Hyperemesis and Me
I have been meaning to blog about Hyperemesis for so long now and particularly at this current time in 2020, anything related to health and health in Pregnancy especially, I think is super important not to ignore and to understand when to get help if needed.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (to give it it's full name, HG for short) was a huge part of all three of my pregnancy journeys.... Why on earth did I put myself through it THREE TIMES?!!
It was one of the biggest factors in why we took longer to decide to go for our much wanted third child, a story for another day…
What I wanted to do was to share a bit of my story with HG and hope to reach out to anyone in similar situations, or to anyone thinking of putting themselves through it again for a much wanted sibling for their current child or children. It's a really bloody hard decision as the mental scars HG brings, actually last a lifetime, I think. It is not pleasant.
HG is MUCH more than 'morning sickness' and why they even call it morning sickness is beyond me, during your pregnancy you can feel queasy at any time, so let’s call it 'anytime sickness'.....and thankfully for many women, something they only experience during those first few months and it eases as the pregnancy progresses.
HG is IS NOT 'Morning Sickness' and a good test to decide which one you may have, is to ask yourself your response to the next person who suggests you eat GINGER BUSCUITS….if it’s “I am trying really hard no to punch you in the face” you know where you’re at.
During my first pregnancy I was not hospitalised, but I struggled to eat or drink much during the weeks of around 7 - 12....not leaving the house and stopping all my teaching. That was the worst bit and then I started to gain a little more strength and slowly was able to eat and drink a bit more and it eased a lot around 20 weeks, but I had a constant state of nausea that I just sort of got used to which lifted immediately after giving birth. So weird.
Pregnancy no. 2 was a step up!! I remember feeling pretty sick around week 6 and within a day or two not being able to keep anything down and eventually being admitted to hospital where I spent a day hooked up to fluids. I had a 2 year old at home who didn't sleep and the next few months are all a bit of a blur! All I remember is how awful I felt and how hard it was with a really demanding toddler and being a little sad that I wouldn't have a third baby as there was NO WAY I'd be putting myself and the people around me through all that again!!
But the mind is strange thing as two and a half years later we were doing the exact same thing, but this time with TWO small people at home!
Pregnancy no. 3 was, as expected, horrendous. I was back and forth to the GP over a couple of days, around week 7, I could barely walk I was so weak and eventually when my ketones were at the 'pretty high' stage they told me to get to A&E. My amazing Dad took me whilst my Mum had the kids whilst hubby was getting back from work and I was hooked up to an IV drip in triage, less than 30mins from arriving.
I think I was pretty ill. But Dr's don’t really let on do they?
I was hooked up for around 12 hours I think, and I remember thinking if only I could take this stuff home and be hooked up to it for a few weeks, I'd be OK! As it was I was discharged 24 hrs later, but back in again 4 days later for another load of fluid. I felt pretty sorry for myself.
‘Luckily’ for me my HG eased by about week 22, it never lifted completely and affected me a lot throughout, with nausea, vomiting occasionally , not having much of an appetite, low iron levels, really low immunity, I seemed to catch everything going. But there are women out there who spend most of their pregnancies in and out of hospital with it.
What I wish, is to bring awareness to the fact that YOU CAN get help. Each district is set up differently but there are day units you can be admitted to for IV ‘top ups’ which I found out in my third pregnancy and where I visited twice.
Badger your GP….you can get medication which is perfectly safe to take which can help with sickness, sometimes you need to adjust what you are taking and when but it is there so take it if needed.
Do not suffer in silence. Talk to the people around you and get a good support network going if you can. My family and friends were a lifeline and for our third pregnancy it was a big discussion me and my husband had. We knew it could be potentially awful and I would be pretty ‘out of action’ for a while, which I was, so having the support of nearby friends and family was imperative.
Obviously now I have three beautiful, healthy children and the 9 months of carrying them becomes a more distant memory as each year passes, but the real struggles with HG will never be forgotten and I am determined to reach out to anyone going through a similar experience.
It is a lonely time. It is very hard to put into words how you feel at those hardest of times and questioning why you are putting your body through it. But to know you are not alone and there is help out there, I think is so important. Because at the end of the day, of course they are all worth it.