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How do I help my HG traumatised Husband?

PostPosted: Dec 26, 2005 11:02 pm
by Irene
I had extreem HG until the very end, and am just now, 20 months later nearly fully recovered. It has changed both of us. I was wondering if I could get a male point of view from other HG menn. How was HG for you? Did anyone look after you, and what can I do for him? I think it would do him good to read other bucket emptiers storys. All of you have been very supportive of your Wifes, but what was it really like for you?

It was so difficult

PostPosted: Dec 27, 2005 10:18 am
by Fighton95
Hello there, great topic and something that I am still dealing with today. Looking back, and you can read the thread prior to this to get a glimpse, I shudder to think of going through this again. I know it was supposed to be all about my wife and perhaps that was the difficult part. I actually got into it with the Doctor because she released my wife, in my opinion, too early from the hospital. I explained that just because you think it is about her, by doing such a thoughtless act, the Doctor sent into motion a whole chain of events that overwhelmed me. I had to ensure the car was clean and odorless. I had to go shopping for food, clean the house top to bottom, fire up the filtration, get her prescriptions filled, call friends and family to arrange for her care while I was at work. I told her that the medical staff must consider what they are doing to the husband when making such a decision that has her back in the hospital in less than 24 hours.

First, men are not cut out for something like this. I am an overacheiver, so for me, HG was my kryptonite. Most men thrive when the challenge is clear, the goals are defined and the timeline is constant. There is a beginning a middle and an end, oh, and it usually doesn't involve your strongest and favorite person (your wife) out of the game.

See, the one thing that has gotten me through some pretty nasty times (ie. ground zero on 9/11 or caught in the middle of the LA riots) was my confidence that I could overcome anything and protect myself and the people I care about from injury. Most men are this way. Driving snow, sleet, darkness and a flat tire- no problem (watch the x-mas story) we thrive on stuff like that. Again, clearly defined problem, a beginning, a timeline and an end. Oh, there's even a manual for this, of course we never use it. Had my wife had a manual, I would have read it.

But, HG didn't affect me (snakes and snails and puppy dog tails), it affected my soft and cuddly wife (sugar & spice and everything nice). The love of my life, and the one who is always there for me during times where I've been asked to step up. All of a sudden, I am making decisions for a woman who I just married, negotiating her health and the health of my first child. Arguing with Doctors, spending countless hours researching this monster, trying to assure your wife everything is ok, dealing with her parents, friends, work, her work. Just attempting to get some of her credit cards paid was an exercise in futility.

In one day, your husband could have worked for 12 hours, spoke with 1/2 dozen friends, two doctors, three family members, a hyponitist, an accupunturist and if they are like me, may have had a 1/2 hour conversation with the Maori Healers of New Zealand. This is the holiday season. My college football team is playing for their third national championship and I am discussing the healing powers of Papa Joe. I spoke to so many people, I feared walking into my wife's hospital room and seeing her surrounded by all of these specialists, chanting, inserting needles, saging, hypnotizing, etc.

Mostly, I was scared to death for my wife and my child's safety. Now that my wife is better, she pushes me to get out of the house. Spend time with friends. She encourages me to exercise. And yes, she even strokes my bruised ego a bit and sings my praises with her family and girlfriends. She reminds me often of how much she appreciated my efforts. She does her best, in her current state, to satisfy (creatively) my, ehem, certain desires. She loves me. What got me through this was knowing the shot she took for our family.

You've got to let your guys get out a bit, see there buds, have some fun and remind them that they are a man. Listen, I hear my friends talk about how hard is was for them during their wive's "normal" pregnancy. Their stories do not hold candle to what your husband just went through. Celebrate your man, thank him, treat him like the king of the castle, your hero, whatever. We feed off of that. It makes us stronger.

On a side note, just watched a few episodes of The Baby Story- holy cripes. Do you women really watch this stuff and still want to go through with it? Man, thank god for women.

If he would feel more comfortable, let him know he can hit me with a private email.

Good luck.

PostPosted: Dec 27, 2005 12:23 pm
by PamelaRose
Ah, A Baby Story! Nothing like watching a dramatic episode to strike terror into prospective parents' hearts. As bad as it sometimes looks, we do it again and again. I would give birth a million times over going through HG again. OK, maybe not a million...but thousands. :wink: I enjoyed your thoughts, and I will add a few from my forum-impaired husband who stood by me through 4 bouts with HG.

It took us awhile to strike a balance between the demands of HG and his need for release. Finally, at the start of the last pregnancy, we called in reinforcements for daily chores that stressed him, things like light cleaning and laundry folding and dishes. Identifying these frustration triggers made his life--and mine--much easier. I also lined up childcare so he could get out a couple times per week. He was able to keep his Wednesday night softball game knowing my step-mother had the kids and would bring them to our house and put them to bed (and check on me), and he was able to get out and just decompress some Saturdays when my sister-in-law watched the kids. These things really helped keep him sane and strong.

The other thing that helped him cope was sharing our story. He had no idea what normal pregnancy was supposed to be like, and to this day he's mystified when other men tell him their wives have no sickness or aversions. In the beginning he was scared and a bit suspicious that I was so sick--he wondered if the old "morning sickness is mind over matter" tales were true, or at least he gauged people's reactions to my illness and knew there was something odd about it. By the fourth time through, however, he started sharing details about HG and what the daily struggle was like, and he got support from so many people once they learned the facts. The ladies he worked with were fabulous; they were horrified that I was going through so much and regaled him with stories of normal, HG-free pregnancies--and they held him up as a hero for standing beside me and holding it all together. This empowered him to be there even more for me, and we got through that last pregnancy with much less strife than the other three.

I knew what pregnancy was supposed to be like and knew what a shoddy hand I'd been dealt, but it's taken my husband years to understand how cheated we were and to understand where my anger and grief were coming from. Many HG dads are willing to get in touch and share their experiences; just as we moms need support, the partners who leave us hooked up to tubes and machines in the hospital and come home to empty houses need it, too.

Great Points

PostPosted: Dec 27, 2005 12:36 pm
by Fighton95
Yeah, nothing is more frustrating though, when people don't understand this illness and behave inappropriately. Especially other moms. "Yeah I had that, but just ate some crackers and raspberry tea"...blah, blah, blah...I didn't take lightly to stupid comments.

Oh, the choirs. Look, I take care of business. I make a good living, have always done all the grocery shopping and cooking (cooking is a hobbie and a great stress relief), but I hate cleaning the house, doing dishes, laundry, etc. I need to find time to hire someone, as my wife's answer is to have her mother do it. No can do. I'm a bit neurotic, so I can't have her doing housework while I am sitting around the house and sometimes I need to sit around.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I like to have a clean house, especially with all the visitors, but my wife isn't as concerned. I wish she would be more understanding of my desire to have it this way. Right now, like most men going through this, I am scared to say anything to upset her in any way. Like walking on thin ice.

HG impact on spouses

PostPosted: Dec 27, 2005 6:56 pm
by Irene
Thank you so much for your replys. We read them together, and as my English is better, I am the one commeting, not him. Up here in our part of Norway, nearly nobody has heard of HG. He took great comfort in your words, HG realy was hell for him, as he had no suport to fall back on, not that he would have asked for any. Menn!!!

We are also driven mad by thoughtless comments, and if his brother asks us once more when nr 2 is due, I will scream. I have tried to explain to him many times, that another pregnancy could kill me, and that it causes us great pain that we will never have a big family, but to no help. I once, to my and my inlaws utter horror, threw a pair of socks in his face when he started on about us producing nr 2! And if I hear one more time, "I was also sick, had crackers and gingerbeer" etc, I do not know how I will react. Tom is better with those comments then I am.

We also felt robbed. I cried with relief during delievery, beacuse this was the first time since the positiv pregnancy test, that I felt any joy for the child inside me. We both felt like bad parents before even becoming one. Robbed of time, happines, health and joy and not to mention love for the little bundle in my tummy that had been so very wanted.

How any of you manage to go through this again, I don't know. Your willpower, strenght and love is amazing!

He still remembers with dread having to eat takeaway in the car as no food smells were allows into the house. And juggling trying to finish his phd, with housework, shopping, hospital visits, dealing with family, and the worrying! Makes him shudder. He too found it very hard the times I was released (wrongfully) from hospital, only to be back worse then ever, within days, and the work those hours involved for him. He had a lawsuite going as well with the dishonest owner of the house we had just bought, and we had sold our own flat and had no place to live or store our furniture due to the houseproblem AND my beloved cat was missing, leading to late nights searching. To his imens relief, pussy was found! All this was kept from me, and I was the one who got all the attention!

HG's husbands/partners are also survivors! All honour, thanks and love to all you menn out there!