What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hyperemesis Gravidarum - my story

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV).

It's very hard for others to understand what is going on with me.  Everyone has a recommendation, cure, suggestion or worse thinks you are causing this to happen or aren't trying hard enough to stop it.  It's hard.  I feel very alone.  I don't feel like anyone understands what I'm going through.  In my latest hospital stay, they gave me more information on my condition.  I learned that HG only occurs in 0.5 - 2% of pregnancies.  I am worried that I'm close to being depressed.  I can't look at food, talk about food, hear any food words or smell food without getting sick.  I hate that everyone around me is eating all the time.  I don't remember what it is like to like food. I don't feel like I'm being a good wife or mom due to my illness.  I don't have the strength to do everyday chores.  Even if I did, the more active I am, the sicker I get.  I'm only 9 weeks and have already lost 15lbs.  I want people to think I am doing all that I can to help this - so I eat very bland foods (this way there is no strong taste when it comes back up) like plain oatmeal, dry toast, unseasoned mashed potatoes...etc.  These foods also don't choke you 2nd time around :( .  I've learned that drinking pedialite or gatorade helps a little better than water with my electrolite levels, which are usually very low.

Maybe I should explain the difference between morning sickness and HG so you have a better idea of what it is:

Morning sickness:
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting
Nausea usually subsides at 12 weeks or soon after
Vomiting that does not cause sever dehydration
Vomiting that still allows you to keep some food down
Usually does not interfere with daily activities

Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that does not subside
Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down
Food adversions
Weight loss of 5% or more of your pre-pregnancy weight
Decrease in urination
Headaches / confusion / fainting / jaundice / extreme fatigue
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart rate
Secondary anxiety/depression

I  have all of the following symptoms from the above list:
Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that does not subside
Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down
Food adversions
Weight loss of 5% or more of your pre-pregnancy weight
Decrease in urination
Headaches / extreme fatigue
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart rate
Secondary anxiety/depression

It's hard for my OB to fully understand the disease.  They are not sure what the cause of this is.  It's thought to be due to hormone levels increasing so rapidly.  I don't understand why it targets certain people.  I would like to think there will be a cure one day.  The worse stomach flu experience you have ever had doesn't even compare to the pain and sickness associated with HG.  This is my second pregnancy and I was hoping it would be different than my first.  I lost 25lbs with my first. My blood pressure was 77/44 , 84/56 , and  87/61.   I just got released from the hospital yesterday after begging my doctor to send me home after 3 days.  I'm taking a combination of two nausea medications and my goal is to stay hydrated.  After researching this disease, I know being in the hospital will not help subside the nausea.  It's not going anywhere.  My doctor wanted to keep me until I was no longer nauseous.  I can't stay in the hospital for weeks or months.  I have a family and a job.  I can't afford to not work.

I worry about losing my job.  I worry about abandoning people around me that I care about.  I don't want to whine or be negative so I don't call anyone or answer my phone.  I cry all the time hoping to find someone who understands what I'm going through.  I hope writing my story down will maybe help someone else not feel so alone.  There are many other mothers in the same boat and I like to read their stories as support:

Good luck to any mom dealing with HG! Hugs!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

love isn't enough

My mom was in the hospital when her mother passed away.  She was in the hospital when 4 other family members passed away.  She thinks it's a conspiracy sort of.  She thinks the family doesn't want her to attend these funerals and so we have her locked up.  Of course, this is not true.  She's missed a lot during hospitalizations...birthdays, funerals and holidays....etc.  My great aunt that my mother was caring for is sick and not given long to live.  We tried to avoid hospitalization on my mother so that she could attend the funeral.  Since the doctors have been wrong about our aunt passing so far, we just couldn't wait any longer.  My mother has progressively gotten worse daily.  This is the worst she's ever been, I believe.  She always has lack of sleep, pressured speech, racing thoughts....normal manic bipolar symptoms.  but this time, she also has been spending lots of money that she doesn't necessarily have to spend and paranoia.  She told me she thinks she's third on a hit list and that drug lords are after her.  She thinks the FBI is aware of it and they are following her to protect her.  She always has fixated on things from the past and added a few new ones.  She tends to hate those that she is usually the closest to. 
It was a Friday around noon and too late to try and get a 96 hour hold through the courts.  The weekend got more and more worrisome.  I hadn't heard from her and was worried...had no idea if she was okay.  When she finally contacted me, she was very irate and belligerent.  She was easily angered and there wasn't much that would calm her.  She hadn't been sleeping and was going from a very high manic state to a depressed state crying.  She said she just wanted to sit in her car and die. Worried, I called the police to do a well check on her.  I called her back and the police took the phone from her.  They asked me to meet them at the ER. I went immediately.  She thought she was there for a medical check up.  Her chest her and she thought she was having heart problems along with a few other physical issues.  The doctor issued a 96 hour hold with affidavits from me and an aunt.  It was a long 4 days...they mentioned they did not usually request for 21 day holds.  So...we are we go again. Seriously, what does it take to get someone help?  Miraculously, a new doctor came into the picture.  He had treated her a couple times previously and was familiar with her case.  He requested a 21 day hold as he felt she was a threat to herself if not treated with medication under the right supervision. for my mom.  Ya see, if she goes too long without medication,  there is a point where there can be no return. She may be unable to be return to daily life and have to be institutionalized.  This is my greatest fear.  This is why I try so hard and care so much.  People ask me all the time why don't you just let it be...what's the worst that can happen?  There are many bad things that can happen if left untreated. She is my mother.  I love her.  This is what you should do.  She helps people every single day of her life. Many lives benefit from this one person.  She deserves to get better.
One thing I want to work on when she is better this time is getting her to agree to help.  She needs to see a psychiatrist weekly and work on many underlying issues.  She needs to have her meds regulated by a professional.  I fully believe if she did this and worked with a psychiatrist, she could go a long time without an episode.  The only reason she stops taking her medication is because of the side effects.  For the most part, she admits she likes the way it helps her sleep and stops the racing thoughts.  She doesn't like sleeping for 14 hours (unwakable) and doesn't like gaining 50 plus pounds.  Who would?! 
On another younger sister lost custody of the two kids she had in her care.  I don't know what she needs, but definitely help that I cannot provide.  Maybe it's a disability, a mental illness or maybe she needs rehab.  I hope to stop this cycle in my family.  I want to go back to the days when we all got together for Thanksgiving and Christmas and family vacations.  Those were the good ole days.  Those are the memories I hope to make with my family and stop the cycle. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I met my husband my junior year. I ran into him at a party my senior year.  He asked me for my number.  I wrote it in the snow on his truck window.  I was in love quickly.  His family took me in like one of their own.  It was great timing actually because I felt as though I didn't have any family.  We had troubles here and there, just as any relationship.  It's hard "growing up" together.  We finally got on track in 2005.
My mom was sick again and in the hospital for her bipolar disorder.  This was a rough one.  She hid from everyone -- wouldn't stay on the phone long for fear of being listened to or followed.  She stayed here and there in hotels and such.  I worked some with her psychiatrist on how to handle her and deal with the illness.  This was a very enlightening year for me.  I learned a lot.  It's very hard to get someone help that doesn't want it.  One person has to petition for a 96 hour detention for evaluation.  They must have a witness also complete an affidavit.  You have to state reasons for the detention request - explain why the individual would be a harm to herself or others.  To a lot of courts/police/doctors...etc, this only means that the person is suicidal and/or homicidal.  This is not the law but it's hard to argue that with the law :).  My uncle petitioned for the detention hold and I witnessed it.  This meant I had to testify in court against my mom - after the 96 hour hold. It didn't matter what I said, to her it was wrong.  I know she couldn't see that I was trying to help her but she hated me for it.  She said some very unfeeling things to me and it really hurt to hear. 

The hospital requested for an additional hold for up to, but not to exceed, 21 days - not including holidays and weekends.  I believe she went for an additional 90 day hold after that also.  The state had her put in a group home and wanted to institutionalize her.  Luckily, that was avoided.  She did good after that.  She did not get sick for 5 years - the longest span I remember.  Every year, I was prepared for her to be sick but she did sooo great.
My sister had been asking me for a couple years to take custody of her oldest son.  Summer of 2005, Steve and I agreed this was in his best interest and we were at a point in our lives when we were ready to settle down and take care of the little guy.  That fall, HE proposed!  Yeah!  I was sooo excited.  We married a year later on "the sweetest day".  It was definitely a GREAT wedding.  All of our family and closest friends were there.  I couldn't have been happier. We finalized custody of my nephew and were a happy little family.
In 2008, Steve and I found out we were going to be parents.  Our son was born in the summer of 2009.  This brought a new meaning to being a mother.  I love my lil guy so much my heart aches.  Thanks to God for this huge blessing and addition to our family.  This gift made me appreciate my nephew even more.  How could a mother give birth to a child and not feel what I was feeling for my son?  How could a parent not want more for their child - more than what they had.  How could they not want to protect them?  I can't even go on...I'm crying so hard I can not even read what I'm typing.  This is my sister and I love her dearly.  I want better for her.  I want her to get help.  I want her to LOVE again.  I want her to want more for her life.  But, she's an adult and makes her own decisions.  If I can help her son, the way my grandmother helped me...I can sleep good at night, knowing he has a chance in life.
My mother was hospitalized in 2010 twice.  No one placed a 96 hour hold on her - she was taken in by the police.  She went a long time without sleeping this time.  She fell asleep driving - her car went off the road and hit a tree.  Part of being manic is little need for sleep.  When she was released, there were certain conditions put on the release agreement.  She was required to take her meds and if they were notified she was having a manic episode or wasn't taking her meds, they could pick her up.  That agreement only was through the end of the year.  She did really good.  The medicine she was on had side effects that didn't agree with my mom.  She gained lots of weight and slept 12-14 hours a day.  This wasn't very practical.  She tells me her doctor halved her dosage and then she halved that.  I doubt that is correct but none the less, she eventually stopped taking the medicine prescribed.  She was caring for her aunt who was quite ill.  This was 24 hour work.  The medicine puts her in a deep sleep and she couldn't properly care for her aunt.  Although, I believe this was too much for her to handle, this is typical for my mom.  She cares for anyone that needs it.  She is always there for people, even when noone else is.  She is the person that picks up a stranger walking in the rain - gives shelter to a homeless person - takes those who can't drive to the store, pharmacy, dr appts...etc - pays for someones bills so their lights or water don't get shut off.  She could have $5 in her pocket and would give it to you if you asked.  She has a heart larger than life.  This is hugely why I forgave her for what I felt was a betrayal against me and my sisters.  Although I would do differently, she felt like my father needed help and she was the only one there for him.  To this day, she helps him when he calls.  I'm numb to it mostly.  I don't want any part of it...I don't visit when he's around or call on the phone.  This works for me.  But, I also understand why she does it - because she'd do it for anyone if they asked.  She always finds something good in a person.  She is very forgiving (when she's not sick, lol). She is non judging and  too often excuses why people are in a certain predicament or position.  We argue a lot because I think some (not all) people have put themselves in a bad situation and they take advantage of her generosity.
Anyway...she was just recently picked up out of state for trespassing.  A public place asked her to leave multiple times and when she refused (in a manic state), they called the police.  She was arrested. I only found out because I was calling around to places she had been and got ahold of the manager that placed charges against her.  He told me where to call to find her.  This particular police department was very unhelpful.  I tried to get her help that she needed but they were uncooperative.  My uncle went to her court hearing where the charges were dropped and he wanted to bring her home.  She refused and it escalated to calling the highway patrol.  They decided to take her to a local hospital for an evaluation for a 72 hour detention (same as our 96 hour hold).  They admitted her and then also held her after that on a "up to 90 day hold".  She was released after a total of about 4 weeks.  She was better but not 100%.  Her mania got worse by the weeks.  Unfortunately, we cannot request that she get help until she poses a threat to herself or others.  It's so hard to see your mom getting worse and worse by the day...turning into something you don't recognize.  Sometimes, it's as though she has lost her spirit - her eyes become empty and sad.  In November, my uncle petitioned for another 96 hour hold and I also filled out the affidavit/witness form.  She was located by local police and they tried to pull her over.  She did not stop.  She says she feared it was "the bad cop" she disliked.  The ended up using spike strips to stop the car.  They asked her to get out of the car but the door was broke (according to her) so they broke it to get her out of the car.  According to her, she exited through the passenger side.  According to others, they pulled her out through the window?  She was taken to the jail overnight and transferred to the closest hospital with an open bed.  She was only held for the 96hours and then agreed to sign herself in until the dr got back from vacation for an evaluation.  She signed out AMA (against medical advice).  I've learned that the dr could have requested another 96 hour hold or could have went for a 21 day hold.  He did not.  Of course, she did not improve during the stay there and at this point, I was emotionally exhausted.  During these two hospitalizations, I called everyone you can imagine for help.  The crisis hotline, our state representative, the state health department and many others.  There isn't much you can do without having guardianship on her.  All I wanted to do was get my mom help but it's so hard to find "the right people" that care.  All the people with the authority to do something...won't.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

losing my angels

We lived with my grandma for a couple years when my older sister turned 17.  She was of age to make her own decision on where to live.  She wanted to go back to the school she attended her whole life for her senior year and graduate with her friends.  It was not long after that when my younger sister wanted to go home to my mothers also.  The state put her back in my mothers custody.  I asked to stay with my grandparents.  I really disliked my mother at this time.  I felt betrayed by her.  I felt like she chose "him" over us.  I didn't feel loved by her at all.  My grandparents filled the parent void in my life.  I sort of always clung to my grandma, I guess.
My mother tells me she wanted a boy, girl and 2 more boys.  Her gift from god was a boy, girl and 2 more girls.  She told me I was a "mistake".  Ya see, she's a very literal kind of person.  She says things that are "unfeeling" without realizing it, I hope.  She told me the electric company was supposed to shut her phone off at midnight one night.  She was leaving the next morning to return to MO.  They didn't shut it off and my father called her 2 hours before she was supposed to leave.  He begged her not to leave, we know she went...and I was conceived.  This could be looked at as God's plan for my life.  She sees it as his mistake - that word never stops hurting no matter how many times I hear the story. When I was born, she wanted to name me Amanda Lynn but was told my uncle would call me mandolin so she let my father and grandmother name me.  I was named Amanda Lee (after my grandmother).  When I was two, I went to stay with my grandma for a while - don't remember so not sure how long.  When I was 8, my grandma took me to Europe to see my aunt and cousin (A Blast!) but that is something that will always be held over my head because my mother speculates my sister's troubles are a lot due to my grandma playing favorites with me.  I do feel I was a "favorite" as hard as that is to admit - on both sides.  Maybe because I was easy...I was always well behaved and grades came easy to me.  My grandma thought it was important to go to school, read and learn as much as you can.  My sister hated school and misbehaved a lot.  Maybe it's a catch twenty-two?  I don't know but I feel guilty for something I had no control over.
My mother used to say my older sister was "pretty", I was "beautiful" and my younger sister was "cute".  How is labeling your children based on physical appearance helpful for their self esteem?
Anyway, my grandma and I were always close.  It didn't help my mother and I's relationship out at all, with me living with my grandma.  I wouldn't take it back for anything though.  She helped make me who I am today.  When I was 15, my grandmother became very and out of the hospital and dialysis treatments.  She was exhausted.  She was tired of "not living".  My mother was in the hospital getting treatment for her bipolar disorder again.  I remember her coming to the hospital in shackles.  She was able to see her mom before she passed, although not the ideal situation.  My grandma died 2 weeks after I turned 16. My family fought hard for my mom to be able to attend the funeral but she got there after the casket was already closed.  She sat alone in the funeral home.  I don't even know where I was - I don't remember being in there.  My cousin and I were in a separate room, I believe.
I was angry and sad. I was scared.  I didn't know what to do or what would happen to me.  I still had two years left of school.  My grandpa and I decided I would stay with him.  We were lonely and felt abandoned...afterall, she was our glue.  It seemed like everyone came into our home and took "things".  My grandma had just passed - why did anyone care about these possessions?  Didn't they realize we still lived there?  As an adult, I've been told, they were scared when my grandpa passed, his children would not split the "stuff" properly.  I understand everyone deals with things differently but that's just not the way I would've liked it to be done.
My grandpa and I became very close over the next couple years...I learned stuff about him I never knew.  He was sweet and good to me.  Unfortunately, I think, his heart was broken and couldn't go on.  He woke me up at 2am and asked me to drive him to the hospital.  I was terrified...he couldn't hardly breathe. I called my aunt who wasn't far to come over, after calling 911.  He asked me to get his wallet and shoes and socks.  I put them on for him.   He told me he couldn't breathe and needed to lie down.  He stopped breathing right there in front of me, in the living room floor.  My aunt had just pulled up.  I ran outside screaming...what do we do?  I told her we needed to do cpr.  She didn't know how so I told her I'd do the chest if she breathed in his mouth.  We did it!  He started breathing again.  The paramedics arrived.  The took him in the ambulance.  It was raining terrible.  We couldn't hardly see the road.  When we got to the hospital, the dr came out and shook his head.  He didn't make it.  We yelled and I even remember hitting him.  He said they did everything they could.  It was too hard to believe and we just had to see him for ourselves.  They let us go back and say our good-byes.  Of course, he was already gone by then. We kissed him on the cheek and went home. I was pretty lost after that.  One of my friends was very good to me and stayed by my side every day and night.  He passed away the week prior to my senior year starting.

My mother went through a depression during my junior year.  She literally didn't move from her couch unless she had to go to the restroom.  Sometimes she would get up and eat half a bologna sandwhich or take a drink of Dr. Pepper.  My mother took my sister out of school.  I hated to visit because my mom would just sleep and not socialize with me.  I didn't understand it and it would make me angry.  My sister was in and out of trouble.  She said she wanted to get pregnant so that she had someone all to herself that would love her.  She made her dream come true when she was 18, with a 9th grade education.  She was in no shape to take care of another person.  My mom was back in the hospital to treat her depression.  After that stay, we began working on our relationship and building it back.
I met the boy that would one day be my husband - my senior year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

dealing with the system

okay, so, I'm starting this blog because I'm frustrated with the system.  It's a long story but I'm going to start way back.  My mother is bipolar - manic depressive.  She was diagnosed in 1986.  My only memory from that was being at my aunt and uncles for Christmas that year. I was just told my mom was sick but I didn't understand why or what was going on. My mom had just gotten divorced from my father about a year earlier - I think. We had also returned to Missouri from living in Colorado a little less than a year before her first hospitalization.
My mom said she saw a lightning bolt go off in her brain and that God told her "The bride groom is coming".  She also remembers being in the car and yelling for my grandmother to "Stop the car because her angel was dead" (me).  They woke me up to find I had merely just fallen asleep. She also now states that she had a nervous breakdown and was given medicine by one of my aunts (prescribed for my uncle who has also been diagnosed bipolar).  My mother thinks this started her chemical imbalance which led to the bipolar disorder.

I don't remember the details correctly or the dates but my brother had gone to live with my grandmother.  My father molested my older sister (not his daughter).  My parents were divorced.  My father had visitation rights with my younger sister and I.  My father molested / touched me inappropriately.  I was supposed to visit him for Christmas but hid because I was scared to go.  My younger sister went instead.  She was molested that night.  I remember answering the phone to her crying out for our mother.  I ran and got my mom.  She took the call and quickly put me in the car with her.  We drove to my fathers house.  I stayed in the car and my sister ran out after my mother went in.  My mother came out soon after and drove straight to the police station.  My father was not allowed to be within a certain area (100ft or something) of us.  He came over many times when my mom wasn't home.  We would all 3 hide in a bedroom or sneak out the back door.  He would yell at us and threaten us.  One night my mom let him come over.  She was doing laundry - folding whites.  There was a laundry basket full of folded socks...and we played tag with them.  I admit it was fun but it was wrong for him to be there and we were so young and innocent.  What could we do?  The next day at school (5th grade), they called my name over the intercom to report to the office.  I saw a man and woman in dress suits.  Unfortunately, I was familiar with the "state people" and knew exactly who they were. I walked into the office and they told me I must go with them.  I asked them where we were going and they told me they needed to talk to me and my sisters.  I asked if they would take us home to our mom and they said yes, after we talked.  My younger sister was already in the car.  We drove to the high school where the man and woman exited the car.  The doors were child lock so we couldn't get out.  I tried yelling to my older sister not to get in the car.  Of course, she did and this is when I learned she called them.
We drove down the highway, right passed our another town close by.  We were put into a child detention center for the weekend.  That was scary...the kids in there were very troubled and we were shy and kept to ourselves.  They allowed us to share one room so we felt more safe.  They gave us a tour and let us help cook the meals.  On Sunday, we were placed in a foster home with a loving family of 5.  The couple had 3 girls of their own and now had us 3 girls also.  We really liked it there.  Their oldest daughter was my age and we were in the same grade.  Our foster mother was the cheer coach and got me on the squad.  We were there for a few months.  Having 6 girls was difficult and we were placed in another home temporarily...that lasted one weekend.  They found another home that would take all 3 of us.  They had two boys but no kids living in the home.  That was a strange home.  The took pretty good care of us and I think they loved us but again, it was too hard for them to keep all 3 of us.  They couldn't find a home that would take all of us so we went to court and were going to have to be split up.  My grandmother asked my mom if she would allow us to live with her so that we could stay together.  My mom agreed - but now regrets that decision somewhat. We have now been gone from our home with our mother for about 9 months.

*too much for today...cya tomorrow.