In my last post, I mentioned eating a meal and keeping it down, that meal was the last until just a few days ago. I very quickly spiraled into a very difficult stage of the hyperemesis. Each time I attempted a small amount of food, it came right back up. I was vomiting up to 10 times a day even without food. After about a week and a half of small attempts at food, I gave up from the pain and intense nausea. I went into a 10 day period of absolutely no food or liquid. I was completely dependant on the PICC line to keep me hydrated. But I dropped weight very rapidly. I was weighing in once a week at the Drs office and was being watched closely. Eventually I began to miss my weigh in because I was way too sick to even get dressed and sit in the car.
Christmas Eve Matt had to take me to the ER due to what appeared to be an infection starting in my PICC line. Lots of tests and discussion about admission to the hospital, but after a round of IV antibiotics, my initial tests came back neg for infection, and we made it home in the middle of the night on Christmas. My folks had just spent the afternoon with us to celebrate Christmas, and as soon as they returned home, they turned back around to come and stay with the kids while we were in the hospital.
Christmas was hard, I was completely unable to participate with the kids and Matt. I took alot of tears to let go of that. Matt did a fabulous job at making it special for the kids-what an amazing gift he is. But I am so looking forward to next year!!
Matt went back to work after the New Year and I struggled with my inability to take care of the kids. My parents thankfully come out one day a week and help with everything. We have our church family providing meals daily and dear friends taking care of our groceries. The kids have been struggling but are doing their best to work together to pitch in around the house.
On Tuesday this past week when my folks were out, I was able to muster enough strength to get to my weigh in with Matt's help. The weigh in became proof of how bad things had gotten. I had dropped 22 lbs in a matter of 5 weeks. The nurse was concerned with how badly I was doing and called the Dr who ordered lab work. We went home and I began to keep down a bit of crackers and sprite, which was huge. Wednesday afternoon we got an unexpected emergency call from my Dr saying I needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. My labs had shown a dangerously low level in my potassium. We later learned after getting settled in at the hospital that this was risky for my heart. Potassium is also a tricky thing to bring back up and has to be closely monitored because too much too fast could stop my heart. When My Dr came in she gave us to honest scoop, the severity of my hyperemisis is rarely seen and not many Drs have dealt with it. She was working hard to round up a team of Drs that could work together to try and get it under control. It appeared I was going to need TPN(an IV form of nutrition) but even the GI Dr at the hospital did not want to touch my case. We learned quickly how difficult TPN is to regulate in a pregnant women. So, they brought in the High Risk OB Dr to work with us, the hospital specialist, and my awesome Dr of course. So we took it a step at a time. I had my first round of potassium replacement overnight. In the morning labs showed I was still way too low-which meant a longer stay. But I was still vomit free and the Dr gave me the go ahead to try some food. I ordered a meal and did not eat much, but I kept it down!! So, at dinner time, I ordered another meal, again, didn't eat a whole lot, but! I kept it down!! The second round of potassium was infused that night and we were so hopeful I could go home, but labs the next day were still really low. But, by this point, my Drs were beginning to have the same hope as we did, that we would be able to bypass the TPN and that despite the struggle with my potassium, I was starting to turn the corner. By the time it was all said and done, I ended up being in the hospital for almost 4 full days. My potassium is at a safe level now, and as long as I do not start vomiting, I can be at home and have potassium supplements through my PICC line to maintain it. I ended up eating 7 meals in the hospital and held them all down. The difference in my stamina is incredible. When I came home yesterday, I was able to actually hug my kiddos for real and take a shower by myself. The adjustment is still difficult, I cannot do much at all and my nausea is still a struggle. The pressure of holding my food down was a bit overwhelming last night-I hate the idea of landing in the hospital again-but I did manage to get to sleep with a full belly.
My hospital stay was a combination of all kinds of emotions. My folks came right back out to stay with the kids for the week so Matt could split his time between work and hospital. He could have stayed the nights with me, but I told him to go home. My nights were pretty restless and I had nurses coming in at all hours of the night, so he would have not gotten any sleep. Two of the days, the kids came for short visits. The first visit, Noah was pretty funny. He crawled in bed with me and said "so where is the baby?" I was staying in the maternity wing of the hospital, so there were endless new little ones around. The second time they came, Noah crawled in bed right away, under the covers and kicked off his shoes. He was content to just cuddle up with me. I ate it up. Our family of 7 fills that little hospital room up pretty full. I think when the baby is born, we will have to take shifts for visits, otherwise it gets a bit busy. It was good to see the kids here and there, gave me something to look forward too during those long, lonely days. Our Pastor came to visit the night I was admitted, and it was so good to know we had a family of God praying for healing! It was pretty neat to see Him work through all of the details, I had plenty of time to talk with the Lord while I was there. I am only eleven weeks right now, but they were able to find the babies heartbeat with a normal heart monitor-that was wonderful to hear. Mom and Dad came to visit one of the days as well, which the company was much appreciated. Since I was there 4 days, I met a good amount of their nursing staff in the maternity wing, which will be nice when we come back to have the baby. It was a bit difficult hearing all of the babies come in and out, knowing I still had such a long road ahead, but it also gave me something to look forward to.
Friday night, my OB Dr peeked in to see how I was. I think her first response jokingly was, "I hear you pulled a whopper thing again" See, she has been my OB for the past 10 years, and in my pregnancy with Bell, I of course was super sick and had a PICC line that time as well. One of my visits, when she asked how I was feeling, I announced "I ATE A WHOPPER!!!" which signified I had taken a big turn in direction and it has been a running joke ever since. So, the fact that I had come in basically in the fetal position on Wednesday and was sitting up in bed eating a hamburger on Friday night, the joke was completely appropriate. And I could have burst into tears with how grateful I was for her at that moment!
I have a long way to go still, any activity tends to overwhelm me physically, so I am trying to take it slow. My mind is starting to recover from being in a very dark place for this past month. I still have overwhelming aversions to food, smells, even conversations about food. I am not able to process yet "what do you want to eat?" Attempting to think about food to eat, makes me very nauseated. But looking at a menu seems to help-I can quickly weed through and allow my body to direct what will sit with me. I will most likely eat the same few things for quite awhile, but know from experience, that will gradually fade. I will have the PICC line for quite some time still. I would not be able to stay hydrated enough without it. It also helps deliver meds that are necessary right now since taking anything orally is such a risk for relapse.
The Lord has provided patience and grace for those who cannot understand this. It is just too rare even for most Drs to have a good grasp on. I have to smile and chuckle when a Dr or nurse hands me an information packet on "morning sickness" I wish that is all it was!! As much as I hate going through this, I am grateful for the time in history I live in. Women died from this all throughout history and I can only imagine what a painful death it was-starvation and dehydration has very painful side effects. There is no cure or even comfort through much of it, but there is treatment to keep my body from starvation and dehydration. The Lord also designed such a magnificent protection for the baby. One thing that is true, is that, the fact that I am so sick, means the baby is developing amazingly, getting all it needs. I may be suffering, but baby is not without! Obviously, left untreated, if my body began to shut down, the baby could not survive either,but that is not the case here.
I am trying to be patient now, for complete healing. Looking forward to those first kicks, which is only weeks away since I typically feel that around 14 weeks. I am overwhelmed by the way the Lord has sustained my family with the help form others and family. Looking forward to returning the favor some day!! Attempting to give my anxiety and discomfort over to the Lord.
Thank you for your continued prayers!!