Morning Sickness Times Ten – Brianna’s Story
Many pregnant women have morning sickness but for some, symptoms will be much more intense and they’ll experience severe, persistent nausea and vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. This is a rare disorder known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Brianna was a healthy, young mom of a very active 2-½ year old boy when she began experiencing extreme nausea and vomiting while traveling. She attributed it to the nervousness she was feeling due to meeting her birth mother for the first time. Or, she thought she may have a bad stomach bug.
However, the vomiting continued even after she returned home. She did the math and decided to take a pregnancy test. The results were positive. She made a doctor’s appointment to confirm her findings and sure enough, she was pregnant. While she was there, she asked her doctor if there was any medication she could take for her symptoms so she was prescribed an anti-nausea medicine.
Brianna also learned that she had a hemorrhage between her placenta and uterine wall. Thankfully, though, she was told this condition often resolves itself.
While on vacation the following week with her husband, Brianna was still getting sick, even though the medicine did help some. When she returned, she went to her follow-up appointment she was told that the hemorrhage was gone. She also discussed her nausea again with her doctor. Since the medicine was helping, if not completely getting rid of it, she continued to take it.
At this point, Brianna resolved herself to the fact that this was just normal morning sickness and would probably go away at around 12 weeks. She was wrong!
“I Vomited 30 Times in One Day”
Brianna spent the first half of her pregnancy so sick that she had to stay in bed most of the time. A normal day for her was to vomit 20 times.
“Just the slightest movement of my head would sometimes cause me to get violently sick. It was miserable,” Brianna shared.
Brianna’s husband is in the National Guard and would often be gone for a week at a time, so she had to rely on family to help take care of her son.
During this time, Brianna would end up in the emergency room for dehydration about once a week because she often couldn’t even keep liquids down.
At about 20 weeks into her pregnancy, Brianna vomited 30 times, leading her to become severely dehydrated. She was admitted to the hospital.
Diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
The Cherokee Women’s doctor that was on call that night attended to Brianna. She disclosed to him just how sick she had been. He reviewed her medical history and determined that she did indeed have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.
While morning sickness occurs in 70-80% of pregnant women, hyperemesis gravidarum only occurs in less than .5-2% of pregnant women. And while morning sickness often fades by the end of the first trimester, hyperemesis gravidarum usually lasts longer. It’s a temporary condition for which there’s no cure, but there are ways to manage it.
Brianna recalls her visit to Cherokee Women’s Health. She says, “My doctor brought light to what I was going through. He was able to figure out a treatment plan and added some different medicine, which eventually helped. The pregnancy was still miserable, but I didn’t feel like I was dying anymore.”
Because of the new medication, Brianna was able to somewhat enjoy the rest of her pregnancy, and finally take care of her son.
Going Into Labor
Seven days before she was due, Brianna went into labor. She and her husband live a bit far from Cherokee Women’s Health and Northside Hospital Cherokee but she wanted to deliver there because of all of the physicians and advanced practice providers who had seen and helped her. However, nature had another plan. Brianna’s labor came so fast that she had to deliver closer to home.
Brianna gave birth to a beautiful healthy seven-pound baby girl, whom she and her husband named Brielle. Brielle is about to start kindergarten soon and Brianna still vividly remembers all that she went through with her pregnancy.
“I can never thank Cherokee Women’s Health enough for putting a name to what I was experiencing and treating me through it. I felt so alone before during that time, I felt like I was drowning. But once I knew what I had I began reaching out to others with the same condition. I found a Facebook group and that was a big help.”– Brianna expressing her gratitude for Cherokee Women’s Health
Help is Available
Brianna continued, “I’m telling my story so that others know that they are not alone. There are great doctors who can help and wonderful support from other women is available.”