New year, new adventure

Some of you have wondered about my unusually long silence and I don’t blame you. I am embarrassed too when I look at my last publishing dates but thankful at the same time for those who have been loyal to my blog, contacted me privately to ask about my life, or simply taken time to comment old posts.

For almost six months now I have been suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), more known today as the Kate Middleton condition, and life has been about daily nausea and vomiting. Yes, I am pregnant and contrary to many common presumptions, I am definitely not having the time of my life. My husband thinks I look like a prima donna from the Paris Opera but I wonder if he ever went to see an opera. In reality, I look and feel like this tree.

tree under snow

To say the least, it has been very tough to handle the daily life. Instead of cooking (something I love), I now throw some frozen industrial food into the oven. All sorts of smells trigger the nausea so without rare exceptions (like Christmas), I haven’t been able to visit our favorite food market in Bastille (Sunday Market). In addition, I have developed some very strange eating habits that have come in phases: two weeks of mashed potatoes from morning until evening, industrial soups for another two weeks’ period, then bagels, then something else. Lots of potatoes and wheat –ingredients easy to throw up!

I am aware that all this sounds very strange and hard to believe unless one has had personal experience with HG. I cannot even believe this myself. I am a rather practical and realistic person, and never had too many illusions about pregnancy, but I could have never imagined either that something supposedly so magic could make one so sick. It seems neither natural nor fair (but hey, life is not about fairness, right).

So, apart from eating difficulties, how else has HG affected my daily life? Well, I do nothing that I used to do, so it has changed everything. In the first months, when all this started, I stayed in bed all day long, closed my eyes and tried to sleep as much as possible as it was the only state when I didn’t feel nauseous. Unfortunately, as I realized, a human being cannot sleep 24 hours per day! I also stopped looking at Facebook and Internet because there were too many food photos (oysters that I usually love became the worst; only a thought and I would throw up). I stopped reading because it felt more challenging than climbing Mount Everest. I went to the movies once but brought along a bag to vomit in. Apart from a brief, odd phase of ramen soups (Sapporo: one of the best cheap ramen inΒ Paris) and few other exceptions, I haven’t been to restaurants (and we usually go twice a week!). As I work independently, I haven’t been able to accept any contracts and clients. I had to cancel all the trips. When I finally started taking medicines (my husband took me to the emergency room after I had been vomiting nonstop for hours), I got a little bit better and we decided to go on holidays (Miami, here weΒ come!), but the trip made my condition worse. On my birthday I was lying on the sunbed, turned my head toward the sand to vomit, and the vomit hit my shoes. Yes, you can laugh.Β  I may be able to laugh too one day. I hope.

I think it is fair to say that HG has eaten away my personality (and dignity, I feel), and I am afraid I will never be myself again.

So, this blog post. A long explanation to a long silence. I may or may not be back soon, and certainly hope that it will be sooner than later. One of the basic needs of a human being is to be creative and I miss that (amongst other things).

tulips in Paris

***

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

It is estimated that about 0.5-2% of pregnant women are touched by HG. Even the medical community is not very well aware of HG and what causes it, which makes things worse (support is rarely there). Most likely the doctor will dismiss the woman’s complaints by saying that nausea and vomiting are normal during the first trimester, and will disappear soon enough.

However, if the symptoms continue into the second (or worse, the third!) trimester, then it is important to act. There are some signs that tell the difference between the “normal” morning sickness and HG. For example, the latter makes one vomit a lot and systematically, and lose weight, and one will most likely need hospitalization and or medication in order to be able to continue living. As a basic rule, what helps to cope with the morning sickness doesn’t bring a lot of relief (if any) to someone suffering from HG. One can try acupuncture, ginger products, eating small snack and portions, homeopathy, etc, but most likely nothing will work. A great website to differentiate the morning sickness from HG is found here: http://www.helpher.org/blog/the-differences-between-morning-sickness-and-hyperemesis-gravidarum/

So, as cruel as it sounds like, to some extent HG accompanies the pregnancy during nine months, and the only cure is the birth.

In order to get help and support, I cannot over-emphasize the fact that one needs to understand that the morning sickness and HG have almost nothing to do with each other. Once you know what you have, things will probably get emotionally better. The doctor, family and friends should take your condition more seriously when you start introducing yourself as someone suffering from HG (do not forget to specify that HG is different from the morning sickness –this way you can hopefully avoid listening to annoying comments like “have you tried ginger ale?”).

I hope this post will help some other women suffering from HG, and should you have questions or need support, you can always contact me publicly or privately by my blog or by Pearlspotting Facebook page. Even if I may not be writing new posts, I do always respond to comments.

69 thoughts on “New year, new adventure

    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Hayley, thanks for your wishes!

      No worries, I switch off all the equipment during the night πŸ˜‰

      How did your trip go? Where exactly did you go? I hope you didn’t vomit in your shoes like I did πŸ˜‰ How are you feeling?

      Have a good weekend & talk soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Hayley

        We visited Hayman Island in the Whitsundays, it is so beautiful there! Only a 1hr 20 min flight from us so not too far. No vomiting although lots of early nights as I have been quite tired!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. freebutfun

    Oh no, I thought the morning sickness part was bad enough, and that sounds a million times worse. I am so sorry to read this, I hope the last three months pass quickly and that you’ll have a baby that sleeps and eats like a dream, so that you’ll be able to have the time of your life!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hey, thank you so much for your message and kind words!!

      So you were one of the lucky ones to suffer “only” until the end of the 1st trimester? I cannot believe that happening; or that anyone can have a positive pregnancy πŸ˜‰

      At the very, very maximum I have 3 months left, but in 2 months’ time the birth would be ok too… I think I “deserve” (haha) a smooth birth, but again, I don’t think it is a realisric wish πŸ˜‰ Let’s see.

      How many kids do you have?

      Have a great weekend!

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      1. freebutfun

        With the first one I had no morning sickness at all, with the second one I got nauseous still in the 7th month. But only occasionally and if I eg hadn’t eaten regularly, so nothing compared to you but horrible enough to me. Lucky I never wanted more than two.

        But I agree, you deserve an easy labour!

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      2. Miia Post author

        Thanks for your kind words πŸ™‚
        Let’s see… based on my current “statistics”, things will probably just get worse, but I try to stay positive.. every other day at least!
        But yeah, based on my own experience, I cannot understand why anyone would ever want to do this πŸ˜‰ Maybe I will soon (hopefully!) get a big revelation that will explain the point of all this πŸ™‚

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    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks so much Sue!! That’s very kind of you.

      I hope January has treated you well! I am way behind reading all the blog posts…

      Do you have a lot of snow there? We got some sleet yesterday (didn’t stay) but that’s it. I wish we had snow, can you send some please πŸ™‚ ?

      Have a nice weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks Indah!! It is nice to get so many responses. Maybe I will have courage to write more posts (travel-related, not about vomiting πŸ˜‰ )
      Have a great weekend. Did it snow in Rotterdam yesterday? We got sleet during 15 minutes or so.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Indah Susanti

        It was snowing and gone in second πŸ˜€ Totally awful snowing – not surprising for Dutch climate πŸ˜€ I think Paris has better weather compared to Rotterdam yesterday πŸ˜‰
        Have a great weekend to you too – take a lot of rest! I am still studying your Africa’s suggestions – Thank you so much!! …I will let you know what the decision to come – we will visit a diving exhibition tomorrow as well.

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      2. Miia Post author

        When would the trip be? Would the main purpose be diving?

        Something I haven’t done but many of my friends highly recommend is to see gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.

        I would like to see Namibia, too. Looks spectacular. And Botswana is the Elephant Paradise πŸ™‚

        Maybe I already mentioned this, but I really liked Ngorongoro in Tanzania. It is an old crater. I was in a super luxurious lodge, so that played a role, too, but the crater really is the where the civilization begun and there are some cave painting/carvings in the proximity. Maybe not as abundant in terms of animals herds as Masai Mara, but lovely!

        A friend of mine went to dive in Mozambique (her husband is a big time diver) and I can ask her for tips if you like?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Indah Susanti

        For sure diving will be the main activity plus visiting the wildlife at African reserve park. Yes, please if there is any info about Mozambique, that will be great πŸ™‚ – I will send you e-mail tomorrow after the exhibition πŸ™‚ Merci!! xoxoxo

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  2. Resa

    Dear Miia,
    Sorry to hear about these painful times but try to think that what you will get in return in a few months’ time will have been worth every bowl of mashed potatoes of the past months πŸ˜€ Wishing you strength and that everything goes smoothly for you! Courage!

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    1. Miia Post author

      Dear Resa, thank you for your kind words!
      Haha, I don’t think I will EVER eat mashed potatoes again in my life πŸ˜‰
      You too, take care and I hope the year 2015 is treating you well so far!

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      Reply
  3. Kirt D Tisdale

    Thank you for sharing, I of course can not truly understand what you are going through, but after raising three girls and supporting my wife through three very different pregnancies, I can understand what your husband is going through…it is a helpless feeling watching your partner suffer! I, too had been wondering what was up as your last post was going to Miami…now we all know! My best to you and your husband! Take Care!!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks Kirt for your support and for bringing up a male perspective. Yes, must be difficult to husbands too, in a different way. My husband is great, but apart from holding my hair when I vomit (and clean afterwards), there isn’t much he can do… But of course psychological support is very important too!

      How old are your daughters now if I may ask?

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      Reply
      1. Kirt D Tisdale

        But the fact I could recall it so easily….doesn’t seem like that long ago to my wife and I…but time does soften the severity of what you are feeling! Our oldest daughter and her husband live close to us…..our middle one is a TV Producer and lives in Los Angeles (about a 5 Hr drive)….our youngest lives up in Seattle…(2.5 hr flight away)! It’s easy for me to say now, but everything we have been through has been well worth it !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Miia Post author

        And life brings other experiences that become memories, and take place in our brain (by replacing the bad ones).
        Maybe this indeed is one of the problems at the moment : I do so little (next to nothing) that I don’t have those good memories that could take over the bad ones. This vomiting is the only permanent and quasi-daily thing at the moment, very overwhelming and takes all the space.

        The US is such a big continent: 2.5 hr flight is like Paris – Finland! But I am happy to hear you are all on the west coast at least.

        Have a great week and thank you again Kirt for your encouraging words.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wl

    congrats on the new adventure even if it is off to a rocky start. : ( listen to your body and your gynΓ©cologue/ sage-femme… take comfort in what little pleasures you can still enjoy now so you’ll have the energy to pull through ! bon courage !

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks for your support!!

      The prob is that doctors don’t really say anything! “C’est normal pendant la grossesse”… voila, therefore, nothing to be done. Argh!! Well, not entirely true, as I will be admitted AGAIN to the hospital on Thu for surveillance. Let’s see.

      And my body, what does it say? Let’s finish this business and get back to normal πŸ˜‰ I want to eat oysters again, all the smelly cheese and drink wine! And cook without Picard πŸ˜‰ And go jogging.

      Ps You have personal experience about all this?

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      1. wl

        sigh ! it’s tough to be feeling sick all the time. I haven’t had personal experience but a Thai girlfriend did when she was pregnant, not sure if she was diagnosed properly then but she told me she had to be hospitalized for months during her pregnancy as she was constantly nauseous – which does sound like HG to me now on hindsight.

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  5. joergkruth

    Some things can make life appear very different in a second and almost nothing seems to work as it worked. There will be a new life, and I mean a new life with new enjoyments for sure.
    But your life right now, you may see it as a chance. What about taking this tree on your balcony to a new flowerpot for the moment.

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    1. Miia Post author

      Haha you think it needs a new pot? I was JUST A SECOND AGO talking about it with my husband πŸ˜‰ !! We have had a facade & balcony renovation (ended last week) so the tree was inside for months and I guess didn’t like it –after all it comes from Finland, so it prefers cold πŸ˜‰ But the poor tree requires some attention too (it comes from our summer house!) you are right.

      Thanks for your encouraging and wise words. I guess the main problem is that things have been so “bad” for such a long time. One can tolerate ups and downs of life, and even being sick, but 6 months non-stop –it is just VERY LONG.
      But I will have to try –anyways it is not as if I had a bad job I could walk out of!

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  6. melbasunshine

    Hey Miia
    Sorry to hear you have been having such a tough time. Congratulations on the news though, I had been missing your adventures, but look forward to hearing about new and exciting ones xx

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hey, thanks for your support!
      Yeah, haven’t had many adventures recently apart from French doctors and hospitals πŸ˜‰ , and definitely cannot wait to get back to normal!!!!!
      How has 2015 started for you?

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      1. melbasunshine

        It’s been fine! Not much blogging for me either but hoping to get back into it soon…just a small adventure to Cornwall in England, will write about that soon. Fingers crossed normality will come back soon! Hope the next few months moves quickly πŸ˜ƒx

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      2. Miia Post author

        Cornwall –always wanted to go there! Pls do post about. It looks very pretty. A bit like Brittany in France.
        Yes, hoping too that time flies πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Packing my Suitcase

    Ohh Dear Miia, it is so nice hear from you again! Last week I almost sent you a message, but I figured I should not interfere in your privacy. Thank you for explaining a little about your condition, I had no idea it was sooo bad and lasted that long! I really hope you can cope with it better and that your baby come to the World healthy and let his/her mum be healthy again too πŸ˜€
    I can’t even imagine how bad and difficult it must have been for you. Soon it will be over and you will be able to enjoy your little one! ❀
    Hugs from Germany!

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      1. Packing my Suitcase

        It will pass soon!! πŸ˜€ I am sending you some good thoughts!!
        My trip was great… it was awesome to see my family and friends again… though I gotta say that this time was harder to say goodbye to my mom. I guess is because I am realizing time passing by… and we are all getting older. Oh my, how depressing, sorry about that πŸ˜€ I just miss having her around!

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      2. Miia Post author

        Thanks πŸ™‚
        I know, one of the disadvantages of living abroad… but try not to feel guilty… you have a great life with your husband in Germany and I am sure your Mom is happy for you! Does your family come and see you sometimes?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Packing my Suitcase

        You’re welcome dear πŸ™‚
        Yes yes, sometimes is sad… but I am very happy here and my mom knows that. My family do come once in a while. My mom was here last October, my sister 1 year ago. So it isnt that bad πŸ˜€ its just too far hahaha

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  8. Nihar Pradhan

    Hi Miia, it has been long that we heard from you…I was thinking you have taken a conscious break. Didn’t want to disturb you. Great news congrats but this problem of HG should quickly wade away, this is the time to be cheerful and we all there to share interesting experiences which should lift your mood, and the mind needs more meaningful engagement and you are great at it…

    Our best wishes are with you…Take Care!!!
    πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Nihar,
      Thanks for your message and kind wishes. Unfortunately pregnancy is not always such a positive experience even if I fully agree with you that it should be…. Life is full of surprises πŸ˜‰
      Take care and be well!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Nihar Pradhan

        Great to hear from you after long, you take care and good times are ahead…enjoy yourself, small issues will all disappear and we are there and our good wishes are with you always…indeed life is full so many surprises…

        Take care…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks Vasilis πŸ™‚
      That’s similar to what one of the doctors here said, “the fact that you Finns have survived up there there, in a very cold, harsh climate means you must be very strong” πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Tuuli

    Moikka Miia,

    Congratulations for the happy news! I’m so sorry to hear about you not feeling well. I hope the rest of your pregnancy as well as your labour will be as smooth as possible.

    I just want to leave a comment to thank you for creating web content that pushes the reader to think for themselves too. I don’t know if I am “statistically” correct to call myself a young reader, but at the age of 21, I think I may be on the younger end of your followers. It is such a shame how some many people of my age fill their free time with such online crap. Sometimes, however, interesting and fulfilling content can be even difficult to find. So just to let you know that your posts, regular or irregular, are always highly appreciated. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts so I hope you will eventually get back to writing πŸ™‚

    All the best,
    Tuuli

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Miia Post author

      Hi Tuuli! Thanks for your interesting comment. May I ask what brought you to my blog?
      I don’t have full statistics but you are probably on the younger end of the range.
      I also have to add that your English is great –mine was not that good at that age!
      Have a wonderful week!
      PS Thanks for your kind wishes re: pregnancy. I am feeling better but trying to arrange and clean the house (“kevatsiivous”!) and it seems like a never-ending mission…. πŸ˜‰

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      1. Tuuli

        Hey Miia,

        My apologies for the delay – I easily miss out on blog comments and replies. Anyway, I hope you are doing better these days and I can’t wait to hear your news. Without forgetting to mention that you should take all the time you need and WANT to enjoy this special period of your life! So please do not feel pressured to return to the blogoshpere for your readers, we are happy for you for taking some time for yourself.

        As for your question, the honest answer is a bit vague: Google. I am looking into the option of moving to Paris and I’ve had the idea in my mind for a few years already. Therefore I have been curious about the lifes of Finns living in Paris. Although your blog earns a special mention for reporting life all around the globe πŸ™‚

        Hope that you are doing great, all the best
        Tuuli

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Miia Post author

        Hi Tuuli, good to hear from you! I am much better, thank you, and my baby girl was born over one month ago.

        What is it that may draw you to Paris if I may ask? Work, studies, language or maybe l’amour πŸ™‚ ? There are several FB groups (Ranskan suomalaiset, Pariisilaisten ilmoitustaulu jne) if you need to ask some concrete questions about practicalities.

        Maybe see you here one day –welcome!!

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  10. Tuuli

    Minna,

    The best of wishes to you and your family – mitΓ€ suurimmat onnentoivotukset iloisten uutisten johdosta! How I’m happy to hear your good news!

    As for me – France has attracted me as a country ever since I was a child. I blame it on my father as I grew up with him watching the JT de 20h on France2 every single day for 18 years. I’m currently finishing my Bsc. in Economics studies on exchange in Toulouse and I would love to continue my stay in France for a while longer. Therefore I’m keeping my eyes open for any internship opportunities in Toulouse/Paris areas. Thank you for the tips, I will make sure to check them out!

    It sure would be interesting to hear your France story too – after seeing half the world (it seems to me at least), what made you choose Paris for settling down?

    All the best for you and your family, especially the newbie of course!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Miia Post author

      Thanks!!

      I see, you were “France-washed” during 18 years then πŸ™‚
      I first moved to Paris -99 (after I had finished my MA degree in London) but soon found a job that took me abroad for almost ten years. During this period I kept Paris as a base where I returned few times a year. Enfin, I returned to Paris for personal reasons (my husband is French) and here I am –still! Life is comfortable in France/Paris and as you know France is a wonderful country to visit, so diversified, but I wouldn’t say no to an opportunity to return to work abroad again one day πŸ™‚ I am specialized in emerging markets, and you can imagine France is not so emerging πŸ˜‰

      Baby crying, must go. If responding to a comment is challenging timewise, how am I ever gonna write again a full post…. ummmm…

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