‘Ooooh maybe you’re pregnant?!’ the infamous words squealed by Doreen in accounts who you know only to discuss the weather, basic well being and which way up the printer paper goes. All I said was I felt a bit sick, if you’re a female of a certain age you can’t even mention nausea without the previous statement being squealed in a jovial manner. I never know what the appropriate come back is. ‘Yes Doreen (lady who doesn’t know my surname) I thought I’d confess to you before telling my entire family …’ Its bizarre – no one would feel the need to diagnose any other medical condition with such personal ramifications – I’ll never understand why pregnancy is such fair game.
It’s true ‘morning sickness’ may occur during pregnancy and for a lucky few it is exclusive to only the morning, however most people I know can get ‘morning sickness’ any time during the day. Morning sickness is grim, don’t get me wrong – but let me be clear, I’m not talking about morning sickness I’m talking about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) or otherwise known a ‘that thing that princess Kate had’. Although we would have had very different care I’m sure! It goes to show that anyone can suffer with it royal or not!
What I believed started as morning sickness then took a dark turn. In a nutshell I couldn’t stop being sick and feeling sick. With no energy and swamped in dehydration I spent my days being sick, trying not to be sick, googling ways to stop being sick, buying random crap from amazon to which promised me to stop being sick oh and pretend I’m not pregnant, as at 6 weeks gone I wasn’t ready to share our news. I was so lucky that my employer was so understanding as I was signed off work in the end for close to seven weeks, after I was honest with my boss I had so much support and was incredibly grateful. I spend weeks in bed, that’s a lie, I also spent time in the bathroom in the abyss of sickness and the worse thing is about HG is that I couldn’t eat anything, even lemon water was enough to cause me severe nausea. Well meaning friends would advise me to ‘eat a ginger nut’ – ok Sharon, I can’t swallow my own saliva but I’ll eat a ginger nut! In fairness for any other sickness ginger is great. However I tried EVERYTHING, I still cant bear ginger to this day.
I tried every food I could thing of and nothing helped of stopped it. I eventually passed out at my first midwife appointment, I know, dramatic huh?! She immediately called the hospital and I wen in to be check over, I was admitted as soon as they looked at me at this point I had been back and forth to the doctors already for sickness tablets I had tried promethazine, pyridoxine, diphenhydramine none of which worked for me and eventually my sickness was eased with Ondansetron. Getting back to my stay in hospital I felt better once I had five bags of fluid, although still not great I managed to eat some bread which probably helped. By the time I was admitted I was 9 weeks pregnant, the one positive from my time in hospital (other than getting better for a short period) was I got to have an early scan, and the baby (we now know as Jasmine) was fine, in fact she was thriving!
After about seven weeks of dark days, and they were dark days I started gradually to feel a little stronger. I was able to eat tiny yogurts, grapes and weetabix. So that’s what I lived off for many days until I managed to brave new things! I will never trivialise how dark those days were though, I felt like they would never end and they were incredibly isolating and lonely especially when so many people didn’t know. I did however stumble across a pregnancy sickness support group online which is full of other struggling with HG. It was lovely to know I wasn’t alone, I recommend anyone suffering to go there for support.
Amongst the ‘crap’ I brought online a few things I found helpful were as follows. Sickness bands, I lived in mine for months – too scared to take them off, they apply pressure on points on your wrists which help with sickness. Smelling lavender and peppermint oils and also getting a massage with them. Sour sweets. I also found looking at some hypnotherapy videos on you tube helped, in short, the more relaxed I was, the less sick I seemed to feel. There are also lots of vloggers who vlog about it, good to watch and get tips and in short know you are not alone. I also brought some strips to check my ketones and see if I needed more water or if I needed medical treatment. Also the knowledge that its temporary and it WILL pass. Remember it’s not the same as ‘morning sickness’ and others who have suffered with HG will feel the same rage as I do when the press describe Kate Middleton as having ‘morning sickness’, however I think its great that it’s created such awareness of the illness.
I am aware my first blog has been mainly about puke, gross. However I felt it was a very dark time during my pregnancy and its important to write about it. I still refer to it as the ‘dark days’ when talking about that time. But that was just the start of my journey, what a start!
The course of true love never did run smooth.
— William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Act 1, Scene 1”