Monday, January 30, 2017

A Final Update

A Final Update

Well, I should probably give an update now that I'm nearing the end. It's interesting to me that while this has been my easiest pregnancy in terms of sickness management, it's been my hardest pregnancy over all. Between extreme fatigue, excessive weight gain (for me), and chronic hip/pelvic floor pain on top of the nausea, it just feels like there's not been a break! I don't know if it's because this is a boy-pregnancy or what, but oh man. It's just. been. hard.

However, hard doesn't necessarily mean bad. I don't like that I was so exhausted for so long - but I learned valuable lessons in the art of self-care (and got to do a ton of enjoyable reading and art). I don't like all the weight, it's so uncomfortable - but I have a new perspective and appreciation, and my body knows what it's doing; I'm not unhealthy, just...different. I don't like the chronic pain, but I've met and have been able to work with some incredible physical therapists that are more like friends than practitioners. So, everything has had something good come from it all along.

So, what's been happening since my last update? I was just shy of halfway through in my last post. I was slowly weaning off the unison and taking CBD oil from Sweet Medicament twice a day. Somewhere in the early 20 weeks I decided to try some Plexus products for a couple of reasons - intestinal pain/health, and low blood sugar. I'd seen testimony of these products from a few friends and had been curious for about a year. I finally decided to try them and they made a big difference - both in my nausea and my intestinal pain (the latter of which was unrelated to pregnancy and had started a year prior). [Note: I do not sell these. I do not benefit in anyway in mentioning these products. Do your own research.]   I was particularly interested in trying their "Slim" pink drink. It's typically marketed as a weight loss supplement for diabetics in particular, but that's not exactly all it does. On the whole it balances blood sugar (so yeah, if you're diabetic it helps lower/stabilize it, but you're hypoglycemic it's going to raise/stabilize your blood sugar). And I definitely felt an immediate difference both in my nausea and in my constant need to eat (to keep nausea at bay). Plus, it tastes pretty good. So my morning routine became - wake up, morning wretch, take meds, lie still for a bit, take drink Slim. But I was still pretty exhausted. Going on walks every day helped a little bit, but not enough to feel fully functional.

The immediate morning retching lasted longer than in my previous pregnancy, but overall I've thrown up way less. I haven't wretched since about the middle of the 2nd trimester, and I don't even recall the last time I threw up actual food. And there hasn't been a single day that I was unable to keep down food and water (I recall a full weekend during the 3rd trimester in both prior pregnancies where I couldn't keep anything down.) For this I am so thankful.

I was slowly decreasing my Unisom and was down to 1/4th tablet twice a day along with CBD and Slim drink in the am. Around 28 weeks, I think, we had a busy two days in a row. At bedtime the first night I realized I'd forgotten my evening meds, but I wasn't nauseous, so I opted to not take them and see how the morning felt. Again I felt fine in the morning and headed off to the busiest day I'd had since the beginning of pregnancy...and I still felt great I decided it was a good time to wean. I expected I'd feel nauseous on day three, when the meds were fully out of my system, and I did. But it wasn't unbearable. I did it! I weaned off all anti-nauseas and have been off them ever since!!

I don't remember when I stopped the CBD. Both the CBD and the Plexus Slim are expensive, so I eventually decided to take whichever one seemed to make the biggest difference. I ran out of CBD at some point and it became clear then that the Slim drink was just as effective all by itself. So that is currently all I am taking.

Am I still nauseous? Yeah, sometimes. I've run out of the Slim a few times and I can tell a huge difference. Some mornings I still wake up feeling nauseous. And, of course, I have to keep up with my water intake. But mostly it's only first thing in the morning that it's noticeable.

The energy!! This was perhaps the most frustrating aspect. Even in my last pregnancy while I was sicker for longer, at the very least I still had ENERGY. I could go on walks, play with my toddler, read books to my toddler, clean my house, do art projects - heck! I made my own maternity/Babywearing winter coat while I was still sick with her! But not this time. Again - boy-pregnancy-related? I don't know. BUT! At 34 weeks, two days before my husband needed to leave for a 10 day business trip, my body turned a corner. Suddenly I had energy. Suddenly the aversions were gone. Suddenly I could cook and eat it, too (which never happened in prior pregnancies). Suddenly I could clean. Suddenly I just felt amazing...almost non-pregnant-normal. I am so, so thankful right now. My body still hurts all the time, but I *feel* SO GOOD. Food is SO GOOD. It was a long wait, but I'm very glad to have arrived. Just in time for nesting to kick in.

So...I guess that's all. I've remained very healthy. I've maintained a perfect pH at every urine test, I've kept up with hydration, I still take magnesium baths at least 3x a week, continuing to take triple Juice+ [full disclosure: I am a rep for this company], Plexus first thing every morning, still drinking Gerolsteiner waters, and Frankincense EO is the most amazing thing in my life right now (smells so amazing!!).

Thanks for keeping up with me on this journey! I have multiple posts started about some of the things I've done this pregnancy, which I plan to continue working on at some point. I'm sure I'll keep exploring, because this isn't just about me and my journey. Hopefully something in this journey will be helpful to other HG mamas. 💜

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Post I Hoped I Would Write

Well, I'm pregnant. I'm almost halfway through, in fact. I've waited and waited to write this post. I even started it twice. I titled this it just after finding out I was pregnant. My hopes were high, though I still was armed with my defenses. After a year of researching, changing eating habits, and figuring out what my body is specifically deficient in; after 6 months of triple Juice Plus, magnesium baths, and body work; after 2 months of focused emotional and spiritual healing, correcting mineral imbalances, and getting physically fit all unfolded like clockwork. 

Everything I've ever read says "you can't have pregnancy symptoms prior to implantation", but I do. Almost immediately that stomach ache started. Like there was a rock in my stomach. I had thought I was pregnant, so perhaps it was all in my head. A negative test changed that for me, yet the stomach upset continued with added heartburn. Maybe it was a weird stomach bug, I thought. Very confused, I continued on correcting my mineral imbalances. 

Then, by complete surprise, we got a positive pregnancy test. I guess I had tested too early (though I tested later than when I got my first + with #2, and I'm precise with dates). From there my energy slowly decreased, my hair started falling out, and right on cue at 5 weeks, the nausea started. The all day, all night nausea. I managed this for a week, tweaking this and that to find out what would work, getting acupuncture, guided psychological trauma release from my previous pregnancies...but it didn't help. 

I was devastated. That first night that I couldn't shake the nausea, I was so sad. Do you know what it's like to stare 9 months of suffering in the face? Wondering how many IVs I'll need this time? Wondering who's going to take care of my kids so my husband can work because I can't get off the couch? Praying I could wake up and NOT wonder if food or water will stay down today? Wondering what kind of depression it's going to cause this time and how long will it last? It's a special kind of Hell. 

After that first night the devastation passed and I found hope and put on my (weak) game face. There were multiple things I still hadn't tried yet and a couple things were already in the mail to me. There were still blood tests I could have drawn. It could last a shorter duration this time. All was not lost. 

After a week of the nausea, came the sickness. I couldn't move off the couch or cook food or play or walk for more than 10 minutes. I lost what feels like 1/4th of my hair. I binged on Gilmore Girls (because what else can you do?).  I discovered if I ate constantly I was less likely to throw up, which illuminated a low blood-sugar/fast-metabolism problem. So I focused on eating (and water, of course). There was a direct correlation between amount of food in my stomach and likelihood of vomiting. I started Unisom this week as well. 

Then my Lugol's liquid iodine arrived, and I managed to keep this down with grape juice. This would kill any h. Pylori as well as support my thyroid. I can't say I noticed any improvement while on this, but it certainly didn't hurt. 

At 7 weeks what I nicknamed My Last Hope arrived in the mail: Sublingual Adrenal Extract. And it worked! :D For a day. :'( But for that one day I was off the couch and cleaning my church. I did notice that when I took the extract, my face would stop breaking out. So even now, if I notice my face breaking out in certain places (upper lip specifically, related to the liver), taking this stops it. 

For a few weeks I also took Floradix. This stopped the rapid hair loss and dizziness I was experiencing. 

But I was overwhelmed. Weeks 6-13 basically required that I sit still, watch shows, not communicate in any fashion, and eat constantly.  If I texted or facebooked, it would basically guarantee I'd throw up. If my girls cried too much or talked too loud to touched too much, I would throw up. If I talked too much or sang, I'd throw up. If I needed to burp, I'd throw up. If I was hungry, I wouldn't feel hunger, I'd just throw up. Sensory sensitivity was not something I'd experienced before. 

Eventually during the 2nd half of the first trimester I was able to start doing some art again. I started a personal series on Joy, more as motivation for myself to not give into despair. It's been a healthy exploration (though I haven't done much with it, admittedly). Then at the end of that trimester I was able to read books again (looking at words makes me too nauseous in the first trimester). Somewhere in there I started taking a Hemp Oil Supplement, and this has made a huge difference. Once I got into the 2nd trimester I found that social interactions with other adults would make me feel better for a couple of days, and by week 16 my good days were more frequent than my bad days, and I wasn't living quite so moment by moment.

So that's been the run down. But perhaps you're wondering, has anything been different? Has anything been better? Did anything even help? And the truest answer is YES. Yes, it all helped. I am better. I AM THRIVING. I had hoped to gain maybe 5 lbs the first trimester. Well, I've gained 20 so far (which is terrifying in another way, and causing other unforeseen obstacles - like my biggest maternity clothes not fitting...but I'm working through all those emotions and I've plateaued now that I'm more regulated). In my two previous pregnancies, we ate out constantly and I craved fast food and sweets. This time I couldn't stand going out. Fast food tasted terrible (except McD's fudge sundae's, those were stellar for like a week) and just thinking about sweets made me nauseous (again, except those Sundaes, haha!). Also in my previous pregnancies just the sight of vegetables would cause me to throw up, but this time I've been able to eat veggies the whole time (peas are a serious winner). My meat aversion is still a thing (but I'm okay with that - Sunwarrior shakes with coconut water, coconut milk, and Juice Plus capsules mixed in have been a stellar protein/nutrient source for me instead), but in general the aversions have been much less, and the smells far more tolerable. I have had to be very careful about energy output, as I get exhausted very easily. But I think even that is beginning to take a turn for the better. Because of the Hemp supplements, I've been able to wean off some of my Unisom. I was taking three a day, but I'm currently only taking 1/2 2x day. I'm hoping to wean off them entirely, but I'm taking it slow. I am sleeping great. I've rarely thrown up (besides the typical morning retching that is still happening). My urine tests have come back 100% perfect every time - when previously I was always very acidic and showing signs of (unhealthy) ketosis. My midwife has been impressed.

Perhaps the biggest and best difference is my anxiety. It's just not there (though I did have an anxiety attack last night, but it ended in a major emotional breakthrough instead of despair). In my previous pregnancies every vomit felt like the absolute end of the world, with visions of a starving baby. But this time, I'd just be sick and move on, and it was just what it was in that moment. I've been able to just be very much more in the moment. For the first time I haven't prayed my pregnancy would end so the misery would go away. (And yes, sadly some mothers have had to terminate their HG pregnancies to save their own lives). I've never felt connected to my children in utero, but I do with this one. This baby and I are already so close.

Biggest helps supplement/dietary-wise:
Unisom - though I'm currently weaning off this
CBD Hemp Oil - I tried two different brands, but the one linked above made an incredible difference; my nausea is almost completely gone with it
Magnesium - supplement, powder, spray, lotion, baths - all of it; helps with anxiety, restless legs, cramping/tight muscles, constipation, and many other things.
Juice Plus - without it, head aches were intolerable, lasting for days; nutrient powerhouse with little effort
Skullcap and Oat straw tea - I drink an infusion before bed to keep insomnia at bay
Adrenal Cortex serum - helped with acne, I only take a dose when I'm breaking out
Floradix - helped with hair loss and energy
Sunwarrier shakes - these helped me transition from needing to eat constantly. I mixed them with coconut water, coconut milk, and Juice Plus capsules to get good fats, proteins, and nutrients in an easy serving. My husband makes me one every night before bed so I can wake up first thing and drink it. Makes a world of difference. For a while I was drinking 3 a day, but I haven't needed to snack lately.
Valor Essential Oil - helping with some chronic sacral back pain (chiropractic isn't helping complete, and I'm waiting on a pelvic floor therapy appointment as I think it's a previous birth injury thing)
Stress Away Essential Oil - I did enjoy using this when I was really sick. I can't say it lessened it, but it was a very nice scent.
Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water - this is all I drink. Keeps me hydrated, adds minerals, and is alkaline. I get dehydrated on other waters (tap or otherwise). It's an annoying expense, but better than the alternative.
HCL - I've had very little heartburn thanks to Hcl. Turns out a lot of heartburn isn't from too much stomach acid, but from too little. I took Hcl for a few weeks in the sickest weeks, and now I typically only take it if I'm feeling the burn, which I've noticed is more likely to happen in the evening (or when eating when stressed out).
Lime Popsicles - I don't know what it is about these, but they soothe my stomach like nothing else

So that's where I'm at! We had a busy weekend cleaning, going to the Ren Fest, church, and Lunch with friends....but I'm not totally wiped out, and it's 8 pm and I'm not feeling sick, waiting for the time to take my medicine again. So thankful. It's not been easy by any means, but it's been better. And I am so thankful to have FINALLY arrived in these better days, where I can function, serve, and engage again. And I'm so so thankful for all the community support we've had with meals, and childcare, and well-wishes, prayers, cards, etc. It's been nice. Dealing with HG is always lonely, but it was far less lonely this time around.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Allergic to Pregnancy?

While researching high histamine levels and child behavior (I had a couple of cute, but wraith-y girls on my hands this spring), I read that some of the symptoms of high histamine levels involve such things as stomach upset and vomiting. Obviously, anything that talks about vomiting catches my eye these days. Did you know that some people live with an autoimmunity that causes them to have excessive amounts of histamine levels running through their bodies? For some of these people it involves not just being allergic to foods, pollen, and dust, but even allergic to their own sweat and hormones! This condition is called Histamine Intolerance. Naturally, my mind posited, "Pregnancy?"

As I continued to sit there reading about this condition it hit me: Unisom is an ANTIHISTAMINE. And it's the medicine that has worked for me (though, thankfully, I've never had to go so far as Zofran, or any others). I remember having a blood draw when my first child was a year old. It was spring and I had very mild allergy symptoms - maybe the occasional itchy eye, but nothing that disrupted life. My histamine levels were 11 on the 1-10 healthy range. I still have no idea why my histamine levels were so high, despite there being no physical manifestation of extreme allergies.

This is a fascinating (and comical) article on the science of histamine intolerance. The author says the following about why histamine intolerance occurs:
"Most cases of Histamine Intolerance are thought to be due to abnormally low levels/activity of diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme that destroys histamine.
DAO is located only in certain organs in the body: the small intestine, ascending colon, kidney, liver and placenta. Therefore, anything that causes temporary or permanent damage to any of these organs could potentially affect DAO function, particularly damage to the intestines, because that is where DAO is most active (in non-pregnant individuals). Examples include chemotherapy, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, kidney disease, liver failure, or surgery. Genetic abnormalities in DAO also play a role in certain cases of Histamine Intolerance.13)
DAO requires vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, and zinc in order to function properly, so if you are deficient in any of these, you may experience Histamine Intolerance."
Interestingly, 80% of people with histamine intolerance are women. Even more fascinating, is that the placenta produces extra DAO to keep the mother from rejecting the baby, which also tends to cause a relief of all allergy symptoms for the mother. But if you'll notice from the quote, a number of those minerals and vitamins have already been covered as playing a key role in HG prevention. Vitamin B6. Copper. Zinc. Fascinating. Also? LiverGut? It's all connected, is it not?

The article goes on to say:
"Some species of gut bacteria contain histidine decarboxylase and therefore can generate histamine from proteins in the foods we eat."
And you would believe it if I told you that h. pylori contains exactly that?  In fact, a study showed that H. pylori infection is associated with increased mucosal histamine levels as well as an expansion of the gastric ECL cell lineage, according to this abstract. It also notes that "Histidine decarboxylase (HDC) is the key enzyme for histamine production in gastric ECL cells". Hm.

This article discusses the role of histamine and DAO in pregnancy.
"Pregnancies lacking an increase of DAO activity (Dubois et al., 1977) lead to elevated plasma and urine histamine concentrations (Beaven et al., 1975). These pregnancies are at increased risk for pre-eclampsia, hyperemesis gravidarum, spontaneous and threatened abortion..."
But it doesn't have much more to say beyond that. I find the link very interesting, at any rate.

So thinking about this led me to wonder - does stress cause an increase of histamine? The answer is yes. Yes it does. I happen to know I'm a chronically stressed person. In fact, I'm so accustomed to being tense that I have not been able to relax my jaw (even in sleep) for 10 years minimum. I don't know how to function outside of a state of stress. (And guess what, this is inherited/learned behavior.) When the body is stressed, guess which minerals your body rapidly looses? Magnesium, for one. And we know the importance of magnesium with regards to HG already. Even more interesting, "a Magnesium deficit lowers the allergic reaction threshold".  Oh. Hello, Full Circle.

Well. I'm going to end with that. This has been a fascinating rabbit trail...

[10 minutes later]
...Actually I'm not going to end with that because I got nosey again. I found this fascinating article, which is part 3 in a series on Magnesium (which is probably worth the read):

"In addition to minimizing foods that can increase histamine levels in the body, it is a good idea to increase magnesium levels to help support DAO levels and reduce HDC levels.  Another nutrient that appears to be important in supporting DAO levels is Vitamin B6(5,6).  There is also evidence that vitamin B6 may help transport magnesium in to cells, possibly by forming a complex between the two(7).  As far as foods to support DAO activity, one interesting finding is that fat is the only macronutrient that increases DAO levels in the lymphatic system, protein appears to only increase DAO levels in the intestinal lumen while carbohydrate seems to have no effect on DAO levels(8).  Therefore, DAO only enters the circulation in the presence of fat."
Fat transports DAO...proteins do, too, in the intestines...and carbs do nothing...Hmm...That sounds eerily similar to a certain high fat/low carb diet we learned about earlier. If you noticed in the abstract further up, it also noted that a lower DAO often results in "spontaneous abortion", which is a (terrible) medical term for "miscarriage".  The high fat/low carb diet was created specifically to treat fertility-related issues.

Furthermore, there is even a Magnesium/B6 supplement out there. I am currently taking it - and one of these days I'll do another post on my continued personal quest. And with that, I really must end this fascinating rabbit trail.

Acupuncture part 2

A post from last Fall that I never got around to posting:

The thing about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine is that it's an entirely different method of healing. While maybe China is savvy at integrating their traditional healing arts into modern healing methods, we're not so blended in the west. It's as though I'm operating in two different spheres: one is a holistic, body/mind/spirit world, and the other is a hormone/nutrient/vitamin world. One looks at the entirety of the body and its relational operation, the other looks at independent, miscroscopic pieces within the body. How can these even overlap? I'm feeling like I need to back off the multi-faceted poking around and just do one thing for a while. At the moment, I'm just drawn to acupuncture. I am realizing that I've been so "prevent HG" focused, and haven't stopped to think about the "pre-HG" implications - meaning, that perhaps my body is functioning at subpar levels all the time, but it's only noticeable once pregnant and all hell breaks loose. I'll still pursue the various tests because I do believe I need to know those things, but beyond that I want to lay low for a while before embarking on supplements galore (I'll focus on whole foods instead). So for right now I've ceased all supplements (except Cocolaurin for gut health and Juice+).

Acupuncture, as I understand it, is primarily about energy flow - I know, all you haters just cringed. Okay, acupuncture is primarily about blood flow and circulation. This is something I've thought about in an isolated situation. I received pelvic floor therapy about two years after my second birth. I learned my pelvic floor was chronically tight. After the therapy, I had better blood flow to my legs - they no longer became tingly 30 seconds into squatting or sitting criss-cross. Around the same time in a massage class, I learned about the obteratur internus, one of the major pelvic floor muscles. The arteries run right through these muscles and if the muscles are tight, especially in pregnancy, it can pinch the arteries leading to poor circulation and vericose veins (and can also cause perineal tearing, as I experienced). This all got me thinking about blood flow. If tight pelvic floor muscles prevent proper blood flow to the legs, could it also impair blood flow to uterus and somehow play a role in HG?

Well, researching blood flow and uterus/HG/pregnancy primarily brought up acupuncture information. While nothing was really in the same vein of thought as my "tight muscles" musing above (see what I did there? Haha - edit: is it sad that, a few months later, I don't even see what I did there? I assume it was a pun), I find it interesting nonetheless. And compelling, especially from the standpoint that these are healing practices that have been used for thousands of years. I know, I know, logical fallacy, arguing from tradition. But I think it's important to not be overlooked just because it's not "modern" or "proven" or "science". Especially during a time when a women normally does all she can to keep unsafe things - like some meds, for example - out of her body and away from her developing baby. 

This article was really interesting about the different needs of the 4 trimesters (the 4th being postpartum) according to TCM. I've heard before that the postpartum mother needs heat not cool.
This article talks about how acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus.

This is an interesting overview explaining TCM. It also looks into research and trials surrounding the use of TCM and acupuncture.

This was just really interesting with all the minute classifications within HG that TCM looks at. Very different from the broad "persistent nausea and vomiting" HG is defined as.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Preemptive Care

A few months ago I thought I was pregnant. Like, was 99% sure, shocked when I wasn't (but not necessarily sad either). Though, perhaps one can be metaphorically or even spiritually pregnant... At any rate, it was helpful for one thing: giving me a kick in the pants. Thinking I was pregnant made me make a game plan of what I was going to do immediately to counter HG that I didn't do last time. These are some of the things I came up with:

~ Sip diluted Apple Cider Vinegar throughout the day
~ Take Cocolaurin
~ Continue frequent magnesium baths/spray
~ Continue triple Juice Plus
~ Go to bed early
~ Drink clay right before bed
~ Take ginger (I was going to get capsules, but decided that would be stupid once I was already sick, and decided pure ginger essential oil would make more sense. A dab under the tongue would provide immediate absorption without the hassle of actually swallowing pills. I've read a number testimonies of this being very helpful.) Also drinking ginger tea. I should probably drink ginger tea everyday even when I'm not pregnant.
~ Increase vanilla bean intake (Vanilla bean was used in the pacific islands to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. It also happens to be high in Vit Bs among other things. Great addition to smoothies.)
~ Scents - I decided there should be a scent on hand that would help with nausea, given that smells are such a huge factor in the nausea. I chose Stress Away since it contains citrus and vanilla - which  reduce nausea. I think this will be an enjoyable scent when I am pregnant again.
~ Lastly, I decided I would begin acupuncture as soon as there was a positive test. Ideally I hope to go acupuncture prior to conception, but since one can't always plan on these things going to plan...

Of course, in the end I wasn't pregnant and am not pregnant. But I felt prepared anyway. 

The Body Never Lies...or Somatic Causes?

This is my third attempt to sit down and write this post. The first draft got lost, the second draft felt too vulnerable, and now I'm hoping the 3rd time is a charm.

My last post talked about some changes that have been going on over here. While I'm still focusing on my physical health (eating well, taking Juice+, resting, magnesium baths, sleep), I've been working most intensely on my emotional health. One of the major things that came to light during the winter is how my emotional traumas/wounds/scars have affected my body. Through therapies such as counseling ("talk therapy"), cranio-sacral, massage, and reiki/body work, it's as though my nerves have all been awakened. I'm incredibly aware of every part of my body that aches from emotional wounds that haven't healed. I work with other people occasionally, but most of the work is on my own. I spend time working on these physical knots in my body, helping to loosen them and work through whatever memory or emotion caused them. (Although a benefit of body therapy is that the body can release the emotions without necessarily going back to the memory. But sometimes the memories do come up.) I pray over them and, honestly, offer thanks for everything that's brought me here, everything I've been through, and even for the aches (which are merely my body protecting itself). This is usually done while in bed, either before falling asleep or before getting up for the day.  Eventually, some of the things worked through come out through paintings. (You can see some of them here.)

During one of these sessions I was working on my abdomen, in the middle between my diaphragm and belly button.  I've had stomach aches for years and years - at times chronically - radiating from this area.  I know, now, that these were purely emotional. I can tell you the date they started and the cause of them. (But I won't.) While working on this spot, an image came to me: my pregnant body was trying to relax and open and grow to make room for my growing baby, but the knots in my stomach wouldn't open or relax. The knots grew tighter and tighter until they made me vomit.

 That imagery made me wonder how much did my unresolved emotional wounds effect my body in the case of hyperemesis? How much of my HG was somatic?

Now, this is not to say psychosomatic, which has historically been used to suggest that hyperemesis was caused by deranged women who wanted secondary gains from their pregnancies and thereby made themselves wretchedly ill (thanks misogyny, you suck).  Hyperemsis is NOT "all in the head". It is absolutely not. But could it be in the body? Could it be somatic?

There's not much more I can pursue on this topic, so this post is more or less inconclusive. I did find this little abstract from 1946 which, despite it's slightly misogynistic phrasing, caught my eye:

Nineteen cases of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy of varying intensity, ranging from the exaggeration of physiologic vomiting to true hyperemesis gravidarum, who obtained little or no relief following a wide variety of symptomatic treatments, were completely relieved of their subjective symptoms following the use of hypnosis, either with direct suggestion or with hypno-analysis and age regression. All patients except two were completely relieved utilizing these methods.  
This form of therapy may act either by raising the vomiting threshold directly or by preventing contractions from the gastrointestinal tract reaching the higher sensorium. Again, the method of eliciting latent psychogenic factors responsible for the nausea and vomiting and bringing these to the surface and integrating them into consciousness is also a convenient, timesaving, and most effective therapeutic procedure for permanently relieving this ordinarily refractory condition.
Not knowing anything about hypnosis, I wondered if it could work by relaxing the body from the things it unconsciously holds onto. Perhaps it could work. Perhaps, in it's own way, it supports my somatic idea.  I'd be willing to try! (Maybe. Probably not.)

Here is an article about cranio-sacral therapy in pregnancy. Although it doesn't talk specifically about nausea or vomiting. It's just not a therapy the general public are aware of. I was honored with the opportunity to learn CST from my midwife's assistant for a year and a half. It's been a very helpful tool in my bag both as a parent and as a labor-assistant/wanna-be-doula.

This article is about a study to prove that hyperemesis is not psychosomatic. The author argues that, according to their study, the brain chemistry of women suffering with HG is significantly different from their brain chemistry when not pregnant. Which, doesn't really prove anything to me, honestly. Yeah, vomiting and worrying constantly, and not being able to eat well will definitely mess a person up. I guess the good news is that we can stop saying women are "trying" to be sick. But it doesn't disprove that there could be an emotional/somatic component to HG to begin with.

I don't know...what do you think?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cocooning: A Time of Transition

In September I took a big step away from the research. The desire for a baby dwindled to a "contentment with my current state" place. I was okay just being where I was at. The therapeutic adrenal supplements were helping, but I knew it would still be months. As I began to see and feel improvements, so my hope grew.

However, the Monday after thanksgiving my adrenals began crashing again despite being on a consistent (short-term) adrenal support. The heart palpitations, the head aches, the tiredness all came back in one fell swoop. And all because I'd stayed up late for a couple of nights around thanksgiving. 

I reached out to woman who I had recently been connected with (for something entirely different), but I had a feeling she would be helpful. We met. I cried almost instantly, as I knew I would. I'd been holding back tears for years and years and lately I've been so ready for them to come out of me, to stop hiding them. 

She challenged me. She told me (paraphrased), "I was exactly where you are 3 years ago. I self-diagnosed and I tried a little of this and I tried a little of that and I had a great diet. My body crashed. A dr told me that even though I was eating good food, it was as though my body was literally starving. I would like to think that our foods can provide all that we need, but for some of us they can't. I'm gonna boss you for a minute. I want you to stop everything you are doing. I want you to take Juice Plus two times a day, take a magnesium salt bath every night, and get 8 hours of sleep in a totally dark room. Can you do that for three weeks? Would you be willing to believe that doing such simple things - doing less - could help you more?"

I accepted her challenge. Within three days the heart palpitations stopped. A week later the headaches were gone. Slowly energy has returned, but I've had to be careful. Cocooning myself for three weeks was hard, but so good. I've learned some healthy boundaries for myself, I've learned self-care for myself (that is truly, deeply nourishing), and the best part is all the healing that has come out of this. 

I will talk about that more in another post. The point of this post is to high light a transition from what I was doing before, and what I am doing now. It's been two and a half months and I'm still in a cocooning space. I'm actually taking Juice Plus 3x a day, and it's been so helpful. I take a magnesium salt bath probably 3-5 times a week (bulk ordered from Pink Stork Solutions). I'm doing less that is "out there" (wavs wildly at everything) and doing more that is "in here" (points at heart).