There are very few times in my life I wish to revisit and change. I truly believe everything we experience happens for a reason. I have learned to accept the good with the bad and cherish all that has occurred this is the cycle of life. But if I can be honest, and human for just a moment, every now and then I look back on my pregnancies and wish I could do them all over again.
Hyperemesis is the devil. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Knowing that I gave birth to two happy, healthy children still didn’t change the fact that not only could I not enjoy my pregnancy, I also couldn’t eat, or even do simple things such as brush my teeth without getting sick. Constant nausea and vomiting even ruined my dental health. Seven years later I am still in need of $8,000 worth of dental work to correct the damage that was done.
The OB from hell
Adding insult to injury was my OB/GYN never taking me seriously until my ketone levels were out of control and I ended up hospitalized. Even then it became a fight because she as well as the other doctor’s in the practice believed all I needed to cure my symptoms were ginger ale and saltines. Despite the constant issues I had throughout my pregnancy, lost teeth due to constant vomiting, and even rapid weight loss never gaining, my doctor’s never once spoke to me about hyperemesis.
Throughout my pregnancy, I was at the hospital twice a month due to low ketones, dehydration, and various other reasons, all related to hyperemesis. I repeatedly asked the doctors and nurses what was the problem, but no one seemed concerned and I never really got a straight answer.
Deciding to make the switch
In my 36th week of pregnancy after another round in the hospital and my 4th lost tooth, I changed doctors. After an encounter with my doctor and her nurse that resulted in verbal abuse and threats from her, I decided I needed to switch. Despite my repeated pleas for her to listen she still wasn’t getting it. After going home and calming myself down, I frantically searched for a new doctor at another hospital. After making several calls seeing who could work me in the fastest, I found one.
It was through my new doctor that I learned I had hyperemesis and what I was dealing with. While it was too late to really do anything, they made the last several weeks of my pregnancy a blessing. For the first time in months, I was able to eat without getting sick. A few nights before delivering I took the plunge and ate Chinese food. It was delicious. I was so happy to finally be eating something other than white rice or mashed potatoes. I enjoyed a Bojangle’s sweet tea and savored every sip.
For months after, I struggled to get my appetite back on track. The simple taste of water still makes me queasy on occasions ‘til this day. Certain foods I have been unable to eat since early in my pregnancy, I don’t know if or when I will ever try them again.
Compassion is free
As we know maternity healthcare in the states is in serious need of a revamp. As a black woman in America, I experienced firsthand how doctors refused to listen. The negligence and dismissal of my concerns by my doctor’s made me angry. I mean really angry. I fought back and won. The doctor was removed from the hospital/practice, but she is at a new one in the same city.
Anyone dealing with or having dealt with hyperemesis my heart goes out to you.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.