Survivors: Baby, we made it!

There is nothing in the world that I thought would make me more blissfully happy than being pregnant… When I envisioned becoming a mother, I imagined being overfilled with joy. I prayed for my baby, I dreamt about having my baby, and I constantly thought about “what if I couldn’t have a baby?” because that was a possibility for me. Then, one day I started to become sick… very sick. I was 5 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

I couldn’t eat. I had no appetite. I was worried about my baby getting food, so I would force myself… and I would throw up, sometimes up to 30 times a day. It was a nightmare. “Morning sickness” was far from an accurate description of the 24-hour non-stop suffering I was experiencing. After I finally landed in the ER for dehydration, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).

In the hospital, the repeated advice from family and friends went through my head: “Oh, this is just morning sickness! You will feel better after your first trimester!” The worst part was dealing with people that did not believe me when I said how sick I was. They called me “dramatic” and “seeking attention” and even said I was “faking it.” They were all wrong. You can’t fake being unable to make it through your day without being attached to an IV. Finally, by 9 weeks pregnant I had validation by 5 different doctors, from 5 different trips to the emergency room: I was indeed suffering from HG, a sickness that less than 2% of pregnant women get. There is no cure.

Women who suffer from HG know that it is truly a battle, unfortunately. We aren’t just fighting for our own lives and nutrition; we are fighting for the life of our child. Day after day I would rest my head on the toilet bowl, so sick, and say, “Thank you, God. I know that because I am sick, it means my baby is here.” That was the only way to make it through.

I didn’t get to prepare his room. I didn’t get to pick out his clothes. I was 2 hours late for my own baby shower because I was so sick and had to adhere to my stupid schedule of eating every 2 hours. I didn’t even make my registry- my cousin did it for me- because I was too sick to even shop online, let alone walk through a store. I did spend 1 hour at 6 months pregnant taking maternity photos. A photo never tells the behind the scenes true story.

I fought the HG monster and WON! I have a beautiful, healthy son. Yes, he is up every 2 hours as normal, and guess what? I’ve been living that “every 2 hours” schedule for the 9 months before he was here. I may sleep minimally, but as long as I can do it in health, I can sleep soundly.

Now, when I am up in the middle of the night, it is because I am watching my baby breathe. Long before he was born, the most important sound to hear was his heartbeat. The most familiar sound to him, was mine. The moment he was placed on my chest, his first cry fell silent. Then, it was my turn to cry, “Baby, we made it.”