Updated: Feb 25
Guest Blog Post By Jodie Lee ❤️
In case you’re not sure what it is -
‘Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a condition at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum. It affects 1% of women with pregnancy sickness and is very debilitating for sufferers.’ - PSS
During my first trimester I was really sick, sometimes 25+ times in a day and keeping just water or saliva down was almost impossible. Some days I was so poorly I wasn’t able to lift my head from the pillow even the thought of that made me want to vomit some more. I remember around 5 1/2 weeks after finding out we were expecting, saying to my partner ‘why don’t I have any symptoms’ 😔 How wrong was I to want them. 1 week later ‘bam’ I was so sick I was laid on the bathroom floor unable to talk or move wanting to cry and feeling like I was going to die, that afternoon I ended up in the hospital corridor on my hands and knees, you would have thought I would have nothing left in me. Within 30minutes I was hooked up to an IV and oh my what a relief that was. The rush you feel of it going down your arm that horrible metallic taste on your tongue but it worked. It stopped!! I was put into a ward and given fluids to flush out the ketones in my urine and kept an eye on my rehydration.
Discharged and refuelled that next day I was sent home with Cyclizine. Not knowing in a few days I would be back here doing it all again. The next time a night longer and sent home with Metoclopromide to accompany the Cyclizine. This also was a waste of my time. Both didn’t work and I was back at the maternity unit within 36hours. The last hospital stint lasted 3 nights and 4 days and this was the one that was going to start me on my journey to minimal sickness. I was prescribed Metoclopromide along side of Ondansatron and Hallelujah it worked!! Don’t get me wrong it took weeks, even months for the nausea to subside even slightly but it meant I was only vomiting a few times a week, if that. I was able to start gaining weight after all I was 10lb lighter now than I was before the pregnancy.
I managed to start enjoying the little things in pregnancy by about 24 weeks but HG doesn’t just disappear, it stays with you for the entire pregnancy, just on a different and changeable levels of severity.
Dry skin, sore eyes & brittle hair and nails are the only things visible to the outside world and so it leaves me feeling like I seem attention seeking and as though I just like moaning a lot, or that I’m lazy when I have a day where all I can do is sleep.
33 weeks pregnant and on the outside my sickness had gone yet the nausea was the one thing that has never ever shifted and some days it’s totally debilitating. I wake up feeling sick, I'd shower and gag at the feeling of the warm water, I'd hold my breath to brush my teeth to prevent smelling the toothpaste... the list goes on and on.
Amazingly, throughout all of this, the baby has remained thriving and happy. I had growth scans and reduced movements when I’m very dehydrated, but overall the baby has somehow managed to salvage every nutrient it needed from me. And for that I feel very lucky!
I still continued to take tablets daily to keep me going but I was lucky enough to cut them down to one each morning up until the arrival of my little lady. The moment she arrived was the best in the world. I arrived at the hospital and my Hyperemesis peaked, they popped an injection in my buttocks and away I went, that was the last time I was sick! Laying my eyes down on her tiny little body that had fought as hard as me to be here, had kept me going when I couldn’t find the strength and all I could think was she is perfect. My final words after she arrived was ‘It’s over, I’m never doing this again’. She was worth every bit of the HG journey.
I was obviously so happy once it was over but it didn’t take away the grief from what I'd been through, it would have been a disservice to myself to wash it away like that. It took a little time to heal mentally I think and kindness to myself wasn’t always easy but it was a must.
I’ve always thought ‘I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough to do it again’ but watching my little girl play on her own I knew it would be worth going through that battle once more.
29 months later and guess what... I’m 16 weeks pregnant. At 7 weeks I knew this wasn’t just morning sickness, it was my second pregnancy and I wasn’t well, at all. Eventually I was hospitalised by a wonderful doctor who agreed I needed immediate support and requested the same medication which previously worked and fortunately they agreed so I was able to start my pregnancy with only one hospital visit, but while one baby is seemingly unaffected, my first baby is the one I have worried about the most. Isla has spent so much time standing next to me each morning, watching me being violently sick and panicking. I couldn’t talk to her to reassure her as I couldn’t catch my breath. She’s a very caring two year old and has genuine concern. She rubs my back when I’m poorly and she brushes my hair when I lay on the sofa and tells me ‘ don’t be sad mummy, Isla’s here’. Her doctors kit has never had so much use. Mum guilt is hard. You feel your taking away precious time with your first born but remember they won’t remember this and your doing a beautiful thing.
And so -
If you’re pregnant and really suffering with sickness, let yourself be heard and don’t give up until they listen.
If you have a friend suffering with sickness, please don’t judge them for being dramatic or lazy.
If you’re a doctor, for goodness sake listen to a lady when she’s pregnant and saying she’s not feeling right. You’re the only one that can change that, without you she is on her own and feeling lost.
If your partner is suffering, pick up the slack and allow her to do all she needs to do to get through it. And be prepared for the long haul.
HG warriors, You’ve got this!!