Today’s show is about an important topic that isn’t talked about very often. We’ve all heard of morning sickness, but there is a much more severe condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. It brings all-day nausea and vomiting and can result in significant physical and emotional effects.
Lauren Harris is a married mother of three kids who lives in western Massachusetts. She’s a licensed mental health counselor who owns the Center for Perinatal Wellness. Lauren is also the Western Massachusetts Regional Coordinator for Postpartum Support International. In today’s show, Lauren shares her story of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) through three separate pregnancies. We’ll hear how she learned of her condition and dealt with for a very long time with little support. Lauren also shares about her struggles with postpartum anxiety, along with how her experiences propelled her into the field of perinatal mental health.
- Lauren’s story of her surprise pregnancy at age 22 with her daughter, Natalie, now 13
- At eight weeks, Lauren was hit with incredible nausea that kept her vomiting up to 12 times each day; she was unable to keep food/liquids down, but was told it was “normal.”
- There were four separate times that Lauren was hospitalized for IV fluids due to dehydration; she lost 40 pounds during the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy.
- She was frustrated that no one took her seriously, and she couldn’t work or function each day, which put a financial strain on their family.
- Late in her pregnancy, she was prescribed Zofran, which was the only thing that would help. Her parents helped pay the out-of-pocket cost at $90 per pill; Lauren had to take three pills daily for several weeks.
- What it felt like to be told that her extreme sickness was “normal”
- Why Lauren had the conversation with her mother about terminating her pregnancy
- How HG affected Lauren’s work as a mental health counselor
- How Lauren met the emotional challenges to keep going day by day
- After a 23-hour induction, her perfectly healthy baby girl was born, weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz.
- Why the birth was followed by a D & C because of a hemorrhage
- Four years later, Lauren was pregnant with her second child; she had similar nausea and vomiting but felt much more supported by her medical team
- With her third pregnancy, she took more care with rest and hydration but experienced much more postpartum anxiety
- The irony was that as the HG improved with each pregnancy, the anxiety issues became worse
- How Lauren coped by using therapy and medication
- Why Lauren was propelled into perinatal mental health work by her personal experiences
- Lauren’s practice has three clinicians now but is looking to expand soon because the need is so great
- What Lauren learned about HG and herself
Email Lauren: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren’s practice: http://www.cpw.care
Find the Center for Perinatal Wellness on Facebook