throwing up about twenty times a day,but in the comfort of my own home. I couldn't more than two hours a day thanks to the Reglan, I couldn't watch TV because it was overstimulating, but I was slowly getting on the mend. At 19 weeks, I started to feel like a new woman. I was down to only five emetic episodes per day, and by week 20 the PICC line was removed. I am now at week 25 and still throwing up at least once a day, but I am completely off the meds and am sleeping a solid four to five hours aday. I can feel my baby girl move inside me, which has made this experience all worth while.
My husband and I had always said that we would like three kids, but sadly, I don't know if I could do this again. I just wouldn't feel right, allowing my daughter to see me in that state. How could I care for her when I can't care for myself, and would she have harsh feelings towards the baby that is making her mommy so sick? Anyway,that was my LONG story. I still have a ways to go, but now I know I can survive it!