Hyperemesis Gravidarum – have you heard of it? Would you have heard of it if you didn’t know someone who had suffered with it? Maybe suffering with it yourself? No, it’s absolutely not a bit of morning sickness which can be cured with a dreaded poxy ginger biscuit it’s so much worse than that. So much.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is extreme pregnancy sickness. It’s severe prolonged nausea and vomiting and can be extremely debilitating for women suffering from it. It can cause weight loss, dehydration and feeling faint.
There were dark days where I begged and pleaded with my partner to smother me just to make it stop because I’d rather be dead than face endless months of this absolute hell. Hours rolled into days, days into weeks and all time just dragged on and on and on.
How many women do you know that can say they weighed less when they gave birth than before they got pregnant? That’s what happened to me. Any other time you’d be quite happy to not have put on 4 stone but I felt horrific.
There were days upon days of lying dead still in case the slightest movement of my little finger made me vomit again. What was there to vomit? I hadn’t eaten anything in days. 20, 30, 40 times a day. How could someone so sick still be alive?
Crawling on my hands and knees to the bathroom and then only weeing a few drops because of the dehydration and sobbing my heart out at the betrayal of my own body. How could it make me feel so wonderful about carrying a much wanted child only to bring me crashing back down so spectacularly?
There was the desperation not to be sick in front of a packed Dr’s surgery and hoping the wait wouldn’t be long so people would stop staring at me for having a bowl on my lap. Of course they assumed I had a bug and tutted, nodded my way and gave me the side eye. If only I’d had the energy just to tell them to get lost.
I was sent to hospital and let them stick needles in me left, right and centre and genuinely not caring one bit as long as it just made me stop being sick again. Sweet Jesus make it stop. The anxiety of being told you can go home and being terrified that it will all go wrong again the minute you leave the hospital despite wanting nothing more than to go home. Being sent home with medication which stopped working after 2 days and I had to drag myself back to the hospital where they randomly put me on a ward with women who’d had hysterectomies! Restless leg syndrome caused by the anti sickness IV was preferable to the stomach ripping feeling of heaving on an empty stomach.
I remember having a list of foods and drinks that didn’t taste so bad coming up if I could get them down in the first place (coffee and crumpets – big no-no). I also have an aversion to cheese and onion crisps even now, years later because of it! I genuinely cannot abide the smell of them. Trying to make my other children tea and wishing a magic fairy could do it for me as even the word “beans” made me want to throw up again.
I eventually found the magic tablets that stopped me being sick (Ondansetron in my case) and the sheer panic when I took the prescription into 3 different pharmacies having driven around with a bowl on my lap only to be told they don’t have them in stock. The wait is torture.
I never expected to find myself still being sick when they opened me up for a C-Section and the doctor having to wait for me to stop so he can stitch me back up and the morphine they gave me for the pain making me feel sick as a dog all over again. Having to fight the midwife who told me that I couldn’t breastfeed in that state despite me really wanting to. God did I fight and I won. And I’m bloody glad I did.
I can honestly say my baby making days are done purely because I just could not do it again and I have every sympathy with anyone who has suffered or is currently suffering. You can never truly understand it unless you’ve lived it and I don’t think anyone really ‘got it’ except when I started back at work after 6 months off sick and the new girl asked me how I felt as she had suffered with it and I could have hugged her. The scathing looks that I’d received over the time I’d been suffering were unreal. I knew everyone just thought I was being dramatic and you won’t believe how many people will tell you what awful sickness they had and then go on to tell you they were sick ‘at least 2 times a week’.
So to anyone suffering now and stumbling upon my post:
Hang in there. It’s hard and probably one of the worst things you can go through but you WILL get through it. You may even find yourself thinking you can’t go on with the preganancy. Don’t feel guilty. You have to do what is right for you but talking to somebody will help.
Don’t suffer in silence or let anyone tell you to man up. Go to your GP if you’re lucky like me (as luck would have it my GP had actually suffered with it) they will help. It might take a little time to get medication right but it’s worth it.
If one GP won’t help I would ask to see another at the practice.
Have a look at the Pregnancy Sickness Support Website it has some invaluable advice and really helped me get through it.