Now this is a very important post to me regarding Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Now if you don’t know what this is, it is essentially morning sickness, but morning sickness at its most horrendous. In real terms, the label “morning sickness” doesn’t even begin to describe the level of suffering that some women have to go through when expecting a baby.
Hypermesis Gravidarum literally is a kind of a living hell on earth and not something that would even be wished on someone’s worse enemy.
Now, many of you will know by now, that I have been blessed with three children. I have suffered with sickness to some degree with all three of my babies, but it was with my middle child that the level of sickness became uncontrollable and unbearable.
At exactly 6 weeks pregnant it literally hit me like a ton of bricks. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that I could do that would ease the suffering in any way. Now if you are suffering from a germ induced stomach bug, yes you’re ill and yes it can be pretty horrific, but at the same time, you know that its short lived and that its only going to last a couple of days at most and then you’ll be back to your old self. With HG there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no “cure” such a if you have a major hangover you know a big bowl of carbs will help. With HG there is no reprieve. You would quite happily sever off your right arm if someone told you that this was the answer to the unrelenting and all consuming condition that is Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
At 7 weeks, I could take it no more. I was literally just laying on the bathroom floor curled up in a ball crying and being sick. The actual act of being sick didn’t ease the nausea and would often just be the start of the next cycle leading up to being sick again.
I went to my GP. I was lucky in that I saw a female GP who had suffered in her own pregnancy with HG. This meant that she “got it”. When I went to my Dr in my previous pregnancy complaining of sickness I was advised that it was simply a common condition of pregnancy, that it would pass by 12 weeks and that there was nothing they could do about it, I simply had to just get on with it.
My GP this time prescribed me with a brand of anti-sickness pills called Metoclopramide. I eagerly went and filled my prescription in the hope that these pills would be my magic answer. They were not and in fact made me worse. They increased the sickness if that was possible and also gave me an upset stomach the other end. I remember just laying on my bed and my husband walked past me, the movement in the air that his walking past created caused me to be sick, right there. That’s right a disturbance in the air made me sick!
Back to the Drs I went. This time I was prescribed Cyclizine and Promethazine for the sickness and I was also prescribed Ranitidine for the acid reflux I was suffering from because of all the sickness.
Now I know its very hard for people who have not suffered with this condition to understand, but the episodes of sickness are not solely brought on by food and smell aversions. Of course these don’t help and are of major influence, but I also suffered majorly by listening to certain children’s TV show theme tunes. I guess this is because the television was on almost constantly for my 3 year old at this time. If a certain program came on it would see Mama running for the door! Why allow that program to come on then? well basically because I was powerless to move anywhere except to throw up.
The weather still to this day has the power to make the feel ill as well. The springtime no longer holds immense joy following the bleak winter because the sweet smell in the air combined with the birds signing outside still has the power to make me feel decidedly unwell. I guess its a form of association. I was at my most ill at this time of year and I don’t think the memory of the illness will ever totally leave me.
My poor husband during this time, I think it must of been really hard on him too. I was useless around the house. I could do no housework or washing etc, but he never complained. He used to come home from a full day at work and then come and look after me and our son. He would cook a meal for our son whilst I went upstairs out of the way as I simply could not be around cooking. I used to make him cook with all of the doors and windows open and the oven extractor on to try and dissipate the smells, but still they would find their way into my space where more often than not, I would be sitting with my head hanging out of an open window.
The other thing was, I had to ban him cooking certain things such a onions. Now if he were to chop an onion, I swear that I could smell this on the chopping board in the kitchen while half way down the stairs and it would set me off. It would be a combination of wet wood and raw onion. Now the chopping board would be antibacterial wiped and bleached, but still I could smell it and still it would make me sick.
My husband and I also had to resort to sleeping separately because I simply could not stand another person near me. To me he smelt! I would wake up from sleep to be sick. I would sleep with the windows wide open trying to air the bedroom. I would spray perfume on my bed linen, but still the room smelt bad enough to make me sick and of course, poor old hubby got the blame! How he put up with me during this time is a mystery to me now. I know I was awful to him, but at the time, I was in pure survival mode. I could not think of others and how my illness was making them feel. I had to do whatever it took just to get through the next few minutes.
I was hospitalised 3 times with my sickness and put on a drip for rehydration. My keytones had reached dangerous levels. Basically what this means is that my body was starving and that it had started to attack itself. Obviously something that is not good for Mama or baby. I would be kept in for a stint at a time until my keytones returned to a more normal level.
I remember laying in the bath one night and feeling really depressed. I was so ill and there was no end to it. I envisioned myself walking out into the woods (the woods would be snowy) and just laying down in the snow and drifting off into a never ending sleep. I seriously felt like I wanted to die. I had no excitement for the child growing inside of me. Now this statement is raw and does not come at all easily. I struggled for many years to conceive and suffered a lot of heartache along the way. This baby was very much planned and was very much wanted. I just simply could not cope with the sickness anymore. I felt I wasn’t strong enough and without the constant support and love of my husband I honestly don’t know if I would of been.
I’ve heard stories of people suffering with HG feeling that they are left with no other option than to abort their pregnancies. Now this is not a decision that any one takes lightly and my heart really goes out to these poor souls who find themselves in this position. It’s not something I contemplated, but I can totally understand why they feel like this.
The other thing is that nobody really understands, is that the memory of this illness never leaves you either. Even now, some 2 years later, I still can’t smell a certain brand of shower gel without heaving. Writing this piece is bringing back all kinds of memories and is in fact making me feel somewhat queasy just at the thought.
During my second pregnancy I suffered some of the darkest days of my life that I felt no one else in the world could relate to. If someone I knew heard I was ill they’d tell me they’d had morning sickness too and that have I tried eating ginger biscuits as it worked for them! Really? ginger biscuits huh! is that all it takes?, wow, wish I’d known that sooner!! I remember my own mother telling me on several occasions that she knew how I felt because she’d been unwell with me. She said she was never actually sick, but felt like she had flu-like symptoms so she would get out of bed 1/2 an hour earlier, sit on the stairs and have a cup of tea and then she would be feeling well enough to make my Dad a cooked breakfast before he went to work. Seriously, if your own mother doesn’t get it and she’s the one witnessing you going through this, what hope is there from anyone else showing any degree of comprehension of what you’re going through?
That’s when I came across The Pregnancy Sickness Support group. These people understand and provide invaluable support and advice to anyone going through a similar situation. So if you or anyone you know is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, please do go and check out their site. It could literally be a life saver :-
It wasn’t easy my little love, but together we made it through. I’d die for you and more RGN xxx
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Mother and 3 Sons xxx