Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Review: "Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum"

I posted this on my hyperemesis-awareness blog some months ago, and wanted to just repost it here, as it is definitely about pregnancy and birth! Here it is....

This is the review as I have posted it on I really cannot say enough in praise of this book! Here goes:

"Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of “morning sickness” which is characterized by one or all of the following: unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting, dehydration and/or malnutrition, rapid weight loss, and the inability to keep food and/or liquids down (or even eat at all).

If you are reading this review, you are most likely suffering from HG, a past sufferer from HG, or the friend, relative or caregiver of someone suffering with HG.

If that is the case, here is my recommendation: Before you read any further, stop, go back to the top of the page (on Amazon), and order “Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” You need this book.

As a matter of fact, order a couple. One for you, one for your doctor or caregiver, and one for family members. If you’re exorbitantly rich, buy a small stack and hand them out to every person who says, through word or deed, “Oh come on. We all dealt with morning sickness. Stop whining and get over it.”

After my own relatively-minor bout of HG, I started looking for answers. Where does it come from? What can we do about it? Well, no one knows the answer to the first question (theories abound), and there are multiple answers to the second (although each person requires specialized treatment – what works for one may not work for another). This book deals in depth with treatment options for HG, from the minor to the life-saving, giving details, risks, procedure descriptions, drug information, and oodles of personal testimonies.

I first found Ashli McCall through her excellent blog, which details her fourth trip through this fiendish disease:

There is literally no experience having to do with HG that this amazing woman has not dealt with, from the amusing to the tragic. She is truly the be-all-end-all in terms of knowledge about this disease, because she has dealt with almost every drug, treatment and procedure for HG that currently exists. One of the best parts about this book is the realization that “Oh my gosh, someone understands!!” HG sufferers know firsthand the infuriating comments that we get by the handful:

“Oh yeah, I had bad morning sickness too. Couldn’t eat bacon for weeks.”
“Go outside and get some fresh air. You’ll be fine.”
“Stop thinking about yourself so much. You’re making yourself sick. Just snap out of it.”
“Eat crackers and drink ginger ale.”

Due to the rarity of this condition, most people have not heard of it. When you combine that with the fact that most women have dealt with some sort of morning sickness at one point or another, that adds up to a bad combination – and the result is that HG sufferers almost never get taken seriously, by friends/family/coworkers/general acquaintances or by doctors and caregivers. By outsiders, HG is seen as the subject of an amusing joke. “She’s really making a fuss over such a common thing. She needs to get over it.” etc. etc. etc. This book is incredibly validating in that it gives me something to give to people and say, “Here. Read this!” For myself as well, it was a very healing process to learn that there are other people out there who have been through this nightmare (and, let me say, with versions of HG that made mine look like a bad sneeze).

I recommend that one have this book in hand whenever one is dealing with the medical community. My husband and I are thinking of trying to get through a second pregnancy, and I will be taking this book with me everywhere I go.

Especially helpful are some of the appendices – There is an appendix of antiemetic drugs, with all of their classifications, alternate names, and information. There are also lists of books and websites that are of invaluable assistance to address the needs of HG women. This is the best book that I have read on the subject, and I HIGHLY recommend it. You cannot afford to be without this book. Thank you, Ashli!!!

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