Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Or My Wife’s Pregnancy Sucks)

My wife suggested I write a post on my blog about living with someone with Hyperemesis. Something until this year I had never heard of and never knew existed. Something that now has taken control of every aspect of the lives of myself and my family. It is an experience I would like to share if I can find the words.

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This won’t be one of those posts full of pictures like a lot of my posts. No one wants to see her pale as a haint hugging the toilet, the stacks of medicines I can’t even pronounce, the IV poles, the PICC lines, the blown out veins and bruises all over her arms or the continually growing stacks of hospital bills. This will just be trying to explain how this thing has taken control of our lives.

From the start.

I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember the call. I was working and my wife Emily called me and asked if I was busy. I told her I was about done for the day and asked her what she needed. She said she needed to tell me something, to please come to the shop where she was working when I had time. I said “Just tell me Hon”, but she insisted I come there so she could tell me in person. I was scared. I just knew something was wrong. So I rushed over the the shop.

I drove up and parked my old truck in the rear of the building and started walking around the side. Emily met me about halfway down the side of the building with my daughter Rhiannon with a strange look on her face. When I asked her what was wrong she looked at Rhiannon, then turned to me and held out her hand. She was holding not one, but two positive pregnancy tests. She quietly said “I’m pregnant”.

I’m like “Yeah, right. What’s wrong? Where did you get those?” I didn’t believe her at first. I really thought she was kidding. Finally it started to sink in. I’m going to be a daddy again. At my age. Damn. I didn’t know how to feel. She was expecting me to be mad, but I was more… Shocked.

Emily had one child and had told me that she was very sick with Lily when she was pregnant and had to be hospitalized several times. That she hadn’t had a period since then, that she most likely could never have anymore children. I was 49 years old. Too old to father any more children I thought. We had talked about children, and I knew she wanted another child but we knew it was never going to happen. Then a few months before this day, we had taken in a baby we are adopting and really thought that was God’s answer to her prayers for another child. (You can read the post “Throw Away Boy” for how Connor came into our lives.) After we got Connor she had gotten back on birth control to make sure we didn’t ever have an unexpected pregnancy, no matter how slim the chances of that were. This was so unexpected. But after it sunk into my thick country skull… I was happy. I am not a real religious person, but I do believe God gives us what we need, so I decided it was meant to be. A little piece of Emily and I.

Cool, we are going to have a kid!

We made a doctor’s appointment and had another pregnancy test done to be positive she was pregnant then announced it to our family and friends. For the first few weeks it was smooth sailing. We thought up names, looked at baby stuff online, laughed and hugged and held each other. Then Emily got sick.

It was fast. One day she woke up feeling sick. She ate something then immediately threw up. Just that fast she couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink anything, and went down hill fast. In just a few days she was so weak and dehydrated I had to take her to the hospital. The admitted her to give her fluids and run some tests. Since that time it’s been in and out of the hospital constantly.  I’ve came so close to losing her several times. When she was in the hospital the first time she caught an infection. Then another. Then another. Until this last time in the hospital she spent eleven days in isolation in the ICU ward. The first three or four days it was touch and go whether she was going to live.

No one who hasn’t lived through this can’t understand. I try to be a good daddy, but I’m not a mommy. I feed the kids, give them their baths, get them dressed. But somehow I do everything wrong. It’s never the way mommy does it. I spend my days by getting up at 6 am and waking the kids, getting them fed and dressed, change the baby’s diaper, walk the dogs while I burn my mouth trying to gulp a cup of coffee. Then Rhiannon would watch the kids while I went to check on Emily at the hospital for a couple of hours. Then home to check on the kids, do a few chores, start some laundry, sweep and mop, try to think of something to thaw out for supper then go try and work a couple of hours. If I didn’t get called to the hospital for an emergency with Em I’d try to work enough to make gas money to go back home, check on the kids, feed them, get them ready for bed then go back to the hospital and sit with Em, talk to the doctors and nurses, then just hold her hand as she laid in the bed or try and hold her hair out of her face while she puked her guts up. I’d sometimes help her change when she was so sick she couldn’t control her bodily functions. But mainly? I just tried to be there. To keep her knowing she was loved and wasn’t alone. Then sometime during the night or wee hours of the morning I would give her a kiss on the forehead and drive home and check in on the kids. I would take a quick shower and pass out from exhaustion on the bed just to get a couple of hours of sleep so I could get up and do it all again. A few times I fell asleep sitting on the couch taking my boots off and never even made it to the bed.

There are no words to describe how sick she has been. Think of the worst case of nausea, The worst achy flu and and a case of food poisoning all rolled into one. Then magnify it. Then have it last five months without a break. I think it’s about as sick as you can be without dying. And? I could do nothing. I don’t handle being helpless very well. I’m a grab the world by the balls and twist kind of guy. I get things done, I make things happen. I work hard and I never ever quit. But with this? I could do nothing but worry and stress. I have been a nervous wreck. My kids missed mommy. I missed my wife. Meals were rushed affairs instead of our family time we are all used to. I couldn’t work. Our lives revolved around Emily’s Hyperemesis.

I daily watched Em hurt so bad. Held her while she cried because she couldn’t see her kids. Watched her try so hard to keep even a tiny bit of food down. Watched her lose her memory and forget people when the infections were at their worst. She lived through hell. She has suffered. She has cried. But she is strong and she never stopped trying. She is an amazing woman. I’m lucky to have her.

I’d like to tell you what this thing is, the medical reasons and treatments. But I’m just a simple dirt farmer. I don’t know all that stuff. I researched it, read all about it until my head hurt, but all I truly know is how it affected us.

I’m not sure why I wrote this. I guess maybe I’m hoping it might help someone else who is going through it or is with someone who is. I know my wife was probably expecting me to tell about the five different PICC lines, the six hospitalizations or the different tests and treatments she has had to go through, but I can only write what I know. What I know is I love my wife. I love our lives together. And I love the fact that this week she is home and doing better finally. 77 more days until Luke is scheduled to arrive and I’m praying that maybe we can make it through the rest of this pregnancy without another hospital stay.

I’ve always heard that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I guess we are tough.

And soon this will all be a memory and we will be snuggling with a beautiful miracle baby boy. And on that day… It will all be worthwhile.

Life is good.

We Have Internet!

I had forgotten how it felt to be able to use my laptop instead of the phone to get online. I’ve not been posting lately because I could never get a good enough connection to post. Today Em was able to finally find a company that would service our area and work out a payment plan for the hook up fees. Now Em can go back to buying and selling from home and have something to keep her occupied while shes unable to work until the baby gets here, and I can post on my blog again.

Life is good. We are happy here in our little country home. The girls are in school and are doing well, Connor is growing and is acting so much better now that Mommy is home and he has more structure. He still isn’t talking, but he is getting closer I think. All three kids are so much happier.

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We have been blessed in this life. I know a lot of folks would be complaining and whining in our situation but all I can think is how blessed we truly are. We’ve got a roof over our heads, food on the table, we are day by day getting things back together and at the end of the day we have each other. I’m working for my best friend doing plumbing and electrical work along with some remodeling. Sometimes I make pretty good, other times it’s slow, but it’s a good job. When I come home I have my kids and my wife waiting on me. I’m able to go out and sit under the shade trees and watch the kids play and watch the critters and relax. Relaxing is something I haven’t been able to do in several years. It feels good.

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I’ve been sick this week. Today I felt a little better and was able to go walk around the farm and get a better idea of all the things that will need my attention soon. The roof on the house is starting to leak a little around the skylight in the master bath, so I’ll need to pressure wash the roof and re-coat it soon. The side shed on the barn will have to have the roof completely replaced. I’ve been patching it for years and there is just not much more I can do except replace it. Over all the barn is in pretty good shape though. I’ll have a lot of cleaning to do and a few boards and such to replace here and there, I’ve got two doors to the stables I’ll need to repair and almost all the feeders and waterers are rusted out and will need replaced. I’ve found several items that I had hanging in and on the barn that have came up missing. I’m not going to stress on that stuff though, karma will take care of it someday. Or a 12 gauge if I catch them in the act. I’ve got around 1,100 feet of fence to buy and install. The garden needs lots of compost and some raised beds built. Our old late 1950’s Ford 800 tractor will need to be rebuilt before it can be used. The driveway needs to be leveled and gravel brought in. The shed we are going to use for our incubators and small animals will need to be totally redone and water and electric ran to it. I need feed bunks and hay racks in the stables. And that’s just a start. It’s going to take me several years unless I can figure something out, but that’s ok. I’ve got the rest of my life. What’s meant to be will be and if it’s meant to be I’ll find a way.

We’ve already came a long way in the past couple of months. Emily is home and feels so much better. No PICC lines now and she’s eating and able to do light stuff around the house. We all missed her when she was hospitalized.

We have eggs in the incubator and more on the way. We are slowly building our flocks back up and in the process of getting our new NPIP number and state egg license. I’m currently doing the paperwork for a spring 2016 CSA with vegetable and egg shares and possibly chicken, pork and lamb shares. We will be selling from our own produce stand here at the farm and also at two of the local farmer’s markets and I’m looking into a once a week delivery to either Tupelo or Memphis. If we can just make it through this fall and winter I’m very confident we will be ok.

We’ve got family coming to visit soon from out of state and we are excited about that. It will be so nice to be able to just sit and visit!

Life is good.