Friday, January 10, 2014

my pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum

I am not one of those people that enjoy pregnancy. I’m not going to lie. For me it was horrible almost from the start.  Would I do it again? NO, do I regret it? Not for a second. The fact that I wouldn’t do it again doesn’t mean that I regret it. I just wish it was different. I wish I had the opportunity to enjoy being pregnant. I did it three times, and have 2 amazing daughters, but I’m done. I can’t do it again. For those who don’t know me I will explain why and share my story about when I was pregnant with Fallon.

Since my pregnancy with my oldest daughter was very difficult, I was educated and prepared for a long road, what I was not prepared for is just how bad the pregnancy with Fallon was. I will back track a little. My husband and I getting pregnant wasn’t impossible, but it wasn’t easy either. It was more like the odds of winning the lottery. So when we got pregnant in July of 2011 we were shocked. In august though, I lost the baby. A few months later in November we were shocked again when we found out I was pregnant. I had this weird gut feeling that I was and still had a home test from before so at 2am when I woke up to go to the bathroom I figured why not. I was shaking when it was positive and woke my husband up to come into the bathroom. I really should have played it cool and done something really cute to tell him, but yea that went out the window in about 2.5 seconds when I called him in. Oh well, it’s a funny story to tell anyway.

Between December first and January 1st I was in the Dr’s office, urgent care and ER to many times to count because I needed IV fluids. I was throwing up 10+ times an hour everyday. There were times that I would have blood because there was nothing to throw up and I was wreaking havoc on my stomach. I tried almost everything to try and help the nausea from homeopathic remedies to medications the dr prescribed for me. Nothing was helping. I was admitted to the hospital for a few days and was getting some nausea medication through the IV that was meant for chemo patients, not the best (it was safe) but I needed it. It helped a little so they sent me home. Well 6 hours later during the super bowl I was rushed back to the ER and readmitted because it was worse. They checked my pre albumen numbers (nutrition levels) and they were in the single digits. Needless to say I was literally starving to death. When I called Darin to tell him what was going on he didn’t know what to say. Luckily he works at the hospital and was able to come up. He was in tears when he walked in. I asked what was wrong and what happened. He looked at me funny and said “you”. It didn’t cross my mind that it was me he was upset about. When my friends came they couldn’t get past my sunken in eyes and cheeks. I looked horrible and I needed help fast. I had the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum that my Dr had ever seen. So, through the guidance of my dr we decided to put a feeding tube in and attach it to my small intestine. I am a WLS (weight loss surgery) patient so it wasn’t that easy. They can’t just put a tube down my throat. I had to go under and have a surgeon do it. After a week long stay I was finally able to go home. Due to having the NJ tube I was completely NPO (nothing by mouth), and I mean nothing. I wasn’t even allowed to put an ice chip in my mouth.  

Feeding tube/ home antibiotic treatments/TPN & Lipds 

After 6 weeks of the tube, it was evident that it wasn’t working. I was still getting sick and throwing up and also losing weight despite being on 3000 calories a day of the tube formula. They couldn’t just take it out and do nothing, they needed another plan. So we decided to put in a PICC line and do TPN and Lipids. I had to be in the hospital for this to make sure they did it right and to make sure the special formula was working. At first the PICC line seemed to be working. I gained a few pounds even though it was fluid weight, it was still weight. I had to go into the clinic about every 3 days for OB appointments, dietitian, the dr for the PICC line, blood work to make sure the formula was correct. It was crazy. I lived at the clinic.

A few weeks later, I went to my uncles for a birthday party, and felt off. I was used to not feeling good, but this was different. I went home to lay down and started to get the chills. I knew I had a fever; I took my temp and knew I was right. I called the Dr and he said to get to the ER. By the time we got there which was less than a half hour later, I could hardly stand on my own. My blood pressure had dropped to 53/38 and my heart rate was over 120, I was tachycardic and the Dr’s had no clue why. My blood work look ok, nothing bad but they decided to take a urine sample right before I was sent home. It was my decision to go home, thought the dr wanted me to be admitted for observation. The Dr called my cell as we were driving home telling us to turn around and get a prescription and I had a UTI. I thought it was odd, since I had no symptoms. I took it anyway. Two days later he calls me back telling me I have a different infection and they would pull the PICC line and replace it but I needed to come into his office. I didn’t think that much of it so I drove myself to the clinic. As soon as I got there my dr admitted me to the hospital and explained that I had a very serious blood infection, was septic and would need antibiotics. I called Darin at work to let him know and he came right up to the room. We both new how dangerous blood infections can be especially when it’s in a PICC line going straight to the heart. He was scared, very scared as was I, but I had to have faith that everything would be ok. I also had to hold it together for our oldest daughter. She didn’t understand what was wrong, all she knew is that I was sick. I didn’t want to upset her, so I put on a good game face when she was around. They pulled the PICC line but decided not to put in a new one and see how I was on regular food. It was the first time in months I had tasted food. I was sent home a few days later and could finish the 2 weeks of antibiotics at home under the care of my home nurse. I had about a month of feeling decent when yet again things went bad. I started to have crazy pressure in my chest and had a hard time breathing, and didn’t know what was wrong. I went into the ER again and got a EKG and was sent home as they didn’t know what was wrong.

Two days later I was back as the pain and difficulty breathing was too much. I received another EKG, Echo and a few other tests. I was admitted under the OB service but was also under the direction of a Cardiologist. It was determined that my Iron was still and even after infusions I would need a blood transfusion. It was finally determined that I had a bleeding ulcer and was given carafate (AMAZING) . That stuff is great, let me tell you!! I had to have a few more infusions and blood transfusions. Nothing like going to Oncology with a big baby belly. The blood transfusions and the iron infusions helped and I finally had my iron at a decent level.

I was lucky and had help during this whole time. Not only from my husband and family but also from a home care nurse. She came about twice a week to check on me, take vitals, and help with the tube or PICC line or anything else I needed help with. She was great. I was on bed rest the majority of it all, so I needed all the help I could get.

Overall I think I was in the hospital for 40 days or so, dozen or so ER visits, countless Dr visits for everything under the sun, not a way I really wanted to have for a pregnancy but it all worked out in the end Dr recommended that I never get pregnant again since he couldn’t guarantee I would survive so we opted for a c-section with a tubal ligation. So on July 18, 2012 by the grace of God my little girl was born. She weighed in at a surprising 7 pounds 11.5 ounces and very healthy.

I was scared probably every day of my pregnancy but I tried with all my being not to let it get to me. I was fighting for more than me. I was fighting for my life and also for the life of my daughter. That’s all I could focus on. I am very lucky to have my husband by my side to help me so I could focus us.
So like I said above, I don’t want to do it again. I am happy with my two girls and I don’t want to tempt fate, it’s not worth them losing their mother over. 

Disclosure: I did not receive any type of compensation for this post. This is my story in my words. If you would like to contact me, please do so at Katrina.gehman {at} gmail COM


  1. Wow! I knew it was an extremely difficult pregnancy. But no idea it was that bad. Im happy she turned out so healthy and happy. Thank God.... and just as you got through that, you will get through all trials and tribulations that try to stand in your way. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. What an amazing and strong woman you are. You are such a sweet friend. Your family is beautiful. Praise the Lord you made it through that and have a beautiful healthy daughter. Thanks so much for sharing. This is definitely an inspiring and encouraging story.

  3. WOW! Scary. Glad you made it through and have two beautiful daughters.

  4. Very amazing story. You're very strong. I went through some complications with both of my children as well. My husband is scared to have another child. I'm so happy your kids turned out very healthy and you are okay. :)

  5. Wow. That is one heck of a story. Im glad that everything turned out well in the end. I thought that my pregnancies were rough! Ugh. Big applause to you.

  6. Wow! Amazing story. You are incredibly strong and both of your girls are beautiful. Thanks for sharing, I had no clue what hyperemesis gravidarum before reading