I’m still here. Still hurling. Still spending my days laying horizontal, praying to the vomit gods that this particular wave of nausea doesn’t end in a tidal wave out my mouth.
I’m managing to keep enough food and water down that I don’t need to head back to hospital right now. Small wins!
Sometimes my spirit feels really low. I sometimes feel scared terrified about this lasting for another six months until the end of this pregnancy. I sometimes feel hopeless, miserable, depressed and anxious about how out of control my body is right now, and how little control I have of my life.
Sometimes I feel at peace. Sometimes I have enough bandwidth to gently coach myself through the hard moments “Okay, we can do this, let’s stand up and go to the bathroom now, you can do this. Okay, you’re vomiting now, that’s okay, you’re going to be okay. You’re doing great honey. I know this sucks. Yep, we can do this.”
Sometimes I don’t have enough bandwidth. Sometimes I have faith that even if it goes for another six months, we’ll be okay. Sometimes I don’t have that faith at all.
Sometimes I have to lean on Chris’ faith. I have to lean into him and cry and tell him “Just tell me that everything is going to be okay. Just give me a pep talk.”
And sometimes he finds the right words and sometimes he doesn’t. And either way, it ends up being okay.
I remember reflecting back on my first pregnancy, during my first experience of hyperemesis gravidarum. And how my prominent memory was of being so sick I couldn’t even read a book. And part of me would think “How is that even possible? Maybe I was overthinking it.”
Nope. Nope, I really wasn’t. It’s a real joy when I feel well enough to read.
With reading and writing and my usual brain facilities off on holiday somewhere, my ears seem to be the ones most able to delight in something.
These songs have been playing on repeat and bring me an enormous amount of pleasure in amidst it all:
And because this tickles my funny bones:
I’m living in a dreaming land at the moment. A hazy, soft world where the usual Leonie personality, drive, ego and identity don’t really exist. I’m too sick to talk and do do do. I’m sure this is a good lesson for a person who loves doing so much. A person like me.
So I lay. I lay, sometimes patient, sometimes bored, sometimes pissed at God.
I wait. I wait for the wave of nausea to pass so I can try to eat.
I wait for the crappiness to pass so soft tendrils of peace can find me again.
I wait for the illness to end.
And I sleep. I sleep because I am growing a whole new body in my uterus. I sleep because I’m on three different anti-vomiting medications and all of them are drowsy-making ones. I sleep because my body is tired from vomiting.
I sleep deeply, my body pinned down by the tired, liquid limbs into the mattress.
I sleep and I dream. I dream wild, vivid dreams. Dreams of the past. Dreams of hurt and pain, of all the ones that couldn’t love me the way I needed. Dreams where I finally voice: I’m angry. This wasn’t okay with me. Dreams of all the forgotten possibilities.
It’s Groundhog Day in my dreams. Where I follow the loops of my life and try out all the different options again and again.
And I come to realise:
No matter what, I would have chosen what I chose. The life I have is the life I always would have chosen. Even if it isn’t perfect. Even though it’s splendidly human.
Ultimately, they are dreams of healing. Resolving.
Sometimes I am whole and unhazy enough to see that this new little soul must have chosen me for a reason, and I chosen it. And that part of that preparation is cleaning out the decks of my body and spirit.
Sometimes I am grateful for the gentle washes of new wisdom that arrive at the shores of my soul.
About how I can accept the duality of this situation: that it is good and bad and awful and painful and enlightening all at once.
I don’t even know if this makes sense out of context, but these words from My Beloved World took my breath away with recognition:
Those things that are true at the same time.
The moments where I crouch on the shower, grovelling, searching for God beneath the cracks. Those few, glistening moments in the afternoon when my crystal sun catcher is flooded by a beam of light and cascades rainbows around my room. Feeling hopelessly alone, feeling deeply supported.
Everything is going to be okay.
So much love and gentleness,
P.S. If I can please make a request – if you have any healing suggestions, please don’t share them with me unless there is evidence that it cures hyperemesis gravidarum specifically. This isn’t traditional morning sickness. It’s a complicated and serious illness with little known cures. I understand you really want me to feel better. Me too, dearest. Thank you for your loving thoughts. xoxo
A couple of weeks ago, I shared this post on how I was doing pregnancy differently this time around and what I was doing to keep my hyperemesis gravidarum under control.
(If you don’t know what HG is – it’s supreme crazy chronic morning sickness that results in all day nausea and vomiting. It’s an awful, awful, awful illness that can be life threatening if not managed correctly.)
Anyways, at that point, I was suuuuuper excited about the fact that I’d managed to avoid hospitalisation.
Woo hoo! I was thinking. This sucks biiiig time but at least I’m not THAT bad.
And then, as hyperemesis has a tendency of doing – it got worse. Much worse.
It got bad.
As my acupuncturist said:
Hyperemesis is like a many-headed monster. You cut one head off, you think you’ve got it treated, and it grows another. It’s incredibly difficult to stay on top of.
So I ended up in emergency for hydration drips and medications three times.
And then I got admitted to hospital as an inpatient for four days. My doctor wanted me to stay in for longer but I was really missing my lovely husband and daughter and soft soft bed by that point, so we agreed for my hunky love to nurse the shit out of me, and to head back into emergency as soon as I couldn’t keep fluids down again.
Please know: I’m not that strong and positive about this. I’ve heard from a number of HG suffererers who’ve wondered how the dick I can be so positive all the time. Please let me assure you, I’m not. I’ve cried every single day for the last five weeks. I’ve felt gloomy, depressed, completely rooted, unable to keep going, wondering: what the fuck was I THINKING getting pregnant again?
It’s such a bullshit illness that’s hard to describe. It’s relentless and emancipating. As one of my Facebook tribe said “I can usually see the positive in anything, but when I was going through hyperemesis I found it difficult to find any blessing in it. I still can’t.”
I feel the same. I think it’s a ridiculous invention and really wish women didn’t have to suffer from it.
At the same time, I’m immensely grateful for many, many things:
I’m grateful that Ostara is old enough to cope with me being ill and immobile and away from home. I’m grateful that my hunky love isn’t tied up with a job out of the house, and can easily cover my absence in parenting and tending to the house. I’m grateful that Chris’ parents moved into our granny flat in March – they’ve been a huge support with looking after Starry and making me food.
I’m grateful for our house. It really is a beautiful space to be in – it’s so quiet and surrounded by green and fresh air and it’s just lovely to be here. I actually don’t mind vomiting so much when I’m outside – I feel like all the trees are leaning over me whispering in sympathy and the wind brings just the right amount of cleanse and everywhere, everything is green and fecund and alive and everything changes in a moment so it’s hard to stay stuck in misery.
I’m grateful that I live in Australia and am tended to by the amazing health care service here (all my emergency visits and hospital stay costs me zero! How amazing is that?) I’m also grateful that I don’t have to worry about money for medication – especially since one of them is kind of expensive. I am hugely grateful to the kindness and loving care and hardworking energy that those earth angels called doctors and nurses and midwives are. Those people CARE, and they make it their lives to tend to others. I was struck silent often by how amazing they are. I will never, ever grouch about taxes again. I will happily pay them with love knowing just how much of an impact they are making on so many lives on a daily basis.
I’m grateful for my business team – they really are incredible. I’m grateful that my business is set up to keep on rolling without me – still providing amazing programs and customer service to our wonderful clients. I’m grateful that even with me laying in a bed unable to move for most of a month, my business thrived (here’s the article I wrote about how to gear your biz to do the same) – and even GREW. It actually had its largest ever month after I wrote that article(!!) It completely blows my mind – it feels unimaginable to the Leonie of three years ago!
I’m grateful that I managed to be puke free for the Academy coaching call I had scheduled in. We ended up having a bloody magnificent time talking all about creating a six figure team (recording is available in the Academy). I’m grateful that I’ve had pockets of puke-free time since hyperemesis began five weeks ago. I’m especially grateful for this afternoon’s pocket of peace after a week of laying strictly horizontal to limit the voms.
And guys, one day (hopefully soon), I’ll stop talking about voms completely.
HOW GREAT WILL THAT BE?
I’m immensely, immensely grateful for modern medicine. I’m a big ole alternate-therapy loving girl, but I am absolutely not afraid at all of combining the best of Eastern, Western and hippy medicine. They are all tools in the toolbelt and they all have their place. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a bloody serious illness – if I was born a couple hundred years ago, I’d be well and truly el fuckedo right now. It can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, termination of pregnancy, organ failure and death. In fact, many biographers postulate that Charlotte Bronte (author of Jane Eyre) died from hyperemesis gravidarum in her first pregnancy. At my point of hospital admission, my body wasn’t producing enough glucose to sustain a growing baby, and my muscles were starting to break down.
I hate to think where me and wee baby would be if we didn’t have the support of modern medicine.
Most of all, I’m grateful that I still have a strong, healthy wee babe inside me. I have asked myself a million times over the last five weeks:
Do I REALLY want to be pregnant? Do I REALLY want another kid?
And the answer is this:
No, I don’t really want to be pregnant (for some women it’s a blissful experience – for me it’s a tsunami of vomit at this stage of the game). No, I don’t want to be this sick.
But I really want this child.
I love this child already. I love that it chose me. I love what its spirit feels like.
I love that Ostara has chosen this child too. I love that she talks to wee baby already, and asks to put her head on my belly so she can listen and talk to her sibling.
I love that my husband is unwavering in his belief that this child belongs to us.
And despite everything – despite it all –
Love is calling me forward.
As ancient as the beginning of time, love calls upon us to do what we could not do without.
Love asks of us great things,
so that we may be given the greatest gift of all.
I’m sending you love, peace, gentleness + kindness to where you are right now,
3.) Be powered by faith, courage, grace + self-kindness.
Work your tushy off, then take a bath, snog the ones you love, read a trashy 1800s Victorian romance novel + get to bed early. Give yourself a giant cuddle and whisper sweet nothings to yourself about how amazing you are and how totally proud you are of yourself. You GOTTA become your own cheerleader, girl. Be your own bestie.
It’s something you get to choose every moment of every day… to choose joy, to choose total adoration for yourself, to choose being your own biggest shining light.
You are doing the big work… so much huge internal work + outer transformation is happening in your world + all around the world.
It’s all going to be okay. In fact, it’s gonna be goshdarn RADIANT.