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If HG continued past mid-pregnancy, did you experience complications during delivery related to your poor health such as a strained ligaments/joints, pelvic floor damage, prolonged or weak pushing, fainting, low blood pressure, low pain tolerance, forceps/assisted delivery, broken bones, nerve damage, low amniotic fluid, fetal problems due to difficult delivery, etc.?

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Ann Marie's Story

Ann Marie King
HER Foundation Co-founder
HG Survivor and mother

HER Story

I had been looking forward to pregnancy all my life—the joys of taking care of the baby inside of me and anxiously awaiting motherhood. Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) robbed me of a joyful pregnancy and left me feeling scared, depressed and alone. I felt like no one believed me when I told them how sick I felt. The physical agony of HG is difficult enough to handle, but adding the emotional aspect of HG is the most difficult of all. No one can understand – only the survivors of HG – that we are tested to the limits both physically and emotionally while trying to sustain the life of our unborn child. Was I going to die? Was my child going to die? Would I be able to have children at all? All I wanted was for one woman to tell me that I would be okay, that she too had suffered through HG and survived. I told myself and my husband if I survive this pregnancy we will create a foundation dedicated to research and awareness of HG.

HG hit me like a bomb five weeks into my pregnancy. At the onset of HG, I was up all-night and unable to eat more than a slice of bread for days and no liquid would stay in my body more than two minutes. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of a disease that would require multiple hospitalizations and deprive me and my child of nutrition for more than 6 months. My first hospitalization I was treated for severe dehydration and high ketones, where they pumped my body full of steroids, potassium, anti-nausea medicines, and IV fluids to counteract my malnutrition and dehydration.

After weeks of vomiting bile at least a dozen times a day with nothing in my stomach, the doctor determined the last resort was to surgically insert a feeding tube (Total Parenteral Nutrition or TPN) and feed me intravenously. Despite being bedridden and unable to literally eat or drink anything for months, I knew the feeding tube was sustaining my life and the life of my unborn child.

Then unexpectedly, things went back down hill one morning when I started going into convulsions with a 104-degree fever. My husband called an ambulance and I was whisked away to the emergency room. The doctors determined I had contracted a
staph infection in my feeding tube. The whites of my eyes were literally yellow and I could barely move or talk. The doctors argued over whether the strongest antibiotic they made would even help me, while speculating about the harm it might cause
to my baby.  I recall hearing the ob and the infectious disease doctors talking at the side of my bed, if we don’t treat the infection we will lose them both, they had no choice.  They would just hope the baby would not be affected by the 2 weeks of high dosages of the anti-biotic. 

The staph infection slowly subsided after another week in the hospital and one week at home with IV’s pumping the drug into my veins. Once the staph infection was gone, it was time for another surgery to reinsert the feeding tube, I was finally sent back home to bed with a new feeding tube and more IV drugs. One night the doctor told me I would need a blood transfusion, because it seems my blood was becoming toxic. The next day I awoke they drew blood again and said it looked much better. I truly believe the prayers of my family and friends that night changed my blood levels. Then, I improved
ever so slightly—living on caffeinated coke and toast for weeks. The last thing I wanted to do was drink caffeinated drinks during my pregnancy, but it was the only thing that would stay down. Doctors told me at one point that ketchup is a liquid and to try and use it on any food, any liquid I could get in my body was crucial to surviving.   

HG finally disappeared the moment my son was born. Immediately,
all I wanted was a cold drink of water, something I was unable stomach since the onset of HG. It was the most refreshing drink of water I’ve ever had and it stayed in my body!!

Our baby boy was born three weeks early, but weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and came into the world kicking and screaming and he was healthy. I know he was ready to get out and start living his life. He had already suffered through mommy's HG. Today, he is a healthy little boy and I am proud to be a mom and HG survivor!  Once our son was born my husband and I were ready to begin starting the foundation.

One year later the HER Foundation was born and is now like another child. We hear stories from around the world from women and their families thanking us for the website and the Foundation, they would not have made it through their pregnancy without it; they have told us over an over again. We have more goals to reach as a foundation and as survivors of HG. Research is still needed on both the mother and the children of HG. The after affects on the woman’s body take years to overcome.  We hope with your help we can help the medical community understand why HG women become so deathly ill when pregnant and to help spread the awareness of this little know pregnancy disease that almost took my life and my child’s.  Our thoughts are focused on those women and children who did not make it and we will not give up until a cause and a cure is determined. 

After many consults with OB's and Perintologists around the U.S. who understood HG and knew my story, we found out another biological child was not possible for us. However, through the beauty of adoption we are now parents of a little girl as well.

This is my story and experience with HG, every HG woman has a compelling and amazing story.  Some HG women go on to have more children, others use surrogates, or like us, adopt. Either way, all I know is that HG women are amazing and I have been honored to call many of them my friends.

Your stories keep us focused on our goals, so please feel free to share them with me by emailing me at annmarie@helpher.org

 

Treatments:

  • Zofran (throughout pregnancy)
  • Steroids Protonix
  • Vancomyacin (antibiotic - for severe staph infection)
  • Reglan (allergic reaction)
  • Phenergan (allergic reaction)
  • Droperidol (allergic reaction)

Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013

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