Bad Week

That is the best title I can come up with.  Went to the hospital again Wednesday and came home that night. 
Thursday afternoon Alere came out to start ivs and a zofran pump.  Had that going since Thursday afternoon around 4.  They gave me lactated ringers.

Yesterday my Ketones were 4+.  Today they are 3+.  Still bad.  Yesterday I threw up so hard I couldn’t breathe.  It was a really bad day.

Baby looks good.  I wish this would just end but I make healthy babies.  I think wishing I could have a miscarriage makes me a pretty awful person but I am too sick to care.

I had a little meltdown this morning and cried and cried and cried.  I am trying hard not to look down the time tunnel, but that’s hard to do.

Back from the Hospital

Well, sorry for not posting.  I’ve been feeling extremely crappy the last couple of days.  This morning I called my doctor’s office.  She’s out so I had to talk to a different doctor.  He had me go in to Labor and Delivery for fluids.

I felt pretty good while I was there getting fluids.  It helped that it was during the time of day that I usually feel good.

I had an extremely cute doctor to whom I had to explain about the zofran and the pooping and the enemas.  Talk about humiliating.

They send it a paramedic in training to start my IV.  Big mistake.  I warned him that I’m a tough stick on a good day and this was not a good day.  He smiled and said, “Don’t worry, it’s my first time.”  I was pretty sure he was joking so I smiled back and said, “I bet you say that to all the girls.”  Okay, now what I meant to say was, “I bet you say that to all your patients.”  It came out so wrong.  I was so embarrassed that I hid under the blanket.  What a day.

They took blood (all came back normal).

They ran 2 bags of fluids and 8 mg IV zofran.

I managed to eat some green Jello and some baked potato which made me feel much worse.

I managed to pee.

Dr. Hottie came back in, told me I was fine and sent me on my way.

“Just keep taking the Zofran.  If you feel persistent nausea or dizziness, come back in.”  I said, “That’s hillarious.”  I wasn’t smiling.

My doctor’s office was supposed to have home health set up for me.  I wanted to be going home to either continuous fluids at home or a zofran pump or both.

What did I go home with?  “Just keep taking the Zofran.  If you feel persistent nausea or dizziness, come back in.”  Freakin’ hillarious.  Also, I should take colace for the constipation.  *facepalm*

We came back, picked up Gabi on the way home, made it home, and I threw up whatever was left in my stomach.  I felt much better afterward.

I feel like crap.

I have an appointment with Dr. Awesome on Wednesday morning.  It cannot come soon enough.

Also, I totally forgot it was Valentine’s Day, so Gabi didn’t have any cards or candy to give out to her friends.  So to top everything off, I feel like a bad mom.  Which I know I’m not and she had a great time anyway, but I still have Mommy Guilt.

Yeah, I’m blogging about poo.

Okay, just a word of warning.  This post contains some serious TMI.  Yeah, I’m going to blog about poo.  If you don’t like it or if that squicks you out, go ahead and skip this post.  That’s okay.

So anyway, I had an appointment with Dr. Awesome this morning.  I was very pitiful.  It was pretty sad.  I am feeling like utter crap.  I’m trying to avoid the F-bomb here because I know my mom reads this, but that’s the way I’ve been feeling lately.  Horrible.

Dr. Awesome went ahead upped my zofran dosage to the full 32 mg.  Since I don’t want to wake my carcass up at night to take it, she suggested doing every 4 hours.  That’s bunching it up a lot, but that’s okay.  She also had me add in benadryl to see if that helps with the nausea.  We talked a bit about fluids.  Since I’m able to drink still, she doesn’t want to make me a pincushion just yet.  She did say to not worry so much about eating solids and mostly just worry about fluids.

So I’m worrying about fluids.  Thankfully there is a Jamba Juice a few blocks from my house.  I can still drink those.  There’s one called the Protein Berry Workout that is working out fine for me at the moment.  I have them put whey protein in there along with fiber and a daily vitamin.  So far so good.

We also talked very briefly about medical marijuana, something that is legal in California and does seem to help HGers.  I haven’t made up my mind on this yet, and I may or may not post about it if I do.  I don’t smoke pot, and I have no interest in smoking it, but if there is something there that might help then it may be worth at least thinking about.

She also wrote me off of work completely until April.

Now on to the fun part of this post.  Along with the high doses of Zofran comes an interesting… ah… side effect.  Zofran stops you from vomiting.  It stops everything from coming out of your body.  And I mean everything.  This is the part of the blog where I talk about poo, so feel free to stop reading now if you wish.

I hadn’t pooped in about a week.  Ouch.  That’s not good.  In fact, it’s so not good that when she went to do a quick ultrasound, she couldn’t see anything because I’m so full of poo.  Faaaantastic.

We talked about what I’ve been taking for the constipation issues: colace, fiber gummies, fiber boosts in my smoothies, senekot…  Time for more invasive measures she said.  Time for an enema.

So this afternoon, I made friends with Mister Fleet.  Actually, it was the Walgreens brand, but same thing.

That was an embarassing shopping trip, let me tell you!  Bless her heart, the young lady checking me out didn’t say a word or bat an eyelash.  Although maybe she did.  I was very carefully avoiding looking her in the eye, so it’s possible that I missed her reaction.

Administering it was not nearly as unpleasant as I thought it would be.  Okay, it was pretty unpleasant, but I had imagined it would be a lot worse.  The bottom line is, I was able to go.  It didn’t hurt to go.  Now I feel better.

For anyone in the throes of Zofran constipation, I really recommended this route.  Everything made it’s way out easily, quickly, and painlessly.  The worst part was administering the enema and having to have my butt up and my head down.  For an HGer, having the esophagus running downhill isn’t great.  Once it got things moving, which was pretty immediate, I didn’t have to strain and push, something else that’s hard for an HGer.  I just had to sit there and let it do its job.  It was surprisingly efficient.

I do recommended this.  If you can get over the embarrassment of actually having to buy it, it works.

Last night was the night

that I finally threw up. I was brushing my back teeth and didn’t realize how sensitive my gag reflex was.

Now, whenever I eat anything, I get a horrible taste in my mouth. It makes me not want to eat. I’m nauseated most of the time. I stayed home from work today, and tomorrow is my doctor’s appointment. I’m pretty certain she will take me off work full time.

What was I thinking doing this again?  Did I really think I could fight it off?  Well?  I can’t.  I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to drink.  I just want to crawl into a hole.  I want the bad taste to go away, but the minty smell of the gum turns my stomach.

Last night for dinner Juan made me a sandwich.  I had to force it down.  Gabi came over and kept asking for bites of my sandwich and I kept giving them to her because every bite that she took meant one less bite that I had to take.

And this isn’t even bad.  What am I going to do when it really gets serious?

Stopping to Listen

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I can’t imagine parenting without listening.

I’ll start with a confession:  I’ve never been a very good listener.  It’s something I struggle with.  I’m very much a waiting-for-my-turn-to-talk kind of person.

When my daughter, Gabi, was first born, we struggled a lot.  Nursing did not come easily to us.  I didn’t listen to her signals.  I don’t think I knew how.  Instead I listened to well-meaning nurses and pamphlets.  I fell into a lot of booby traps.  Eventually, we managed to get through the worst of it, and nursing became easier.  Time had solved many of our problems.

It was right around that time that I found out about Attachment Parenting.  It seemed to fit with my instincts so I went with it.  Intellectually, I understood the hallmarks of it.  You know, that checklist that you see sometimes: breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, etc.  I got the laundry-list down, but I still hadn’t internalized the mindset.  I still hadn’t learned to really listen.  Attachment parenting was something I did.  It wasn’t something Gabi and I did together.  She was an easy baby.  We managed to coast along for a while.

All that was about to change.

When she turned 8 months old, Gabi hit an intense wakeful period.  Suddenly, instead of cruising and just going with the easy flow, I felt like I had a problem.  I went out and bought all the books on sleep that I could find that would (supposedly) mesh with our attachment parenting ideals.  I won’t list them here.  They didn’t help.

Instead of helping, those books placed me at odds with my daughter.  I found myself mentally gearing up for battle each night.  I was determined to make this work.  And every night, despite all the “gentle” techniques that the books recommended, it just didn’t work.  I wanted very much for her to be like the fantasy babies in the books, and every night that it didn’t quite work out, I felt bad about myself.

One night I gave up.  I just gave in.  I quit.  I couldn’t hack it.  I couldn’t do the stupid pull-off without her crying.  I couldn’t set her down in her crib while she was still slightly awake without her getting upset.  I couldn’t gently settle her by rubbing her tummy.  I couldn’t do it.

I felt so bad.  I felt like a failure.

It was a few nights later that I noticed a difference:  Since I had “given up”, I didn’t feel upset and stressed anymore.  Nights had become easier.  That’s when I started looking back and trying to understand what had happened.

Our mainstream society teaches up that babies should fit into neat models.  We see it all the time in the questions people ask us: “Is she sleeping through the night yet?”  “How much does she eat?”  And the one that really curls my toes: “Is she a good baby?”

Intellectually, I knew the traditional notions of how babies should be are false.  Deep inside, I had still been struggling with it.  I realized that I had been looking for control over the situation.  I was trying to find a way to fit our daughter into our lives.  I hadn’t been listening to what she had been telling me from the beginning.

Instead of control and sleep, what I ended up with were endless battles, stress, and the feeling that I must be doing something really wrong. Ultimately, it wasn’t until I just gave up, that things started changing.

I thought that in giving up I had lost.   What had actually happened was that I let go of the need to shape her into our lives.  More importantly, I stopped thinking about my relationship with my daughter as a battle to be won or lost.  Most importantly, I started listening.

When I stopped focusing on getting her to sleep, I found myself focusing instead on her needs, listening to what she was trying to tell me in her tiny way.  The mental conversation used to go a little something like this: “Oh, no, she woke up again!  I have to get up to get ready for work at 5!  I’m going to be so tired!  I just want her to sleep!  PLEASE STOP CRYING!”  Now it was going a little more like this: “Wow, she’s really hungry.  Let’s get you fed little one.”

In really listening to her needs instead of my own frustration, I found a deep sense of peace.  Gabi, I am sure, sensed that peace, too.  Nights became easier.  Our relationship became one based on love and respect instead of conflict.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I made it through those first few months without listening to her.  How did we manage to figure out nursing when I was listening to someone telling me to dump the transitional milk I pumped because it wasn’t “real milk” yet?  How did we survive that?  I wonder what kind of a difference listening would have made in the beginning when we were struggling so much to nurse.  Would I have been able to notice her hunger cues better?  Would I have been able to help her latch more easily?  I wonder what kind of a difference it will make with this new baby.

Now that she’s a very verbal three, I can’t imagine being able to parent without stopping first to listen to her.  She’s still a pretty laid back kid, but even the most relaxed children have their moments.  Stopping, taking a deep breath, listening to what she is trying to say, instead of that voice in my head telling me that she shouldn’t be acting a certain way, seems to head off a lot of conflict before it even starts.  What kind of frustration would we be feeling with each other if I wasn’t listening to her?

With being pregnant now, listening to Gabi is more important than ever.  I want her to be able to welcome our new baby warmly, so I’m doing my best to listen to her and validate her feelings.  Even ones that might be negative.  Especially with the illness I am facing, how will I nurture her through it if I’m not listening to her?  I think, with out relationship of trust and respect that we will get through it.  It will be hard, but we can do it if I take the time to listen.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

Monday Blues

It’s Monday, and the week is off to an inauspicious start.  Feeling slightly worse every day.  I imagine after this week my doctor will write me out of work completely.  For the time being, my office has said that my half-days will need to come out of sick time.  Whatever.  It’s only 5 days.  I don’t really care at this point.  I’m just looking forward to being out.  The smells of people heating their lunch were brutal today.  The smell of the microwaved air was pretty horrifying.

I managed to eat a really good lunch today, but I’m paying for it right now.  It was some of my favorite cheese enchiladas from a local Mexican restaurant.  I spent most of the morning getting ready to tie up loose ends at work.  I made new customer sheets to give to whoever is backing me up.  I don’t know what will happen to my customers, but at least I have a few days to figure it out.

The fridge smell is getting worse also.  I’m going to get out my aromatherapy oil and see if that helps.  I’ve got an old bandana of my dads, so I imagine myself walking around the house looking like I want to hold up a bank in the wild west.  Also, Gabi’s smell hit me weird for a few hours yesterday, which I found to be very upsetting.  The HG is probably going to take a lot away from me for a while, but I do not want it to take my relationship with my daughter.  We do quiet things together a lot like reading, cuddling and watching movies, and so far I’m still able to nurse.  I really don’t want to give up any of that.

Tomorrow we’ll be diverging from our normal posting again.  I finally got brave enough to write a submission for the Carnival of Natural Parenting, and it was accepted!  I’m pretty excited about that.  So be sure to stay tuned for that.  There will be links to lots of other posts from other participants as well, so it should be pretty good.  For a better idea of what Natural Parenting is all about, check out the button on the right side of the screen.  It’s fun stuff.  Like anything, take what you need and leave the rest!

Thanks as always for your support.  I had a pretty blue weekend and I’m feeling pretty down again today, but it’s amazing the boost I get from you guys and from my family.  Reading your comments really helps me.  This is such an isolating illness, and maintaining the connected feeling is going to make a world of difference I think.  My sister-in-law called Sunday just to check in and chat.  She said she hadn’t seen me posting much on Facebook recently, so she was worried.  She lives overseas, but just knowing she was thinking of me made me feel so good.  I love you Carmen!  You made my day!

My Landscape is Starting to Change

Things began to shift last week.  And not for the better.  I was glad enough to have the guest post to take space up for Thursday’s post.  I felt crummy enough that I just stayed home.  I mostly laid in bed and watched a Destination Truth marathon.  And felt sorry for myself.

Friday was my appointment with Dr. Awesome.  She could tell that I was starting to feel bad.  She offered to write me out of work completely, but I’m not quite ready for that.  So she wrote me out for half-time.  So at this point, I’ll be working mornings, and then coming home in the afternoons which is when I feel the worst.  She did a quick sonogram, which was really good.  We got to see the heartbeat.  She said I was measuring at exactly 6 weeks on Friday, so it seems my math is pretty much perfect.

Here’s a picture.  The dark circle is the amniotic sac and the little blobby thing at the top is the baby.  The larger blobby part, which looks like the head to me, is actually the yolk sac, and the little squiggle next to it is the baby.  Not much to see, but it’s there and the heart is beating, so I think that means everything is official.

Baby at 6 wks

It certainly feels official.  I haven’t thrown up yet, but the nausea is settling in pretty well.  I’m having major food aversions which sucks because I’m at the point where I can still feed this thing.  As long as I keep feeding it, I can keep it at bay.  That’ll probably change at some point in the future.  The trouble is, eating just takes so much effort.  The last thing I feel like doing is putting something in my mouth.  It kind of sucks.  It will likely get a lot worse.

I complained a bit to my doctor about all the food sitting right up under my chin whenever I eat.  Reglan would be the thing to help with that, but I can’t take Reglan.  Domperidone would be another option, but they don’t sell it in the US.  You have to get it shipped from overseas.  Also, it’s something that we want to avoid if possible because it hasn’t really been studied in pregnant women.  It’s in the probably-safe-but-we’re-not-quite-sure category.  So we’re avoiding that for now, and I’m just concentrating on not letting my food spill out the top.

I know I’m not drinking enough.  If I drink when I eat, it’s bad.  But since I’m trying to snack all the time, it’s hard to know when to drink.  I need to find a way around that.  Dr. Awesome suggested putting saran wrap over the open top of the glass and poking a straw through it.  That way I won’t have to smell the water.  I really appreciate that she gets it.

My mouth tastes like week old armpit.  Which is odd because I just brushed my teeth.  I can also smell the refrigerator.  More precisely, I can smell that the air in there has been refrigerated.  The temperature of the air stinks.

And I still just wonder which day it is that I’m going to finally throw up.

My husband is being an absolute rock.  He is doing everything right now, and I really appreciate it.  He has also agreed that it’s time to hire a housekeeper, so we’ll be calling about that later in the afternoon probably.  The hope is that this will make all of our lives easier.

Guest Post: “The Answers” is Not the Answer

 [Guest Post from the webmaster of Ashli McCall's Beyond Morning Sickness website]Attention, Women with hyperemesis: You aren’t suffering enough. At least that’s the impression one might get from the author of Hyperemesis: The Answers, who has set out to victimize desperate HGers with an internet scam.

Google the word “hyperemesis” and an ad will appear at the top of the page offering a link to the “The Answers” enthusiastic webpage. Once there, HGers are instructed to prepare for what will be “the most exciting message you ever read.” The “amazing” new e-book is “Packed With Everything You Wanted To Know” about the disease, so “it’s not like any other e-book you can get or read on hyperemesis gravidarum.” It’s “laser-guided accurate information – SPECIFICALLY for Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” Testimonials from June, Jayne and Pamela of respectively Brisbane, New York and London drive home the point. And although it’s an e-book, the author supplies a picture of what this “fantastic resource of information and help” might look like if you printed it out and slapped on a smiling-baby cover:

 
What makes this book — seemingly 200-300 pages long — “such a bargain at $27″? For one, it explains “a treatment that has an 88% success rate….that in its self has to be worth it!!!!!” In addition to that, there are encouraging “feel good” stories for those who fall into the remaining 12%. The author also notes that although the research cost her $420, her charitable instincts have overcome her.

Says this Mother Theresa of HG: “I know I could charge more for this type of information, but hey, some times it is more about helping people than making money.”

But hey, sometimes it’s not.

A caring husband who was “totally lost” as he struggled with a job, three children and a wife hospitalized with HG, recently sent me the link to “The Answers.” It was New Years’ Eve and but I think his desperation had made him oblivious to the date. He asked me if I could “shed some light” on the book — Was it worth the price?

I knew I could have answered his question without downloading it, without looking at it. After seven years wandering around the frustrating HG battlefield I still don’t have “the answers.” But I feared that if I simply told him that, my weary skepticism would be no match for the exuberant certainty of the ad. The promise of quick cure was too tempting and he might well go ahead and buy it anyway just to obtain that near-surefire 88% secret treatment. So I downloaded it myself and passed it along to satisfy his curiosity.

Having done so, I will honor his request “shed some light” on The Answers. May that light be the light of a thousand suns which burn a hole through the wicked heart of the soulless demon who has chosen to monetize the misery of women battling death to save themselves and their babies.

“The Answers” is not the answer. Virtually all of the words appearing on its 26 (not 200) sloppily cobbled-together pages have been plagiarized in bulk from a few easily accessible, uncredited internet pages: Wikipedia, a FAQ page at the HER Foundation, and a handful of e-medicine sites. The 88%-effective treatment is hypnosis — and that section consists of five paragraphs cut-and-pasted from a psychology Ph.D’s July 1999 letter to the editor of American Family Physician. Here are the remaining ingredients to The Answers if you’d like to reassemble its Frankensteinian .pdf file for yourself:

Pages 1-3: Cover Page (three words), Table of Contents (see ad) and disclaimer page (three paragraphs).

Page 4: “What is it?” — Definition of Hyperemesis lifted here from MedicineNet.com.

Page 4-5: “Who Gets it?”/”What Causes it?”/”Symptoms” — lifted here from Pregnancy-info.net.

Pages 6-7: “How do I Know if it is . . . Hyperemesis”/”How Long Does it Last” — lifted from this HER Foundation FAQ page.

Page 7: “Does it Get Better” — lifted here from pregnancy.org.

Page 8: “Does it Affect My Baby” — lifted from the HER Foundation Risks & Outcome page.

Pages 10-11: “Will I Get it Again”/”People Think I’m Making it Up” — lifted from this HER Foundation FAQ page.

Pages 12-13, 15: “Treatments & Remedies”/”More Remedies” — lifted from this HER Foundation pdf file.

Page 14: “Try These Foods As Well” — lifted from this WedMD eMedicine page.

Page 16: “Ginger Tea” — lifted from this Wikipedia entry on Ginger.

Page 16: “IV Hydration” — lift from this Wikipedia entry on HG.

Pages 17-18: “Over-the-Counter Medicines”/”Prescription Medicines” — lifted from this HER Foundation pdf file.

Pages 19-20: “Hypnosis in the Treatment of HG” — see 1999 letter to the editor linked above.

Pages 21-22: “Feel Good Stories 1″ — lifted from Mary’s HuGStory at the Angelfire HuGs Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survivors website

Pages 23-24: “Feel Good Stories 2″ — lifted from Audrey’s HuGStory at the Angelfire HuGs Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survivors website

Page 25: Online Support Groups” — a list of six websites (the HER Foundation conspicuously missing), two of them with misspelled urls:

http://www.pregnacy-info.net (sic)
http://www.hyperemesis.org
http://www.bubhub.com.au
http://www.revolutionhealty.com/forums/preganancy (sic)
http://www.mumsnet.com
http://www.righthealth.com/topic/hyperemesis

The only “original” material appears on pages 9 and 26. Both pages are replete with sentence fragments, run-on sentences and other grammatical embarrassments. Page 9 covers gender prediction, heredity and miscarriages in under 150 words (“There is to [sic] many other factors involved to say that a miscarriage happened because the women [sic] had hyperemesis”). Page 26 is a “final note,” evidentally aimed at discouraging refunds (“Even if you found one piece of information that got a result or gave your piece [sic] of mind or a better understanding, I am sure that itself is worth its weigh [sic] in gold”). The author of “The Answers,” in case you are not so discouraged, is never identified anywhere in the e-book or the ad.

The pitch for “The Answers” varies slightly from week to week. When I first accessed the ad, the author was cautioning that “Once I get a few more testimonials from satisfied customers, the price will increase.” Sometimes it cost $30; sometimes $27, sometimes $17. In one version the author’s research cost her $900 rather than $420.

To top it off, “The Answers” scam is part of a much larger fraud. Google the phrase “laser-guided accurate information,” or “the most exciting message you ever read” and you’ll find a plethora of similar ads for plagiarized e-books on a wide variety of topics. Ending Excessive Sweating. How to Train Your Wife. Raising a Happy and Healthy Bearded Dragon. They all contain one permutation or another of the same set boilerplate come-on lines. And the phony testimonials and the claims about the cost of the research. Apparently there’s some outfit that licenses its cookie-cutter marketing plan to anyone willing to promote their dubious wares through Google ads.

After I explained nature of “The Answers” to this blog’s gracious owner, she understandably expressed the desire to “take them down.” For copyright infringement, an ISP Terms-of-Service violation, whatever legal or other action might stop the cruel exploitation of her HG sisters. My initial reaction was the same. After some consideration, however, my lawyer-brain concluded that such a course of action would be futile. The perpetrator appears to be in England or another country. There are myriad issues regarding fair use and what information is in the public domain. While I do not doubt that some meritorious claim could be asserted, the costs of litigation are prohibitive. And given that there are the countless cancers cures swimming around the internet without the slightest challenge, it is doubtful that any ISP or prosecuting authority would be interested in pursuing action on behalf of the victims of a disease that much of even the medical community ignores.

So what is the answer to The Answer? Prayer, and love. Pray that in the near future, this blog expose will pop up in every hyperemesis search that summons that deceptive Google ad. Pray that the women who search will click on this link rather than that one. Pray that they will join this community of HG friends. Love them when they do. Love them by sharing your heart, your knowledge, and every legitimate resource at your disposal to help them defeat a disease that might rob them of so much more than mere money.

Throwing an Itty Bitty Pity Party

I’m sorry.  I know it’s not right of me to whine, but I just really don’t feel good today.  A couple of times, I thought today was surely going to be the day I would toss my cookies for the first time.  I don’t feel that bad, so I feel guilty about whining.  I’m not bleeding from my damn eyeballs.  But you know what?  I sure don’t feel good. 

I haven’t taken zofran today.  I have two different ones.  I took the generic from CVS last night and I was up late with my heart racing, which was weird and a little scary.  The generics from Walgreens haven’t ever done that to me.  Now, do I know it was the Zofran that did it?  No.  But it was pretty weird.  Right now at my office, all I have are the CVS generics.  When I get home, Zofran will be the first thing to cross my lips.

I had a craving today for Nacho Cheese Doritos.  I mistakenly indulged that craving and ate 2 bags.  It was good.  3 hours later though, and I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t.  I have this really weird and unpleasant taste in my mouth.

I just don’t feel good.  The day is dragging.  I’m bored at work, even though I have so much filing I need to do.  I just can’t muster the will to bend and lift and reach and carry.

I just want to go home and lay down.

My stance on abortion rights

Hi y’all.  I just wanted to take a moment here briefly.  I have gotten some attention from outside sources recently, which is really exciting, but also really scary in that it makes me realize what a huge responsibility I hold to those who are reading who may be in the difficult place.  I am so excited to be able to share what I know with others, and I’m excited to blog about my pregnancy as a journaling tool for myself and to help educate other people.  I hope to create a resource for HG sufferers, their friends and family, and also to make this a place where those same people can feel safe.

Because of this I feel like I need to be clear where I stand on a few issues.

I welcome all to my blog. I value the experiences of my HG sisters, and if you feel moved to tell your story, I welcome that, too. I don’t know any of you in real life, but your experiences and beliefs are valid and precious to me.

I believe that the choice to terminate a pregnancy should be between a woman and her doctor.  I only had a moderate case of HG last time around, but the desperation and hopelessness I felt was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  I would never judge someone who could not go through it. I understand what it’s like to be afraid pregnancy will kill you. It’s my understanding that many women are told they have no choice but to terminate a very wanted pregnancy because they were not given the same level of care and treatment that I received.   I hope to be the voice out there that tells you there is another option. However, I very much want to make sure that it never sounds like the only valid option is to continue a pregnancy you just can’t handle anymore.

I want this blog to be a place of openness and healing. I will not judge anyone for their views. I do not intend to post further on the issue of abortion rights, nor will I welcome political debate here. Any debate will be deleted, in order to maintain this blog as a safe space for hurting women. That hasn’t happened so far, but I just wanted to make that really clear. I’m not interested in debate. I’m getting attention from different sources now, and I wanted to take a moment and make it clear where I stand.

I will never, ever judge or cast aspersions on any woman who terminates a pregnancy for any reason. This has not happened yet, but I want to pro-actively say that I absolutely will not tolerate anyone casting aspersions in the comments section of my blog about any HGers who have to make that terrible choice. I feel absolutely confident that my regular readers would never do this, but for anyone stumbling across this blog for the first time, I say this: Do not mess with my HG sisters. I will not tolerate it.