I recently read the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting baby number three. It’s her third pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). Reading about it has me thinking about my experience with HG.
A wise mother of three once told me every pregnancy has at least one discomfort. During my son’s pregnancy I had sciatica pain in my lower back. With my daughter’s pregnancy my morning sickness continued the entire pregnancy. I recall even wondering, “maybe its twins this time.” As a childbirth educator I knew HG was more common in twin pregnancies. I had no idea then I was predicting the future. My doctor diagnosed me with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. He also assured me I was not pregnant with twins. I laugh now even thinking about it.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)
HG is a severe form of morning sickness that prevents you from going about your daily life. To treat milder cases of HG at home, many doctors consider diet, lifestyle, holistic remedies and medication. In severe cases, like the Duchess of Cambridge’s first pregnancy, HG is so debilitating hospitalization is necessary. At the hospital they will give you fluids and nutrition intravenously when you can’t keep any food or liquids down.
Holistic Remedies vs. Medication
After diagnosing me with HG, my doctor talked with me about a medication called Diclegis. At that point, I was still able to keep some food down and stay hydrated, so I asked my doctor if I could explore natural remedies first and he agreed. With varying success, I went on to try acupressure, ginger, homeopathic medicine, herbs and other holistic treatments. None of these remedies helped me stop vomiting several times a day.
Around that time I talked with Lora, a friend and nurse, about my concerns with taking medication while pregnant. She asked me to weigh the risk and benefits of the nausea medication, with being unable to climb out of bed the next 6 months. By then I had been spending most days in bed or in the bathroom throwing up. My 3-year-old had even started imitating me running to the bathroom. I sat down and did my research, spoke with my doctor again, and finally agreed to start the Diclegis. Less than 36 hours later my life changed completely!
Diclegis is a delayed released combination of antihistamine (doxylamine succinate) and Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride). For me it was magic. My vomiting stopped and my nausea remained manageable enough for me to go about my daily life. The most noticeable side effect was feeling sleepy all the time. I also couldn’t miss a single dose or my vomiting would return.
Some people believe each pregnancy teaches us how to parent. I’m not sure I believe that. What I do know is HG was one of the most humbling things I’ve experienced in my life, and a dose of humility is a great thing for any parent.
This was my personal journey with Diclegis and Hyperemesis Gravidarum and it is not a sponsored post.