"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One down, six more to go

I have stopped going to the infusion therapy center on Saturdays. Yes! I have been starting to feel a little better (thanks to some strong medications that I heart very much), and I am hoping that in a week or so I can cut out another day. Baby steps.

Thanks for all of your help and prayers. I truly would not be doing as well as I am without them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hi. It's me, Lindsay. First I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has served our family these past few months. Although it feels like simply saying "thank you" does not adequately describe the gratitude Ryan, the kids and I feel, I cannot think of a more appropriate expression. (Is it due one of the many medications I'm on, or the lack of a better expression all together?) In any case, my sincere THANK YOU will have to do for now. You have all been our angels.

Since many of you have asked exactly why I am so sick during pregnancy, I thought I would take just a minute to explain it. I have a condition called Severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Sounds fancy, but it's basically saying I have "severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy." As far as they know it is not genetic, it effects 1 in about every 2,000 women, and it usually gets worse with each pregnancy. I happened (unfortunately) to have it for all three of my pregnancies. The "official" definition directly off the hyperemesis website is:

"Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. It is typically associated with:
  • loss of greater than 10% of pre-pregnancy body weight
  • dehydration and production of ketones
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • metabolic imbalances
  • difficulty with daily activities
Treatment generally needed throughout HG pregnancies consists of i.v. hydration, TPN and/or other forms of non-oral feeding."
If you want to learn more about the condition, you can click here.

Since the end of my 5th week, I have been spending at least 3-4 hours every morning, seven days a week here:
The infusion therapy center here at the Mayo Clinic. There I receive a couple of liters of fluid, medications, and on some days nutrition through this:
My PICC line. It was inserted during my 6th week, and it will probably stay in most of my pregnancy. I've developed quite an itchy rash due to all of the alcohol and tape on it constantly (That is why it's a little red and gross looking. Sorry.) I jokingly asked my friend Molly if she could somehow make this a scratch and sniff picture via blog without the sniff part just to relieve some of the constant itching. No can do. Probably better for your sakes.

In addition to the infusions, I have 5 different nausea meds that I take about every 4-6 hours round the clock to help ease the nausea/vomiting. The doctors here have been WON-DER-FUL! Truly. At about week 7 they asked me if I would be willing to try a new drug therapy (steroids) for an HG study they wanted to do. They said to their knowledge it was hardly used, and had never been done this early in pregnancy before, but the choice was either this new drug or a feeding tube and hospital admission. After a lot of prayer and thought, Ryan and I felt good about proceeding with the steroid. It is helping a lot.
(If you want to know more about the study, click here. This is a similar study, minus the termination part.)
(This is a picture of me at the infusion therapy center hooked up to two IVs at once.)

Some have called us crazy, but we felt strongly that there was one more special spirit waiting to join our family. Although it has been a huge trial for us, we have felt such peace. Walking by faith we are witnesses of God's love, and tender mercies and our Savior's atonement. He truly has been by our side through it all.

It's True!


BTW, this isn't Lindsay or even Ryan typing, it's good-'ol-family-friend-Molly. :) I have taken over the Gassin Blog while Lindsay spends her mornings, afternoons and evenings very near the toilet.

I will elaborate on Lindsay's health in the next post. This post is all about announcing a wonderful new life to join the Gassin Family in February. Hooray, and Three Cheers!!!