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Baby Story #2: Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Again

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Many thanks to Jami Kamp for sharing her second birth story with us. Once again, we appreciate her honesty. To read her first birth story, click here.

After the first pregnancy was so rough and physically exhausting, we thought long and hard about a second pregnancy. We had gotten brochures about adoption and I was even in contact with an adoption agency in Indy. My husband and I didn’t want to go through another pregnancy. But the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I thought I could do it again. With my first, we didn’t know if it was going to end. Where as when we were talking about another pregnancy, we saw an end to the sickness. We would look at the calendar and say if I got pregnant here, I’d be getting sick here. Then I would get my PICC here and it would be this many weeks until I was feeling better. If I kept it along the same timeline, I knew there would be an end and a date where I’d be able to function and get dressed.

My doc said no two pregnancies are alike. And everything I read said it was about a 60 percent chance that I could develop hyperemesis gravidarum (the inability to stop vomiting) again. In case it happened again, we knew we couldn’t do it until Jacob could be somewhat self-sufficient and he could get a sandwich or something to drink. We would’ve had kids closer together, if my pregnancy would’ve been better.

In December, I found out I was pregnant. Jacob was 2 months shy of being 4. We always knew that it was totally a God timing how it worked with schedules and school. I had just finished the first semester of my Master’s degree. We told the family relatively quickly in case things started deteriorating. My plan had always been to tell people after the first trimester, but we couldn’t wait that long.

I was scared and nervous when I found out I was pregnant. We were both scared. As hard as it is to admit, it’s like we entered it with dread. I was in constant contact with my OB/gyn’s office. When I started to get sick at about 5 weeks, we tried some anti-nausea medicine. Finally it came time to decide if I wanted another PICC line or to go into the office twice a week for an IV. We went with the IV. I started having infusions with a subcutaneous pump like diabetics use. I tried it for 4 days and I wasn’t feeling any relief. My body wasn’t absorbing it properly. I was getting huge welts where it was going in. It wasn’t worth it. I made decision to not take medicine. I was worried about the long-term affects on the baby.

Being sick, I couldn’t go grocery shopping. Jeff was working full-time, but had to do everything else like grocery shop, pay bills, clean, cook. It was not a fun time for him either. I was feeling better by mid-April. It lasted a little longer than with my first pregnancy. I had marked on the calendar the day when I thought I’d be getting better, going by how things went with my first pregnancy. I got to the day I had marked and wasn’t feeling better and it was disappointing. Finally at about 24 or 25 weeks pregnant, I got to the point where I could function.

As for Jacob, he understood. He naturally has a very caring and compassionate heart. He’d lay in bed with me and watch cartoons or read books. He’d talk to me and the baby. He liked seeing my belly grow. He’d get me Sprite or ginger ale. He was a great helper. It was like he knew he had to be good because his family needed him. To this day, he still talks about when I was sick and he needed to take care of me.

My sickness wasn’t as severe the second time as it was with Jacob. I still had to stop several times on the way from the bed to the bathroom. Anytime there was a cold blast of air, I’d get nauseous. My garage smelled to me. If anyone would open the door from the kitchen to the garage, I would throw up. Car exhaust would make me so sick. Even now if I smell it, I get nauseous. I have certain triggers that don’t make me throw up, but still bring back memories of those pregnancies.

Again, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. This time it wasn’t as bad and I mostly controlled it through diet. I was also going for weekly non-stress tests and ultrasounds. I was due August 26. School had given us the month of August off and I spoke with my doctor about how I was nervous about starting back to school so soon. We could see the baby was a healthy size, so we scheduled an induction for 8 days prior to my due date.

We had it in our head that everything had gone so smoothly that I thought this one was going to be terrible. We thought the schedule of the day was going to be the same. We woke up at 4:30 and called at 5 in the morning. They said it was full and they didn’t have time for me. We had babysitter arranged and my doc was on call. We had everything set-up, planning ahead for the induction. The nurse took my name and number, and said she’d call back if they slowed down. I called back when there was a shift change to talk to the charge nurse to make sure I’d been passed along. She said she’d call when I could come in. It was pure panic because I wasn’t in control of the situation and I didn’t like it. They finally called back at 11 am. Jacob was 4-and-a-half and it was hard to explain to him why we weren’t going to the hospital. He had his hopes and expectations up.

We decided to stop at Panera and eat on the way and somewhat take our time since we’d waited all day. I took my Sudoku book again. I started Pitocin around 1 pm. Jacob’s labor progressed quickly. I was afraid that if I did start labor it would go fast and it would be too late to get an epidural. I probably annoyed nurse that my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get my epidural on time and I wasn’t going to know when baby was about to be born.

I was doing fine. Labor wasn’t terrible. When I started feeling uncomfortable around 5 or 5:30 and asked for the epidural, I was 3 cm. I thought I was a wimp since I didn’t make it as far. The doc broke my water around dinnertime. My mom, stepdad, mother-in-law and father-in-law were all there. My mother- and father-in-law said they were going to get something to eat. I figured that was fine since I was only 3 cm. They left around 6:50 pm. Suddenly I felt pressure and noticed the heart rate monitor went down. I looked at the clock and it was 7. I hit the nurses call button. I knew the doc had checked me 25 minutes ago, but I asked her to check again. She said I was complete and said, “Don’t push.” Thankfully she had listened to me and had everything set up with the table and baby warmer.

I think I sneezed and our little girl Jordyn was born at 7:14 pm. She was 8 lbs. 3 oz. It was a very easy and super quick delivery. She came so quickly that it bruised half of her face. She struggled with her blood sugar, which can happen with diabetic moms. She spent the next morning in the NICU and put in a central line through her umbilical. I was still able to nurse her and stayed with her as much as I could. I hated not having her with us. It drove me nuts being away from her. If someone would come to visit me, I’d have to leave the NICU and go back to my room and leave her. I wasn’t expecting my baby to go to the NICU. Having someone take my baby definitely caught me off guard. But thankfully after 24 hours, she was out of the NICU and was perfectly healthy.

I have always wanted to share my story about being sick for other people who have had that. As soon as Jacob was born, I was hit with guilt. Even now, if I sit and think about it too hard, knowing who he is and how special he is, I can still feel guilty.

To anyone who is experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum, know that you’re not going to die even if you feel like you might want to. You are not alone. You will get through it and you will once again feel like yourself. Hang in there.

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